Matteo Manassero is one of the most notable players who will not be at Augusta National for The Masters this year. Jay thought that Matteo would have played his way via the Official World Golf Ranking but other than recent success Matteo just simply did not play well enough. He is also surprised that Els is not in the field right now but Els is showing a resurgence in his game and he would not be surprised to see Els play his way in with a win in Houston.
A lot of people on the European Tour are likely very surprised that Thomas Bjorn has been able to play his way back into The Masters because of the demons he has dealt with in the past and the struggles he has had in his life. Paul Lawrie also struggled for a number of years but he has won a Major Championship and his game did not go into the abyss like Bjorn did.
His Masters favorite right now is Tiger Woods over everyone else. Among European players, Rory McIlroy is the favorite right now although Luke Donald is someone to pay attention to. If Tiger starts winning Majors again or resumes doing other magical things to win tournaments, his intimidation factor will return. It is a tough thing to get your intimidation factor back and while other players have not lost their respect for Tiger, they have lost their fear for Tiger and if he is able to win The Masters this year other players will be paying closer attention.
One of the things he looks forward to about The Masters is the fact that he gets to see people he does not see the rest of the year in a very special place. Jose Rivero is someone who teaches players from Spain including Alvaro Quiros and he looks forward to the chance to see him among other people.
The European Tour today is very similar to the PGA TOUR today in that it is all business. Years ago, the European Tour was more laid back and people enjoyed going out and doing other activities such as playing tennis. He is not saying that the European Tour was better years ago when it was more relaxed but that it was just different.