2018 Masters preview, tee times, predictions, analysis

Can Tiger Woods really compete for his 15th major title?
Tiger Woods (Photo: Getty Images)

The 2018 Masters has some juice to it.

 

Most notably because it seems to be shaping up as a battle between the 40-something monsters of the game (Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson), the 30-something veterans (Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson) and the young guns (Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and others).

 

The generational divides have coalesed to bring something for everyone at Augusta National this week — with things teeing off Thursday morning — and could make for one of the most viewed and anticipated Masters in years.

 

Of course, this all begins and ends with Woods.

 

The 42-year-old will play in his first Masters since 2015 and is preparing hard. Before a jovial practice round with Mickelson Tuesday, Woods reportedly practiced at Augusta twice last month. His game is reinvigorated, as he seems to be firing on all cylendars after impressive showings at the Valspar Championship and and Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He has become a betting favorite in Las Vegas.

“He's got a great chance," McIlroy — a golfer missing only the Masters from his grand slam resume, said. "Look at how he's played the last few weeks. He's had four wins here. He's very comfortable around this golf course, and his game is right there. Any time Tiger Woods is healthy and in this sort of form, he's dangerous at any golf tournament. But given his history here, I think even more so.”

Mickelson, too, is playing well. He's finished routinely in the top 10 this year with a win in Mexico and second at Pebble Beach. The duo will command massive galleries this weekend.

As will the younger guys. Sergio Garcia is seeking to defend his title while Spieth is still chasing the green jacket he let slip away a few years ago. McIlroy has won this season — in dominating fashion, as has Watson, Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Justin Rose.

It's an impressive ledger of winners to be sure. If any of them can "upset" Tiger and capture a second win on the year will be an understandably tough task.

Here are the tee times for the first two rounds of the 2018 Masters:

Thursday/Friday Tee Times (all times ET)

8:30 a.m./11:15 a.m. -- Austin Cook, Ted Potter, Jr., Wesley Bryan

8:41 a.m./11:26 a.m. -- Ian Woosnam, Ryan Moore, Jhonattan Vegas

8:52 a.m./11:37 a.m. -- Mike Weir, Brendan Steele, Matt Parziale (a)

9:03 a.m./11:48 a.m. -- Jose Maria Olazabal, Kevin Chappell, Dylan Frittelli

9:14 a.m./11:59 a.m. -- Bryson DeChambeau, Bernd Wiesberger, Matthew Fitzpatrick

9:25 a.m./12:10 p.m. -- Mark O'Meara, Brian Harman, Harry Ellis (a)

9:36 a.m./12:32 p.m. -- Vijay Singh, Satoshi Kodaira, Daniel Berger

9:47 a.m./12:43 p.m. -- Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Pat Perez, Francesco Molinari

9:58 a.m./12:54 p.m. -- Danny Willett, Kyle Stanley, Jason Dufner

10:09 a.m./1:05 p.m. -- Hideki Matsuyama, Patton Kizzire, Paul Casey

10:31 a.m./1:16 p.m. -- Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Branden Grace

10:42 a.m./1:27 p.m. -- Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood

10:53 a.m./1:38 p.m. -- Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Doc Redman (a)

11:04 a.m./1:49 p.m. -- Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day

11:15 a.m./2 p.m. -- Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman, Adam Hadwin

11:26 a.m./8:30 a.m. -- Billy Horschel, Chez Reavie, Cameron Smith

11:37 a.m./8:41 a.m. -- Sandy Lyle, Si Woo Kim, Doug Ghim (a)

11:48 a.m./8:52 a.m. -- Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, Patrick Cantlay

11:59 a.m./9:03 a.m. -- Angel Cabrera, Ross Fisher, Jimmy Walker

12:10 p.m./9:14 a.m. -- Fred Couples, Haotong Li, Joaquin Niemann (a)

12:32 p.m./9:25 a.m. -- Larry Mize, Russell Henley, Shubhankar Sharma

12:43 p.m./9:36 a.m. -- Bernhard Langer, Tony Finau, Yuta Ikeda

12:54 p.m./9:47 a.m. -- Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Yuxin Lin (a)

1:05 p.m./9:58 a.m. -- Kevin Kisner, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

1:16 p.m./10:09 a.m. -- Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

1:27 p.m./10:31 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar

1:38 p.m./10:42 a.m. -- Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

1:49 p.m./10:53 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen

2:00 p.m./11:04 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Rafa Cabrera Bello

 
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