Chart: 12 Masters contenders to watch

  • Updated: April 10, 2013 - 9:33 PM
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Bubba Watson reacts after missing a putt on the 10th green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2013.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

A look at 12 top contenders going into the 77th Masters, to be played April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Club:

TIGER WOODS

Age: 37

Country: United States

World ranking: 1

Best Masters: Four victories

Why he can win: He has won six times on the PGA Tour in his past 20 starts, and no one is playing better. Woods has won back-to-back tournaments going into the Masters for the first time since 2001. He won a green jacket that year.

RORY MCILROY

Age: 23

Country: Northern Ireland

World ranking: 2

Best Masters: Tie for 15th

Why he can win: Even as he tries to find his swing, his putting has not left him. Adding the Texas Open at the last minute can only accelerate his return to form, and he has all the components to be a Masters champion.

PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 42

Country: United States

World ranking: 10

Best Masters: Three victories

Why he can win: Mickelson shows more discipline at Augusta than any other major. He manages to contend even when he’s not showing the best of form. Along with his three green jackets, he has six other finishes in the top three.

BUBBA WATSON

Age: 34

Country: United States

World ranking: 14

Best Masters: One victory

Why he can win: He showed last year that “Bubba golf” works just fine at Augusta National. His power and preferred fade are huge for this golf course. And as he said last year, if he has a swing, he has a shot.

BRANDT SNEDEKER

Age: 32

Country: United States

World ranking: 5

Best Masters: Tie for third in 2008

Why he can win: He knows he can contend based on his play in 2008. His driving is vastly improved. If the putter gets going and he’s hitting it reasonably well, look out.

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN

Age: 30

Country: South Africa

World ranking: 6

Best Masters: Runner-up in 2012

Why he can win: He has one of the purest swings in golf and a calm demeanor, maybe too calm at times. His seven-shot victory at St. Andrews was not an accident, and the runner-up finish last year showed he can be a factor any year at Augusta.

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 28

Country: United States

World ranking: 19

Best Masters: Tie for 30th

Why he can win: He’s the most talented American under 30, and his powerful draw is the perfect shape off the tee at Augusta.

ADAM SCOTT

Age: 32

Country: Australia

World ranking: 7

Best Masters: Runner-up in 2011

Why he can win: After a decade of not seriously contending in a major, Scott has given himself excellent chances in each of the past two years at Augusta (2011) and Royal Lytham & St. Annes (2012). A light schedule is geared around being at his best when he plays.

JUSTIN ROSE

Age: 32

Country: England

World ranking: 3

Best Masters: Tie for 5th

Why he can win: He has a well-rounded game, with vastly improved putting. He also is becoming a regular atop the leaderboard, at least in the opening two rounds. One of these years, he’s bound to push through.

STEVE STRICKER

Age: 46

Country: United States

World ranking: 8

Best Masters: Tie for 6th

Why he can win: He should be fresh from playing only four times this year. He drives the ball well when his game is on. And his reputation as one of the best putters in golf was enhanced when Tiger Woods sought him out for a lesson and then won his next two tournaments.

MATT KUCHAR

Age: 34

Country: United States

World ranking: 9

Best Masters: Tie for 3rd

Why he can win: Kuchar has one of the most well-rounded, consistent games on tour over the past five years, and he held up beautifully on the back nine last year.

LUKE DONALD

Age: 35

Country: England

World ranking: 4

Best Masters: Tie for fourth in 2011

Why he can win: He was at No. 1 in the world for 56 weeks despite hitting rifle shots off the tee in an era of cannons. Chipping and putting became his hallmark, and that goes a long way at the Masters. Just ask Mike Weir or Zach Johnson.

DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press











  • related content

  • Adam Scott, of Australia, waits to putt on the second green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rory McIlroy, right, smiles with his caddie/girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki at the 1st green during the Par 3 Contest at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Georgia. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT)

  • Mike Weir, right, of Canada, watches as Matt Kuchar talks to his son Carson during the par three competition before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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