Form Guide: 2010 US Masters
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 US Masters | Preview | 07 Apr 2010
There is such a question mark over how Woods will handle the spotlight he has on him this week. He has shown previously that he can handle almost anything thrown at him but there has been nothing like this sort of scrutiny and pressure in the past. The week has started well for him and it appears as if it may be business as usual. As a professional he has won four of 13 Masters titles and I expect him to perform well but a 5th Green Jacket might just be a bridge too far at this stage.
Twice a winner at Augusta National but there is some concern over Mickelson’s current form. He does not appear to be at the same level of form he was prior to his two previous Masters titles, his final two rounds at Bay Hill and a disappointing week in Houston proof positive of that. He does enjoy an amazing record at Augusta however having finished inside the top ten in ten of his last eleven starts and that alone gives him a great chance of being in the mix.
Stricker’s record at the Masters is quite simply not good. He has a best of 6th, that coming last year but despite that record and because he is the world number two and because of the quality of his putting he deserves respect.
Like Mickelson, Els enjoys a good record at the Masters although he has yet to win. He has been twice runner up however although he has missed the cut in each of the last three years. Els is back playing at the level he was when he regularly finished inside the top ten at Augusta National, putting together recent wins at Doral and Bay Hill. Not a good week in Houston but that was to be expected given his heroics in the weeks prior.
Westwood’s record at Augusta is not good – just the one top ten in ten starts, which happened way back in 1999 with a 6th place. Westwood has a higher world ranking than was the case in any of those previous years however and might just produce a good week. He has expressed delight at the manner in which his game is coming around at the right time and his good showing in Houston this past week further confirms that.
Goosen is a genuine chance of winning in 2010. Having put together six top tens in eight starts in 2010, Goosen heads to Augusta with a game in very good shape. He enjoys one of the better non-winning records at the Masters having finished twice runner up and twice third. I am expecting something very big from him this week.
Singh, a former winner at Augusta, is playing well in 2010 despite a putter that is below its best. He has an injury cloud over him at present however which is a concern having been forced to withdraw from the recent Arnold Palmer Championship and the Houston Open
Harrington is playing well at present and has his game in just the right shape to improve on his previous best of 5th at the Masters which he has recorded on two occasions. He is a definite chance despite a poor finish to last week’s Houston Open.
Furyk is having a good season in 2010 and has a solid if unspectacular record at Augusta. His recent win at the Transitions event has his game in the best shape possible, especially his putting, and I think he could have a good week.
Casey has a very good record at Augusta National, debuting in 2004 with a 6th place finish and then being inside the top 20 in three of his further four starts. He was forced to withdraw from last week’s Shell Houston Open due to a shoulder complaint but if fit he should be a factor given his outstanding recent form.
Martin Kaymer should get a mention due to his generally good recent form but he has missed the cut at Augusta National on the two occasions he has played and that is a concern.
Poulter won the Accenture Match Play recently – his first PGA Tour victory and has made the cut in all five of his Masters appearances. He has a best of 13th in 2007. I can’t get excited about his winning chances but he could easily improve on his previous best. His good putting will be of great benefit.
McIlroy seems to have gone off the boil in recent starts and that is the concern regarding his chances this week. There is little doubt that he will be a factor at the Masters in years to come however and in his debut in 2009 when finishing 20th showed that he had quickly come to terms with the subtleties of Augusta National.
Kim has played the Masters just the once and set the golf course alight during his second round of 65 before finishing 20th. Put together a Masters record of 11 birdies in that second round. Finished runner up at the recent Honda Classic and of course had a great week in Houston last week. Kim is peaking at just the right time.
Mahan made the cut as an amateur in 2003 and in his only two starts since then missed the cut in 2008 and finished a very impressive 10th last year after an opening round of 66. Playing the big events well now and a recent win in Phoenix has his game in good shape for this week despite missing the cut in Hosuton.
Watney has played the Masters just twice and has done very well on both occasions. On debut in 2008 he finished 11th after an opening round of 75. He finished 4th at the recent Transitions event and has generally played very well for the first few months of 2010. He is a young player full of promise and has a good chance of a big week.
Despite a missed cut at his last start at Bay Hill, Villegas has regained the form that we saw from him in 2008. He recently won the Honda Classic and after two dismal failures at Augusta National in 2007 and 2008 he finished 13th in 2009.
Schwartzel is making his debut at Augusta this week but he is destined to play the event for many years to come. He has developed into one of the leading players in the world over the past six months and although debuting at Augusta National is never an easy task he has the game to do well. It might not be this year but in the years ahead he will become yet another South African to win at Augusta National.
O’Hair has played Augusta well in his last two years finishing 10th and 14th. His form in recent weeks has not been great but neither has it been bad. He could do well.
Clark has not won a PGA Tour event let alone a major but he has played Augusta National well including a runner up in 2006 and a 13th in two of his last three visits. The South African’s form to date in 2010 is not dissimilar to that he was producing this time last year and he did well enough then. He is a grinder who putts very well, which is always important at Augusta.
Donald is another to be playing very well in recent weeks and has made four of five cuts at Augusta including a very impressive 3rd on debut in 2005. Donald is a very good putter which will certainly assist his cause this week.
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