Sports Mole's Masters preview

Sports Mole briefly previews the 78th Masters tournament at Augusta.

Tomorrow, the 78th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club gets underway and here, Sports Mole brings you a brief preview of the event.

Unlike any of the other four Majors, the Masters takes place at the same course every year and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2011© Getty Images

The 7,445-yard course is a gorgeous myriad of green, with flashes of azalea colour, in spring and after eight months since the last Major, everyone looks forward to returning to Augusta in April.

There are so many things that make Augusta unique. Be it the white overalls that the caddies wear, the floral names of each hole - Tea Olive and Yellow Jasmine to name two - or the famous green jacket, there is only one Masters.

As the tournament is held at the same place every year, the experienced players know every hole inside out. That doesn't make it any easier, though.

Over the last 10 years, the average score of the winner has been 9.6-under-par. Not that low considering that it's the same course every time.

Being in Georgia, the time difference is also pleasant for us UK viewers with the majority of golf played in the late afternoon and evening.

Check out the pairings and tee times for the first two rounds of the tournament here.

Last year

Last year's champion Adam Scott ended the Australian hoodoo at Augusta by memorably edging out 2009 champion Angel Cabrera in an exhilarating playoff.

Both men birdied the 18th to finish on nine-under-par for the tournament before sharing the first playoff hole with a par. On the 10th, both players hit the green and after Cabrera's birdie putt rolled agonisingly past the hole, Scott had the chance to claim his first Major.

The light was fading quickly, but Scott's putt was straight and true and soon he was putting on the green jacket.

Adam Scott smiles after receiving his green jacket for winning The Masters at Augusta National on April 14, 2013© Getty Images

This year's contenders

Scott is joint-favourite to defend his title, with two-time Major winner Rory McIlroy alongside the Aussie in the bookmakers' list of favourites.

McIlroy is bidding to become just the seventh European to win the event and the first in 15 years after Jose Maria Olazabal's second success in 1999.

The other European Masters champions are sorely-missed Seve Ballesteros (who would have turned 57 today), Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam. Quite a list.

Also fancied are three-time winner Phil Mickelson, the reigning Open champion, and the man with the lowest average score around Augusta in recent years - Jason Day. Read who Sports Mole reckons will win in our tipping article here.

Four-time champion Tiger Woods would surely be up there too, but the world number one isn't there this week because of a back injury.

The weather

Everyone wants to see Augusta bathed in sunshine, especially the organisers. If there is no rain in the air, the greens are lightning quick like they should be and the true test of a pro's short-game.

After stormy conditions at the start of the week, the latest forecast suggests that the sun will be shining in Georgia this weekend. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-20s. Perfect!

Sports Mole will be bringing you news and reports aplenty throughout all four days at Augusta. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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© Getty Images

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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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