10 Key Questions Heading into the Masters
10 key questions heading into the first majors of the year. There are big questions about the Masters every year, and this year is no different. Here are some of the biggest questions on the minds of many golf fans as we head into the first majors of the year.
1. Is this the year for Tigers single-season grand slam?
2. Who is Tiger's biggest challenger this weekend?
3. Can Rory McIroy handle the pressure of a major as a professional?
4. Do any of the previous champions still have it?
5.What are the courses changes at Augusta National in 2009?
6. Will the Par 3 Contest winner finally earn the green jacket?
7. Can "Generation Tiger" live up to the hype?
8. Can Padraig Harrington win three in a row?
9. Can Trever Immelman repeat his magic?
10. Will this finally be Sergio's major?
1. Is This the Year for a Tigers Single-Season Grand Slam?
Tiger Woods is the only golfer in history to win all four majors in a row. Can he win all four majors in one golf season? This the question everyone asks before the Masters every year. If Tiger wins on Sunday then the question will pop up and people will wonder if this is the year for the single-season grand slam.
2. Who Is Tiger's Biggest Challenger This Weekend?
The easiest answer is Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is currently ranked second in the World Golf Rankings. He has won twice this year on the PGA Tour winning the Northern Trust Open and the WGC-CA. Mickelson has been good at Augusta National in the past and won the Masters in 2004 and again in 2006.
3. Can Rory McIroy Handle the Pressure of a Major As a Professional?
Ireland’s Rory Mclroy showed the world how he can handle pressure at the Open Championship in 2007 by finishing 42nd and was the Low Amateur in the tournament. He then became the youngest player to crack the top 50 in the world golf ranking after finishing second in the UBS Hong Kong Open in November 2008. It is expected that he will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come in the world of golf.
4. Do Any of the Previous Champions Still Have It?
Many golf fans remember April 14, 1996 when Greg Norman had a six shot lead over Nick Faldo turn into a disappointing five shot deficit. He set the record for the biggest blown lead at a major. He is still a fan favorite and many golf fans would love to see Greg Norman finally find redemption among the rolling hills and trees at Augusta National. He has not played in the Masters Tournament since 2002.
5.What Are the Course Changes at Augusta National in 2009?
To sum it up in a very easy way: not much. Even though there have not been any scores lower then 280 in the past three years, there will be no significant changes to the course. Fans may be disappointed on Sunday because it will be tough for anyone to make a late charge unless the conditions are really favorable for low scores. It may be more of a case of who can hold on to the lead rather then who can make a charge.
6. Will the Par 3 Contest Winner Finally Earn the Green Jacket?
Never in the history of the Masters Tournament has the winner of the Par 3 contest ever won the Masters tournament in the same year. The Par 3 tournament has been held every year since 1960 and there have been 13 masters champions who have won the event but never in the same year as they won the green jacket. The Par 3 tournament has become a contest to lose instead of a contest to win, because of the stigma which it now carries for the winner of the event. Can the Par 3 contest winner, Tim Clark, break this trend in 2009?
7. Can the Young Guns Do It?
There is a group of young golfers who grew up watching Tiger break records at Augusta National in 1997 when they were less then 10 years old and now have the opportunity to play in the very same tournament against him. These young golfers include 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, Korean-born 18-year-old Danny Lee of New Zealand, and 19-year-old Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. 23-year-old Anthony Kim is also playing in his first Masters and has declared that he is ready to win the green jacket himself. Will any of these young guns be able to withstand the pressure a major and play in the final group on Sunday? It would be something for the ages if one of them were able to walk down the 18th fairway with Tiger Woods in the final grouping late Sunday afternoon.
8. Can Padraig Harrington Win Three in a Row?
Padraig Harrington has reached the halfway point to a "Tiger Slam." Can he win the Masters in order to keep his streak alive? Only two players have ever won three majors in a row: Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods.
9. Can Trever Immelman Repeat His Magic?
Last year's champ Trever Immelman will be trying win back-to-back green jackets. He was not expected to win last year and he is not the favorite this year, either but it is important to remember that he was able to beat the best players in the world on this very same course only 12 months ago.
10. Will This Finally Be Sergio's Major?
Sergio Garcia is ranked number three in the world golf rankings. Sergio Garcia has never won a major. He has picked up the mantle from Phil Mickelson after Mickelson won the Masters in 2004 as the best player to have never won a Major. It looks as though Garcia has many Majors ahead of him in his career so it is very unlikely that he will carry this title forever but there is always the question as to when he will finally win his first one.