It's the week everyone has been waiting for. The 2023 Masters Tournament is about to start this coming Thursday, with the best of the best in the world of golf, including those from LIV Golf, will be gathering at Augusta National Golf Club, each vying for the prestigious Green Jacket and the biggest cut of the purse. The stakes are high. The drama is getting more intense. With all that said, here are some of the top Masters storylines this year.
5. Will chef Scottie collect another Green Jacket?
Ranked first overall in the world, Scottie Scheffler is definitely one of the top players to watch out for in the 2023 Masters Tournament. That's not to mention that he is the defending champion at Augusta National Golf Club, having won the Green Jacket in 2022 when he bested Rory McIlroy by three shots to come out on top of the field. Scheffler is also eyeing joining an extremely exclusive group of legends in the game.
At the moment, there are only three members of the back-to-back club at the Masters Tournament: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Nick Faldo. Given the way he's been playing this season, there's little reason to doubt that Scheffler will not be a serious contender again at Augusta. So far in the 2022-23 PGA TOUR season, Scheffler has already won two events out of 10 starts. He's also made the cut in all those tournaments, finishing inside the top 10 seven times and in the top 25 nine times. His most recent victory came at THE PLAYERS Championship last month before finishing fourth at the 2023 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
4. Which LIV Golf player will bring home the bacon from Augusta?
Even if you're not into golf, chances are, you know what the Masters Tournament is and why it's such a big deal. And even if you don't pay attention to the Masters or any golf tournament, you'd probably have heard of the seeming enmity between the PGA TOUR and LIV Golf. Ever since players from the PGA TOUR bolted one by one to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, the world of golf has been flipped upside down. But players from both sides of the fence will be sharing the course this week because the allure of winning the Green Jacket is bigger — and because LIV Golf players are allowed to participate.
LIV Golf is going to be represented by an intimidating contingent of players at the Masters Tournament. A total of 18 LIV Golf pros will be competing for the Green Jacket in Augusta, fronted by six former Masters champions in Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, and Dustin Johnson. Other LIV Golf players in Augusta are Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Mito Peirera, Joaquin Niemann, Abe Ancer, Thomas Pieters, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, and Louis Oosthuizen.
3. LIV Golf players' bold plan
As if the rancor between the PGA TOUR and LIV Golf needs more fuel poured into its fire, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has revealed recently a plan by his league's players to celebrate in the 18th hole if one of them ends up winning the championship.
“They’ve said that if one of them wins then the other 17 will hang around and be there to congratulate him around the 18th green,” Norman revealed, via James Corrigan of The Telegraph. “Could you imagine what a scene that would be, all these players hugging the winner. You only see things like that in the Ryder Cup, although it’s happening in our events more and more”
2. Will Tiger Woods shock the Masters field?
So long as he is part of a field in any tournament, Tiger Woods will always get a ton of attention, regardless of his recent form. Although his best days are behind him now, Woods will be out there to compete at Augusta National Golf Club with the same burning desire to win another major.
He remains three major titles short of tying Nicklaus's record (18) and has only appeared in one event so far in the 2022-23 PGA TOUR season — a T-45 at The Genesis Invitational back in February — but he's also not missed the cut at Augusta since 1996. After taking home his fifth Green Jacket, Woods finished 38th and 47th in the next two editions of the Masters Tournament. Woods shocked the world in 2019. Will he do it one more time on Sunday?
1. Rory McIlroy Grand Slam watch
The Northern Irishman has accomplished a lot in his pro career, but one feat remains elusive for McIlroy to fully cement his status as an all-time great — a career grand slam. McIlroy has four major titles already in the bag but none of those came at Augusta National.
He has two PGA Championship titles, a US Open title, and a The Open Championship victory. The closest he's gone to winning the Masters Tournament was in 2022 when he finished runner-up to Scottie Scheffler. The 2023 Masters Tournament will be McIlroy's ninth shot at collecting the one missing piece to his grand slam collection.
On the season, McIlroy is 5-for-6 with three top 10s, including a T-2 at the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and a win at THE 2022 CJ CUP in South Carolina.