Johnson, McIlroy head crowded cast of Masters contenders

"Hit the green the majority of the time".

Ahead of the action getting underway, we examine the Opta numbers that could prove influential in deciding who will be wearing the green jacket on Sunday.

In 2016, Spieth made the turn on the final day with a commanding five-shot lead. Rory McIlroy is attempting to complete the career grand slam.

He also has a good recent Masters record - tied fourth previous year and tied sixth in 2015 - and returns approaching a golfer's usual peak at the age of 32.

"I guess she's my good-luck charm", said Weir with a big smile and his arm around Money, as they departed the Par-3 course after aggressive thunderstorms rolled through Augusta Wednesday afternoon, closing the course. "But I always believed that I could get there". I'm still going to prepare like I always do and go out and try to play the best I can. At least he has a one win here though unlike Rory and whilst his own demons of the 12th previous year may slow him down, he looks the most solid each way bet at 7/1 as I can't see him totally out of the frame.

"I feel like it's been relatively quiet, which is quite nice".

For weeks, Jordan Spieth has been asked how he would handle his return to Augusta National's 12th hole, where a quadruple bogey-7 sent him tumbling down the leaderboard. Cabrera-Bello missed the cut last week in Houston, but was T-17 in his Masters debut.

"It could be a blessing he has the late tee time", said Johnson's coach Claude Harmon III.

"Obviously, over the past year or so, I've gotten - I feel like my game's gotten a lot better", said Johnson. "Obviously, it's of huge importance this week to have your short game as sharp as possible", McIlroy added.

Perhaps only Johnson can drive the ball as long and accurately as McIlroy, whose chances often hinge on the quality of his wedge game and putter.

"I've got a lot of confidence in my game right now, especially with the way I've been playing the last few tournaments", he said Tuesday.

Few places in the world set a stage as bright as Augusta National Golf Club, and now in my ninth year covering the tournament, the stage only gets brighter with each passing year.

Patrick Reed: It's time for the star of the US team's Ryder Cup victory past year to take a step up in the majors.

"Arnold Palmer let us all into his life, not from the distance that is typically maintained between a superstar and a fan, but close up so that we could literally push him to greatness and regale in his accomplishments as though they were our own".

  • Julie Sanders