Masters: European chances

Why Tiger fears Jose-Maria Olazabal

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 10 Apr 2002

Eighteen Europeans challenge to win the Masters jacket tomrrow (Thursday), but who has the best opportunity to claim a piece of history. Bob Warters, seven times a visitor to the US Masters, assesses their chances.

The Europeans

Seve Ballesteros (1000/1): Twice a winner in 1980 and ’83 but, sadly, now talks a better game than he plays. Will show all his trickery around the greens but with accuracy and length at a premium he’ll struggle to make the cut.

Thomas Bjorn (100/1): After his performance in the BellSouth Classic last week, on similar greens, his price seems incredibly generous. Has enough coolness to last the pace – but a winner? Nah!

Darren Clarke - fifth appearance.

Darren Clarke (50/1): His fifth appearance at Augusta but never done better than 8th in his debut. Has the length to cope with the extra yards, but lacks the finesse to keep his head on lightning greens.

Nick Faldo (100/1): Horses for courses and with three wins here (1989, ’90, ‘96) will grind out a score as he showed in the Players Championship. Has missed the cut in four of last five visits…top 10 maybe.

Niclas Fasth (125/1): Making his debut and would have done his homework. His confidence and strength of mind can get him a top 15 and return visit.

Sergio Garcia (15/1): Never higher than 38th in three visits, though will relish the atmosphere and adulation. His aggressive, fearless play may be his undoing in the final throes on Sunday’s back nine.

Nick Faldo - grinding a score.

Padraig Harrington (65/1): Loves the place and will be at home with the extra length and short game required. Unfazed by the atmosphere and will be on Garcia’s heels, come Sunday.

Michael Hoey (500/1): The amateur champion’s goals will be to be the first British or Irish amateur to make the cut since Peter McEvoy. Has played the course twice – and could just do it.

Miguel Angel Jimenez (150/1): A good each-way price, having finished tenth last year. The extra length may prove his achilles heel, however.

Bernhard Langer (66/1): Making his 20th appearance, having previously won it twice (1985, ’93) and had three other top tens. Current form a bit dodgy. Will do well to make it to the weekend.

Paul Lawrie (150/1): Great swing – a model for all amateurs, but living on past glory. In first group tomorrow; best he can do is first group on Sunday.

Sandy Lyle (251/1): Memories of 1988 can never be erased but Sandy’s in the next group of players to be approached with the question: "Are you sure you really want to play?"

Paul McGinley (150/1): His first Masters and will strut his stuff with that bouncy stride. His goal will be a top-15 and an invite next year.

Colin Montgomerie (65/1): He says he’s never putted better than with a club stuck in his belly button. His first major won’t be this week – if ever. Top-20 at best.

Jose Maria Olazabal (20/1): Tiger fears the Spaniard more than anyone, here. He won’t give up and will gnaw away at the leaders until the last putt. Twice a winner (1994, ’99), he’s got the game and the spirit – a little luck could tip it his way.

Jesper Parnevik (50/1): It’s showtime! The Swede’s punchy, aggressive ball flight doesn’t suit Augusta’s non-spin greens but he’ll make the cut with some style.

Lee Westwood (100-1): What a disappointment he’s been. Seems to lack the attitude these days and again going along for the ride. Don’t expect to be glued to his exploits at the weekend.

Ian Woosnam - distracted by injury.

Ian Woosnam (125/1): Suffering with injury, and when Woosie’s mood is distracted, he’s unlikely to reproduce the form that won him his only major here in 1991.

The best of the rest
Tiger Woods (3/1): Can’t believe the high expectation won’t get to him, especially with the course lengthened to prevent him making a mockery. But he’s been working towards this and he can only beat himself. Winner by three.

Ernie Els (13/1): Quietly working hard and resting. He wants this green jacket badly and will be Tiger’s nearest challenger, alongside Garcia.

Phil Mickelson (13-1): I’m sorry, but he ain’t got what it takes – patience.

David Duval - a good chance.

Retief Goosen (20/1): Along with David Duval (20/1)and Vijay Singh (17/1) has a good chance but his focus is on successfully defending his US Open in June.

Scott Verplank (80-1): Has yet to make the cut in six visits but his driving accuracy and putting this year make him suited to do well. Kenny Perry (100-1), with his quality greens in regulation and all round driving, also make him a top six candidate.

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