Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

No women's Masters in Augusta National's future, says chairman

No women's Masters in Augusta National's future, says chairman

"I've seen him do things with a golf ball and perform at a level higher than anything I've seen in the game". He will look to defend his title this year against a field that includes Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and 2017 champion Sergio Garcia.

The last 43-year-old to win the Masters was Ben Crenshaw in 1995, while the oldest Masters champion was Nicklaus, who put the gloss on his illustrious major career with a sixth Green Jacket at the age of 46 in 1986.

"I think I was really heartened by our staff and the way that our staff really was motivated and inspired by this effort", he said.

"It proved to me I could win again", he said of his wire-to-wire victory in Atlanta.

"He'll be licking his lips about the four golf courses at the four majors this year and I'll be really, really surprised if he doesn't win another major in the next couple of years".

The 83 edition of the tournament gets underway on Thursday at its traditional home of Augusta, Georgia, and Woods' group will be the 15 out on the course of the Augusta National Golf Club on the opening day.

"I mean, it was a long year, but we had an opportunity to win at Shinnecock (at the U.S. Open)".

A shaky final-round performance doomed McIlroy to a fifth-place finish at last year's Masters.

Nowhere does the Tiger mystique hang over an event more than at the Masters.

Since putting himself on the brink of the grand slam when he won the 2014 Open Championship, McIlroy has struggled to properly contend despite finishing in the top 10 each time. He's been forced to watch on as a host of players from his era have been showered in major success, instead settling for eight top-5 finishes, four of which were accumulated consecutively in 2014, while at last year's Masters he finished one shot behind victor Patrick Reed.

The Masters, which began in 1934 on a new course on the site of a former fruit nursery, is the youngest of golf's majors but as the only one at the same venue every year it has built up its own unique traditions.

World number one Justin Rose and second-ranked Dustin Johnson will be aiming to bulk up resumes highlighted by one US Open win apiece and fourth-ranked Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open and PGA Champion, has a chance to become the third golfer of the modern era to capture three of four consecutive majors.

The Masters is a different kettle of fish but what a sensational story it would be if he was to stand alone at the summit come Sunday...

McIlroy added: "I think I've found a formula that works for me, and I'm going to persist with it and I'm going to stick to it".

A final-round 64 to finish third behind Reed a year ago showed Spieth can plot his way around even when he isn't at his best.

Then there's the powerful Johnson himself, a two-time victor already this year with a best of fourth at Augusta.

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