The first golf major championship of 2023 is upon us, as the very best players from across the world descend on Augusta National Golf Club for the 2023 Masters.

This tournament will feature golfers from the PGA Tour, Asian Tour, European Tour and controversial LIV Golf across four days, starting with the first round on Thursday 6 April, through to the final round on Sunday 9 April.

The 2022 winner Scottie Scheffler is among the bookmakers favourites for the Green Jacket this year, alongside Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth. Golfers like Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau are all given a good chance too, while Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns and Cameron Young are all expected to place in and around the top 10.

Here, we look over the need-to-know facts and stats ahead of Thursday’s opening round.

2023 Masters Preview Facts

●             This is the 87th edition of the Masters. Nearly three quarters of Green Jackets have been won by American golfers (73%, 63 out of 86), with Spain and South Africa joint-second (five wins each).

●             Since the introduction of The Masters in 1934, only one year has failed to produce a single American major winner (1994).

●             Jack Nicklaus holds the record for most wins at The Masters (six), ahead of Tiger Woods (five). Woods is the youngest player to wear the Green Jacket (21 years, 104 days) whilst Nicklaus is the oldest – he was 46 years and 82 days old when he won his last major and Green Jacket in 1986.

●             Only two of the last 27 majors have been won by a non-European/US golfer: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama at the 2021 Masters and Australian Cameron Smith at last year’s Open Championship.

●             A win at the Masters would see Rory McIlroy become only the sixth golfer in history to secure a career Grand Slam, after – in chronological order – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. He’s had a top 10 leaderboard finish in seven of the last nine Masters tournaments, more than anyone else over that period.

●             Rory McIlroy’s last major victory was the 2014 USPGA Championship – he’s won none of the subsequent 30 majors he’s appeared in, his longest drought.

●             Rory McIlroy was the only golfer to secure a Top 10 at all four of last year’s major tournaments (second at The Masters, eighth at the USPGA, T5 at the US Open and third at the Open Championship).

●             Only one of the last nine Masters tournaments has been decided by a play-off (Sergio Garcia, vs. Justin Rose in 2017). A play-off had been required in three of the previous five editions.

●             Tiger Woods’ first major victory was at Augusta, 26 years ago (1997); since then, he’s won nine more majors than anyone else over the same period (Woods: 15, Mickelson: six).

●             The Masters is the only major in which Tiger Woods has always made the cut as a professional (22 out of 22). He’s secured a top five finish in 55% of those appearances (12 out of 22), winning the title on five occasions.

●             Defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has secured a top 10 finish in six of his last 10 major tournament appearances. Since 2020, only Rory McIlroy has had more top 10s (seven).

●             Scottie Scheffler will attempt to become the first golfer since Tiger Woods to win back-to-back Green Jackets (2001-2002); the only other golfers to have achieved that feat are Jack Nicklaus (1965-1966) and Nick Faldo (1989-1990).

●             Collin Morikawa has more top five major finishes than any other golfer since 2020 – the California native has secured fifth place or better in five of his last 11 major tournament appearances.

2023 Masters Stats

●             Cameron Smith and Corey Conners are the only players to have secured a Top 10 in each of the last three Masters tournaments. Smith will attempt to become only the second Australian to win the Green Jacket, after Adam Scott in 2013. Conners, meanwhile, warmed up for his sixth app at the event with victory in the Valero Texas Open

●             Will Zalatoris is 12 under par across the last two Masters tournaments (-9 in 2021, -3 in 2022), the best score to par in that period ahead of Scottie Scheffler (-11).

●             2022 was the first year since 2013 in which Brooks Koepka didn’t make the top 10 at a major. His best finish was 55th (T-55th PGA Championship & 55th at the US Open). A win at The Masters would see him complete the ‘grand slam’ of US major tournaments and sit alongside Byron Nelson and Ray Floyd as the only golfers to win all three US majors but not The Open Championship.

●             2022 was the first year since 2017 in which Jon Rahm didn’t make the top 10 at a major. However, he’s finished 10th or better in four of his last five visits at Augusta.

●             Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka currently hold four major victories. Among the current active golfers, only Tiger Woods (15) and Phil Mickelson (six) boast more major titles.

●             Since winning the Masters in 2020, Dustin Johnson has missed the cut in 50% of the majors played on US soil (three out of six), never finishing higher than 12th.

●             Max Homa is the most improved player in 2023 among the current Top 10 in the world, having climbed 12 places this year from 17th to fifth.

●             Patrick Cantlay (Low Amateur in 2012), Bryson DeChambeau (Low Amateur in 2016) and Viktor Hovland (Low Amateur in 2019) will each attempt to become only the eighth golfer to win both Low Amateur and a Green Jacket at Augusta, after Cary Middlecoff, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Hideki Matsuyama.

●             Bubba Watson has only had three top 10s in his 44 major appearances since 2011 – all three have come at Augusta, including his two Green Jackets (2012, 2014).

●             Fuzzy Zoeller is the last player to win the Masters at the first attempt, doing so in 1979.

●             Only three 40+ year-old golfers have won a major on US soil in the 21st century: Vijay Singh (2004 USPGA Championship: age 41), Tiger Woods (2019 Masters: age 43) and Phil Mickelson (2021 USPGA Championship: age 50).

●     A host of former winners will take their place in the field, including Patrick Reed (2018), Danny Willett (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Charl Schwartzel (2011). Louis Oosthuizen will be hoping to better his 2012 performance where he lost in a sudden-death playoff to Bubba Watson to finish as runner-up.

●   Other players to keep your eye on this week include last year’s third-place finisher Shane Lowry, Cameron Champ, Billy Horschel and Tom Hoge, as well as LIV Golf challengers Thomas Pieters, Joaquin Niemann and Abraham Ancer.

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