The PGA's top golfers will look to steal the show at this year's Masters tournament.
There's always room for one of golf's many young talents to make a name for himself during the major event, but several stars will do everything in their power to curtail any underdog story this weekend.
Last year's champion will swing for a repeat, while two of golf's most popular competitors will try to add another trophy to the mantle. Let's take a look at the odds-on favorites to secure the green jacket.
|2014 Masters Tournament Odds|
Note: Odds, updated as of Tuesday, April 8, are courtesy of OddsShark.com
Adam Scott isn't ready to take off his green jacket.
While donning the colorful coat, the reigning Masters champion discussed the desire to maintain possession of the prized clothing, per the Boston Globe's Michael Whitmer.
“I’ve really got this thing in my head that I’m quite determined to not leave it here," Scott said. "I am very determined to take it with me again next Sunday.”
The Australian has worked his way up to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings behind Woods. Yet, the 33-year-old is still searching for his second major victory.
He could have climbed to No. 1 by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but he squandered a lead with a 4-over-par 76 on the closing round. He'll have to dust off that missed opportunity while proving last year's playoff victory over Angel Cabrera was no fluke.
While Scott has played well throughout the year, he's only the favorite due to last year's victory. Only Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90), and Woods (2001-02) have won back-to-back Masters, so don't assume past success preludes future results.
Rory McIlroy has never won the Masters, yet alone earning a top-10 finish. But if Scott's past triumph isn't enough to award him another first-place finish, McIlroy's past struggles shouldn't knock him out of contention.
Although he is already cemented as a golf mainstay, McIlroy is still only 24 years old. It's easy to forget that he was just 21 when he coughed up a four-stroke lead entering the last round.
According to The Guardian's Ewan Murray, McIlory is eager to end his Masters drought sooner rather than later.
Ask Rory McIlroy if his Masters record disappoints him and the answer is a firm "yes". Ask the 24-year-old whether his life in golf could ever be complete without a green jacket? The "no" is similarly immediate.
"I'd be disappointed if I ended my career and wasn't able to go up and have breakfast in the champions' locker room," McIlroy says.
"The way I play golf, the way my game is, Augusta does set up well for me. And for me not to have a top-10 coming into my sixth Masters …" His face says it all; a combination of annoyance and determination to make up for lost time.
Through five events this year, he has placed inside the top 25 each time, collecting three top-10 finishes. Arriving at Augusta with a hot stroke could be just what he needs to inch one step closer to attaining a career grand slam.
Phil Mickelson has earned a steady spot on top as a perennial favorite.
The 43-year-old has won five majors—including three Masters—since ending his major drought at Augusta 10 years ago. A decade ago, Lefty entered the Masters as the PGA's best golfer to never win a major.
Now he's simply working to become the best golfer.
If you're into turning random coincidences into meaningful trends, Mickelson has won all three of his Masters during even years. Well, 2014 is an even number, so he's a shoo-in!
If you prefer actual logic, he has earned top-10 finishes in all but three Masters since 1998. Although he has not won a PGA Tour event this year, a sluggish season didn't stop him in 2010, as noted by PGATour.com's Sean Martin.
Due to his sturdy track record, Mickelson gets the benefit of a doubt despite failing to record a top-10 finish through nine events in 2014. Always a prime contender to collect the green jacket, don't discount his chances.