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Five tips for The Masters: Will Rory McIlroy do it or can Tiger Woods return to former glories?

How will Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy fare at this week's Masters, the opening Major of 2019.
How will Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy fare at this week's Masters, the opening Major of 2019.

By Gareth McCullough

With the 2019 Masters set to tee-off tomorrow, we take a look at the likely candidates to take glory at Augusta National

Rory McIlroy

In-form, relaxed and confident. That's the man from Holywood right now.

Having won the The Player's Championship at Sawgrass - regarded as the 'fifth major' earlier this year, how Rory would love to add the Masters to his collection before his 30th birthday early next month.

It would complete the Grand Slam and finally get the monkey off his back in terms of finally getting to put that coveted green jacket on his back in the Butler Cabin.

He's the only player to finish in the top 10 in each of the last five Masters and has racked up six consecutive top six finishes in 2019, while statistically he's having the best putting season of his career. Will this year be his year?   

Odds: 8/1

Tiger Woods

It would be the win of all wins and one of the biggest chapters in Tiger's illustrious career.

Victory round Augusta National, where Woods has already donned the green jacket four times with the last of his wins coming in 2005, would be the ultimate redemption for arguably the greatest golfer ever to play the game.

Having returned to the winner's circle with a superb win at last year's Tour Championship, one that had everyone reminiscing about the 'good old days' of Tiger dominance, he should be discounted at your peril.

His current form in strokes gained on approaches to the green make him a candidate and he will relish getting back to the scene of his famous chip-in at 16 14 years ago that paced the way for him to land his last green jacket.  

Odds: 20/1

Rickie Fowler

So very often the nearly man, if people think McIlroy struggles to get over the line at times, spare a thought for his good friend Fowler.

Rickie Fowler in his famous orange clothing.
Rickie Fowler in his famous orange clothing.

He of the luminous clothing has yet to break his Major duck and has a similar record to the Northern Irishman in recent Masters tournaments. He almost caught 2018 winner Patrick Reed down the home stretch,  but had to settle for second spot in what was his fourth top-12 finish in the last five years at Augusta.

The California native's combination of power and precision, particularly with his putting, should put the 30-year-old high on the list of those in with a chance of taking the title this time around. After all, it was at the same Georgia venue that Sergio Garcia eventually won his maiden major two years ago.    

Odds: 20/1

Brooks Koepka

One of the most explosive golfers in the world on any given day, Koepka has already picked up three Major titles in his relatively short career, including back-to-back US Opens in 2017 and 2018, while he also collected the PGA last year as well, holding off none other than Tiger to win by two.

All that came AFTER he missed last year's Masters with a wrist injury that kept him off the tour for more than three months. Imagine what he might be capable of when he's fully fit and raring to go?

However, this time around, Koepka has come under scrutiny after being accused of losing too much weight too quickly as he attempted to tone done his hulking frame. His golf seemed to suffer as a result as he missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and failed to win a match at the recent WGC Matchplay.

Koepka missed the 2018 Masters with a wrist injury
Koepka missed the 2018 Masters with a wrist injury

But his caddie is Portrush native Ricky Ellliott, so maybe an Ulster Fry or two before tee-off might do Brooks the power of good. 

Odds: 30/1

Justin Rose

Obviously, you can never count out the current World Number One when approaching any of the four Majors, and when that player is one as consistent as Rose is, then his chance of victory tends to heighten.

The Englishman may only have one Major title to his name, the 2013 US Open at Merion, but his habit of being among the final groups on a Sunday will stand him in good stead when he makes the drive down Magnolia Lane.

The 38-year-old has made 13 Masters appearances and 11 of those have seen him finish inside the top 25. That includes four top 10s and runners-up spots in 2015 and 2017. While he may not hit the headlines on Thursday or Friday, expect him to quietly creep into contention come the weekend.

Odds: 14/1

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