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Masters 2013: Latest News and Updates Before Golf's First Major

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IApril 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Tiger Woods of the United States tosses a ball during a practice round prior to the start of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With just two more days until the 2013 Masters tees off, we have a lot of news to get to at Augusta.

The current odds have the top five contenders being (in order) Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel (per Bovada).

Karen Crouse of The New York Times wrote a strong piece about Tiger over the weekend, highlighting his peaceful frame of mind heading into Augusta this year.

Steve Stricker said, via Crouse's piece, "I don’t really know too much about his personal life, but it just seems like he’s happier, whether that means his golf game or his personal life are in better order or all of the above."

Given Tiger's personal life appeared to be in shambles in 2010 and 2011, it's worth noting that he does seem more at ease. Mentioned in Crouse's report, Tiger walked up to his daughter, Sam, and kissed her on the forehead on the eighth green on the final day at the Honda Classic. He also came clean about his relationship with skier Lindsey Vonn. The fact that he appears to have more balance in his life now is important to realize.

How can you talk about the Masters without talking about Phil Mickelson? The three-time Masters champion—who golfed a round with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday—still has nightmares about hole No. 4 at the 2012 Masters.

Mickelson was one stroke of the lead heading into the final day at Augusta, but he scored a triple bogey on the fourth hole. “It goes back to the fourth hole,” Mickelson said, per the Washington Times.

"Lefty" ended up in a tie for third after that.

One golfer garnering plenty of buzz is 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in November to qualify for the Masters. He will become the youngest player to compete at the Masters in the tournament's history on April 11, as well as the second-youngest player to compete in a major.

Tiger, who's known for capturing majors at a young age, said (via ESPN), "It's frightening to think that he was born after I won my first Masters. I mean, that's just frightening."

I wouldn't expect Guan to shock the world and win the Masters (in fact, it's an accomplishment if he simply makes the cut), but he's already made history by qualifying for the Masters at such a young age.

And don't forget about Sergio Garcia (how can we?). The fiery 33-year-old Spaniard infamously said he didn't think he was good enough to win the Masters after shooting a 75 in the third round last year.

Garcia has since said he regretted his comments.

He said, via Steve DiMeglio of USA Today Sports, "Yes, I do regret saying it...but not 100%, I would say. I said exactly what I felt at that moment, and obviously, it wasn't my best moment."

Garcia was 19 years old when he finished second to Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship. He was hailed as the next big thing back then, but he's never won that elusive major. His emotions reached a boiling point at Augusta last year.

Of course, weather can certainly be a factor at any golf tournament, and it doesn't look pleasant on Thursday and Friday at Augusta, as highlighted by CNN.com.

Kevin Currie of The Sports Network wrote on Monday, via the Kansas City Star:

The weather doesn't look good for the first round of the Masters on Thursday with the potential for severe storms. Friday gets a little better, then Saturday and Sunday are supposed to have perfect conditions.

It could be a wild first couple of days at Augusta, which means anything could happen. Then again, anything could happen at Augusta anyway. We've seen this nearly every year at the history course in Georgia.

 

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