Following a wait of more than eight and a half months, major championship golf returns to our television screens this Thursday.

Because of the pandemic, which led to the postponement and re-scheduling of three American majors during 2020 – not to mention the cancellation of The Open Championship – we were treated to seven majors in the space of 347 days.

And with the golfing calendar starting to resemble normality once again, the major season tees-off in Georgia and the 86th staging of the Masters Tournament at Augusta.

With no one player seemingly standing out from the crowd right now, the list of potential Green Jacket wearers appears relatively long.

The last 11 majors have been shared among 10 players, with only Collin Morikawa winning twice during this period.

Latest odds for a top-10 finish at Augusta National

Here are my 10 eye-catchers ahead of ’ Thursday start:

Viktor Hovland: One of the new kids on the block whose confidence levels must be high. The 24-year-old from Oslo was the leading amateur at in 2019 and he reached No 3 in the world earlier this year.

Dustin Johnson: By recent standards, the 37-year-old has endured a quiet time of it of late, with no titles for over 16 months. However, there has been a sprinkling of top-10s, including the recent Players Championship where he closed with a 63. Was also a semi-finalist at last month’s WGC Match Play event.

Brooks Koepka: It’s been almost three years since the American claimed his fourth major in eight outings. His overall form has dipped since then and he’s also had to recover from injuries, yet remains a giant threat in the majors. Four of his last five majors have yielded top-seven finishes, including runner-up to Mickelson at the 2021 PGA.

Rory McIlroy: Remains frustrated by his major results since August 2014. The 32-year-old has failed to win any of the last 27, but is still inside the world’s top-10, so is nevertheless playing well. Poor opening rounds have tended to hinder his major championship chances over the past seven and a half years.

Collin Morikawa: The cool, calm American who seems to save his best form for the big events. At the age of 25 is a two-time major champion.

Jon Rahm: The reigning US Open champion is arguably the most consistent major performer of the past few years. The Spaniard finished inside the top-eight of all four Grand Slam events during 2021.

Xander Schauffele: Four podium finishes in majors, including twice at Augusta. The Olympic champion has made a low-key start to 2022, but tees-off this week as the world No 10.

Scottie Scheffler: Is the recently-installed new world No 1 thanks to three victories from his last five starts. Can he claim win No 4 of 2022?

Cameron Smith: The in-form Aussie has won twice this year, including last month’s ‘fifth major’ at TPC Sawgrass. Tied-2nd when the re-scheduled Masters was held in November 2020.

Jordan Spieth: Of the current generation, has the best Masters’ form of all, highlighted by his victory at Augusta in 2015. He is a three-time major winner. Five of his 10 podium finishes in majors have taken place in Georgia.

Latest odds for Each Way (10) at Augusta National

Major Championship Analysis

Most Times Within Eight Strokes Of The Champion (since 1.1.2018)
9: Jon Rahm
9: Jordan Spieth
8: Tony Finau
8: Dustin Johnson
8: Brooks Koepka
7: Patrick Reed
7: Xander Schauffele
6: Louis Oosthuizen
6: Justin Rose
5: Daniel Berger
5: Patrick Cantlay
5: Rory McIlroy
Only those teeing-up this week are included in table

Twitter: Golf Stats Alive

MC* – Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut

Key for Last 10 Majors table: B – The Open (British); U – US Open; P – PGA Championship; M – .

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