The 85th edition of The Masters tees off at Augusta National Golf Course tomorrow. The 72-rounds invite-only event with a purse of close to Kshs 1.3 billion will feature 88 players including 18 past winners. Here are five interesting cues to look out for as you follow the action over the next four days on DStv.
The curse of champions
Dustin Johnson will be seeking to successfully defend his title and become only the fourth player to achieve the feat in the event’s 85 year old history. Only Jack Nicklaus (1965/1966), Nick Faldo (1989/1990) and Tiger Woods (2001/02) have achieved back- to-back victories at Augusta. In fact, only 17 players have won The Masters more than once. Jack Nicklaus (six) and Tiger Woods (five) are the most successful players in the event’s history.
Chasing the Grand Slam dream
Rory McIlroy will join the exclusive club of five players if he wins The Masters 2021 to complete a career grand slam. With The US Open, The British Open and USPGA Championship trophies safely locked in his cabinet, McIlroy will be hoping to finally clinch victory at Augusta on his 13th attempt. His best performance so far is a 4th place finish in 2015 and has made the cut 11 times. Only five players. Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have clinched all the four Majors.
Besides eyeing a successful defense, Dustin Johnson will also be seeking to improve on the 20 under par 268 course record he set last year. Johnson produced an amazing display to better by two strokes the previous 270 gross record jointly held by Jordan Spieth (2015) and Tiger Woods 1997.
Jordan Spieth will be seeking to register a second wire-to-wire performance when he tees up at Augusta tomorrow. Spieth joined the legendary “Wire to Wire” club in 2015 when he shot a magnificent 270 gross to join Craig Wood (1941), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus(1972) and Raymond Floyd (1976) as the only players to have led all four rounds to victory.
A century and still counting
18 past winners will tee up tomorrow. Out of these lot, three players have a combined 106 years appearance record. Jose Maria Olazabal, 55, who won the Masters Tournament in 1994 and 1999, will be making his 32nd start. 62 year old Larry Mize the 1987 champion, will be making his 38th appearance while Fred Couples will be on his 36th Masters outing at the age of 61.
Age is just a number
All eyes will be on 63 year old Bernhard Langer as the two-time Masters champion continues to rewrite history at Augusta. Last year in his 37th Tournament, Langer became the oldest player to make the cut at The Masters. Interestingly, the German had achieved the feat in 2018 and 2019. The veteran may be tempted to go for glory this year, encouraged by his T29 finish last year.