THIS year at the Masters, more than any other, I get the feeling we're in for a real treat.
The three market leaders absolutely love the course and all look in good shape. Tiger Woods has regained the No.1 ranking and positive vibes about his putting continue to reach us.
World No.2 Rory McIlroy looked on his way back to his phenomenal best last time out and could be peaking at the perfect time. Make no mistake, the two will have one eye on each other and we could be in for the dream scenario – a Sunday shoot-out between the two best players in the world. It could even be Woods v McIlroy in a final day two-ball, keep your fingers crossed.
Young teenage golfers are something of a rarity at Majors. I'm not expecting 14-year-old Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang to be challenging the top of the leaderboard this week but the youngster earned his place in the field on merit and has played endless practice rounds, receiving glowing praise from Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw and numerous others.
I think he looks a decent price @ 5.0 to win his day one three-ball with Matteo Manassero and Crenshaw, which looks odds-on to be the shortest hitting group on the fairways.
Nick Watney has an excellent Masters record: he's made the cut on each of his five visits with his best finish being seventh in 2010 when he shot the best round of the tournament with a 65 on the final day. Watney's partners this week are Steve Stricker, who has often struggled at Augusta, and Ernie Els, who has struggled since his Open Championship victory.
Martin Laird's victory at last week's Valero Texas Open was all the more impressive when you consider it was his first piece of worthwhile form this season and a Masters invite was on the line.
With that confidence-boosting performance Laird now becomes a contender for a big week. The Scot was 20th on debut at Augusta in 2011 and made the cut again last year on his second visit. Playing partners Jamie Donaldson (debutant) and Mark O'Meara (in good form on the Champions Tour, possible danger) have it all to do to match him.
His results since his win on the first week of his season haven't been anything to write home about but it's perhaps fair to say Russell Henley has had one eye on Augusta. This Masters rookie was born and raised in Georgia and was apparently the first man banging on the door at Augusta for a practice round once his invite was secure.
Remarkably, he's already played in two Majors (US Open 2010, 11) and made the cut on both occassions. Henley has a big future in the game and is a fair price at even money to outscore Brian Gay and veteran Larry Mize in round one.
Back McIlroy/Woods double @ 2.7
Back Guan Tianlang @ 5.0
Back Nick Watney @ 2.75
Back Martin Laird @ 1.95
Back Russell Henley @ 2.0