HOW THE AUSSIES AND TOP CONTENDERS STACK UP AT THE 2015 MASTERS
ADAM SCOTT (Aus)
World ranking: 6
Worldwide wins: 24
Best in a major: Win (2013 Masters)
Masters played: 13 (11 cuts made)
Best Masters: Win (2013)
Why he can win: He’s the only Australian to own a Masters green jacket after his breakthrough win in 2013. He has a great record at Augusta National in recent years.
Why he might not: His putting performance slipped in recent efforts with a short putter though he says he’ll be going back to the broomstick he won with. There’s no room for uncertainty on the Augusta greens.
JASON DAY (Aus)
World ranking: 5
Worldwide wins: 4
Best in a major: 2 (2011 US Open); T2 (2011 Masters); T2 (2013 US Open)
Masters played: 4 (3 cuts made)
Best Masters: T2 (2011)
Why he can win: After a few years of near-misses in majors and regular tour events, Day has started to make good on his potential and become a winner. Good start to 2015 with a win, a third and a fourth in six tournaments. Craves this title and has a second and third in four previous Masters.
Why he might not: Day has cranked up his distance this year and is hitting plenty of long irons off tees but his driver has been pretty wayward. While there is room off the tees in most places it means he’s one wild swing away from a potential big number.
JOHN SENDEN (Aus)
World ranking: 64
Worldwide wins: 6
Best in a major: T4 (2007 PGA Championship)
Masters played: 5 (2 cuts made)
Best Masters: T8 (2014)
Why he can win: Gained massive experience last year at Augusta when he played in the final group with winner Bubba Watson in round three. When on song Senden can grind a course down with error-free golf.
Why he might not: Is in the middle of a lean trot with his best result in 2015 a T25 in a 34-man field. Has missed the cut in four of his last five events and has just four sub-par rounds in his last seven tournaments.
MARC LEISHMAN (Aus)
World ranking: 55
Worldwide wins: 1
Best in a major: T4 (2013 Masters)
Masters played: 3 (1 cut made).
Best Masters: T4 (2013)
Why he can win: Great form here in 2013, storming to the first round lead and holding on for a fourth place finish. Also had the second round lead last year.
Why he might not: Has some demons from 2014 to conquer after leading three holes into the second round only to drop 10 shots in a 12-hole stretch and miss the cut. Has no top-25 results this year.
GEOFF OGILVY (Aus)
World ranking: 109
Worldwide wins: 10
Best in a major: WIN (2006 US Open)
Masters played: 7 (7 cuts made)
Best Masters: T4 (2011)
Why he can win: A major championship winner who has never missed the cut at the Masters.
Why he might not: While a win late last year broke a slump his best result this year is a T27 in a 34-man field. Shot 82-80 in his last start in Texas.
ANTONIO MURDACA (Aus)
World ranking: N/A (World No.79 amateur)
Worldwide wins: 0
Best in a major: On debut
Why he can win: As an amateur, in his first trip to Augusta, the 2014 Asia-Pacific Amateur champion would need a miracle to claim a green jacket but that doesn’t mean he won’t be trying his guts out. Won the South Australian Amateur recently.
Why he might not: An amateur golfer hasn’t won a major since 1933 when Johnny Goodman won the US Open. This is a monumental step up in class for Murdaca.
BUBBA WATSON (USA)
World ranking: 3
Worldwide wins: 7
Best in a major: 2 Wins (2012, 2014 Masters)
Masters played: 6 (6 cuts made)
Best Masters: Win (2012, 2014)
Why he can win: He is the defending champion and has won two of the last three green jackets and his unorthodox left-handed game is seemingly purpose-built to over-power Augusta National. Can cut corners and shape the ball from impossible places.
Why he might not: He struggled the last time he was defending champion at Augusta with the extra attention taking away from his mental preparation.
RORY MCILROY (NIR)
World ranking: 1
Worldwide wins: 16
Best in a major: 4 Wins (2011 US Open, 2012, 2014 PGA Championship; 2014 British Open)
Masters Played: 6 (5 cuts made)
Best Masters: T8 (2014)
Why he can win: Is going for three majors in a row after claiming the 2014 British Open and PGA Championship and has the added incentive of completing a career grand slam. Will start hot favourite.
Why he might not: The pressure will be enormous with massive focus on the youngster. The 2011 demons of a final round 80 with the jacket in his grasp may reverberate.
JORDAN SPIETH (USA)
World ranking: 4
Worldwide wins: 3
Best in a major: T2 (2014 Masters)
Masters played: 1 (1 cut made)
Best Masters: T2 (2014)
Why he can win: In his Augusta debut last year was the only player putting heat on winner Bubba Watson, holding the lead early on the final day only to fade. Is gung-ho, full of enthusiasm and youth and comes in with a win and two runner-up finishes in recent starts.
Why he might not: While he belied it last year Australian Open champion Spieth does lack experience at the venue. His driving accuracy and greens in regulation stats are less than stellar and it can be very tough to scramble at the Masters.
HENRIK STENSON (Swe)
World ranking: 2
Worldwide wins: 16
Best in a major: 2nd (2013 British Open)
Masters played: 9 (6 cuts made)
Best Masters: T14 (2014)
Why he can win: Has won a World Golf Championship event, a Players Championship, a Tour Championship and a FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in an impressive career leaving only a major championship missing from his list. Has nine top-10s in majors, eight of which are top-six. Has a recent runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Why he might not: The Masters has proven to be Stenson’s toughest major, the only one of the four he doesn’t have a top-10 finish in. His scoring average at Augusta National is over par and he only has one round in the 60s in nine trips.
PHIL MICKELSON (USA)
World ranking: 21
Worldwide wins: 46 Best in a major: 5 Wins (Masters 2004, 2006, 2010; PGA Championship 2005; British Open 2013)
Masters played: 22 (20 cuts made)
Best Masters: Win (2004, 2006, 2010)
Why he can win: Other than Tiger Woods, Mickelson is the most at home at Augusta National. Teeing up in his 23rd Masters, he has won three times and has a further 11 top-10s. Can never be discounted here and plays without fear. In 89 major starts has 36 top-10s, with five wins.
Why he might not: Last year he missed the cut for the first time since 1997 and the year before he was tied for 54th. Is in one of the longest win droughts of his career having not saluted since 2013 British Open.
TIGER WOODS (USA)
World ranking: 104
Worldwide wins: 91
Best in a major: 14 Wins (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 Masters; 2000, 2002, 2008 US Open; 2000, 2005, 2006 British Opens; 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007 PGA Championship)
Masters played: 19 (18 cuts made)
Best Masters: Won (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005)
Why he can win: Somewhere deep inside lies the game of a 14-time major winner. He has won here four times.
Why he might not: He has been injured, possibly has short game yips and hasn’t played since an early withdrawal at Torrey Pines in February, one of just nine starts in the last 15 months. Results since start of 2014 read T80, WD, T25, CUT, 69, WD, CUT, CUT, WD.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (USA)
World ranking: 7
Worldwide wins: 9
Best in a major: T2 (2011 British Open)
Masters Played: 5 (4 cuts made)
Best Masters: T13 (2013)
Why he can win The big-hitter can overpower Augusta and any worries he might not be battle hardened after a six-month tour absence last year were allayed as he grabbed a fourth at Pebble Beach, lost a playoff at Riviera and then won the World Golf Championship event at Doral last month.
Why he might not: In 18 rounds at Augusta National has just two in the 60s and averages over par. Missed the cut for the first time at the event last year.