Rahm bids to defend title with Scheffler and McIlroy among Masters contenders

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Rahm is bidding to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back green jackets.
Posted on
April 5, 2024
by
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Jon Rahm will defend his title when the 88th Masters takes place at Augusta National from April 11-14.

Rahm is bidding to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back green jackets after Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the main contenders for the year’s first major championship.

Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler
(Marta Lavandier/AP)

The 2022 champion has been in brilliant form in 2024, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots and seven days later becoming the first player to win back-to-back Players Championship titles at Sawgrass. Switching putters on the advice of Rory McIlroy has proved vital, although missed short putts did cost him a third straight win in the Houston Open. Rightly rated favourite for a second green jacket at the kind of odds previously only offered for peak-era Tiger Woods.

 

Jon Rahm

Getting started with much to sort
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Started last year with a four-putt double bogey on the first but still shot an opening 65 and ended up winning his second major title by four shots over LIV Golf duo Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. Remarkably returns to Augusta as a fellow member of the Saudi-backed breakaway, a shock move which ensures his competitive sharpness will be under scrutiny. Will be hoping Koepka and Mickelson proved last year that experience of the course is more important than current form.

 

Rory McIlroy

Dubai Desert Classic 2024 R3 - Rory McIlroy
(John Walton/PA)

McIlroy’s 10th attempt to win the Masters and complete a career grand slam comes on the back of some underwhelming form since winning in Dubai in January, although the world number two remains second favourite behind Scheffler. His recent record at Augusta National includes a thrilling final round of 64 in 2022 and two missed cuts and the four-time major winner is reportedly set to skip the pre-tournament par-three contest to fully focus on his bid to make history.

 

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele
(Lynne Sladky/AP)

Schauffele insisted the best was yet to come in his career after narrowly missing out on the Players Championship title, the Olympic champion taking a one-shot lead into the final round only to get overhauled by a charging Scheffler. Failing to get over the line perpetuated the belief in some circles that Schauffele has underachieved, although he has seven PGA Tour titles to go with his gold medal from Tokyo, along with 11 top-10 major finishes, including three in his last five starts at Augusta.

 

Ludvig Åberg

Ludvig Åberg(David Davies/PA)

Most golf fans are well aware of the statistic which makes Åberg appear an unlikely contender, namely that Fuzzy Zoeller was the last player to win the Masters on their tournament debut back in 1979. In addition, the Masters will be Åberg’s first appearance in any major, but the 24-year-old Swede has defied the odds since turning professional in June 2023, winning on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and justifying his wild card by helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup.

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