The highest ranked players in the world are hitting top form and with The Masters only 58 days away the tournament is shaping up to be the best one in years. Defending Masters champion Jordan Spieth won his first PGA tour start of 2016 with an incredible display in Hawaii finishing with an astonishing thirty under par sending a strong message to his rivals. Rory McIlroy has had two top six finishes without quite finding top gear but I would fully expect him to win a tournament before the Masters with his schedule including The Honda Classic at PGA National a tournament he won in back in 2012. Rickie Fowler’s good form has continued after winning in Abu Dhabi and following that up with a runner up finish in Phoenix at The Waste Management signalling his intentions for the coming year. 2016 is already shaping up to be one of the greatest years in golf.
One of the biggest questions that remains to be answered is if we will see former world number one Tiger Woods as rumours of the extent of his back injury is far worse than has been publicly documented and whether he will tee it up at all in 2016 is still a doubt. I would love to see Tiger back in action as his presence on the leaderboard adds to the excitement of any tournament but especially The Masters. A player with almost as much experience as anyone is Phil Mickelson who has recently changed swing coaches after moving away from long term instructor Butch Harmon. Early results are looking promising after a strong finish at The Farmers Insurance Open and some good play in Phoenix, could 2016 be the year Phil completes the career grand slam at the US Open?
One person I think will have a strong showing at this years Masters in South African Branden Grace. Over the last three seasons he has racked up multiple wins on the European Tour and another comfortable victory at the Qatar Masters means he will enter this years tournament with as much confidence as ever. In my opinion he is one of the most under rated players in the game and of players under 30 years of age he is second only to Rory McIlroy for the most wins on the European Tour.
The best English challenge will likely come from Justin Rose and Danny Willett as players such as Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter have not been in the best of form. We are still waiting for the first English winner since Nick Faldo’s success back in 1996. Is this the year for an English break through?
The Masters tournament is always a fantastic event to watch and for those of us who live in the UK it usually signals the start of our golf season. After the non stop rain we have experienced over the last three months I am hoping for a great summer so we can all get back out on the course and continue working on our games!