Cameron Smith is a name to watch at the Masters. Picture: Getty Images
Cameron Smith is a name to watch at the Masters. Picture: Getty Images

Shark rates the Aussie Masters hopes

Australian golf great Greg Norman says the power-hitters will dominate this week's US Masters.

Norman rates Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy on top, but believes all four Australians - Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith - are a chance to claim the green jacket.

"I'm always excited about Australian golf - for 40-plus years - because we've been able to produce a handful of great players, consistently, year upon year," Norman told the Sunday Herald Sun. "Now we have Scotty, Day, Leishman and Smith.

"There's always at least three, four or five guys out there who just seem to play well, year after year after year.

"I would love to see anyone of the four win it, that's for sure.

"I was with Scotty over Christmas when I was down on the Sunshine Coast, so we caught up there.

Adam Scott has won at Augusta before. Picture: Getty Images
Adam Scott has won at Augusta before. Picture: Getty Images

"Leish, I go back and forward with over text. When he does well I just send him a text and Jason the same thing.

"I don't know Cameron, but I do watch him and I do admire him."

Asked about Tiger Woods' prospects on his return from back surgery, Norman said: "Sure, he can win it. There's about 20 players who can win it.

"Every player gets injuries and the older you get, the more those injuries really stay a little bit longer and a little bit more niggly.

"You're never going to avoid those, so if he keeps himself healthy, it seems like he's playing well."

Norman, 64, said the weather would be a key factor at Augusta this week.

"The south-east of the United States has been very wet and very cool," he said.

"If it's cold and damp for the week, I wouldn't think that's good on (Tiger's) body.

"Right now it's impossible to predict (whether Woods will win another major) because there are so many young, great talented players - and the older he gets the younger they get.

"So at the end of the day, he comes up against these guys, and there's 20 names that I could rattle off who will have a really good chance of winning the Masters. But again, it all comes down to the weather."

Of the other major challengers, Norman said: "I like Rory now that he's won (last month's Players Championship).

"That is going to do him the world of good, because he was really trying to find that victory for a long time here in the States.

"Any one of the power hitters, the guys who are hitting it out there over 300 yards on a consistent basis, carrying the ball, have got a chance.

"I like DJ (Dustin Johnson), his attitude is good. I think JT (Justin Thomas) and I think Brooks (Koepka), he's quietly going along, doing his business in the major championships. "He seems like he steps up at the right time, but I can guarantee I could pull out 20 of them."

SHARK RATES THE FOUR AUSSIES AT AUGUSTA

ADAM SCOTT

SHARK SAYS: Scotty's had a pretty good start to the year, fairly consistent, and I'm pretty sure that form will still be there. Being a past champion, I'm sure he'll go out there with a lot of confidence. His putting stroke is solid and hopefully that stays the way it has been at the beginning of the year. When you win around a golf course you have a lot of good memories of all the different shots you played. It's a very consistent platform for him to perform on.

WEAPON: Adam is one of the best drivers in the game.

JASON DAY

SHARK SAYS: Augusta suits Day's game because he hits it hard, high and right to left. Predominantly, that's his game. It all depends on how he's putting. Even though he hasn't won there, he's actually had many top-five and top-10 finishes in the tournament. He's tenacious and he wants to win it, so put him right up there with Scotty for sure.

WEAPON: His short game.

Jason Day has his eye on a Masters win. Picture: Getty Images
Jason Day has his eye on a Masters win. Picture: Getty Images

MARC LEISHMAN

SHARK SAYS: I'm a huge fan of Leish. He just goes about his business. He's long enough, has a really good short game and his temperament is incredible. Whatever is presented in front of him on any golf course, whether it's in China, Australia, America or any major, he seems like he ticks the boxes and puts himself in with a chance of winning at the end of the week.

WEAPON: He's just an all-round, good player. There's no weakness to his game.

CAMERON SMITH

SHARK SAYS: He and Marc Leishman are probably the two most underrated players out there. Cam is starting to find his footing and has slowly crept up the world rankings. He feels very, very comfortable where he's at. I'm a big fan of his. I like his style of golf: he's very methodical, plays within himself and is very consistent. It might depend on the weather conditions - it's been very, very wet at Augusta for the last couple of months, so the course is going to be fairly lush - and if it's cold, and damp and long, that might be a little detrimental to him.

WEAPON: His middle to short irons. He's one of the few players who is consistently hole high all the time, which I'm very impressed with.

News Corp Australia


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