Masters 2013: The top 10 British players to watch at Augusta

Masters 2013: James Scott and Michael Kelleher take a look at the 10 British players to keep an eye on at Augusta this week

rory mcilroy
Rory McIlroy will be out to prove his critics wrong at Augusta Photo: Camflan/Flickr

rory mcilroy

The Masters at Augusta National has not been a happy hunting ground for British golfers since Nick Faldo overcame a six-stroke deficit to sink Greg Norman in 1996.

Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam reeled off four consecutive wins from 1988-1991 but the Americans have dominated in recent times winning eight of the last 12 Masters.

However, with European golf flying high following the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ and with British golfers occupying three of the top-four world rankings berths that could be set to change.

Here, The Sport Review takes a look at the leading British and Irish contenders to take home the fabled green jacket.

Rory McIlroy 8/1

Following a difficult start to the season with new sponsor Nike, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy recently lost his world number one status to tournament favourite Tiger Woods.

His struggles culminated in him walking off the course midway through the Honda Classic but he bounced back last weekend with a second-place finish in the Texas Open.

McIlroy will be out to prove critics wrong at Augusta and banish his demons from 2011 when he carded a final-day 80 after holding a four-shot overnight lead.

2013 Form
April 4, Texas Open – 2nd
March 28, Houston Open – 45th
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – 8th
February 28, Honda Classic – Cut
February 20, WGC Match Play – 33rd

Major History
Masters – 15th (2011)
US Open – Winner (2011)
The Open Championship – 3rd (2010)
PGA Championship – Winner (2012)

Justin Rose 20/1

Justin Rose has been in fine form in 2013 and seems to have taken confidence from his final-day Ryder Cup heroics when he defeated Phil Mickelson in an epic singles encounter.

The 32-year-old has improved steadily over recent years and he should quietly fancy himself this week at Augusta – a course where he has secured four top-20 finishes since 2006.

If the world number three can putt like he did at the Ryder Cup he has a tremendous chance of securing a maiden major title.

2013 Form
March 21, Arnold Palmer – 2nd
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – 8th
February 28, Honda Classic – 4th
February 20, WGC Match Play – 17th

Major History
Masters – 5th (2007)
US Open – 5th (2003)
The Open Championship – 4th (1998)
PGA Championship – 3rd (2012)

Lee Westwood 28/1

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride – Lee Westwood has endured more major misery than anyone during recent years.

The Englishman has come close but never quite got there and fellow Brit Colin Montgomerie – who knows a thing or two about major heartache himself – has said it is now or never for Westwood.

The former world number one, who turns 40 in April, has moved to America to help his chances and will be a factor if he can keep his short-game together in his 60th major appearance.

2013 Form
March 28, Houston Open – 10th
March 21, Arnold Palmer – 63rd
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – 25th
February 28, Honda Classic – 9th
February 20, WGC Match Play – 33rd

Major History
Masters – 2nd (2010)
US Open – 3rd (2008, 2011)
The Open Championship – 2nd (2010)
PGA Championship – 3rd (2009)

Luke Donald 30/1

Luke Donald’s hunger for that elusive first major grows each year, with the Englishman eager to replicate his success on the European and PGA Tour.

The 35-year-old held the world number one position intermittently during the 2011-12 seasons, during which he claimed three PGA and four European tour wins.

The Masters is Donald’s favourite major, and with three top-ten finishes under his belt he will be looking to become the tournament’s first UK champion since Nick Faldo.

2013 Form
March 14, Tampa Bay Championships – T4th
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – T43rd
February 20, WGC Match Play – T17th
February 14, Northern Trust – T16th

Major History
Masters – T3rd (2005)
US Open – T12th (2006)
The Open Championship – T5th (2009, 2012)
PGA Championship – T3rd (2006)

Ian Poulter 45/1

The fiery Englishman will need to pull out all the stops to replicate his stellar 2012, during which he carded three top-ten major finishes.

His most memorable moment was his starring role in the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ – winning all four of his games in inspiring fashion – as one of the captain’s picks.

Poulter has never missed a cut in his seven visits to Augusta, and his strong putting game should see him amongst the contenders.

2013 Form
April 4, Texas Open – T37
March 21, Arnold Palmer – T21
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – T28
February 20, WGC Match Play – 4th
January 4, Hyundai Tournament – T9

Major History
Masters – 7th (2012)
US Open – T12th (2006)
The Open Championships – 2nd (2008)
PGA Championship – T3rd (2012)

Padraig Harrington 55/1

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, 41, performed well at the Texas Open last weekend after a difficult start to the year.

His absence from last year’s Ryder Cup team indicates the world number 52 may not be the force he once was and his window may be closing.

However he remains one of the fiercest competitors in the game and the three-time major winner will be worth watching if he is in the hunt on Sunday.

2013 Form
April 4, Texas Open – 10th
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – 39th
February 20, WGC Match Play – 33rd
February 14, Northern Trust Open – Cut
February 7, Pebble Beach – Cut

Major History
Masters – 5th (2002, 2008)
US Open – 4th (2012)
The Open Championship – Winner (2007, 2008)
PGA Championship – Winner (2008)

Graeme McDowell 60/1

Graeme McDowell, 33, is confident heading into Augusta having secured three top-10 finishes already in 2013.

The world number 16 has finished 12th or better in his past four major tournaments and that includes a 12th place finish at the Masters in 2012.

With a 2010 US Open under his belt, the gritty Northern Irishman will not be fazed if he finds himself in contention on Sunday.

2013 Form
March 21, Arnold Palmer – 45th
March 7, WGC-Cadillac – 3rd
February 28, Honda Classic – 9th
February 20, WGC Match Play – 5th
February 14, Northern Trust Open – Cut

Major History
Masters – 12th (2012)
US Open – Winner (2010)
The Open Championship – 5th (2012)
PGA Championship – 10th (2009)

Martin Laird 100/1

Laird will return for his third successive Masters as the final man to qualify, having clinched the Texas Open last weekend.

The Glaswegian held off the formidable challenge of Rory McIlroy by shooting a nine-under final round of 63 to secure the title.

2013 Form
February 28, Honda Classic – Missed cut
March 14, TB Championship – T70
March 21, Arnold Palmer – T34
March 28, Houston Open – Missed Cut
April 4th, Texas Open – 1st

Major History
Masters – T20th (2011)
US Open – Cut (4)
The Open Championships – T72nd (2012)
PGA Championships – T42nd (2012)

Paul Lawrie 300/1

The Scotsman’s preparations for his seventh appearance at Augusta have been blighted by injury, but the 44-year-old insisted he was in great shape this week.

The 1999 Open Champion was a crucial component in helping Europe retain the Ryder Cup in November and will be in the hunt for his second major.

2013 Form
March 10, WGC-Cadillac – T58th
February 24, WGC-Accenture Match Play – T33rd
January 26, Qatar Masters – T75th
January 20, Abu Dhabi Championships – T52nd
January 13, Volvo Golf Champions – T7th

Major History
Masters – T15th (2003)
US Open – T30th (2002)
The Open Championships – 1st (1999)
PGA Championships – T34th (1999)

Jamie Donaldson 300/1

The Welshman – ranked 33rd in the world – will make his Masters debut this week on the back of the biggest victory of his career at January’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

2013 Form
March 10, WGC-Cadillac – T63rd
February 24th, WGC Accenture – T33rd
February 3rd, Dubai Desert Classic – T37th
January 20th, Abu Dhabi Championship – 1st
January 13, Volvo Golf Champions – T16th

Major History
Masters – (first appearance)
US Open – (never played)
The Open Championships – T60th (2012)
PGA Championships – T7th (2012)

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