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Tiger & Rory Stories Captivate at The Masters

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are set to steal the limelight this week at The Masters.
The sporting world each year witnesses several events which transcend the sport they represent, each commanding a profile and an awareness well beyond what they generate from within their own specific discipline.

The European Champions League in soccer, Super Bowl in NFL and Wimbledon in tennis are some that come to mind and this week’s Masters is certainly at that same level and many might suggest above it.

This is a golfing week where not only golf fans become experts, but sports fans generally have their opinion on just who will take the title and golf is the better for the interest the opening men’s major of the year generates.

In 2019 that interest goes to an even greater level with so many fascinating stories within the story that is The Masters, ensuring perhaps an even greater audience worldwide than has been the case for some time.

The two most appealing angles this week appear to revolve around Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Tiger is hunting a 5th Masters title and a 15th major overall while McIlroy, for the 5th year in a row, is attempting to complete a career Grand Slam at Augusta National having recorded four consecutive top tens there since 2015.

Woods dominated the event for the best part of 15 years and owns a record which includes not only his four victories but nine other top tens. The now 43-year old has thrown out several signals in recent months that a return to one of his favourite hunting grounds might just provide the 15th major the golfing world has been waiting for since his US Open victory at Torrey Pines in 2008.

A 5th place finish at the recent WGC-Match Play along with a 10th place finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship certainly suggest a 5th ‘Green Jacket’ is not beyond the realms of possibility for Woods whose victory at last year’s Tour Championship showed he can still beat the very best in the game.

McIlroy appears to be peaking at exactly the right time to finally complete a much sought-after career Grand Slam having recorded seven consecutive top tens this season on the PGA Tour, including his brilliant victory at the Players Championship.

If the 4-time major winner is to finally atone for an agonising final nine collapse in 2011, after leading by four heading into the final round, he would become just the 6th golfer in the history of the men's game to win all four majors, joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods.

McIlroy also let a winning opportunity slip from his grasp in 2018 when he played in the final group on Sunday with eventual winner Patrick Reed but appears as ready as he ever has been to win at Augusta.

Australia will be represented by 2013 champion Adam Scott, 2011 runner-up Jason Day, Marc Leishman - who has two top tens in six appearances - and Cameron Smith who, in just his second appearance at Augusta National, finished 5th last year.

While a second Masters title for Australia, six years after its first, would be an exciting moment for Australian golf, the quest by both Woods and McIlroy for the significant milestones outlined above appear most likely to capture the attention of even Australian fans.

Once again, The Masters and Augusta National are about to steal the spotlight of not only the golfing world but the sporting world generally and, like so many other golfing fans across the Globe, this writer’s juices are already flowing at the prospect.

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