The 2019 Masters Preview

All the golfers know that April is a special time of the year for one major reason, The Masters tournament at Augusta National. The Masters is a long standing tradition and arguably the most popular of all four major tournaments. The excitement starts in March when you begin seeing the commercials promoting the tournament, you know winter is coming to a close and the golf season is nearly upon us. Flyovers of the course and replays of previous legendary Masters moments build on the anticipation for the opening tee shot. Being the only major tournament on the PGA tour schedule that is played at the same venue every year, it creates the opportunity to have specific traditions and events to look forward to throughout the week leading up to play. For example, The Drive Chip and Putt competition, the par 3 contest, and the pros skipping balls across the water for the patrons amusement. Augusta National is the bucket list course for anybody that has ever swung a club and unfortunately, watching it on TV is the closest that most of us will get. For the fans of the game, it doesn’t get any better than The Masters and soon we’ll all be greeted by the soothing voice of Jim Nantz saying, “Hello Friends.” Many speculate who will head home with the green jacket based on the way this PGA season has unfolded thus far.

The build up for the 2019 Masters has a unique feeling that surpasses the years previous. We’re only four months into the year but we’ve already seen a lot of big names with a trophy in their hand on Sunday. Rickie Fowler went home with the title at The Waste Management Phoenix Open, followed up by Phil Mickelson winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am a week later. Dustin Johnson got in the mix with a win at the WGC-Mexico Championship and showed us why he is the number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. All these players have great chances of winning the Masters this year and their confidence levels are riding high.

Another contender to keep an eye on is Rory McIlroy who has fought his way to number four in the world after his win at The Players Championship this season. Winning such a big tournament early in the year gives Rory an upper hand going into April. Rory has finished in the top five at Augusta twice in the past but he cannot seem to close here. It’s the only major tournament that keeps Rory from obtaining the coveted career grand slam. McIlroy’s most infamous moment at Augusta is one he may want to forget. The 2011 Masters saw Rory going into Sunday with a four shot lead which would be followed by a spirit crushing final round score of 80. He would go on that year to win the U.S. Open at Congressional while breaking the tournaments scoring record. Eight years later and Rory is top five in the world and winning huge tournaments, this could be his year to obtain the last major win missing from his collection.

One possible outcome for the upcoming Masters tournament is the ever exciting story of a first time major win. On the top of my list of tour pros with a great chance of winning their first major tournament would be Kevin Kisner. Kevin Kisner has eight PGA tour wins with the most recent being the WGC Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club, where Kisner proved once again that he is a match play magician. His best finish at The Masters came last year with a T28 but he seems to be on a roll lately and I like his odds heading into Augusta.

The biggest story of all heading into this years Masters is the recent success of the greatest player in the history of the game, Tiger Woods. At the end of the 2018 season, the Big Cat made his biggest come back to date by winning the Tour Championship and clenching his 80th tour victory. It was a moment for the ages. The 18th fairway at East Lake was filled with spectators, the man in crimson red and midnight black leading the pack. It was eventually sealed by a putt and a double fist pump. He’s been riding the momentum since that tournament and has ascended to number 12 in the World Golf Ranking. Tiger has played in five events in 2019 and made every cut with two top 10 finishes. He’s been on a strict schedule with limited play in order to keep his body in shape. The four time Masters winner is once again a feared predator heading into the Augusta.

With all the excitement in the past few months, this April is shaping up to be one to remember and as proven in the past, the green jacket could go to anyone. Will Rory get his first Masters and the career grand slam? Will Tiger get his fifth? Will someone get their first major victory? We will find out soon. The 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National will begin on April 11th.