By Tholwana Mokoko
The Masters is one of the most prestigious golfing tournaments in the world, and this year is no exception, as the final list of 89 total players has been released as fans hold on for the highly anticipated competition which kicks off Thursday 7th of April, at the Augusta National Golf Club in the United States of America (USA)
This year’s tournament is expected to be tightly contested for, with many around the world looking to last year’s winner Jordan Spieth to clinch it again this year and completing the Grand Slam, although pundits and fans don’t think it will be as straight forward a tournament for the young American, as this year the competition fields more than one favourite. Former major winner, Greg Norman, believes Australian pair Jason Day and Adam Scott stand as much of a chance of taking home the Green Jacket, following their great runs of form as of late.
South Africans this year will be represented by a sum of 5 players, as they look to bring back the Jacket for a record 6th time in history, second only to the host nation the USA with a total of 59 Masters Winners. The ever green Ernie Els, makes his return, along with Louis Oosthuize, Branden Grace as well as former winners of the tournament Charl Schwartzel(2011) and Trevor Immelman(2008). The two former champions obviously with the best chance, but the other South Africans, more so Els, never go into and golf tournament without making a showing and a legitimate challenge for the Green Jacket.
The one disappointment with the build up to the Master will be the absence of living legend and four time winner of the tournament Tiger Woods, whose record of 72-hole Masters record with a wire-to-wire win was matched by last year’s champion and one of firm favourites Spieth. Woods will miss this year’s showing due to recent back surgery which he believed to still be recovering from.
A sum of 89, players will compete for this year’s Jacket and the prize money which is yet to be announced (2015 saw the winner take home 1.2 million Pounds), this also makes it the smallest field since the 2002 edition, but also makes it one of the most anticipated showings since the tournaments inception in 1934. The build up saw the world number 1 spot change hands a number of times, more so between Rory Mcllroy, former number one Jordan Spieth and Current holder of the position, Australian Jason Day.
The first tee off time see’s the pairing of Jim Herman (USA) and Steven Bowditch (AUS) face off at 8:20 AM, meanwhile Trevor Immelman will be first South African to take the field at 8:31 AM, and he’s been paired with Robert Streb of the USA. Tee off’s will commence on Thursday the 7th of April, shortly after the Honorary Starts of golf legends Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus of RSA and the USA respectively.