The Masters begins this Thursday as the first major championship of the year comes to the famed Augusta National Golf Club. The tournament is one of the biggest weekends in the entire golf calendar and promises high drama as 87 golfers compete for the green jacket. For fans, event is one of the most watched American sporting events and tickets are nearly impossible to get. For the golfers, a Masters win is a career defining moment with few parallels. One golfer who clearly understands this is 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed.
2018 Champion Patrick Reed
Reed earned his first major title with the sort of measured performance that golf fans have come to expect from him throughout his career. Last year, a second round 66 took Reed into the lead and he never relinquished it. Heading into the final with a 3-stroke lead, Reed put in a solid if unspectacular round of 71 to give him a one stroke victory over Rickie Fowler, who finished with an impressive final round score of 67. It was Reed’s 6th career PGA Tour victory and helped solidify his spot as one of golf’s greatest players.
It is exceedingly difficult to pick a favorite from this group of golfers, but some favorites have emerged over the season. Reed has high hopes of repeating, something only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have been able to accomplish. Woods returns to Augusta searching for his 5th Masters win, and a first since 2005. While not the same Tiger he once was, it’s hard to fully rule out Woods turning back the clock for another great performance at Augusta. Other favorites include Bryson DeChambeau, who has won 5 tournaments in the past calendar year and is nearly impossible to stop when he’s on his game, and he will step it up in a major championship sooner or later. Other contenders include world number 1 Justin Rose, the ever consistent Justin Thomas, and heavy hitter Dustin Johnson. Brooks Koepka has one 3 of the last 6 majors, and can make it 3 in a row with a win in Augusta. However, the whole world will be watching Rory McIlroy as he looks to finally complete his career grand slam with a win at Augusta. McIlroy hasn’t finished outside the top-10 in any event in 2019, and he has also finished in the top 10 in the past 5 Masters. It looks like an excellent time for McIlroy to make a statement win and write himself into golf lore.
Television coverage of the Masters is provided by ESPN and CBS. Coverage starts on Thursday and Friday 3-7:30pm ET on ESPN, with CBS running a highlights show 11:30-11:45pm ET. Saturday coverage is provided in primetime 3-7:30pm ET on CBS. The championship round is also on CBS on Sunday 2-7pm ET. Streaming will also be provided through ESPN and CBS, with radio coverage provided Thursday-Sunday 2-7pm ET on Westwood One and SiriusXM.