The 2022 Masters are upon us, and looking at the current world rankings for golf sees this year’s tournament wide open.
The treadmill for young golfers produced by the PGA Tour continues to roll on, leaving people like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy to hold on to their places in the world’s top 10.
The fact that there are only about 90 players in the field means that the competitors have a much greater chance of success at Augusta compared to the other three majors, especially when you exclude the previous champions who participate for nostalgia.
All eyes are on Tiger Woods as he returns just 14 months after fleeing a life-threatening car accident, but it would be too much to expect the greatest ever to complete an adventurous comeback.
Here, Metro.co.uk is looking at five players who are shaping up to tip the green jacket …
This young American has risen to the top in dramatic fashion. It was just under two months ago when Scheffler was still undefeated on the PGA Tour, but he has stormed American golf to become a multiple champion in a matter of a few weeks.
His WGC Match Play victory at the Austin Country Club last month, which followed after success at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, was his third PGA Tour triumph in just 42 days and has lifted the 25-year-old to world No. 1.
Mature beyond his years and with fine chipping abilities, it’s hard to believe Scheffler could be in better shape on his way to Augusta.
This laid-back Australian has for some time threatened to win in Augusta, as evidenced by the three top-10 finishes he has achieved in his last four Masters appearances.
The 28-year-old arrives in Augusta and plays some of the best golf of his career and will be encouraged by his two victories – at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the PGA Tour’s flagship event, the Players Championship – earlier this year.
As one of six Australians in the field, Smith has some of the best card game stats in the world, giving him plenty of room to tackle Augusta’s sloping greens.
The former champion holds a formidable record in Augusta, making him one of the best Masters athletes of recent times.
In addition to the year he won in 2015, Spieth – a three-time major winner – finished in second and third place twice, which includes last year’s edition when he missed out on winner Hideki Matsuyama and second place Will Zalatoris.
Despite struggling to match his past success in recent years – in the midst of several swing changes – if the 28-year-old can regain his strong putting abilities, he will be dangerous in Augusta.
Perhaps Europe’s strongest player, Hovland, has been a revelation since breaking into the tour in 2019.
The Norwegian has won several times in both Europe and America, all at the age of 24. His victory at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year was his second triumph in just the last six months.
Despite Hovland’s success at DP World and PGA Tours, the jury is still out for him in the majors, as he has yet to secure a top-10 finish. However, he must have a strong display in one of golf’s major events.
Finau has long flirted with the idea of winning a major-best, shown by the fact that he has top-five rankings in all four of golf’s leading events.
At the Masters, the American’s latest form is particularly good – with three top-10 finishes in his last four appearances – and he will play the season’s first major after winning the Northern Trust in August last year, which took a monkey by the back after developing a reputation that chokes.
Much an outside bet due to his struggles to get victories over the line, his strong performance on difficult courses means he is always one to watch.
MORE: Rory McIlroy responds to Tiger Woods Masters speculation
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