Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Those are just two of the names you'll be hearing as favorites to win the first major of the 2012 golf season—the upcoming Masters Tournament April 5-8.
You can add Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Adam Scott to that list. Those players have yet to win a green jacket, but nobody will be surprised if they do it in 2012.
Inevitably, however, a few names will appear on the leader board that no one expects to hear from. Take last year's winner, Charl Schwartzel, as a perfect example.
How many "experts" had Schwartzel tagged as a favorite entering the first round of play? Few, if any.
But on a sunny Sunday at Augusta, Schwartzel made an eagle at the par-four fourth hole to get himself into contention—then he blistered the back nine, including birdies on the final four holes, to earn his first green jacket.
You know it will happen this year. I'm not saying a relative unknown will win it all again, but some unexpected names will be in the hunt.
I could probably list 20 players I think have a legitimate—albeit unexpected—chance to be in this thing. Whether they've done well here before, they're playing well now or I just have a hunch, here are five (or six) dark horse contenders at the 2012 Masters Tournament.