The 2013 Masters golf tournament will be won by 32-year-old Englishman Justin Rose.
Having competed in 34 career majors, Rose has posted top-five finishes in each of the four major championships at least once in his career. Furthermore, since finishing No. 4 as an amateur at the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale, Rose has won four times on the PGA Tour and five times on the European Tour. He's had a solid golf career, but still has yet to claim the elusive first major.
The world's No. 3 golfer in the latest Official World Golf Rankings hopes to finally end his majors drought at the 2013 Masters Tournament, and he should do just that on Sunday, April 14 in Augusta, Ga.
In his Masters career, Rose is 7-for-7 in terms of cuts made at Augusta National. In particular, his most recent Masters appearances include finishes of No. 8 in 2012 and No. 11 in 2011. To wrap up the 2012 majors season, he notched a No. 3 finish at the PGA Championship.
Masters.com's Thomas Bonk noted the English golfer's strong play heading into the Masters:
When Justin Rose won at Doral, he moved to No. 9 in the Official World Golf Ranking and continued a strong start to his season that may have begun when he tied for fifth at the Honda. Rose’s 69.26 scoring average is fourth on the PGA Tour, and like everyone else in the group of expected front-runners, he knows how to handle difficult courses.
Rose will enter the 2013 Masters as "one" of the favorites, but certainly not "the" favorite. Instead, Tiger Woods is the golfer that will receive the lion's share of attention at the season's first major. No problem there, as Rose will take to Augusta National with a little less focus by the world media this time around.
Examining the Englishman's 2013 stroke play performances on the PGA Tour, he's recorded finishes of No. 2 (Arnold Palmer Invitational), No. 8 (Cadillac Championship) and No. 4 (Honda Classic). Next to Tiger, Rose is arguably playing as well as any golfer on tour.
Statistically speaking, Rose is performing quite well in several PGA Tour categories portending a deep run at the Green Jacket this year. Among several important factors for successful play at he Masters are the ability to successfully get up-and-down, take advantage of par-5 opportunities and perform well on the back nine. Fortunately for Rose, he's atop nearly all of those categories.
Stats That Matter Heading into Augusta National:
Scoring Average: No. 1 (68.68)
Back 9 Scoring Average: No. 1 (34.42)
Sand-Save Percentage: No. 1 (70.59)
Srambling: No. 3 (71.62-precent)
Proximity to Hole from Sand: No. 4 (6'5'')
Par-5 Birdie or Better Leaders: No. 6 (57.50-percent)
The bottom line is that Rose is playing the best he has in quite some time, having ascended to world No. 3 after quietly finishing second behind Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitation.
Kevin Garside of The Independent said he feels Rose is probably best suited to claim Europe's first Masters title in 17 years:
With McIlroy off-colour and Westwood sliding down the world rankings the best hope of a European/British success arguably rests with Justin Rose, whose second place to Woods last time out at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill thrust him into the immediate slipstream of golf's poster boys at a career-high world ranking of No 3. He tops the PGA Tour stats for sand saves, and from 125 yards in there has been no better performer, which is more than handy at Augusta, where the ability to get up and down is powerful string in the golfing bow.
One of golf's true good guys, Rose will finally claim his first major championship on Sunday at the Masters. Still young in golf years (32), Rose appears to be entering his prime right now.
Close your eyes, cue the famed Masters music and get ready to see Bubba Watson put the Green Jacket on Rose in the Butler Cabin on Sunday afternoon. It's been a long time coming.
When he putts out on No. 18 Sunday, CBS' Jim Nantz will loudly proclaim, "A Rose Has Bloomed."