The 2011 Masters Contenders
Ian Poulter may have poked a sleeping Tiger by announcing that Woods wouldn't finish in the top 5 at Augusta. "Poulter's always right, isn't he?" Tiger said. "My whole idea is to try to win the tournament. That's what I'm trying to do."
Defending Masters champ Mickelson fired a warning shot that should have everyone’s attention with his win at the Shell Houston Open, where he had a 63-65 weekend. Lefty gets up for this one unlike any other. A fourth green jacket would tie him with Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
The Englishman ascended to No. 1 in the world late last year for the first time, only to lose the ranking to Martin Kaymer. He hasn't quite lived up to expectations in 2011, but he's posted top-3 finishes in four of his last five majors, including a runner-up at Augusta in 2010. The only thing missing from his resume is his first major championship.
Last time they held a major, Kaymer came out on top, and he's since ascended to the top of the World Golf Ranking. The 2010 PGA champion and European Tour money leader has the game to win anywhere.
He has only two career top 10s at Augusta, but he seems to have turned a corner. He beat Kaymer 3 & 2 in the finals of the Accenture Match Play in February for the biggest win of his career.
DJ has all the tools, but does he have the maturity to win amid the crushing Sunday pressure? He essentially blew two majors in 2010, and it remains to be seen if those failures will have any lingering effect.
Is this America’s top player at the moment? His results in 2011 — a win and four top 10s in five tournaments — say yes. He’ll have the chance to prove it at The Masters.
The Georgia Tech alum was low amateur at Augusta way back in 1998 but truly emerged in 2010, and he always plays well in Georgia. He has six top 10s in eight events so far in 2011.
Rory McIlroy has a very good chance to become the youngest winner of a major championship since a 21-year-old Tiger won the 1997 Masters. His torrid start on Thursday indicates that he’s in it to win it — if not this year, then soon.