2023 Masters: Who are the top contenders for the title?

The 87th Masters Tournament is set to tee off this week at Augusta National. Eighty-eight players will compete in the first major championship of the season. Among the favorites to win the tournament and the coveted green jacket include Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy. Let’s run down ten players with the best shot at walking off the 18th green on Sunday, having won the event.

1 – Scottie Scheffler

Scheffler comes in as the defending champion, winning by three over Rory McIlroy. He’s number one in the Official World Golf Rankings and has been playing excellently of late, winning twice, including The Players. Scheffler can join an elite group that contains Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to have won consecutive Masters.

2 – Rory McIlroy

Ranked number two in the world, McIlroy is still searching for the elusive Masters to complete the career grand slam. He’s finished in the top ten six times at Augusta, including second last year to Scheffler. McIlroy finished second at Bay Hill and third in the Match Play, during which time his putter was hot. If that continues, he has an excellent shot at winning this week.

3 – Jon Rahm

Ranked third in the world, Rahm hasn’t played his best recently, missing a cut and finishing no higher than 31st over his last three events. He finished out of the top ten in the Masters last year for the first time in the last five years. Rahm’s in the top five in strokes gained, which keeps him as one of the favorites at Augusta, where putting is at a premium.

4 – Xander Schauffele

Schauffele has been off and on at Augusta, finishing in the top three twice over the last five years, but he also missed the cut last year and finished tied for 50th in 2018. Ranked seventh in the world, Schauffele is in the top ten in strokes gained and has been solid in his last three major championships.

5 – Tony Finau

Finau has all the physical tools to win at Augusta and has been in the top 25 in 10 consecutive events. He plays well at Augusta, finishing in the top ten three times in five tries. Finau is due to break through as a major champion, having finished nine times in the top ten in majors in the last five years.

6 – Corey Conners

Conners is another player on the verge of breaking through at Augusta National, finishing in the top ten in three consecutive Masters. He is ranked 28th in the world and is peaking after coming off a win last week at Valero.

7 – Collin Morikawa

Morikawa has an excellent approach game, making him a prime candidate to win at Augusta. He finished fifth last season at the Masters and finished in the top five four times over the last six majors. He’s ranked 12th in the world but hasn’t played his best lately, finishing in the top ten only once in his last five events.

8 – Jordan Spieth

Despite an erratic iron game in recent weeks, Spieth has finished in the top four twice in his last three stroke-play events. You also can’t overlook his record in the Masters. He’s a past champion and finished in the top three four other times. Spieth should be in the mix late Sunday.

9 – Jason Day

The former world number one fell off the golf map but has re-emerged and is one of the hottest players in the game. He’s finished in the top 10 four times over his last five starts. Should Day continue his torrid play, he could be playing among those playing late Sunday.

10 – Viktor Hovland

Just four years ago, Hovland was the low amateur in the event. Since then, he hasn’t cracked the top 20 at Augusta National. Getting off to a good start is the key for Hovland this week, as he’s shot 25 strokes better on the back nine than the front nine in his starts at Augusta.

My love for sports began over 45 years ago when I tuned into my first baseball game. Since then, I have been a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers. I always loved the numbers behind the game, so I studied statistics at Lehigh University, graduating in 1991. Currently a math tutor, in my free time, I enjoy exercise, music, games, and the great outdoors.

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