I can smell the azaleas and hear the birds chirping through my television as we await the 2023 Masters golf tournament from Augusta National. The best golf event in the world returns this year and there is plenty of drama that has been building for over a year as LIV has torn a major wedge in the PGA Tour and split up the best players in the world. Between that drama, another round with Tiger Woods chasing a major, new stars bidding for a green jacket, and so much more, this could be an incredible Masters Tournament.
Who else but Scottie Scheffler was going to win the Masters after he tore up the beginning of the PGA season and then went to Augusta and barely made it fun for anyone as he shot 10-under-par and beat Rory McIlroy, who wasn’t even in the final pairing, by three strokes to claim his victory.
As Scottie dominated, the whole gallery of patrons was enamored by the return of Woods to Augusta. He made the cut, finished on Sunday, and while he wasn’t close to even competing at the top of the leaderboard, he shocked doubters and critics who thought he would never play again.
This Year’s Drama
The LIV players and PGA pros will be reunited at Augusta National which should make for a whole lot of interesting drama. McIlroy has already been called out by Greg Norman for not knowing what he’s talking about. This comes just a month after he and Patrick Reed weren’t all that cordial to each other on a driving range.
The big name to watch will be Phil Mickelson who returns to Augusta after being the main defector to LIV and really pushing against the regime of the PGA Tour. It will be intriguing to see how he treats his old rival Tiger Woods on the grounds of Augusta National. If only we could all be flies on the wall of the Champions Dinner where Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Reed, and Mickelson will all share what could be an awkward meal with many players who have called them out in recent months.
As we enter the tournament, there are a couple of golfers who are scorching Earth and will be the heavy betting favorites heading into play. Scheffler and Rory headline the odds list as co-favorite, while Jon Rahm comes in at third. Rory needs a Masters win to secure his career grand slam in majors while it seems inevitable that Rahm will eventually don a Green Jacket and pile up his majors as he has been one of the top golfers in the world for the last three years.
You can’t overlook some of the smaller LIV players, six of whom finished in the Top 15 of the Masters a year ago. My favorites to watch for this time around will be Dustin Johnson and Talor Gooch. Oh, and Brooks Koepka just won a LIV event this past Sunday, and we know that he loves majors.
After being the biggest critic of LIV from anyone on the PGA Tour, McIlroy gets the last laugh and puts on the green jacket for the first time in his career. He finished second at Augusta last year and will finally climb over the hurdle in the 2023 Masters golf tournament.