Green Jacket
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the par 3 contest the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Green Jacket Awaits: Previewing the 2023 Masters

The Masters Tournament, one of the most prestigious events in golf, is set to begin Thursday. As the first major championship of the year, anticipation is building. Fans from around the world are eagerly waiting for one of the 88 golfers to be crowned with the iconic Green Jacket on Sunday afternoon.

Players to Watch

With players from both the PGA and LIV Golf, the weekend should be an interesting one. All eyes will be on 2022 champion Scottie Scheffler. Although a back-to-back Masters championship has only been done three times, Scheffler in his current form could pull it off. Scheffler captured titles at the Players Championship and repeated as champion at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. In his seven starts in 2023, he hasn’t finished lower than 12th.

Rory McIlroy is also a favorite to win the weekend. The Northern Ireland native has not won a major since 2014. However, McIlroy has been playing some of his strongest golf, finishing in third at the WGC Match Play. McIlroy finished runner-up at the 2022 Masters and has changed a few of his tools coming into the weekend.

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The dynamic duo of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will also make their presence felt throughout the tournament. Thomas, who has won two major championships, has only two Top 10 finishes in seven events this year.

Spieth and Augusta have quite the track record. With a memorable win in 2015, two runner-up finishes and five Top 3 finishes in nine starts, Spieth is a strong contender for the Green Jacket. He’s also a favorite due to the superstition that he never loses on an Easter weekend.

Jon Rahm, Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay are also strong candidates for the Double Eagle trophy. All of have shown strong, consistent play so far this season.

Gator in Augusta

University of Florida golf alumnus Billy Horschel will be competing this weekend. During his time at Florida, he was awarded the 2009 SEC Golfer of the Year Award, joining Camilo Villegas as the only two UF golfers to earn the award more than once. Horschel has not placed higher than 38th in six appearances at Augusta. His best finish came back in 2016 when he tied for 17th.

LIV Golf Participants

Despite the PGA tour denying entry to LIV golfers, the Masters has allowed for them to compete in the iconic tournament. LIV golfers Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka all stand a solid chance to make it into weekend play. Koepka is coming off of a win at the LIV Golf Orlando event on Sunday with a final score of -15. With his win, he became the first player in the league to become a two-time winner.

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Coverage of the Masters will begin on Thursday. The first tee time is set for 8 a.m.

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