Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player, is the betting favorite. Following Johnson in oddsmakers eyes are Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, then Jason Day, and then everybody else. Johnson is gunning for his second major championship win, Spieth for his third, and McIlroy for the only major he hasn’t yet won.
The McIlroy story will be an interesting one to monitor. He endured a collapse of epic proportions at Augusta in 2011, and he wasn’t anywhere near the top 10 for the next two years. But he’s notched three top-10 finishes in a row at the course, generally playing good golf since his bad spell there from 2011-2013. He’s had a strong 2017 to date, too, with three finishes in the top seven in his first three events. He’s coming off a tie for 30th at Dell Match Play at the end of March.
Predicting winners is hard, but McIlroy’s game has been in a good place. He’ll be hungry for the only major notch on his belt he doesn’t have. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if he beat out Johnson, Spieth, Day, and the rest to claim the green jacket.
Fun stories emerge at this Masters Golf tournament just about every year. Last year’s champion, Danny Willett, was the No. 12 player in the world when he took the jacket. But Willett was still pretty anonymous to much of the American golf-viewing public, and his Sunday move up the board was treated as an underdog story.
This year’s Willett — the great player who introduces himself to everyone tuning in to watch the Masters — might be Jon Rahm. The 22-year-old Spaniard played college golf at Arizona State and turned pro last year, and he’s been outstanding in 2017. Rahm is the world’s No. 12 player and a megastar in waiting, if he’s not one already.
Rahm has never played the Masters before, and he’ll be a gallery darling if he plays at Augusta the way he’s played other events this season. He has a Farmers Insurance Open win and four other top-10s in his six starts this year. He’s finished no worse than a tie for 16th in any event.
On Tuesday, players will work their way around the course, trying to get the lay of the land before Thursday’s first round. They’ll be out early.
Here’s how to watch players practice at the masters on Tuesday:
TV: CBS Sports Network’s Masters on the Range, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. ET