A Tradition Unlike Any Other
Star-stacked field makes for most anticipated Masters Tournament in years
There’s Jack Nicklaus in ’75 and ’86, Tiger Woods in ’97, and Phil Mickelson in 2004. Iconic, magical scenes seared into the memories of sports’ greatest moments. With several of the game’s biggest names teeing off this weekend at Augusta National Golf Club, the 82nd Masters Tournament is lining up to potentially be one of the most exciting in the event’s history.
“I don’t think there’s one clear-cut favorite,” said four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods, who is playing in the tournament for the first time since 2015. “I think there’s so many guys playing well at the same time. I think that’s what is making this year’s Masters so exciting, is that there are so many guys.
“We know we’re going to have to play well in order to win, and it’s going to be quite a challenge. It’s going to be fun. And I think that everyone’s really looking forward to it – not just from the spectators, but from the players as well.”
Woods won his first Masters with a record 12-shot victory as a 21-year-old in 1997 and last prevailed in 2005. Since then he has had four operations on his back. This past autumn, he was physically unable to hit a golf ball much past half the length of a football field. However, he’s emerged this spring healthy, painless, and a co-favorite to win this year’s event at 10:1 odds, according to VegasInsider.com. But this tournament isn’t expected to be a coronation for Woods. Jordan Spieth, 2015 Masters champion, is the other co-favorite at 10:1. World No. 1 ranked golfer Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy follow at 12:1. Three-time winner Phil Mickelson, two-time winner Bubba Watson, and Justin Rose carry 15:1 odds. Last year’s champ, Sergio Garcia, has a 35:1 chance to win another green jacket.
Spieth, DJ, and McIlroy, who would complete a career major grand slam with his first Masters win, will draw a lot of attention, however Mickelson who with a win would become the Masters’ oldest champion at 47, will be a sentimental fan favorite.
The Masters is one of sports’ great events, and easily golf’s best. With its azalea-lined, emerald green course, Augusta National in the first weekend of April provides arguably the greatest atmosphere in athletic competition. The location is beautiful and often the scene for magical moments seared into the annals of sports history. The television coverage, especially in today’s ultra high definition broadcast, is superb. Legend has it that when Saints quarterback Drew Brees had his vasectomy, he scheduled the procedure in the early part of Master’s week, so he could time his recovery with watching the tournament.
Time seems to move a little bit slower at Augusta National. That can be a blessing on a warm, spring day with good golf. It can be a curse when keeping up with the world outside of the club’s gates. This week, however, the club took a much-needed progressive step. On Wednesday, Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced the establishment of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, which will be held annually the week prior to the Masters and begin in 2019.
“Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts left behind a legacy of always trying to contribute meaningfully to the game of golf,” Ridley said. “The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship embodies that principle, and we believe this event will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of the women’s game. Our hope and expectation is that this event will further energize those who already love the sport and inspire others through the dream of competing at Augusta National.”
The 54-hole, stroke play tournament will feature an international field of 72 players. Invitees will be determined by awarding winners of other recognized championships and using the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. The first two rounds will take place at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta. After a cut to the low 30 scores, the final competitive round will take place at Augusta National on Saturday, April 6, when an amateur champion will be crowned for the first time ever at the home of the Masters.
For a club that accepted its first female members in 2012, the addition of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship is a step in the right direction. Now the club needs to focus on completing its move into modernity and launch an event for professional female golfers. Surely, they have the dream of competing at Augusta National, as well.
2018 Masters Tournament Info & Odds
Watch on: CBS
Date: Friday-Sunday, April 6–8
Course: Augusta National
Purse: $11 million
As of April 5, VegasInsider.com, has Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as co-favorites to win the 2018 Masters Tournament, being played this weekend at Augusta National Golf Club.
Jordan Spieth 10:1
Tiger Woods 10:1
Dustin Johnson 12:1
Rory McIlroy 12:1
Justin Thomas 12:1
Phil Mickelson 15:1
Justin Rose 15:1
Bubba Watson 15:1