The 2014 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club will be a tightly contested battle for the top in the year's first major event.
The field will be without a familiar face, however, as Tiger Woods will miss the event after undergoing back surgery. Woods, a staple in the field since 1994, will now have to focus on rehabbing from surgery and getting back to tournament play as soon as he can.
As a result of Woods' injury, the field is now pretty wide open. Several golfers have the opportunity to make names for themselves with impressive showings at one of the most beautiful courses on the PGA Tour.
Masters field is down to 96 competitors. Without Tiger, every other player's chances have increased from 1.03% to 1.04%.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 1, 2014
History is made nearly every year at Augusta. You won't want to miss a single drive, pitch or putt. Here's everything you need to know about how to tune in to the 2014 Masters.
|Date - Round||Time||Channel||Live Stream|
|Thursday, April 10 - Round 1||3 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.||ESPN||CBSSports.com|
|Friday, April 11 - Round 2||3 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.||ESPN||CBSSports.com|
|Saturday, April 12 - Round 3||3 p.m. - 7 p.m.||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Sunday, April 13 - Round 4||2 p.m. - 7 p.m.||CBS||CBSSports.com|
Golfers to Watch
While 25-year-old Rickie Fowler has never finished better than 27th at the Masters, the youngster may very well break out at the event this time around.
Even though 2014 hasn't been particularly kind to Fowler—he has missed four cuts in eight events—he has turned the corner a bit with a strong showing in the Shell Houston Open.
Jason Sobel of GolfChannel.com tried to make a connection between Fowler's standing at the Shell Houston Open through three rounds and the Masters:
Rickie Fowler. Fifth place. With the Masters just a few days away. Hmm.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 5, 2014
Fowler also has a pretty good track record—albeit, a short one. In 50 career events over two seasons, Fowler has missed only seven cuts. That may not suggest that he'll stay in the Masters field for very long, but his ability to play well in the opening rounds of tournaments should give him a fighter's chance at the leaderboard.
Don't sleep on Fowler at Augusta.
Ernie Els has never captured the green jacket before, but he has four career majors under his belt. That makes him a competitor in this year's installment of the Masters.
The 44-year-old simply knows how to perform on the game's biggest stages. Augusta hasn't always been kind to Els, but his experience at the course will give him the upper hand over some of the younger members of the field.
Noticed that Ernie Els will make his 20th appearance at Augusta next week. Impressive achievement for a non-winner. #Masters— Kieran Clark (@KieranClarkGolf) April 3, 2014
Like Fowler, however, 2014 hasn't been kind to Els. He has missed three cuts already between the PGA and the European Tours. His top finish this year is 29th.
Even still, the fact that Els has finished in second place at the Masters twice in his career leads me to believe that he'll be able to compete in 2014.
K.J. Choi finished in third place at the 2004 Masters, but he remains one of the top golfers on the tour without a win in a major.
Choi has made the cut in seven of the nine events he has competed in this year, with four top-25 finishes. Unlike Fowler and Els, the South Korean has had a strong year. This should help him heading into 2014's first major.
Hitting fairways with consistency is nothing new to the 43-year-old, but when he doesn't find himself in the clear, he's perfectly capable of saving par:
Did you know? The average TOUR player saves par from the sand 50% of the time. K.J. Choi did it 67% of the time in 2013. #PGATOUR— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 25, 2013
Look for him to display his calm demeanor and consistent performance at Augusta.