Masters Field 2013: Players in Line to Capture First PGA Major
The 2013 Masters Tournament is merely hours away, as all of the top golfers in the world prepare to battle for the green jacket. As we survey the field at Augusta National, we can't help but wonder whose legend could be made this week.
Which players are in line to capture their first PGA major championship?
The Masters has been the launching pad for many golfers, including last year's champion Bubba Watson. For that reason, we're inclined to believe that the next generation of stars could be found at this year's event.
The question is, which first timers are most likely to earn their green jacket?
Matt Kuchar is coming off of a wildly successful 2012 season in which he finished in the top 10 at the Masters and The Open Championship. At the 2012 Masters Tournament, Kuchar finished at eight-under par and ended up just two strokes off the lead.
Now if that's not a momentum builder, what is?
Kuchar owns five PGA Tour wins, including The Players Championship in 2012 and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Feb. 24, 2013. Not too far removed from that success, Kuchar could build upon lesser tournaments to shine here.
He's done it before, who's to say he won't be in the running in 2013?
Kuchar shot consistently throughout the 2012 Masters, going 71-70-70-69. That progressive improvement could be what's necessary for him to thrive at this year's event, thus winning his first major tournament.
If nothing else, Kuchar should be in the running, thus placing himself in position to compete for the crown.
Justin Rose owns four PGA Tour victories since 2010. He's also finished in the top five at every single major tournament, including the Masters.
So why would believe for a second that he's not going to be in the running at this year's event?
In 2012, Rose closed out the Masters with a brilliant fourth-round 68 to finish eighth in the field at four-under par. This comes after he shot an even 72 in each of the first three rounds.
That's something to build on.
Rose clearly has a great feel for Augusta National, as he never allows the game to get away from him. While he could stand to take a few more risks and attempt to push his score further below par, the potential is there for him to break even or better in every round.
Rose should be in prime position to win his first major at Augusta.
Ian Poulter is one of the most respected players in the world today. He's won two PGA tour titles, 12 European Tour crowns, two World Golf Championships tournaments and has been a part of three Ryder Cup winning teams.
Somehow, Poulter has never won a major.
Poulter, recognized for his eccentric style of dress, has finished close to the top in recent events. As recent as 2012, he was seventh at the Masters and second at the PGA Championship.
During the final round of the 2012 Masters, he shot a 69 and built all of the confidence necessary for a carry-over in 2013.
Poulter has the ability, which puts an end to the questions of whether he's good enough. The true question is, will he be able to get off to a better start in 2013 than he did in 2012?
With consecutive rounds of 72 in 2012, Poulter now knows what he can't do to win a green jacket.
At 32 years old, Adam Scott is no longer the fast rising Australian kid with mounds of potential. Instead, he's a world class golfer whom everyone is waiting on.
After finishing second at the Masters in 2011 and eighth in 2012, perhaps 2013 is the year in which he finally wins a major.
Scott has come close in recent years, pairing that second-place Masters finish in 2011 with a second place finish at The Open Championship in 2012. With this in mind, it's fair to assume that Scott's confidence in his abilities has not yet disappeared.
The question is, can he close out?
As we hit Augusta National this week, Scott will have the luxury of being a fly on the wall during the Tiger Woods media show. Due to Woods' recent rise, that permits Scott to hold on to any lead he possesses with lesser pressure.
Scott recent success suggests he'll be in line to make that run for a green jacket.
You could make the case that Lee Westwood is the best active player in the world to never win a major. He's finished in the top three at all four major tournaments, including a second-place finish at the Masters in 2010.
In 2012, Westwood finished two strokes off of the field at eight-under par.
With Westwood's history of success in major tournaments established, it's fair to assume that he's on the brink of a breakthrough. Assuming he plays as well as is talent permits this week, Westwood could finally get the monkey off of his back.
No one should be surprised if he does.
If not for a second-round drought, Westwood may have won the event in 2012. As a golfer who has been the No. 1 player in the world, it's fair to assume that he knows how to make adjustments.
There are few golfers in the world as talented as Westwood—a green jacket would go a long way toward proving that.