With out Tiger Woods, the 2021 Masters Leaderboard Is Large Open

“I wouldn’t be shocked going ahead if you find yourself getting a first-time winner sooner or later or a variety of younger guys which might be in a position to do it,” Spieth mentioned final week.

Spieth mentioned Augusta Nationwide’s extraordinarily hilly terrain, a function that’s onerous to understand from watching the occasion on tv, would possibly particularly profit youthful gamers.

“Actually, it’s a tricky stroll, it’s one of many hardest walks on tour,” Spieth mentioned of Augusta Nationwide. “Bodily, it could actually take a toll. So you’ll assume that guys which might be of their mid-20s could be in one of the best place bodily.”

Different less-than-household names inside golf’s youth motion might have escaped the eye of informal golf followers however are nonetheless worthy contenders this week. Foremost in that group is Sungjae Im, 23, of South Korea, who was the PGA Tour rookie of the yr in 2019 and tied for second in his Masters debut final yr. No Asian has gained the Masters, though that has not stopped Im from dreaming of a Korean-style menu that might be served on the annual champions-only dinner the yr after he wins the event.

“Marinated ribs, in fact,” he mentioned in November with a smile.

Change, just like the passing of a torch from technology to technology, is within the air on the Masters regardless of the event’s repute for time-honored traditions. And golf followers might already be warming as much as the makeover happening on the prime of the leaderboards.

With the television viewership declining for different sports activities currently, the scores for PGA Tour occasions this yr have elevated by 10 to 20 %, and a few in golf credit score the surge to the rising prominence of what Jim Nantz, the longtime CBS broadcaster, referred to as “the brand new brigade.”

“We’ve arrived at some extent now the place we don’t must depend on simply Tiger,” Nantz mentioned final week. “Everyone knows how monumental his presence is — perhaps he comes again in the future, that’s not what we’re addressing right here. However how does the game transition to a time when he isn’t on the prime of the sport?”

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