The Masters is one of the most highly anticipated tournaments of the year. The world's top players comprise this year's field, and they all have their sights set on the coveted green jacket.
There are certainly favorites in this year's competition, as past champions and players riding recent momentum will look to dominate the field. However, the tournament is sure to bring about some surprises, as it does each year.
Augusta National is full of many treacherous twists and turns, and is sure to provide some intense drama—the tournament's field brings some dramatic storylines as well.
As we get underway from Augusta, let's take a look at some of the most intriguing tournament odds, predictions and storylines to watch during Thursday's action.
The odds are in. Here's a look at the odds to win the Masters for some of the most notable names in this year's field.
|2014 Masters Odds for Key Players|
The full tournament odds can be found on OddsShark.com.
Day 1 Predictions
Who will get off to a hot start at Augusta this year? It shouldn't be surprising to see some of the world's top-ranked golfers holding positions in the top 10 after Round 1 concludes. Expect to see some surprising names near the top of the leaderboard as well.
|2014 Masters Day 1 Notable Predictions|
|Player||Round 1 Score||To Par||Position|
|Sean O'Donnell's Predictions|
Day 1 Storylines
Jason Day's Thumb
Despite being one of this year's favorites, Day is unpredictable heading into the 2014 Masters due to a recent thumb injury which caused him to miss a month of action.
Day has fared very well at the Masters, finishing third last year. This year, however, his thumb could prove to be an issue. According to Chris Gay of Augusta.com, Day continues to nurse his thumb entering the tournament:
Day, a Beaudesert, Queensland, native, is returning to action for the first time since winning the WGC Match Play Championship, his first PGA Tour victory since 2010. During the February event, he injured his left thumb and was forced to miss the next seven weeks. Day recently received a cortisone shot for his thumb, which he now tapes as a precautionary measure.
Keep a watchful eye on Day during the early action. If he shows signs of discomfort, it will not bode well for his chances this year.
Phil Mickelson's Oblique
Speaking of injuries to watch out for, Mickelson suffered one of his own recently.
Lefty withdrew from the Valero Texas Open with a strained oblique, and his health going forward was murky at best.
Somehow, Mickelson was able to play again the following week at the Shell Houston Open. He even fared well, finishing T12. Mickelson got off to a hot start, shooting a 68 in the first round; however, he failed to break 70 thereafter. Could that have been a sign of a sore oblique?
The first round of the Masters will be very telling for Lefty, as he looks to obtain his fourth green jacket.
Has Lee Westwood's Time Finally Come?
Westwood currently holds the longest streak of majors played without a victory, according to this tweet from the PGA Tour Media:
If he is going to get over the hump, his best chance is at Augusta.
Westwood has a strong track record at Augusta National, with his best finish coming in 2010, when he placed second. He's continued his prowess recently, compiling three top-10 finishes in the past four years—he finished T8 in 2013.
In 2014, Westwood has yet to record a top-10 finish; although, his final-round 69 at the Shell Houston Open, which earned him a T17 finish, could propel him to get back on track at the Masters.