Themes of the 2013 Masters: Part Three

As the opening major of the year approaches, Dan Murphy outlines eight key storylines - including the suggestion that this could be Ian Poulter's year

7. Lee Westwood’s total career change

Lee Westwood will turn 40 the week after the Masters. Clearly, the clock is ticking in terms of his remaining time as a world-class player. Even Vijay Singh has slowed down in his late 40s (Deer Antler Spray notwithstanding) and no-one has historically worked harder than thesuper-fit Fijian. So perhaps we should not be surprised that Westwood has decided to gamble at this stage of his career and move to America.

Not only that, he has rejoined the PGA Tour and has a new caddy and coach. It could work and in many ways it is a brave move. You can well imagine Westwood’s frustrations – in at least four Majors he has categorically been the best player that week from tee to green yet failed to come out on top in any of them.

So why not throw the dice? Well, it may just add a little pressure when he drives up Magnolia Lane. We shall see.
We should not be surprised that Westwood has decided to gamble at this stage of his career and move to America. 8. Returning Els and the South Africans

This time last season Ernie Els wasn’t even in the field at Augusta. He will arrive this year as the reigning Open champion. He is part of a small but formidable looking South African contingent that also includes the 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel, the 2008 winner Trevor Immelman, Branden Grace and last year’s runner-up, Louis Oosthuizen.

The South Africans have had great success here in recent years and it is hard to imagine that at least one of them won’t be prominent coming down the stretch this year.

Remember when…?

James Tompkinson charts past Masters

15 years ago

It should have been Fred Couples’ second Masters title – but ended up being Mark O’Meara’s first Major.

The former dominated for three days… while the latter opened with a miserable 74 before a steady comeback on Friday and Saturday spectacularly culminated with birdies at 15, 17 and 18 on Sunday to win. Jack Nicklaus was 6th, aged 58.

Read Part One HERE.
Read Part Two HERE.
The 2013 Masters: Preview

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