Golf Glance: Elite field collides as Masters kicks off majors season

PGA TOUR

LAST TOURNAMENT: Valero Texas Open, San Antonio, April 4-7 (Akshay Bhatia)

THIS WEEK: The Masters, Augusta, Ga., April 11-14

Course: Augusta National (Par 72, 7,555 yards)

Purse: TBA

Defending Champion: Jon Rahm

FedEx Cup Leader: Scottie Scheffler

HOW TO FOLLOW

TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN); Saturday, 3-7 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (CBS)

X: @TheMasters

NOTES: Scheffler enters the Masters as the top-ranked player in the world and the FedEx Cup standings leader for the second time in three years. He went on to win in 2022. … Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods is in the field as he seeks to set a record with a 24th consecutive cut made at Augusta. He currently shares the record of 23 with Fred Couples. He is also seeking to break the record of 82 career PGA Tour victories he shares with Sam Snead and equal Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters titles. However, he has withdrawn from three of his previous six starts, with a best finish of T45 during that span. … Rahm is one of 13 LIV Golf players in this week’s 89-player field. … Bhatia earned the final spot with his playoff victory at the Valero Texas Open. … Ludvig Aberg is making his major championship debut. He has a win and six additional top-10s through his first 19 starts on the PGA Tour. Only three players have won in their Masters debut, most recently Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

BEST BETS: Scheffler (+400 at BetMGM) has won two of his past three starts and finished T2 in the other. He has multiple wins entering the Masters for the third consecutive year, the longest such stretch since Tiger Woods did so from 2005-08. … Rory McIlroy (+1100) is seeking his first Masters victory and his first major title since 2014, which would also make him the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam. He finished second to Scheffler at the ’22 Masters. … Jon Rahm (+1200) is playing in his first 72-hole event since signing with LIV Golf in December. He holds the longest active streak with 17 consecutive cuts made in majors. … Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) was the 2021 Masters champion and enters the week having finished T12 or better in four consecutive starts, including a win at the Genesis. … Brooks Koepka (+2000) held the 54-hole lead last year before the five-time major champion settled for a T2. … Wyndham Clark (+3000) is the reigning U.S. Open champion and is ranked fourth in the world, but he is also making his Masters debut.

NEXT TOURNAMENT: RBC Heritage, Hilton Head Island, S.C., April 18-21

LPGA Tour

LAST TOURNAMENT: T-Mobile Match Play (Nelly Korda)

THIS WEEK: OFF.

Race to the CME Globe leader: Korda

NEXT TOURNAMENT: The Chevron Championship, The Woodlands, Texas, April 18-21

PGA Tour Champions

LAST TOURNAMENT: The Galleri Classic (Retief Goosen)

THIS WEEK: OFF.

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Steven Alker

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Invited Celebrity Classic, Irving, Texas, April 19-21

LIV Golf League

LAST TOURNAMENT: Miami, April 5-7 (Individual: Dean Burmester; Team: Legion XIII)

THIS WEEK: OFF

2024 Leaders: Players, Juaquin Niemann; Team, Crushers GC

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Adelaide, Australia, April 26-28