Player capsules for the 2010 Masters


A capsule look at 20 top players in the 74th Masters, starting Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia:


Tiger Woods

Age: 34

Country: United States

World ranking: 1

Worldwide victories: 82

Majors: Masters (4), U.S. Open (3), British Open (3), US PGA Championship (4).

Best Masters: In 1997, setting records as youngest champion (21), lowest score (270) and largest margin (12 shots).

Backspin: Historians always wondered how injuries, marriage, death of his father, or having children would affect his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus in the majors. No one ever mentioned the effect of a sex scandal that dominated the news during the last five months. He is playing for the first time since his incredible downfall through revelations of rampant infidelity.


Angel Cabrera

Age: 40

Country: Argentina

World ranking: 31

Worldwide victories: 19

Majors: Masters, U.S. Open

Best Masters: In 2009, in a span of five holes, he made a clutch birdie, saved par from a tree and won a sudden-death playoff.

Backspin: A threat at Augusta National even before he won, he returns to the Masters trying to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only repeat winners. The only difference? Cabrera has not won a tournament since slipping on the green jacket.


Kenny Perry

Age: 49

Country: United States

World ranking: 18

Worldwide victories: 14

Majors: None

Best Masters: On the verge of becoming golf’s oldest major champion, he had a two-shot lead with two holes to play in 2009 until making bogeys on the 17th and 18th and losing on the second hole of a playoff.

Backspin: Perry joined an elite list of most gracious losers in a major because of the way he handled himself after the Masters playoff. Among the best players who haven’t won a major. He has not finished in the top 30 since the season-opener at Kapalua, which had a 28-man field.


Ernie Els

Age: 40

Country: South Africa

World ranking: 7

Worldwide victories: 62

Majors: U.S. Open (2), British Open.

Best Masters: Preparing for a playoff in 2004 until he heard the roar for Phil Mickelson’s winning birdie putt on the 18th green.

Backspin: He ended the longest drought of his professional career with a four-shot victory at the CA Championship, and if he can keep putting like that, he should be a major factor. Working against him is scar tissue at Augusta National. The Masters has been cruel to him.

Steve Stricker

Age: 43

Country: United States

World ranking: 2

Worldwide victories: 7

Majors: None

Best Masters: Tied for sixth in 2009 for his best finish.

Backspin: Joined the list of best players who haven’t won a major by contending in three since 2006, winning five times in the last three years and going to No. 2 in the world. If nothing else, he’s the highest-ranked player who hasn’t won a major.

Ian Poulter

Age: 34

Country: England

World ranking: 8

Worldwide victories: 9

Majors: None

Best Masters: Bad news: He has never finished in the top 10. Good news: He has never missed the cut.

Backspin: He won the Match Play Championship for his first victory in America and rose as high as No. 5 in the world, proving to anyone not paying attention that there is far more to him than fashion. Makes up for medium length off the tee with a determined short game.

Camilo Villegas

Age: 28

Country: Colombia

World ranking: 12

Worldwide victories: 4

Majors: None

Best Masters: In 2009, earned his first check (tie for 13th) and first crystal (eagle on the 15th hole in final round).

Backspin: Equipped with a better attitude, he has been among the most consistent players this year. He reached the semifinals of the Match Play Championship and won the Honda Classic.

Charl Schwartzel

Age: 25

Country: South Africa

World ranking: 27

Worldwide victories: 6

Majors: None

Best Masters: Watching on television in 2008 when Trevor Immelman gave South Africa its first Masters victory in 30 years.

Backspin: He’s not in the same league as the others in this category, but it would be tough to find anyone playing as well. Won in consecutive weeks in South Africa to start the year, then showed his game on a world stage at the CA Championship and was impressive, particularly with his length and his putting.


Phil Mickelson

Age: 39

Country: United States

World ranking: 3

Worldwide victories: 39

Majors: Masters (2), US PGA Championship (1)

Best Masters: Famous for his leap when he made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win first major in 2004.

Backspin: No one is as hard to figure out. He was the hottest player at the end of last year, but has not come close to winning this year. His putter is the frustrating part of the game. The recovery of his wife from breast cancer has a lot more to do with his up-and-down form than most realize.

Jim Furyk

Age: 39

Country: United States

World ranking: 5

Worldwide victories: 14

Majors: U.S. Open

Best Masters: In the hunt late in the final round of 1998 until his shot to the 15th went into the water on the other side of the green and he wound up in a tie for fourth.

Backspin: He doesn’t quite qualify for the “Hot Hands” category because Furyk hasn’t contended until winning at Innisbrook. While it was his first victory in 58 starts on the U.S. PGA Tour, he still managed to stay in the top 10 in the world for the very reason he could easily contend at the Masters— consistent play.

Padraig Harrington

Age: 38

Country: Ireland

World ranking: 10

Worldwide victories: 21

Majors: British Open (2), U.S. PGA Championship

Best Masters: Twice he has finished tied for fifth, but in 2007 he started the final round only two shots off the lead yet closed with a 73 and finished four shots behind.

Backspin: Harrington is much further along than he was a year ago, no longer concerned with figuring out his swing and focused more on scoring. He was the 36-hole leader in the Transitions Championship and his game, while not exactly where he wants it, is good enough for him to win.

Geoff Ogilvy

Age: 32

Country: Australia

World ranking: 13

Worldwide victories: 8

Majors: U.S. Open

Best Masters: Three shots out of the lead going into the weekend in 2007, he shot an 81 in the third round and tied for 24th.

Backspin: Ogilvy has a map in his mind of how to play Augusta National, and while he has never finished in the top 10, he has never missed a cut. He hasn’t seriously contended since winning Kapalua, then went home for the birth of his third child. If his chipping is in good shape, he could easily be there on Sunday.

Lee Westwood

Age: 36

Country: England

World ranking: 4

Worldwide victories: 30

Majors: None

Best Masters: The last time he was on top of his game, he tied for sixth in 1999 despite opening with a 75.

Backspin: The leader of England’s golf revival, he is coming off a year in which he won the European Tour money title with two victories late in the year. He has been one putt away from a playoff in the U.S. Open and British Open the last two years. Among the best players who haven’t won a major.


Martin Kaymer

Age: 25

Country: Germany

World ranking: 9.

Worldwide victories: 5

Majors: None

Best Masters: He opened with a 71 in 2009, but to no avail. In his two previous Masters, he missed the cut.

Backspin: He has been as prolific as any of the players in their 20s, with five victories in his first four years as a pro on the European Tour. He’ll need surgery to complete recovery from a go-kart accident last summer, but is good enough to win now. A fellow German, Bernhard Langer, also won the Masters in his third try.

Ryo Ishikawa

Age: 18

Country: Japan

World ranking: 41

Worldwide victories: 6

Majors: None

Best Masters: Had rounds of 73-77 to miss the cut in his only Masters in 2009.

Backspin: His performance has been spotty in America, but the “Bashful Prince” tends to shine on the big stage. A winner in Japan at age 15, four victories last year to lead the Japan Tour money list, and a star at the Presidents Cup are indications he is capable of creating some buzz at Augusta National. His fundamentals are sound.

Anthony Kim

Age: 24

Country: United States

World ranking: 26

Worldwide victories: 2

Majors: None

Best Masters: Made 11 birdies in the second round and tied for 20th in 2009 in his only Masters.

Backspin: A bad round or a bad period has kept him out of contention this year, although his 11-birdie performance last year in the second round means he cannot be overlooked.

Dustin Johnson

Age: 25

Country: United States

World ranking: 30

Worldwide victories: 3

Majors: None

Best Masters: He tied for 30th in 2009 in his only Masters, making an eagle from the fairway on the 14th hole.

Backspin: He might be the best American under 30. When he defended his title at Pebble Beach, he became the first player since Tiger Woods to go from college to winning in each of his first three years on the U.S. PGA Tour. He is very long off the tee, plays very fast and will never be accused of paralysis by analysis.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 20

Country: Northern Ireland

World ranking: 11

Worldwide victories: 1

Majors: None

Best Masters: Tied for 20th in his Masters debut in 2009.

Backspin: One of the most promising youngsters to come out of Europe in years, he made the cut in all four majors last year and finished in the top 10 in two of them. The concern is that such a talent has managed to win only one time in Europe, and more red flags have been raised because he is dealing with back pain.


Robert Allenby

Age: 38

Country: Australia

World ranking: 16

Worldwide victories: 22

Majors: None.

Best Masters: He tied for 29th in 2002, shooting 70 in the second round, one of only three rounds under par at Augusta National.

Backspin: A streaky player who hit his stride in December with victories in South Africa and Australia, and a close call in Hawaii to start the year. He is longer than people realize and a clean iron player. Putting has long been his nemesis, but remember, few would have thought Vijay Singh could win the Masters. It’s all about timing.

Hunter Mahan

Age: 27

Country: United States

World ranking: 21

Worldwide victories: 2

Majors: None

Best Masters: He tied for 28th as an amateur in 2003 and tied for 10th in 2009 as a pro.

Backspin: He picked up his second career victory in Phoenix this year, although more is expected. Mahan brings accuracy off the tee and is among the top ball-strikers in golf, which should serve him well. What has held him back is his chipping, which will hold the key to his success at Augusta National.