Pulling on the green jacket at the Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most iconic moments in sport.

Last year Hideki Matsuyama held off Will Zalatoris to win the coveted green jacket by a singular shot.

The competitive field makes this year one of the hardest Masters to call in recent history.

Tiger Woods return already paves the way for a special weekend of golf.

Tommy Fleetwood

Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood will be looking to enter the conversation as a Masters contender.

However, his best performance came in 2018 when he finished tied 17th with Augusta proving a challenging course for the Merseyside golfer.

Last year, Fleetwood finished tied 47th after a disappointing final round where he shot 4 over par. Although there are plenty of positives to take.

Ex PGA Professional and Formby golfer Chris Witterick believes Fleetwood stands a good chance due to the course conditions at Augusta.

He said: “He is one of the best iron players in the game and Augusta suits a good iron player.

“If you can hit the greens, you leave yourself really good opportunities for birdies.

“A regular golfer on these greens would three put everything as the greens are just so fast.

“I feel he is not the most prolific putter but if he is in the right place he should be able to hole some puts.”

Ones to watch

Cameron Smith

Smith won the Players Championship last week and is the form golfer going into the competition.

The Australian has had some impressive finishes in the past coming tied 2nd in 2020.

“He is full of confidence at the minute, and he is always up there in recent competitions.

“I think he is great value for money and will get placed at the very least,” Witterick said.

Irish golfer Séamus Power is another one to watch. Witterick believes he is one who has gone under the radar.

“He has been doing a lot of practice with the likes of Rory McIlory and Shane Lowry. He has got a good chance and a real outside pick.”

Big Names

The new world number one Scottie Scheffler, on paper, will be the one to beat.

“He has won three out of his last five competitions so it will be interesting to see if he can translate that PGA form into a major,” Witterick said.

Brooks Koepka has four majors to his name winning both the US Open and PGA Championship.

Koepka from 2015-2019 improved his finishes year on year, finishing 2nd in 2019.

However, a leg injury in 2021 has stalled his pursuit of the green jacket with Koepka missing the cut for the first time in his career.

Witterick feels putting will be a big factor this week something Collin Morikawa has been criticised in the past for.

“I just wonder with the short puts if he has the ability to knock those ones in. At St George’s last year the greens were much slower when he won last,” he said.

Return of Woods

The five-time champion returns to competitive golf for his first event in 14 months following his car accident in February 2021.

The miracle performance of 2019 will live long in the memory of all golf fans when Woods was not tipped to win another major.

“I think if he makes the cut, it is a really big achievement and it would be great for golf.

“There will be some guys who have never got to play with him so it is great for them and will spur them,” Witterick said.

Although with a lot of the media attention on Woods this week it could help Rory McIlory with less focus on his failure to add the final major to his cabinet.

Tee Times

Due to thunderstorms tee times have been delayed with the golfers hopeful to get round one off to a strong start.

For all today’s and Friday’s (April 8) tee times, click here

(Featured image courtesy of tommyfleetwood.com)