2014 Masters: Breaking Down The First-Round Pairings

Breaking Down Every First-Round Pairing At The 2014 Masters

2014 Masters Pairings Augusta National
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For a golf fan, Masters week is like Christmas when you were a kid. You wait all year for the most special time of year, and you want to soak up every bit of goodness.

Well, consider this preview your biggest gift. I've broken down every first-round pairing to get you ready for Thursday's opening round. Enjoy, and feel free to share with your friends!

Honorary Starters - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player

Arnold Palmer Jack Nicklaus Gary Player Masters Honorary Starters
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Honorary Starters - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player

Arnold Palmer Jack Nicklaus Gary Player Masters Honorary Starters

Does it get any better than this? With an amazing 13 green jackets among them, these three living legends of golf take an already special tournament and make it even better. While none of them will be playing, just seeing them together on the course makes the Masters a must-see event.

Pairing 1) Stewart Cink, Tim Clark

Stewart Cink 2014 Masters
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Pairing 1) Stewart Cink, Tim Clark

Stewart Cink 2014 Masters

The tournament officially begins with Cink, the 2009 Open Championship winner, and Clark, who won The PLAYERS Championship in 2010. While neither have had a lot of success at this tournament, they both recorded top-25 finishes in 2013. Both have quality games, but I don't expect much to come from this group.

Pairing 2) John Huh, Ian Woosnam, Kevin Stadler

John Huh 2014 Masters
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Pairing 2) John Huh, Ian Woosnam, Kevin Stadler

John Huh 2014 Masters

Ian Woosnam will be the first green jacket owner to begin play on Thursday, but the player to watch in this group is Huh. The Cal Northridge grad won on Tour in just his fifth start in 2012, and finished tied for 11th at Augusta last year. Stadler will make tournament history by becoming part of the first father-son duo to play in the same Masters.

Pairing 3) Ben Crenshaw, Y.E. Yang, Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt 2014 Masters
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Pairing 3) Ben Crenshaw, Y.E. Yang, Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt Ben Crenshaw 2014 Masters

While Crenshaw has two green jackets and Yang made his name by defeating Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship in 2009, Blixt is the young gun trying to make a name for himself on Augusta's hallowed grounds. It's a nice combination of past and future, but none of these players are likely candidates to win on Sunday.

Pairing 4) Mark O'Meara, Steven Bowditch, Jordan Niebrugge

Steven Bowditch 2014 Masters Pairing 4
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Pairing 4) Mark O'Meara, Steven Bowditch, Jordan Niebrugge

Steven Bowditch 2014 Masters

The 8:18 AM tee time brings us yet another champion in O'Meara, as well as the first amateur in the field. Jordan Niebrugge is a 20-year-old sophomore at Oklahoma State whose game has caught the eye of fellow Wisconsin native Steve Stricker. Bowditch made waves by beating Matt Kuchar at the Valero Texas Open, but Niebrugge has designs on low amateur this week.

Pairing 5) John Senden, Boo Weekley, David Lynn

John Senden 2014 Masters
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Pairing 5) John Senden, Boo Weekley, David Lynn

John Senden 2014 Masters

If you're not a big-time golf fan, you don't know these names, but don't let that fool you. Senden is yet another Aussie with a win in 2014 not named Day or Scott. Lynn was the runner-up in Rory McIlroy's dominant 2012 PGA Championship. Weekley hasn't been a consistent performer, but he also has three PGA Tour wins. There's not a lot of Augusta experience here, so we'll have wait and see for this group.

Pairing 6) Craig Stadler, Scott Stallings, Martin Kaymer

Craig Stadler 2014 Masters
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Pairing 6) Craig Stadler, Scott Stallings, Martin Kaymer

Craig Stadler 2014 Masters Pairing 6

Stadler, affectionately known as "The Walrus" gets to enjoy Masters week with his son thanks to his 1982 green jacket. It seems like forever ago that Martin Kaymer was the No. 1 player in the world, but Augusta hasn't been too kind to him throughout his career. Stallings is in the field for just the second time, but his T27 in 2012 is the highest of any of these players in recent memory.

Pairing 7) Tom Watson, Billy Horschel, Brendon de Jonge

Tom Watson 2014 Masters
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Pairing 7) Tom Watson, Billy Horschel, Brendon de Jonge

Tom Watson 2014 Masters

Watson thrilled the golf world when he finished second in the 2009 Open Championship, and he even followed that up by tying for 18th in the 2010 Masters. Unfortunately, he's missed the last three cuts here and is just enjoying his champion priviliges as he prepares to captain the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup. Horschel and de Jonge, both playing Augusta for the first time, could learn a thing or two from the living legend.

Pairing 8) Mike Weir, Matt Every, Roberto Castro

Matt Every 2014 Masters
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Pairing 8) Mike Weir, Matt Every, Roberto Castro

Matt Every 2014 Masters

The organizers at the Masters are great at spreading out past champions with young up-and-comers, and here's another prime example. Although Weir hasn't been relevant on the major scene for several years, Every has had a phenomenal year in 2014, and should have a solid showing in his first trip to Augusta National.

Pairing 9) Angel Cabrera, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter

Angel Cabrera 2014 Masters
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Pairing 9) Angel Cabrera, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter

Angel Cabrera 2014 Masters Pairing 9

Angel "El Pato" Cabrera has been putting off possible surgery to play in this year's Masters, if only to have a chance to get back on top after narrowly losing a shot at a second green jacket to Adam Scott last season. Woodland has three top-tens this year and could be a dark horse to make some noise this weekend. Poulter's missed cut last year was one of the few times he's been outside the top-25 at the Masters, so you know he'll be good.

Pairing 10) Fred Couples, Webb Simpson, Chang-Woo Lee

Fred Couples 2014 Masters
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Pairing 10) Fred Couples, Webb Simpson, Chang-Woo Lee

Fred Couples 2014 Masters

Chang-Woo Lee won the Asia-Pacific Amateur, the same tournament that gave us Tianlang Guan in 2013, but the real story here is Fred Couples. The Hall of Famer has enjoyed a ton of success at Augusta National over the last several years, and it wouldn't be a total shock if he challenged for the win again. Simpson dominated the early part of this season, but could use a turnaround after some recent struggles.

Pairing 11) Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker 2014 Masters
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Pairing 11) Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker Rickie Fowler 2014 Masters

This is an absolute must-watch group. Fowler is making some big strides with Butch Harmon in the fold, McDowell has been excellent when he's made it to the weekend here, and Walker is the biggest star of 2014 thus far, with three wins and a dominant lead in the FedEx Cup. No matter what happens, Thursday and Friday are going to have some exciting golf in this group.

Pairing 12) Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, Steve Stricker

Zach Johnson 2014 Masters
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Pairing 12) Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, Steve Stricker

Zach Johnson 2014 Masters Pairing 12

Another excellent group here. 2007 champion Zach Johnson hasn't missed a cut all year and did well in Houston last week. Stricker is my personal pick to watch here, as he's still looking for that elusive first major, but has the world-class putting skills that make him a threat on some of the fastest greens in the game.

Pairing 13) Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bill Haas, Matteo Manassero

Bill Haas 2014 Masters
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Pairing 13) Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bill Haas, Matteo Manassero

Bill Haas 2014 Masters

Miguel Angel Jimenez, complete with unlit cigar and entertaining warmup routine, might be "the most interesting man in golf", but Haas is the player with the most to prove this week. He won the 2011 FedEx Cup title, but has been mostly a nonfactor in major championships throughout his career. That may not weigh on him every week, but Augusta has a tendency to magnify those things.

Pairing 14) Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Jamie Donaldson

Hideki Matsuyama 2014 Masters
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Pairing 14) Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Jamie Donaldson

Hideki Matsuyama 2014 Masters

Matsuyama is the young stud, and Snedeker has been a steady hand the last several years, but Donaldson may have the best game coming into this year's tournament. He's been in the top ten in two WGC events in 2014 and has a year under his belt since missing the cut at last year's Masters (in spite of recording a rare ace on No. 6).

Pairing 15) Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk, Thorbjorn Olesen

Jim Furyk 2014 Masters
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Pairing 15) Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk, Thorbjorn Olesen

Jim Furyk 2014 Masters

For the better part of 20 years, the Masters has been just outside Furyk's grasp, but that won't stop him from making another run this year. Schwartzel is getting a lot of attention this week, and he's been good, but he hasn't played much in the States this year. Olesen is the wild card, as his best finish on the PGA Tour is his tie for sixth at last year's Masters.

Pairing 16) Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Matthew Fitzpatrick

Adam Scott 2014 Masters Pairing 16
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Pairing 16) Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Matthew Fitzpatrick

Adam Scott 2014 Masters Pairing 16

Two of last year's major winners, along with the low amateur from the Open Championship and the reigning U.S. Amateur winner. Talk about some serious accolades. Scott is still my favorite to win this week, but Dufner could make a run just as easily. Fitzpatrick's likely to go head-to-head with Niebrugge for the title of low amateur in an entertaining contest.

Pairing 17) Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy 2014 Masters
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Pairing 17) Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy Jordan Spieth 2014 Masters

Welcome to the future of the sport of golf. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed - take your pick and any one of these three could leave with a green jacket at week's end. McIlroy is the odds-on favorite, but I like Spieth's chances, even though nobody since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 has won the tournament in their first try.

Pairing 18) Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points

D.A. Points 2014 Masters
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Pairing 18) Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points

D.A. Points 2014 Masters

Streelman and Points have both shown they have what it takes to win on the PGA Tour, but neither have been particularly good in 2014. I wouldn't be shocked by either making the top-25, but I also wouldn't be shocked if one (or both) missed the cut this week. Augusta is just so tough that you have to be on top of every part of your game to win there.

Pairing 19) Larry Mize, Branden Grace, Michael McCoy

Larry Mize 2014 Masters
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Pairing 19) Larry Mize, Branden Grace, Michael McCoy

Larry Mize 2014 Masters

55-year-old Larry Mize is playing in his 31st Masters tournament. 51-year-old Michael McCoy, the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, is playing in his first. Somewhere in the middle, 25-year-old Branden Grace is playing in his second, but he did finish tied for 18th last year, and has four European Tour titles to his credit, making him the obvious favorite from this grouping.

Pairing 20) Matt Jones, Sandy Lyle, Ken Duke

Matt Jones 2014 Masters
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Pairing 20) Matt Jones, Sandy Lyle, Ken Duke

Matt Jones 2014 Masters

A week ago, Jones wasn't even in this tournament, but by outlasting Matt Kuchar in Houston, he earned his place in the tournament alongside 1988 champion Lyle and 45-year-old journeyman Ken Duke. Duke's had the better part of a year to prepare for this after winning the Travelers Championship in June, but he hasn't had a great year in 2014. Momentum favors Jones in this group.

Pairing 21) Jose Maria Olazabal, Lucas Glover, Garrick Porteous

Garrick Porteous 2014 Masters
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Pairing 21) Jose Maria Olazabal, Lucas Glover, Garrick Porteous

Garrick Porteous 2014 Masters

Credit to Glover for earning his place here by virtue of his 2009 U.S. Open title, but having missed all but four cuts this year, Augusta isn't likely to be anything more than a champion's lap for him. Porteous, the British Amateur winner, should get some solid tips from Olazabal, a two-time champion, as he makes his first rounds at the Masters.

Pairing 22) Stephen Gallacher, Nick Watney, Darren Clarke

Stephen Gallacher 2014 Masters
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Pairing 22) Stephen Gallacher, Nick Watney, Darren Clarke

Stephen Gallacher 2014 Masters

Gallacher is in the field for the first time on the heels of his successful title defense at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Clarke is back for the first time since 2007 as an Open Championship winner, but he's fallen all the way to 321st in the world. Watney is the player with a chance to make a huge career step if he can earn his first major championship, and he's plenty of talent to get it done.

Pairing 23) Vijay Singh, Thomas Bjorn, Ryan Moore

Vijay Singh 2014 Masters
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Pairing 23) Vijay Singh, Thomas Bjorn, Ryan Moore

Vijay Singh 2014 Masters

Singh appears to have moved on, at least professionally, from his lawsuit against the PGA Tour, but that doesn't mean he's any more likely to win this week. Bjorn and Moore have both played much better, and Moore already has one victory this season. Look for the American to make some moves in this late grouping on Thursday.

Pairing 24) Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee

Matt Kuchar 2014 Masters
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Pairing 24) Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee

Matt Kuchar 2014 Masters

All due respect to Oosthuizen and Jaidee, but this is Matt Kuchar's time to shine if there's ever been one. Oosthuizen sparkled in 2012 when he finished second at Augusta, but that was also the only time in his career he's made the cut at the Masters. Kuchar has been in the top ten here the last two years, and needs to get off to a hot start before things get tougher on the weekend.

Pairing 25) Trevor Immelman, Graham DeLaet, Oliver Goss

Graham DeLaet 2014 Masters
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Pairing 25) Trevor Immelman, Graham DeLaet, Oliver Goss

Graham DeLaet 2014 Masters

Oliver Goss adds another Aussie to the field by virtue of his U.S. Amateur runner-up finish in 2013, South African Immelman is back as a former champion, and Canadian DeLaet has just played his way into the upper echelons of the PGA Tour. DeLaet is in the field for the first time, but having come close to victory several times, nothing would surprise me from him this weekend.

Pairing 26) Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Derek Ernst, Sang-Moon Bae

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 2014 Masters
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Pairing 26) Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Derek Ernst, Sang-Moon Bae

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 2014 Masters

The Spaniard Fernandez-Castano has become something of a star on the European Tour, but outside of his 10th-place finish at last year's U.S. Open, he's been something of a nonfactor in the majors he has played. Still, Ernst hasn't done much since winning last year's Wells Fargo championship, and Bae has been inconsistent, so Castano is the favorite of the bunch.

Pairing 27) Bernhard Langer, Francesco Molinari, Chris Kirk

Bernhard Langer 2014 Masters
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Pairing 27) Bernhard Langer, Francesco Molinari, Chris Kirk

Bernhard Langer 2014 Masters

Kirk has come down a bit from his hot start to the season, but that shouldn't stop him from making the most of his first trip down Magnolia Lane, as currently sits at No. 53 in the world ranking.

Pairing 28) Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

Jason Day 2014 Masters
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Pairing 28) Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

Jason Day 2014 Masters Pairing 28
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Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks nicknamed their secondary the "Legion of Boom" last season, and in golf, that moniker could just as easily go to this group. Day and Johnson are legitimate superstars looking for their first major titles, and Stenson could add to last season's pile of accolades with a nice green jacket. This will be a marquee group for Thursday and Friday.

Pairing 29) Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia

Bubba Watson 2014 Masters
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Pairing 29) Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia

Bubba Watson 2014 Masters

Watson is one of the former champions who has a legitimate chance at earning a second green jacket this year, as he seems to be rejuvenated after a down season in 2013. Donald has been close a handful of times in Augusta, and if Sergio Garcia can stay out of his own way, the sky's the limit for the Spanish star.

Pairing 30) Joost Luiten, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan

Marc Leishman 2014 Masters
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Pairing 30) Joost Luiten, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan

Marc Leishman 2014 Masters

Leishman is back for a second helping of the Masters after getting off to a hot start in 2013 before dropping to fourth as Adam Scott brought the title back to Australia, instead. He and Mahan both have big dreams for success at Augusta, and have proven they have what it takes to run deep.

Pairing 31) Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson

Keegan Bradley 2014 Masters
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Pairing 31) Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson

Keegan Bradley 2014 Masters Pairing 31

Dubuisson made his finals match against Jason Day at the WGC Match Play wildly entertaining before ultimately falling to the Aussie. However, the eyes of the golfing world will understandably be on Bradley, as expectations for the 2011 PGA Champion are astronomical despite his young age.

Pairing 32) Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

Phil Mickelson 2014 Masters
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Pairing 32) Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

Phil Mickelson 2014 Masters

Three major champions will join forces in the second-to-last grouping of the opening day, and as always the focus will be on Mickelson. Now that it looks like Tiger Woods could miss several months, Mickelson will be the biggest fan favorite as he looks to add to his collection of Masters titles. Don't discount Els or Rose, though, as both have major credentials and will provide plenty of challenge.

Pairing 33) Harris English, Lee Westwood, Russell Henley

Lee Westwood 2014 Masters
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Pairing 33) Harris English, Lee Westwood, Russell Henley

Lee Westwood 2014 Masters

The last group of the day to go off is also one of the best. Georgia Bulldogs English and Henley will have plenty of hometown support, and Westwood hasn't finished lower than 11th at Augusta in the last four years. That makes the Englishman the favorite of the group, but both Americans have impressive wins on their own resumes within the last year.


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