The 2014 Masters is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing major golf tournaments in recent years. The field is wide open, and just about anyone could step up and win a green jacket.
Now that every golfer has teed off, it’s a perfect time to take a look at the current standings at Augusta National. Keep reading after you check out the scoreboard for a look at some players to keep an eye on during this event.
Long Shot to Monitor: Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood is one aging golfer who should be within striking distance of a green jacket by the time this tournament wraps up.
The 40-year-old hasn't been able to capture an elusive major victory, but there is no better opportunity for him to finally do so than this weekend.
More importantly, Westwood is playing some of his best golf in a long time, something he acknowledged when speaking with the Nottingham Post: “I’m just pleased to be starting to hit the ball good again because I have been struggling for about a year to a year and a half now. I’m hitting the ball very well and that’s important going into any major.”
The British star has had a number of close calls at the Masters. He tied for eighth last year and for third in 2012 and finished as the runner-up in 2010.
He’s been playing at Augusta since 1997, so he is extremely familiar with all of its intricacies and knowledgeable about what it takes to play four great rounds in this tournament.
It would be great to see Westwood finally earn a major, and he just might get it done this weekend. Make sure you monitor his progress over the next few days.
Favorite to Watch: Phil Mickelson
Lefty has historically been a force at the Masters, winning three green jackets between 2004 and 2010. He’s going to be vying for his fourth this weekend and is one of the favorites to accomplish that feat.
How will Mickelson fare at the Masters?
According to the bookmakers at Odds Shark, Mickelson is just behind co-favorites Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy (9-1) with odds of 12-1 to claim a championship on Sunday.
The fan favorite spoke with reporters on Wednesday about his strategy to win in Georgia, revealing that he removed a sand wedge and a gap wedge from his bag, per CBSSports.coms’ Kyle Porter.
Mickelson also let on that he was a bit nervous due to the special place this tournament holds in his heart, per Porter: "I'm certainly nervous, because this is a week that I care about the most. This is the most special tournament, and I have to rely on kind of past performances and past successes and past memories to build that confidence."
The 43-year-old may be showing some signs of decline heading into this event, and it is worth noting that he has thus far failed to earn a top-10 finish in 2014. Regardless, Mickelson appears poised to turn that all around at his favorite tournament and should not be discounted.
Lefty proved he is still more than capable of playing top-flight golf with an Open Championship win in 2013 and a close call at the 2013 U.S. Open. It would be foolish to bet against him. He is one of the premier golfers in the field, and that talent will be on full display over the next four days.