2018 Masters: Everything you need to know

2018 Masters: Everything you need to know

This year's Masters Tournament is shaping up to be one of the most exciting majors of the past few years. And there's one obvious reason: Tiger's back. But beyond the scope of one golfing great finding his stride again, there are a host of players who you wouldn't be surprised to see slipping into the green jacket. Here's our lowdown of everything you need to know and who to look out for leading into the event.

What: 82nd US Masters Tournament
Where: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
When: 5th-8th April

Who:
Sergio Garcia (ESP)
Last year's champion, having eliminated his major victory drought in what was the 74th major championship of his career. A few sleepy tournaments in December and January have been turned around by strong recent form in the WGC-Mexico Championship (T7) and Valspar Championship (4). He's building up momentum at the right time.

Justin Rose (ENG)
After finishing runner up in last years Masters at the playoff with Garcia, Rose had a disappointing year at majors, missing the cut at both the US Open and PGA Championship. Back to back tour wins in late October and early November last year would have instilled confidence, and he's added a couple top 10 finishes since. 

Dustin Johnson (USA)
The current world number 1 since February last year. Known as one of the biggest drivers on the tour, Johnson hit a massive 430 yard drive to almost albatross the 3rd hole par 4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions back in January. Finishing T6 and T4 at Augusta in 2015 and 2016 respectively, Johnson missed out on last year's edition with back injury. Expect him to feature heavily.

Jordan Spieth (USA)
2014 and 2016 runner up, and of course the 2015 champion. Hailed as the greatest golf prodigy since Tiger in the late 90s, Spieth has shown he can push hard when it counts with three majors to his name. A few shaky performances on the tour suggest a lull in form but at his young age he can't be written off. Shares the course record at Augusta at 18 under with some guy named Tiger Woods.

Jason Day (AUS)
Our main contender for an Australian victor at this year's event. Currently playing some fantastic golf, although a few injury clouds are looming about. If he can keep his body together he's a definite threat to the leaderboard. His best finish at the Masters came in 2011 at T2.

Justin Thomas (USA)
Who some people consider the current in form golfer in the world. When he's in the zone, he's shown that he's just about unstoppable. Won the PGA Championship last year to take out his first major. Currently ranked 2nd in the world.

Rory McIlroy (NIR)
One of the most talented golfers on tour, Rory has had some big ups and downs over the past few years. His four major wins attest to his ability, but a recent 18 month tour event win drought was a big low point. He showed what he's capable of at the Arnold Palmer Invitational recently, shooting an astounding 8 under on Sunday to steal the win. Rory needs only a green jacket to complete the major grand slam, achieved by just five other golfers in history. He has a career high finish of 4th from the 2015 event. 

Tiger Woods (USA)
Ahh, the man you came here to read about. Can he do it? Of course he can, he's a four time winner at Augusta and the best ever to play the course. His current comeback has golf fans all over the world on the edge of their seats, lovers and haters alike. Tiger's most recent performances speak volumes of his momentum since recovering from surgery: Cut at the Genesis Open, 12 at the Honda Classic, T2 at the Valspar Championship and T5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He's recorded the fastest swing speed on the PGA Tour this season at 129.2mph. He's obviously got his strength back, and his game is sharpening up as well.
The media circus following him will allow other big names to fly under the radar, but is great for the game. The final round at Valspar had the highest ratings of a non-major since the Players Championship back in 2013. Be prepared for long montages of Tiger's famous victories as the Masters draws nearer, and embrace every second of it as golf comes to the forefront of world sport for the weekend.

Tiger Woods Masters 2018
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson (USA)
A Tiger Woods comeback at Augusta wouldn't be complete without career rival Phil Mickelson. He's a three time Masters champion, and has an incredible eight top 5 finishes. Lefty is back in winning ways too, with his first PGA Tour win in five years the other weekend. Watching these two prolific golfers go head to head will have the crowd spellbound, particularly if they're both around come Sunday. 

Honourable mentions:
Jon Rahm: Current world number 3. The young Spaniard has a couple recent PGA Tour wins to his name but a career high T27 finish at a major. Huge potential.

Rickie Fowler: A popular and consistent player who's yet to take out a major. 

Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese golfer has a string of impressive results, but like Fowler, is yet to capitalise at a major. Both have the ability to be in contention deep into Sunday.

Bubba Watson: Since his last win at the Masters in 2014, Bubba has had a quiet time at all majors. Will be interesting to see if he can find form around Augusta. 

Others: Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell, Marc Leishman