12 Mar 2018

The Masters – Worldwide Golf watchlist

Look out for Li

This year’s Dubai Desert Classic Champion, Haotong Li, will be hoping to continue to trend set by Danny Willett (2016) and Sergio Garcia (2017), who both won at Emirates Golf Club before triumphing at Augusta in the same season. Li held off Rory McIlroy to win his second European Tour title in Dubai and he makes his Masters debut this year. No first-timer has won at Augusta since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 but Li has flashed some early potential on the
big stage with a third place finish at last year’s Open Championship.

Jon Rahm

Has the firepower and the touch to dominate at Augusta. Rahm’s rapid rise since turning professional in 2016 has been remarkable but he is yet to contend in a Major. His win at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January was his fourth in the space of 12 months.



Sergio Garcia

The defending champion won the Singapore Open in January and posted top tens in Mexico and then at the Valspar before the birth of his daughter, who he named ‘Azalea’. Very much a confidence player, he’s playing well and as a new father can play without expectation.



Tiger watch: Can he win the Masters again?

Dustin Johnson

A back injury on the eve of last year’s event forced the World No.1 to withdraw. He plays this year still as the top-ranked player in the game and is hoping to make up for lost time. Three top tens and a win in Hawaii so far since January. Capable of dominating the course.

 Justin Thomas

His win at the Honda Classic was his eighth on the PGA Tour and at 24 he’s already got Major pedigree, having won the US PGA last year. In his two previous appearances at The Masters he finished T39 in 2016 and T22 last year. Experience helps but so does confidence, and Thomas has that in abundance.

Jason Day

Made a hot start to 2018 with a win at Torrey Pines and a runner-up finish at Pebble Beach in early February. Day has form at Augusta with a runner-up finish on debut (2011) and a third place finish two years later. Naturally aggressive, he will have to perfectly balance the art of attack and defence if he is to ever prevail at Augusta.

Tommy Fleetwood
The Englishman missed the cut on his debut last year but is unfazed by big occasions having gone on to top the Race to Dubai with wins in France and Abu Dhabi and a fourth place finish at the US Open. He successfully defended in Abu Dhabi and heads to Augusta full of confidence.

REWIND: Garcia finally gets it done with one for the ages

Like so many of the great Major stories, last year’s Masters was an epic battle between the two players in the final group out on course – Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. The pair began the day in a share of the lead and after 18 holes they had both navigated the course in 69 blows to force a play-off. It was an epic dual. After nine holes they were still all square, but Garcia dropped shots on 10 and 11 to fall two back. Garcia’s challenge looked to be over when he pulled his drive on 13 and took a penalty drop, but Rose failed to take advantage, only making par, and Garcia also made par after some Seve-like scrambling skills. It proved the turning point. Garcia made a stunning eagle on 15
to pull alongside Rose but the Englishman moved clear with a birdie on 16. A bogey pegged him back and the pair were level going down the last. Garcia had a simple birdie putt to win outright on the 72nd hole, which missed, to set the path for sudden death. One loose drive from Rose as they replayed the 18th left him blocked out in the trees and Garcia had two putts from 12 feet for the title. He only needed one. Bravo Sergio.

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