There has not been a Masters, or any major championship, in recent years that has so many legitimate contenders. Newcomer Rory McIlroy has roared onto the scene and become the youngest player to be ranked inside the top 20 in the World Golf Rankings. McIlroy and amateur Danny Lee represent the best of the young players in the world. Lee, who already has a European Tour win under his belt, will both be making their Masters debut this week. On the opposite end of their careers Fred Couples and Greg Norman are looking to relive the glory days on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Greg Norman is in the field thanks to his finish at last summer’s British Open and Couples is exempt as a past champion. Both played well at the Shell Houston Open, with Couples having the lead late on Sunday before struggling to close the deal. The exemplary play of players in the twilight of their careers has become norm as of late. Irishman Padraig Harrington, winner of the last two major championships, comes to Augusta looking to at the third step of a career grand slam. His game may be a little shaky but he cannot be overlooked given his recent success in majors. Then there is Tiger Woods. After returning from his knee surgery he quickly found the magic of his past with a birdie on the 18th hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. For the second year in a row a lengthy putt on the final hole gave him the win in this event. With so many contenders this may be the hardest call in recent history. Tiger is always the favorite, but this year he has teenagers and the over 50 crowd gunning him down. It is setting up to be one exciting week at Augusta.
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|By Patrick Hodgson
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