The best four days on the golf calendar is upon us, and here at Hole19 HQ we're buzzing to watch the world's best golfers do battle at the 2021 Masters upon the hallowed fairways of Augusta National.
To help crank your anticipation to the max, we've pulled together a half-dozen golfers we expect to perform well this week. Check out our picks for the 2021 Masters below.
Collin Morikawa was a debutant at the 2020 Masters back in November, and, in many ways, he remains a 'newbie'. The young superstar played his first Masters in very different conditions to those he will face this week at Augusta National, so it's hard to gauge with any certainty how he will fare.
The 2020 PGA champion has put in two average performances by his standard since his stunning victory at the WGC-Workday Championship back in February, but that does nothing to dampen our expectations.
Simply put, he is a ball-striking machine, so it'll likely be upon Augusta's infamous greens that Morikawa's fate will be sealed. Since switching to a 'saw' grip recently, his putting has steadily improved, so we're hopeful this can hold him in good stead this week.
Of the eight golfers who have occupied the world-number-one spot over the last ten years, only Jon Rahm has failed to win a single major championship. That seems an unbelievable stat to us, but it demonstrates the uber-competitive nature of every single major championship event.
The current world-number-three has been playing some solid golf recently, placing inside the top ten in 75% of his starts in 2021. When we're talking possible winners of the 2021 Masters, if anyone looks an identikit Masters champion-in-waiting, it must be the talented Spaniard.
Throw into the mix the 'Nappy Factor', or 'Baby Bounce', or whatever you want to call it, and Rahm becomes impossible to ignore.
Since Tiger Woods' victory in 2002, no defending champion has won the Masters, and what's more, no one other than Woods has managed to finish inside the top-5 the year after winning a Green Jacket.
Given that fact, you'd expect that we're steering well clear of the reigning champion; however, it's hard to look past the record-breaking fashion in which 'DJ' captured a second major title back in November.
Also, if there is any modern-day golfer who is mentally resilient enough to manage the soaring emotions of putting on that Green Jacket and back it up with a worthy performance next time out, it's undoubtedly the current world's best golfer.
As far as Masters debuts go, Sungjae Im's in 2020 was nothing short of spectacular. His T-2 finish behind the imperious Dustin Johnson after four solid rounds was impressive by any measure.
In 2021, the current world-number-19 has struggled to find any consistent form, although he did finish inside the top ten in his last stroke-play event, the Honda Classic at PGA National.
How he will handle the firmer April conditions is unknown, but if you're looking for a possible winner at a higher price, he absolutely must be on your radar.
Few golfers are better from tee-to-green than Tommy Fleetwood, and he's overdue another strong showing in a major championship. Though he's gone close at both the Open and U.S. Open, the Englishman is yet to put together any sort of concerted challenge at Augusta National.
If he managed to don the Green Jacket come Sunday evening, Fleetwood would join both Danny Willett and Charl Schwartzel in winning their first-ever title in the USA at Augusta National.
We do like his chances this week!
When Tony Finau finally wins again, there will be a collective celebration from golf pros and fans alike. And here at Hole19 HQ, we'll be right in the thick of it.
Though his form is rather off-the-boil at present, in three Masters appearances, Finau has finished in the top-10 twice. He also placed inside the top-10 seven times in 11 majors.
Undoubtedly, the big American has the game to win a major, and where better to shed that 'nearly man' tag than at Augusta National?
Here's a look at all 30 groups that will start play on Thursday at the 85th Masters, and their respective tee-times.
All times EST
8 a.m. -- Michael Thompson, Hudson Swafford
8:12 a.m. -- Sandy Lyle, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli
8:24 a.m. -- Ian Woosnam, Jim Herman, Stewart Cink
8:26 a.m. -- Sebastian Munoz, Henrik Stenson, Robert Streb
8:48 a.m. -- Bernhard Langer, Will Zalatoris, Joe Long
9 a.m. -- Brian Harman, Ian Poulter, Brendon Todd
9:12 a.m. -- Charl Schwartzel, Si Woo Kim, Corey Conners
9:24 a.m. -- Danny Willett, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Kisner
9:36 a.m -- Jason Day, Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ
9:48 a.m. -- Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English, Abraham Ancer
10:06 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland
10:18 a.m. -- Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
10:30 a.m. -- Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Tyler Strafaci
10:42 a.m. -- Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy
10:54 a.m. -- Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey
11:06 a.m. -- Vijay Singh, Martin Laird
11:18 a.m. -- Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Brian Gay
11:30 a.m. -- Carlos Ortiz, Mackenzie Hughes, Bernd Wiesberger
11:42 a.m. -- Mike Weir, C.T. Pan, Robert MacIntyre
11:54 a.m. -- Jose Maria Olazabal, Matt Wallace, Lanto Griffin
12:12 p.m. -- Victor Perez, Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman
12:24 p.m. -- Fred Couples, Francesco Molinari, Charles Osborne
12:36 p.m. -- Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland
12:48 p.m. -- Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar
1 p.m. -- Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton, Ryan Palmer
1:12 p.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood, Scottie Scheffler
1:24 p.m. -- Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Matthew Fitzpatrick
1:36 p.m. -- Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa
1:48 p.m. -- Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Thomas
2 p.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa