The US Masters 2014, the season’s first major tees off at Augusta National this weekend and following our early event review, the time has no arrived..
Jason Day believes the time is right for him to break his Major duck by emerging victorious at this week’s Masters.
The 26-year-old Australian has not played for the last six weeks because of an injury to his left thumb but he insists he has now fully recovered from the problem.
Day, 16/1 to win the Masters outright and 15/8 to be the top Australian at the tournament, won the last competition he played in – the World Golf Championships Match Play in February – beating Frenchman Victor Dubuisson in the final.
I’ve played 36 holes here over the last four days and the hand’s coming up nicely. I’m really looking forward to a nice, solid start.
He said: “I had a cortisone injection into it last Monday. I had about a week off after the injection and everything has been progressing nicely.
“There’s no pain. I’m taping it just as a precaution, so you’ll see some tape on my thumb and I’ve been icing it a lot.
“I’ve been here since last Wednesday practising and playing. I’ve played 36 holes here over the last four days and the hand’s coming up nicely. I’m really looking forward to a nice, solid start.
“The course sets up nice for me. I hit the ball pretty long and I hit the ball pretty high. With how the greens are, the undulation on the greens, the speed of the greens, you definitely need to hit it a lot higher than lower.”
Day has come close to winning a Major in the past- being the runner-up at the US Open in 2011 and 2013, as well as finishing in a share for second at the 2011 Masters.
The 26-year-old Australian, last victory lifted him from number 11 in the world rankings to a career-high four, but he remains perturbed by his failure to win a Major.
It’s no secret I’d like to win at Augusta after coming so close.
He said: “It’s no secret I’d like to win at Augusta after coming so close. Now I want to see how far I can take this. I’ve been sick of not winning and it took me nearly four years, but I got my second [US tour] win finally and the hard work has paid off.
Rory McIlroy declared himself happy and positive for his Masters challenge, having made a strong finish at the Houston Open.
The Northern Irishman shot a 65 to finish seven shots adrift of eventual winner Matt Jones in Charleston, with McIlroy more than content with a final round that contained seven birdies and no dropped shots.
I couldn’t be in a better mood getting on the plane and heading over (to Augusta).
He told the PGA Tour website: “I wanted to shoot something in the 60s at least to give me some positive vibes going into Augusta.
“I played really well, played really solid from tee-to-green again. I holed the putts that I felt I should hole and just kept the ball in play all day.
“Every time I hit it pretty close, within 10 feet, I holed the putt. It was great to see a few putts like that drop. It’s a nice bit of confidence going into next week.
“I couldn’t be in a better mood getting on the plane and heading over (to Augusta).”
Meanwhile, three-time Masters champion Mickelson has admitted that he is nervous about his chances of a fourth success at Augusta.
The left-hander, who finished in a tie for 12th place in Houston, having recently struggled with a muscle problem, said: “I haven’t won this year, so I’m certainly nervous about my chances, but it’s my favourite week of the year.”
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Louis Oosthuizen……former Open champion Oosthuizen has been one of the standout players to the season, said, “I’m playing some of my best (golf) now, I’m hitting the ball really good and just need to make the putts, my golf has been really solid.”
For a livewire outsider, consider Aussie…
Day is 16/1 to win the US Masters outright while Oosthuizen is 50/1 to triumph again and Leishmann 125/1 to win the first Major of the year, while our best ‘local’ hope is Rory McIlroy is available at 10/1.
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