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7 Golf storylines heading into The Masters

BY Stephen Adams

5th Apr 2023 Sport

7 Golf storylines heading into The Masters

With the first major Golf championship of 2023 about to begin, we look at some of the major stories surrounding it this year

The Masters is one of the most storied golf tournaments in history, and part of its allure is seeing today's greats take on the same stunning Azalea-lined course as yesterday’s legends of the game.  

At the start of every Masters week, there is an undeniable buzz amongst the players, media, and fans as the best golfers in the world arrive at Augusta National for the first Major of the year. So, what are the biggest storylines building into the Masters 2023?  

LIV Golf vs The PGA

World number one golfer Scottie Scheffler
World number one golfer going into the Masters, the American Scottie Scheffler. Photo credit: PGA Tour

The often bitter story of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour and broken relationships with those on the PGA Tour has been rumbling in the background.  

"It was heartening to hear several LIV players tell the media they enjoyed a warm welcome from PGA Tour contemporaries"

It was heartening to hear several LIV players tell the media they enjoyed a warm welcome from PGA Tour contemporaries when they arrived on property at Augusta National on Monday.  

While some players seem willing to put aside the issue for Masters week at least, it remains unknown how much the patrons at Augusta and the media will make of the LIV v PGA Tour rivalry during the tournament.  

Scheffler and Rahm in form


McIlroy during practice rounds at the 2015 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Photo credit: Cem0030

This year Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and John Rahm will tee off as first, second, and third in the world rankings - and all three players have been in excellent form over recent months.  

Rahm finished 2022 with the DP World Tour Championship and the Open de España and has three victories in 2023.  

Rory McIlroy had an excellent second half of 2022, taking the RBC Canadian Open and the Tour Championship. 2023 has seen him add two more titles. 

Alongside the 2022 Masters title, Scheffler won three other big tournaments last year. He has landed the prestigious Players Championship and the WM Phoenix Open in 2023. 

Which of the three top players will finish highest on the leaderboard?  

A new winner at Augusta for 2023? 


The 10th fairway and green at Augusta in 2006

Scheffler rightly starts as a favourite at Augusta this week, but it’s been over two decades since anyone has won The Masters in consecutive years.  

Will Zalatoris, Max Homa and Jason Day are just a few of the other potential names that stand out. Zalatoris has excelled in his two starts at Augusta so far, finishing runner-up in 2021 and T-6 in 2022. Jason Day is a former world number 1 who finished as runner-up at Augusta in 2011, third in 2015 and T-5 in 2019. Max Homa is ranked 5th in the world and has 7 top ten finishes in his last 12 tournaments. 

"It’s been over two decades since anyone has won The Masters in consecutive years"

From a LIV perspective, last year’s Open winner Cameron Smith seems best placed to challenge. The Aussie finished tied for third place last year and was runner-up in 2020.  

Lengthening of the iconic 13th hole at Amen corner


By extending the hole, players will be encouraged to consider the risk-reward of laying up or going for the green in two

The recent proposal to reduce the distance of modern golf balls arrived too late for those in charge at Augusta.  

Modern equipment and the length of the tee reduced the risk-reward element of the 13th hole.  

The idea for a new layout in 2023 is to push the tee back, extending the hole by 50 yards to encourage players to consider the risk-reward of laying up or going for the green in two.  

Who will risk a long iron over Rae’s Creek onto the sloping putting surface?  

Chef Scheffler and the Champions dinner


While last year guests enjoyed sushi, this year Scottie Scheffler has chosen sliders, shrimp and tortilla soup for his Champions Dinner menu

The Champions Dinner is always big news at Augusta. The menu is selected by the previous winner and is only attended by other winners of the green jacket. 

Last year was a classy affair with Japanese winner Hideki Matsuyama serving sushi, black cod, and wagyu beef.  

"Last year was a classy affair with Japanese winner Hideki Matsuyama serving sushi, black cod, and wagyu beef"

This year Scottie Scheffler has chosen a menu that seems fitting for his Texan roots. Cheeseburger sliders, firecracker shrimp, and tortilla soup are followed by Texas ribeye steak and a warm chocolate cookie dessert.  

Will Rory complete the career grand slam?


Bobby Jones, the only golfer to ever win four major tournaments in one year

Every year we ask, can Rory finally win The Masters and complete the career Grand Slam?  

Last year McIlroy finished T-5 with a final round of 64. Rory appears very relaxed, talking to TV crews this week about the final round in 2022 as one of his favourite golfing memories, despite not winning the tournament.  

This has gone some way to heal the wounds of capitulation when leading at Augusta in 2011, starting the final Sunday with a 4-shot lead before dropping six shots in 3 holes and finishing tied 15th.    

Tiger’s Back


Tiger may seem an unlikely champion, but his presence is always big news. Photo credit: Keith Allison

Tiger Woods makes his 25th appearance at the Masters. It’s always big news for the other players, the fans, and the media. 

While a Tiger win seems unlikely, many cite his surprise victory in 2019. Tiger’s body has been through a lot, with a devastating car crash in 2021 damaging his leg, adding to existing ailments with his back which has required multiple surgeries.  

Walking the hills and inclines of Augusta National is punishing on the body, but the fact Tiger is willing to play is great news for the game of golf.  

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