Tiger Woods took new caddie Joe LaCava down Magnolia Lane and on to Augusta National Golf Club less than two weeks ago.
Woods wants to win the Masters again. He wants to continue his pursuit of 18 major championships, which is the record held by Jack Nicklaus.
But that’s not the only storyline entering one of the most anticipated golf tournaments in the history of the game. Many of the storylines are intertwined.
Here are the top five.
Tiger Woods — Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots two weeks ago. It was his first PGA Tour victory in more than 900 days and signified that he’s back to playing and competing at the highest level. He crushed a 3-iron 257 yards over water on No. 6 last Sunday, proving that his swing change is complete.
Rory McIlroy — He had the 2012 Masters wrapped up through 63 holes. Then he melted down on the back nine, including a drive left of left on No. 10 to start his crumble down the leaderboard. McIlroy rebounded in the next major and dominated the field at Congressional Country Club in winning the U.S. Open.
Race for No. 1 — Luke Donald and McIlroy have ho-hummed the idea of being the No. 1 golfer in the world over the last few weeks. They’ve both held the position, which is up for grabs. Who wouldn’t like walking into an Augusta establishment — any establishment — and telling the bartender, “I’m the best in the world.”
Phil Mickelson — “Lefty” loves Augusta, and that’s proven by the three green jackets hanging in his closet. He won two years ago and is among the favorites again, especially considering he’s in contention this weekend in the Shell Houston Open. He already has one victory this season, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The unknowns — Goodness gracious, who on this side of the Atlantic Ocean had ever heard of South African Charl Schwartzel before he won the Masters one year ago? Could another relative no-name do the same, or are the favorites really the favorites?
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...