The Five Players to Watch at the Masters

No golfer has repeated as the champion of the Masters Tournament, which begins on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club, since Tiger Woods successfully defended his crown in 2002.

Such is the challenge facing Spain’s Jon Rahm, who closed with a 69 last year to secure his second major title. He also won the 2021 United States Open.

Rahm, who signed with LIV Golf in late 2023, will be one of the favorites.

Here are five other players to watch:

Scottie Scheffler

The strong favorite will be Scheffler, who is so precise from tee to green. When he is making putts, as he’s been doing lately, he seems unbeatable.

Ranked No. 1 in the world, Scheffler turned in a six-under 66 in the final round to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month. One week later, he shot an eight-under 64 to rally to win his second consecutive Players Championship, which no player had done since the tournament — considered the unofficial fifth major — began in 1974.

The true test of his greatness, however, will depend on how he fares in the official majors. Scheffler, 27, who tied for second in March at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, has one major title, the Masters in 2022.

Credit…Jon Ferrey/Liv Golf/LIVGO, via Associated Press

Brooks Koepka

Koepka, 33, made a run at the green jacket last year before faltering with a final-round 75 to tie for second, four strokes behind Rahm.

The next month, he took the P.G.A. Championship, his fifth major. One more and he’ll match the total of Phil Mickelson, Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo.

Koepka said his inability to close the deal at Augusta National last year helped pave the way for his win at the P.G.A.

“I think failure is how you learn,” he told reporters at the P.G.A. “You get better from it. You realize what mistakes you’ve made.”

Credit…Doug Defelice/LIVGO, via Associated Press

Phil Mickelson

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