Less than a month to the Masters, who stands where?

The first major of the year is just around the corner

BY Simon Maguire 17:09 Tuesday 7 March 2017, 17:09 7 Mar 2017

Picture by: Charlie Riedel/AP/Press Association Images

With the first major of the year at Augusta National just around the corner, we look at how the top contenders are stacking up.

Favourites:

Dustin Johnson (world number one)

The new world number one has cemented his position at the top of the sport with his win at the WGC-Mexico Championship last weekend. He also won the Genesis Open in California in mid-February.

His gets incredible distance off the tee and his putting game improves with each passing week. The form player in the world right now and that's saying something given the excellent play by some others.

Picture by: Christian Palma/AP/Press Association Images

Broke his major duck at the US Open last year and is in a good place to add to his haul in Georgia. Finished tied fourth last year but never broke 70 in any of his four rounds.

Jason Day (world number two)

Struggled with back injuries towards the end of 2016 and has struggled to regain the form that saw him rise to the top of the game.

He withdrew from the WGC in Mexico at the weekend due to a double-ear infection and the flu.

The reigning Players' champion will also be looking to add to his sole major win at the 2015 USPGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy (world number three)

The four time major winner endured a tough start to 2016 before working on his putting and winning the Dell Technologies Championship and the Tour Championship last September.

It looked as if he carried his form into the new season after making it to a play-off for the South African Open in January, only to lose out to Graeme Storm. It later transpired he picked up a rib injury earlier in the tournament and he took a few weeks off to allow the injury to heal fully.

He returned to the Tour circuit in Mexico at the weekend and only finished four shots behind the winner. 

Picture by: Eduardo Verdugo/AP/Press Association Images

His stated goal this season is to complete a career grand slam of the majors and the Masters is the only one to elude him so far in his career. 

Hideki Matsuyama (world number four)

Matsuyama was in red hot form at the start of the season. He won the Hero World Challenge in December followed by Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.

He has also had two second place finishes as well as four top ten finishes so far in 2017 and is in contention to break his major duck at Augusta.

Jordan Spieth (world number five)

Spieth's meltdown last year will live long in the memory. Approaching the the 10th tee during his final round in 2016, the American held a five shot lead with nine holes left to play. 

Spieth went bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey as the defence of his Masters title unravelled before his eyes.

He has since stated that his win at Pebble Beach exorcised his Masters' demons but we won't really know until he lines up his tee shot on the 12th at Augusta.

As a former winner, he has shown that the course suits him. Whether he can take advantage of that will be revealed in a few weeks time.  

Outside chances:

Rickie Fowler (world number nine)

Fowler's win at the Honda Classic was a shot in the arm at exactly the right time. He is yet to win a major but his win at the 2015 Players Championship showed he has the composure to win the biggest events.

He missed the cut last year with a disastrous nine-over though and will need to hit the ground running this year.

Bubba Watson (world number sixteen)

In five events so far in 2017, he hasn't had a top ten finish and probably shouldn't be considered a contender.  

Despite his poor form of late and finishing nine-over for the tournament in 2016, the former two-time winner can never be ruled out at Augusta National.

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