Ever since the 2019 Masters tournament ended with the amazing comeback story that only Tiger Woods could author, the talk in the golf world has been whether Tiger can get green jacket #6. Now that Tiger has inserted himself between Arnie and Jack, the only thing left to wonder is whether Tiger will end up with 6 or even 7 of the most glorious prizes in golf in his champion's locker.
Looking ahead to 2020, we could be in for one of the best Masters tournaments ever because the field strength will be off the charts. One look at the golf world rankings and even a casual golf fan can see that the talent that will tee it up in Augusta will be amazing.
Tiger is coming off a great President's Cup performance and he will no doubt be a factor in The Masters 2020. And Rory McIlroy has been superb in the latter half of 2019, with 3 wins between June and November including the Tour Championship. It's hard to believe it will be 9 years since Rory looked to have his first green jacket all but fitted, only to shoot a final round 80 at the 2011 Masters. But it seems like a new Rory, settled in his personal life, and ready to win big. He will be a top favorite at the 2020 Masters.
Another player that stands out for 2020 is Xander Schauffele. He only won once in calendar year 2019, but he lost in a playoff with Rory at the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions where he shot -19 in a bid for a repeat victory. He tied for second at 2019 Masters, 1 stroke behind Tiger, shooting -13 for the last 3 rounds. His game seems perfectly suited for Augusta and he should be a top contender in 2020.
Jordan Spieth is one player that will be hard to gauge coming into the Masters 2020. A previous champion who held the Saturday night lead 3 years straight in 2014-2016, it's hard to count him out, but his play the last couple of years has been sort of ming boggling. It's not easy to be at the top of the game for an extended period, but the fall of Jordan Spieth, all the way down to 44th in the world seems like much more than just mechanics, it seems like maybe his confidence is a serious issue. Nonetheless, he's still a factor in Augusta and could surprise a lot of people and return to form.
Some other players that stand out are Jon Rahm who won 4 times around the world in calendar 2019 and had consecutive top 10s at the last two Masters. Of course it will be hard to not pick Brooks Koepka as a pre-tournament favorite, as his play has been nothing short of spectacular the past couple of seasons and he finished 1 shot out in 2019. Not to mention that Brooks' 4 major finishes in 2019 were T2, 1, 2 and T4.
Other than Jordan Spieth returning to form, what other players outside the current top 20 rankings look like good long-shot bets? How about Rickie Fowler, currently at #23 in the world. Or Viktor Hovland, last year's Masters low amateur who's current ranking of 93rd belies his talent. You can fully expect Viktor Hovland to meet one of the qualifications for a Masters 2020 invitation.
No matter who slips on the green jacket in 2020, we can all expect another great finish, with everything riding on the back 9 Sunday. There is little else in sports that generates as much quiet tension as shots around Amen Corner during the final round of the Masters. From the approach shot at 11, to the tee shots at 12 & 13, to the risk reward seconds into 13 green, those moments seem to stop time and get every bit of one's attention. Expect nothing less in 2020!