The US Masters Tournament – Who Will Win the First Golf Major of 2018

Excitement about the 2018 US Masters Tournament has been building in recent weeks but the wait for golf fans is finally over. Round 1 of the competition gets underway at the Augusta National today and this year’s tournament is set to be a must-see event. Which players are amongst the favourites to seize the coveted green jacket, golf trophy and $1.9 million winner’s prize?

The 2018 Masters Tournament – How Will Tiger Woods Fare?

One of the biggest news stories about this year’s tournament so far has been that Tiger Woods will be taking part. This will be the first major golfing championship that he has competed at since 2015. Last September, Woods, who has undergone four operations on his back during the last three years, told the BBC that it was possible that he’d never be able to play golf professionally again. However, just two months later, after nine months away from the sport, he played at the Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas.

This year, Woods has firmly stated his intentions by finishing in T23 at the Farmers Insurance Open, twelfth place at the Honda Classic, T2 at the Valspar Championship and T5 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The four-time Masters champion appears to be competitive at the moment, but will he be in good enough shape to win the famous golf trophy once more?

The 42-year-old was the bookies’ favourite for a few weeks in the build-up to the championship but slid back down the list as the pre-tournament sessions began. He is still a strong contender and, if he were to win, it would make a wonderful sporting comeback story. However, he hasn’t won a major since he claimed the US Open Championship trophy in 2008 and to seize one so soon after his return would be a remarkable achievement.

Firm Favourites and Outside Bets – 2018 US Masters Championship Contenders

As the competitors took to the practice range earlier this week, the list of title favourites included well-known names such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. Last year’s runner-up, Justin Rose, who has made it into the top ten at the tournament three years in a row, will be hoping that this is the year he’ll take the trophy home.

Sergio Garcia, who dispatched Rose in the trophy play-off in 2017, is returning to the Augusta National to try to defend his title. He’s not at the top of the list when it comes to favourites, however, and there have only been three back-to-back US Masters’ winners in the tournament’s history (Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods).

Phil Mickelson will be looking for a fourth Masters title but he hasn’t won a major for five years. Other golfers who could be in with a shot of claiming the trophy include Rickie Fowler and Jason Day, as well as two-time title-holder Bubba Watson.

Rookies don’t usually win the US Masters Tournament. In fact, the last to do so was Fuzzy Zoeller back in 1979. However, one player on this year’s rookie list worth keeping an eye on is Shubhankar Sharma. The 21-year-old from India has already won two European Tour tournaments this year: the Joburg Open and the Maybank Championship.

Will you be tuning into watch the US Masters on TV? Share your tournament predictions with us on Twitter, on Facebook or in the comments section.