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8 Stories to Follow at The Masters 2024

By: | Wed 10 Apr 2024

The Masters is always a highlight on the calendar for golf fans as we return to that most familiar and iconic of venues - Augusta National. What also often remains the same are the stories that we look forward to seeing unfold when the pursuit for the Green Jacket begins in earnest on Thursday.

But what are the storylines that could define the 88th Masters Tournament? Here are some that have caught my eye:

Will Scottie Scheffler Remain Dominant?

The world number one has looked imperious lately, winning both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship, before finishing runner-up at the Houston Open. His Strokes Gained statistics are frankly ridiculous as he's second on the PGA Tour for driving and first for his approach play.

Some have doubts about his putting, but that hasn't inhibited him recently, and no player has a more serene temperament than the champion of 2022. The player who finishes ahead of Scheffler this weekend might just walk away with the Green Jacket.

Can Rory McIlroy Finally Do It?

It's that perennial saga, but could this FINALLY be Rory McIlroy's year? There would be no more popular winner, but he's not been entirely convincing in recent months. However, he's adopted a different approach this April, having visited Butch Harmon for a check-up, playing competitively last week (in encouraging fashion) and making a lowkey presence at Augusta National thus far.

Should the Northern Irishman complete the career grand slam he would instantly become an all-time legend of the game.

Will Jon Rahm Successfully Defend?

Rahm followed in the footsteps of Spanish icons to claim the Green Jacket 12 months ago, but he returns under different circumstances following his move to LIV Golf. Some may question whether that environment offers the best preparation for a major, but that didn't stop Brooks Koepka last year and Rahm is a similarly big-time player. 

Only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have successfully defended at the Masters, so history might be against Rahm, but you cannot rule out the Basque golfer.

Could Major Man Brooks Koepka Strike Again?

Brooks Koepka

Speaking of the five-time major champion, Koepka recovered from a spell of significant injuries to finish runner-up at the Masters before winning the PGA Championship in May. His LIV results haven't been sparkling, but that almost seems like an irrelevance for a man who has only ever worried about four weeks on the calendar.

No golfer in recent years could flick on the switch when it matters more effectively than Koepka - and he might just do it again.

What About The Rookies?

There are 20 debutants in the Masters this year - and it's an impressive group that includes the sensational Ludvig Aberg and the US Open champion Wyndham Clark. Famously, no rookie has won here since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, as the nuances and mystique around Augusta National can take time to overcome, but if anyone is going to have that breakthrough on their maiden appearance, it could be one of these guys.

Can Tiger Woods Defy Reality Again?

Tiger Woods believes that he could win again, but does anyone else view that as being realistic? It probably doesn't matter what we think as the 15-time major champion has repeatedly proven us wrong, but for someone who has played so little competitively and who constantly battles physical limitations, just playing all four rounds would be seemingly miraculous. 

However, the 48-year-old has never missed the cut here as a professional - and he might just find a way to keep that impressive run of longevity and consistency going.

Could Fred Couples Beat His Own Record?

Speaking of making the halfway cut, Fred Couples, the champion of 1992, became the oldest in history to achieve that last year. Now 64 and forever managing his ailing back, it doesn't sound likely that he could surpass that achievement this time, but it's a target that he maintains that he can accomplish once more - and who are we to doubt this crowd favourite?

Can Phil Mickelson Find More Magic?

Few players have found themselves more engulfed in public ire than Phil Mickelson has since the formation of LIV Golf. He even missed the Masters and his PGA Championship defence in 2022. However, last year, returning to his favourite playground of Augusta National, the three-time winner rolled back the years with a final round of 65 to finish in a tie for second.

Could the 53-year-old laugh in the face of father time once more? His form would suggest that's almost improbable, but Mickelson comes alive when he takes that drive down Magnolia Lane.

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