The 2017 US Masters begins this week at Augusta National Golf Club and there will be a number of Aussies in contention. Adam Scott will be looking to add another green jacket to the one from 2013, when he became the first Australian to win the year’s first major championship. Coming into the event with a lot on his mind due to his mother’s recent surgery for lung cancer, former world number 1 Jason Day has always been a man to watch at this event but he may simply have too much on his mind to be fully prepared for the huge challenge of the Masters. Day has come close before with a 2nd place finish in 2011 but to win at Augusta, there can be no distractions. That said, the 29 year old has the mental toughness to overcome the emotional rollercoaster he has been on during the last few weeks and focus on the one tournament he wants to win more than any other.
Marc Leishman has shown some good recent form and won at the Arnold Palmer Invitational just three weeks ago. He too has featured high on the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon at Augusta and could again be the Aussie to watch at this year’s event. His easy-going demeanour and consistency with all parts of his game are ideally suited to performing well at Augusta.
Current World Number 1 Dustin Johnson has been in career best form over the past 12 months, and if he can dial in his wedge play will be a huge chance to win his second major. Johnson has the length off the tee and accurate iron play to put him into contention, but his approach play and short game has sometimes let him down at The Masters. Since winning last year’s US Open, Johnson has dominated World Golf Championship events, and shown the golfing world the talent that many knew would eventually be on display from one of the best athletes the game has ever seen.
2015 champion Jordan Spieth threw away his chance to win back to back Masters last year when he made a disastrous quadruple bogey 7 at the par 3, 12th hole during the final round - handing victory to eventual winner, Danny Willett. Not since Greg Norman’s meltdown in 1996, where the Australian threw away a 6 shot lead going into the final round, has anyone choked so badly to lose the Masters. The young Texan will be out for a second championship but it remains to be seen whether or not he has exorcised the demons from last year’s capitulation.
Whatever the result, millions of viewers from Australia and around the world will be watching the drama unfold on the back nine of Augusta National on Sunday afternoon (local time). This tournament is a favourite with many players and fans alike and is the only major championship to be played at the same course every year.
The Masters is purely about golf. Corporate advertising is not allowed on the course. You will not see billboards or any kind of marketing material lining the fairways during Masters week. The caddies are required to wear white overalls, keeping them all easily identifiable and looking sharp. On course, The Masters is about looking after those patrons lucky enough to secure a Masters badge, which allows them access through the gates and onto the hallowed turf of Augusta. Prices of food and drinks are what you might have expected to pay in the 1980’s. No price gouging here, only a respect for the game and its followers.
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