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Golfers Gear Up for Florida as Countdown to Augusta Looms

Countdown to Augusta Looms – With the first major championship of 2024 now just 50 days away, the top golfers in the world have descended upon Florida looking to round into form ahead of the Masters. From former champions to rising young stars, there is no shortage of storylines to follow over the next month. As fans and analysts alike pour over performances, premier online betting platforms are buzzing with predictions and odds, making this an exciting time for both viewers and bettors. Here is a look at how the current top 10 golfers are playing, what to watch for, and what it might mean for their chances at Augusta National. 

Scottie Schefflerr – The Enigmatic Leader

The world #1 and reigning Masters champion has had mediocre results so far in 2024, struggling mightily with the putter. After five West Coast starts produced no finish better than T3, Scheffler heads to Florida still searching for his first win since last year’s Masters triumph. The good news is he continues to hit the ball beautifully from tee to green.

Countdown to Augusta Looms: Xander Schauffele – The Quiet Contender

Sliding into the #2 ranking after a remarkably steady West Coast swing, Xander Schauffele continues to be one of the most consistent stars in the game. With four top 10s in his last four stroke-play starts, Schauffele’s ball-striking and scrambling are as dialed in as ever. Still, like Scheffler, Schauffele is lacking the key piece to return to the winner’s circle – his normally superb putting has abandoned him in recent outings..

III. Rory McIlroy – The Search for Consistency

After bookending 2023 with wins, Rory McIlroy seemed poised to pick up right where he left off after a runner-up and victory in January’s DP World Tour events. But two disappointing West Coast starts have halted McIlroy’s momentum somewhat. Though still 2nd in the world on the strength of last season, McIlroy was plagued in California by loose drives and inconsistent iron play leading to sloppy scoring holes.

Jon Rahm – The LIV Enigma

The fiery Spaniard slipped to 3rd in the world rankings after opting to join LIV Golf, costing him crucial ranking points he almost certainly would have accrued by continuing to dominate on the PGA Tour. Though far from his scintillating best, Rahm snagged a pair of top 10 finishes in LIV’s early 2024 events. With ferocious length and short-game magic still at his disposal, Rahm seems capable of capturing that elusive first Green Jacket any given week.  

Viktor Hovland – The Search for Form

On the heels of a breakthrough 2023 season, ascending star Viktor Hovland was expected to pick up right where he left off in the new year. Instead, Hovland is mired in an alarming early-season slump. His vaunted ball-striking has waned while surprisingly poor putting and wedge play have plagued recent outings, leading Hovland to withdraw mid-tournament in Phoenix citing health concerns. Still youthful and uber-talented, Hovland should bounce back in due time. 

Patrick Cantlay – The Mixed Bag

The mercurial Cantlay can look downright unbeatable one round and totally out-of-sorts the next, lacking any rhyme or reason for his rollercoaster play. So it was again on the West Coast, where despite three top 15 finishes, Cantlay’s inability to string together consistent rounds resulted in two shocking missed cuts sprinkled in as well. Raw talent has never been the question for Cantlay – it’s consistently channeling his immense gifts where he repeatedly falls just short.   

VII. Collin Morikawa – The Quiet Achiever

Despite top-20 finishes in three of four West Coast stars, former PGA Champion Collin Morikawa remains apolarizing figure in the upper echelon of pro golf. No one questions his spectacular ball-striking and course management, especially with an iron in hand. But Morikawa’s lack of length off the tee makes him almost completely dependent on stellar approach play. 

VIII. Tommy Fleetwood – The Resilient Competitor

Ever a threat when conditions demand supreme ball-striking, Tommy Fleetwood’s game has perked up noticeably in early 2024 after winning January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC. With four consecutive worldwide top 15s under his belt, Fleetwood’s elite iron play and deft scrambling have him poised to translate his frequent contention into more victories if the putter holds steady.  

Sam Burns – The Consistent Performer

Emerging as perhaps the hottest golfer over the last month, Sam Burns remarkably snagged four straight top-10 finishes amidst the loaded West Coast fields. Clearly playing the best golf of his career at age 27, Burns now sets aim on breakthrough wins in his home state of Florida, where his awesome power and deceptively silky short game should shine. Still seeking a maiden major championship appearance, Burns boasts the well-rounded game that could surprise at Augusta, if he qualifies. 

Tyrrell Hatton – The Underrated Talent

Temperamental Englishman Tyrrell Hatton has flashed world-beating form through the years when his mood and game align. The early returns so far in 2024 are quite promising then after Hatton snagged consecutive top 15 finishes in LIV Golf’s lucrative events. Crediting improved mental focus and short-game rhythm, Hatton seems primed to record best-ever Masters result this April on the heels of this renewed consistency. 

As the road to the Masters nears its final leg, the coming month in Florida represents the last chance for the game’s premier golfers to round into peak form. With early season trends hinting at a highly competitive landscape, those interested in golf betting picks should pay close attention, as we could be in for the most wide-open and unpredictable Masters Sunday in recent memory. For the top contenders, now is the crucial moment to find that missing piece before arriving at Augusta’s hallowed grounds.