“History in the making” is a great way to describe the way things appear to be shaping up for the 2014 Masters Tournament.
It has been nearly 50 years since the Masters has exceeded 100 golfers. Right now, it’s looking like the record set in 1966 (when 103 golfers competed) is not only going to be beaten, it’s going to get crushed. There are a grand total of 18 ways a golfer can qualify for the Masters 2014. On December 16, 2013 alone, 14 of them made the cut based on just one of those rules.
The new wrap-around schedule was responsible for three spots being awarded to fall tournament winners Chris Kirk, Jimmy Walker and Ryan Moore. There are only two ways left to clinch a spot in the tournament this year: win a PGA Tour tournament sometime between now and the start of the Masters or join the ranks of the top 50 in the world before March 30.
So as this list grows and grows, the question of just how many competitors there will be gains more and more attention. Clearly, the organizers for the Masters would prefer that the number remain lower, but it definitely looks like this is going to be an historic year for the Masters Tournament.
That opinion isn’t based solely on these numbers either. There are other telltale signs that not only will the competition be packed with amazing talent this year, but that the competition is bound to be absolutely fierce. Will anyone manage to break 64 this time around? Well, with numbers like these, those odds increase by default. It will be interesting to see just how this competition heats up and what surprises we’re in for along the way.
Predicting the Winners
First, let’s talk about Tiger Woods. Although it may be hard to imagine, it has been eight years since Tiger has won in Augusta. He donned the green jacket four times in the first nine of his starts as a professional and has fared well in the Masters since. Looking at his eight most recent starts, there was just one instance where he finished lower than sixth. Will this be Tiger’s big comeback year? Have five winless years been enough to make this the year that breaks his losing streak?
Jason Day is another player worth paying some attention. He most certainly has what it takes to win, even though, prior to 2013, that may not have been the case. Last year, Jason came in third in the Masters. He also tied for second at the US Open. He is also pulling his schedule in line to peak at some of the biggest events in golf. It is a strategy that has been used by major players in the past, particularly Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott when they were close to punching through. Jason is one to watch this year for sure but can he stand the heat of competition that awaits him this year at the Masters?
The Vegas Futures seem to also like Tiger this year, giving him the best odds at 11-2. Following close behind are Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, each being given 12-1 odds. It should be interesting to see just how the odds -work in each of these players’ favor when the day arrives.