There has not been a European win since Olazabal in 1999 at Augusta, but we have very high hopes for this year and with good reason.
Below GM takes a look at why a European Masters win in 2010 would not be surprising and who we think will lead the charge.
Luke Donald – Luke has enjoyed a great run of form since his daughter, Elle, was born early last year. He has won two tournaments and had 15 top-ten finishes in this period, including a win at the WGC Accenture Matchplay Championship where he did not trail for 89 holes, comfortably beating a string of opponents including current world number one, Martin Kaymer. What he may lack in driving length he more than makes up for with an unmatchable short game – an important advantage at Augusta.
Martin Kaymer – The German is not world number one for nothing. He won the Race to Dubai and the PGA Championship in 2010 making him only the second German to ever win a Major. His consistent game and calm, cool demeanour will suit Augusta where keeping a level head is important. He can now also take advantage of his previous Major winning experience.
Lee Westwood – Westwood overtook Tiger Woods in November last year to become world number one. He so nearly won at Augusta last year, beaten only by some signature Phil Mickelson shots on the final stretch. Whilst he has currently fallen to world number two, and is not enjoying his greatest form, we fully believe Lee will be prepared to challenge.
Padraig Harrington – The Irishman is always a threat and whilst the odd horror hole tends to flare up and cause him a few problems, when he is on his game there are few better. GM would love to see him add a Green Jacket to his previous three Major victories. He’s not at his best, currently 34th in the Official World Ranking, but if there’s one player with the experience and patience to bounce back at the biggest Major, it’s Padraig.
Graeme McDowell – Our playing editor needs no introduction now that he’s established himself as a world beater and fantastic clutch putter. Playing with Tiger Woods in the first two rounds will not intimidate the Ulsterman and we’re expecting a big week from our man.
Martin Laird – The Scotsman has slipped into the world’s top 50 under the radar on the back of his recent showings. He’d be a good each way shout on recent form.
Rory McIlroy – It would be unwise not to include the young superstar on this list. Capable of producing brilliance whatever the situation, the only thing holding back this Irishman is the odd rush of blood and missed putts at crucial stages.