There may be no better opportunity for a first-time winner to take home the Masters crown this year. "Many of the past champions aren't in good form, so watch out for the guys that haven't won or performed well at Augusta before," says CBS golf analyst Ian Baker-Finch. Young guns such as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa and Jason Day "have no fear — they feel they can win," golf's most prestigious tournament Baker-Finch says. "They're not going to be too awed by Augusta National." Neither are the players who are "getting towards the twilight of their careers. There's a whole bunch of guys around 40 years of age that are looking for that elusive major: Lee Westwood, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, Steve Stricker and Stuart Appleby." Matt Kuchar, at age 32, also could be due for a breakthrough. But don't count out four-time Masters champ Tiger Woods. "He needs more confidence to perform well at a major," Baker-Finch says, "but will dig deep and contend."
The Masters begins today with the Par-3 contest (3/2c on ESPN). ESPN will have the first two rounds of play, Thursday and Friday, beginning at 3/2c. CBS takes over on Saturday (3:30/2:30c) and Sunday (2/1c). There will also be online streaming video of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th holes, as well as select pairs throughout the tournament, beginning Thursday at 10:45am/9:45c, at cbssports.com.
The Golf Channel doesn't air of the actual competition, but is going full tilt this week with more than 50 hours of coverage from Augusta, including daily episodes of its live show Morning Drive (beginning at 6am/5c on Thursday and Friday; 7am/6c on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) and Live From the Masters (complete listings at golfchannel.com).
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