Ranking the favorites, 1 through 94

Updated: April 7, 2004, 3:17 PM ET
By John Antonini | Golf World

Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have yet to win a Masters. Look for one of them to break through this time. They have long been among the favorites to win the Masters, but something always has gone wrong.


Last year Els got off to the best start of his career, hurt himself on a punching bag in March, then opened the Masters with a 79.

Mickelson, despite concerns about the troubled pregnancy of his wife, Amy, finished third for the third straight time.

But 2004 is a healthier and happier year. Els, a habitual world traveler, cut back his schedule by skipping Singapore and La Costa - as well as his sparring - in an effort to be strong for the Masters. Mickelson has concentrated on improving his accuracy and his wedge game, signs he is motivated to win a major.

Which one of them will win the Masters? Sorry Ernie, our choice is Phil.

Name Comment
1. Phil Mickelson Working on his accuracy and short game has produced results. His percentage of fairways hit has improved from 49.0 to 61.1 percent and his GIR from 64.8 to 70.9. The first man since Tom Watson (1977-79) with three straight top-threes at the Masters should make his fourth consecutive such finish worthy of a green jacket.
2. Ernie Els Had he gotten through 2003's muddy first round in 72 (not 79) , his final total would've been a shot better than Mike Weir's. Had 30-event cut streak snapped at Bay Hill.
3. Adam Scott Has finished at par or better in six of eight rounds at the Masters. If he can putt like he did on the final hole at Sawgrass, Scott will be a threat to win at Augusta.
4. Darren Clarke Exercise and diet have him in better condition than 2003 when he opened 66-76 during 36-hole Friday marathon. Has three top-10 finishes in 2004.
5. Tiger Woods Claims he is close to putting it all together, but the reality is he has little idea where he is hitting the ball and is relying on making long putts to post scores.
6. Vijay Singh Hit 57 greens in regulation during his win in 2000; just 46, 51 and 46 the last three years. Hasn't been heard from much since his tour top-10 streak ended.
7. David Toms The sore left wrist that kept him inactive until the Nissan Open has healed, as witnessed by top-10s at the Match Play and the Ford Championship at Doral.
8. Padraig Harrington He has played only five times this year, but the TPC runner-up is ready for Augusta. He has finished in the top 20 in 10 of 23 career majors.
9. Mike Weir Hit fewer greens in regulation (38) than any winner since the tournament began keeping stats in 1986. Already repeated at one event in 2004 - the Nissan Open.
10. Chad Campbell Bay Hill champion has improved his game so much since a 77-77 debut at the '03 Masters that he must be considered a favorite in any event he enters.
11. Davis Love III Hampered by a balky back at the Players Championship. If it continues to bother him, Love will be hard-pressed to add to his five top-10s at Augusta.
12. Tim Clark Played well on tough tracks in 2003 (Pebble Beach, Sawgrass, Augusta National, Oak Hill) and has two top-10s thus far in 2004.
13. Brad Faxon New Englander had improved his position on the weekend in three straight Masters before a third-round 79 a year ago dropped him out of contention.
14. Kenny Perry A second-round 82 at Mirasol was his worst on tour since a third-round 78 at last year's Masters. Since then: T-15 at Bay Hill and T-3 at the Players.
15. Retief Goosen Was 10 under par or better in eight straight PGA events pre-Bay Hill. Went from T-16 in Masters putting in '02 (when he finished second) to T-43 in '03.
16. Fredrik Jacobson Best bet for top rookie. Course favors his strength (putting); doesn't overly punish his weakness (accuracy). Has three PGA Tour top-10s in '04.
17. Jerry Kelly Was T-20 as a Masters rookie in 2002 and 48th a year ago. Based on his current play, the Wisconsin native is a good bet to better those finishes this year.
18. Chris DiMarco Withdrawal after shooting 16 over for 35 holes a year ago was an anomaly. His scoring average in eight previous rounds was 70.75.
19. Jose Maria Olazabal Two-time winner (1994, 1999) has a 71.55 scoring average at the Masters, best for anyone with more than 50 rounds in the tournament.
20. Chris Riley One of the best putters on tour, Riley was in the top 10 in putts and fairways hit while finishing T-23 in his Masters debut last year.
21. Thomas Bjorn Playing two tours in 2004 with some success. Has two top-fives on Euro circuit and one on the PGA Tour. Missed the '03 Masters because his wife had twins.
22. Angel Cabrera The only player other than Woods to finish the tournament with an average drive of 300 yards or more since '98. Had top-10s in '01 and '02; was T-15 in '03.
23. Fred Couples Final-round 77 was his worst in the Masters since 1996. Has made the cut 19 straight times, but hasn't finished higher than 26th in the last three years.
24. Justin Leonard Shot rounds of 82-73 a year ago to miss his first Masters cut as a professional. Second on tour in putting average in 2003, he has fallen to 109th in 2004.
25. Paul Casey Long-hitting Englishman has some solid stats on the Euro Tour (12th in distance, fifth in GIR) but a weak mark in majors: made only one cut, a 66th at 2003 PGA.
26. Robert Allenby Hitting the ball longer with less accuracy than ever before, which isn't necessarily bad at Augusta. Has only two sub-par rounds there, but has made three of four cuts. Statistical combination: Second on tour in driving distance and third in putting.
27. John Daly Buick Invitational champ lands the invite he dearly coveted; sports a distinct statistical combination: Second on tour in driving distance and third in putting.
28. Stewart Cink Has never shot better than 74 in round one but has four top-30 finishes in six Masters. Consistent in 2004; no missed cuts, four top-20 finishes.
29. Nick Price One of the greatest players never to win the Masters. He shares the tournament scoring record (63 in '86) and has finished in the top 25 two years running.
30. Craig Parry Doral title earned him a Masters spot, where he has made the cut six of seven times. T-36 at Honda and Saturday 64 at Players suggest he's holding form.
31. Stuart Appleby May be in recovery mode post rough finish at Bay Hill. Had a Masters-record 50-straight holes of par or better in 2001, one of just two times he's made the cut.
32. Charles Howell III Dearly wants to win his hometown event. Tie for 15th at Bay Hill was his best finish of the year, but he missed the cut at Sawgrass after rounds of 75-75.
33. Bernhard Langer Expect the European Ryder Cup captain to rebound from his first Masters MC in 21 years. He has two top-10s at Augusta since his second title in '93.
34. Stephen Leaney Masters rookie has shown an inclination to contend at big events (runner-up in the '03 U.S. Open, semifinalist at the '04 Match Play).
35. Nick Faldo Three-time champ has led or tied for the tournament lead in fairways hit the last two years. His three wins are his only top-10s at the Masters.
36. Sergio Garcia Always gets waylaid by a disastrous round. He has never finished a Masters without at least one 75 or worse.
37. Ian Poulter Hair color aside, the Englishman is confident enough to think he'll contend in any tournament, and won't be intimidated by Augusta National.
38. Mark O'Meara Can -- The Saw -- cut it at Augusta National? Win at Dubai was a good sign. Pre-Saw, he tied for Masters lead in putting in '03.
39. Kirk Triplett Second on tour in accuracy; fourth in GIR. Best Masters finish: T-6 in '01, a year in which he had three top-10s in majors, his only top-10s in Grand Slam events.
40. Scott Verplank After missing six straight Masters cuts, he has finished 43rd and T-8 the last two years. Off to a great start in 2004 with three top-10s in six events.
41. Rocco Mediate One of six players to make the cut in the last five Masters. Best finish in that span: T-15 in '01. Withdrew from the Players because of a bad back.
42. Briny Baird Hits a ton of greens in regulation (second on tour last year, 16th in '04), always a plus at Augusta. He has made the cut in eight of nine starts this year.
43. K.J. Choi Shot 76 in the first round as a rookie last year, but recovered with second-round 69 and went on to finish T-15. Finished T-4 at Pebble and T-5 at Doral earlier in '04.
44. Jeff Maggert Hard-luck final round last year, but nevertheless tied Mark O'Meara for fewest putts - 101 - the best-ever total over Augusta's daunting greens.
45. Shigeki Maruyama First-round average of 75.8 in six events explains a so-so Masters record (three cuts, no top-10s). Best finish: T-14, 2002.
46. Jeff Sluman He hasn't contended at Augusta recently, but he has made 13 cuts in 15 Masters with seven top-25s. Renowned short hitter is averaging 277 yards per drive in '04.
47. Len Mattiace His Sunday 65 a year ago was one off the tournament mark for lowest final-round score. Didn't make his '04 debut till Honda because of a knee injury.
48. Nick Flanagan U.S. Amateur champ has the most current experience in pro events among '04 amateurs. He finished T-3 in the ANZ Championship in February.
49. Bob Estes World-class tinkerer has missed four cuts already in 2004, one more than he missed all last year. Why? His driving accuracy has gone from 68.7% to 54.2%.
50. Colin Montgomerie Come from behind victory against a weak field in the Caltex Masters in Singapore was a confidence boost for the beleaguered Scot.
Others: 51 -- Jay Haas 52 -- John Rollins 53 -- Justin Rose 54 -- Todd Hamilton 55 -- Steve Flesch 56 -- Jonathan Kaye 57 -- Trevor Immelman 58 -- Phillip Price 59 -- Shaun Micheel 60 -- Fred Funk 61 -- Alex Cejka 62 -- Peter Lonard 63 -- Jonathan Byrd 64 -- Eduardo Romero 65 -- Rich Beem 66 -- BobTway 67 -- Brian Davis 68 -- J.L. Lewis 69 -- Tim Herron 70 -- Craig Perks 71 -- Paul Lawrie 72 -- Toshi Izawa 73 -- Ben Curtis 74 -- Michael Campbell 75 -- David Duval 76 -- Tim Petrovic 77 -- Casey Wittenberg 78 -- Craig Stadler 79 -- Tom Watson 80 -- Larry Mize 81 -- Lian-wei Zhang 82 -- Nathan Smith 83 -- Brandt Snedeker 84 -- Ian Woosnam 85 -- Sandy Lyle 86 -- Fuzzy Zoeller 87 -- Jack Nicklaus 88 -- Gary Wolstenholme 89 -- Ben Crenshaw 90 -- Raymond Floyd 91 -- Gary Player 92 -- Charles Coody 93 -- Arnold Palmer 94 -- Tommy Aaron

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