Tiger Woods: Is it a shock to have him on the contenders list? No of course not. He has already won four green jackets in his storied career. In 2013 it appears he is back making the cut in all five of his events and winning three of them. He has regained the World #1 spot and he is not looking back. He is first in Strokes Gained Putting, first in eagle percentage, first in scoring average, second in par breakers, top 50 in par three, par four and par five performance, and first in total putting. He is locked and loaded for Augusta.
Rory McIlroy: The World #2 did not exactly come of the gate this year firing on all cylinders. I have never bought into the Rory is in trouble hype and have written a few times about that fact. In his last three events he has two top 10s including a second place finish at the Texas Open. His last three rounds have been under par and six of the last seven. He was in the running for the win while in the 18th fairway on Sunday until a birdie put it out of reach. He seems to have things straightened out and firing heading into Augusta.
Keegan Bradley: In 2013 he has made the cut in nine of ten events with his lone missed cut back in January. He has five top 10s including his last four events. He finished tied for 27th in his lone Masters appearance last year while closing with a 69. He is 10th on tour in driving distance, sixth in scoring average, 11th in all-around, fourth in par 5 birdie or better and 12th in scrambling. He is already a major champion (2011 PGA Championship) so the butterflies should be kept to a minimum. If he is on he has a chance to crash the party and capture a victory.
Justin Rose: For being the world number three his name is sure not coming up a lot. He started his PGA 2013 later than most waiting for the WGC Match Play to make his debut. Since that event he has three top 10s including a second in his last official start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (he also won the unofficial Tavistock Cup). He finished eighth in the 2012 Masters, 11th in the 2011 edition, 20th in 2009 and had a tie for 5th in 2007 so he has an affinity for the course. He is first in sand save percentage, fifth in actual scoring average and third in scrambling. His game seems on form and he is a contender.
Martin Laird: He has not exactly had a good 2013 leading up to the Texas Open but things sure clicked over the weekend. He played all four rounds under par and fired a course record tying 63 to win the event. He has two career Masters starts, this year not withstanding, and finished 20th in 2011. If you had asked me prior to this week if he would have been on my radar the answer was no since he was not eligible until his Texas Open win. He played so well and putted off the charts on Sunday (22 putts) that if he can find a way to carry that momentum through to Thursday he has an outside chance.
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