The Masters started today (April 10) and I'm going to go out on a limb and say Tiger's going to win it all... Hey, no guts, no glory, right? But in my opinion, there are five players who could seriously challenge Woods at the Masters this weekend.
1. Phil Mickelson
He's healthy and his game seems to be rounding into shape recently. He's hitting it long and with some great accuracy. He has a brilliant short game and has the confidence from winning two of the past four Masters.
2. Retief Goosen
He had a sub-par 2007, but nearly won at Doral two weeks ago. The tougher the greens, the better the South African likes it. He's tied for third twice, and tied for second in his last three Masters.
3. Padraig Harrington
This Irishman broke through for his first major triumph at the 2007 British Open, an enormous boost for his confidence. He's had four top 20 finishes here, including a best-ever tie for seventh last year.
4. Adam Scott
Scott was supposed to have won a major by now, especially after tying for ninth here in 2002. This 27-year old has got the long game as well as the short game, but does he have the stomach for a back nine run on Sunday?
5. Henrik Stenson
He made a huge splash last year when he won the World Match Play championship, but hasn't really done much since. In two appearances at Augusta, he hasn't been in the 60's in six rounds.
Yes, Woods is tied for 19th place right now managing an even-par 72, but do you really think he's worried? Tiger always starts major championships slow and scouts out a feel for the course and what he needs to do. And then he proceeds to blow past everyone and leave the entire field in his wake. Trust me: Tiger is right where he wants to be. Immelman is in first right now, shooting an impressive 68, but what's the last thing Immelman actually won? Seriously... He missed the cut entirely for the Shell Houston Open and finished tied for 48th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Give him 3-4 holes tomorrow and watch him slip into a tie for 20th...
All five of the players I mentioned above have a legitimate chance at beating Woods. Even though their positions are: T-11, T-11, T-44, T-52, and T-44 respectively, Tiger is not shooting anything considerably higher than what these guys are. But let's face it, Tiger's won the Masters four times. This course is essentially set up towards Tiger's strengths, and barely hinders his weaknesses. It doesn't matter what they do to the course: Woods will own it and beat it into submission every time. The only people it ends up hurting are every single other player in the tournament. Most of these golfers don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Tiger, let alone share a green with him. In my opinion (just an opinion, folks), the only players that have a shot/deserve that shot, are the aforementioned five.
The Masters is only a day in, folks. Anything could happen. That's the beauty of golf: nothing is for sure. Yeah, Tiger's the greatest and doesn't seem to be slowing down, but there are some solid opponents for Tiger to watch out for. There's a good chance Tiger will end up winning, but if for some reason he doesn't, I would not be the least bit surprised to see one of these five golfers atop the leaderboard...