The Masters: Sports Mole's five tips

Sports Mole picks out five golfers that we believe could be in contention to win this year's Masters in Augusta.

Tomorrow afternoon, the tournament that many golf supporters view as the most important - The Masters - will get underway in Augusta.

It's an event that prompts a flurry of bets, despite the infinite number of variables that can determine which of the 97-man field will be presented with the famous green jacket on Sunday evening.

Nevertheless, below, Sports Mole has selected five golfers that we believe could play their way into contention over the four days.


1. Rory McIlroy

The 24-year-old will be the first to admit that his Masters record is a source of grave disappointment. After all, Augusta was the scene of his biggest choke to date in 2011, when heading into the final day, he held a four-shot advantage. A round of 80 followed, meaning that the Northern Irishman was forced to settle for a share of 15th - his best finish in five attempts.

The fact that the bookmakers also regard McIlroy as the favourite will also put off numerous punters, but there can no doubting that his game is suited to the course. He may not have been at his fluent best in 2014, although he did shoot a 65 at the Houston Open on Sunday. With two Majors under his belt, if he can get himself into contention ahead of the final 18 holes, he has the mentality to win through.

Odds: 10/1

Rory McIlroy in action during the third day of the PGA Championship on August 10, 2013© Getty Images


2. Phil Mickelson

The Masters have been good to Mickelson, that's for sure. It's a tournament that he's won three times, finished third on five occasions and missed the cut just once from his 21 outings. What's more, the American is now largely free from the back pain that had hampered his swing - something that he credits to working with a medicine ball.

There will be those that point to the fact that the 43-year-old is without a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this year, but it is worth remembering that Mickelson was perceived to be in poor form prior to two of his three Augusta triumphs.

Odds: 14/1

Phil Mickelson of the USA waits to play on the first hole during the final round of the WGC - HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club on November 3, 2013© Getty Images


3. Sergio Garcia

The Spaniard, along with the likes of Lee Westwood and Colin Montgomerie, is in danger of being known for his failure to win a Major. Also, the 34-year-old's Masters record is surprisingly modest, having not finished in the top 10 since 2004. Even so, it would be dangerous to count Garcia out.

Remember, five-time Major winner Mickelson did not win his first until the age of 34.

Odds: 22/1

Sergio Garcia of Spain looks on as he competes in the final round of the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club on January 25, 2014© Getty Images


4. Jordan Spieth

Can a 20-year-old Augusta debutant really come out on top this weekend? Well, when they have already played in the Walker Cup and Presidents Cup, won the US Junior Amateur twice, contended in a PGA Tour event at the age of 16 and had nine top-10 finishes last season, why not?

Spieth possesses plenty of power, while also being able to turn the ball over with the short game. Full of confidence, there is every chance that the Texas-born golfer could get comfortable very quickly.

Odds: 40/1

Jordan Spieth plays a shot from the bunker on April 03, 2014.© Getty Images


5. Angel Cabrera

The 2009 champion and last year's runner-up is perhaps not being given the credit that he deserves by the bookmakers when you consider the odds that have been placed next to the Argentine's name. Of course, the fact that he has made just two PGA Tour cuts from eight events this year will have something to do with that, but his Augusta record cannot and should not be ignored.

The 44-year-old has finished within the top 10 six times since 2001 and in the top 20 during four of the previous five years.

60/1

Angel Cabrera in action on February 13, 2014.© Getty Images


A detailed shot of the pin flag on the 18th green during the second round of the 2013 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2013
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