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Power Rankings: The Masters

Phil Mickelson
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SHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 06: Ritsuko Ryu of Japan plays a shot on the 6th hole during round two of the Mizuno Classic at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club on November 6, 2010 in Shima, Japan. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)  - 

Another winter is over, spring has sprung, and the season's first major has (finally) arrived. In accordance with the timeless traditions of Augusta National Golf Club, an elite field has gathered to contest the Masters in search of a coveted green jacket.

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Bubba Watson returns to defend the title he won in a dramatic playoff last year over Louis Oosthuizen for his first career major title. Here are 10 players to watch this week amid the Georgia pines:

1. Tiger Woods: The prohibitive favorite, and rightfully so. Woods begins his quest for a fifth green jacket fresh off back-to-back wins at Doral and Bay Hill, with each facet of his game seemingly peaking at the right time.

2. Phil Mickelson: Outside of Woods, Mickelson is historically the best player at Augusta of the modern era, with three wins and nine top-five finishes across the last 12 years. Year in and year out, no one appears more comfortable around Augusta's nuanced greens than Mickelson.

3. Keegan Bradley: The hottest player without a title yet in 2013, Bradley enters off four straight top-10 finishes dating back to the Honda Classic. In his second Masters start, there's reason to think he can improve greatly upon last year's tie for 27th.

4. Justin Rose: Like Bradley, Rose appears to be rounding into form, with top-10 finishes in each of his last three starts, including a runner-up finish to Woods at Bay Hill. In his last 11 competitive rounds at Augusta, the Englishman has shot par or better 10 times.

5. Rory McIlroy: Coming off a runner-up finish at Valero after a rough start to the 2013 season, McIlroy remains an enigma. If his iron play again deserts him he could struggle, but the potential he has for a high finish is nearly unmatched.

6. Charl Schwartzel: The 2011 champion had not finished outside the top 16 in a stroke-play event in several months until last week's T-22 finish in San Antonio. He ranks second on Tour in scoring average and knows exactly what it takes to succeed on the second nine on Sunday.

7. Adam Scott: The Aussie has played sparingly in 2013, but his results when he has played have been solid, notably a tie for third at Doral. After nearly donning a green jacket in 2011, he finished tied for eighth last year despite an opening 75.

8. Lee Westwood: Approaching his 40th birthday, Westwood's chances for a major title may be running out. His play at Augusta has been stellar of late, though, as the Englishman has been inside the top 11 four of the last five years, including a runner-up in 2010.

9. Dustin Johnson: The bomber appears to have pulled himself out of an early season funk, having followed a tie for 12th at Doral with a T-4 finish in Houston. His length off the tee and prowess on the par-5s will give him an inherent advantage before a ball is struck this week.

10. Ian Poulter: A hero at last year's Ryder Cup, Poulter has compiled a solid record at Augusta, finishing inside the top 10 two of the last three years and inside the top 25 five of the last six. His play on a limited schedule in 2013 has been just as solid.