Wayne Riley gives his thoughts on the wonderful Augusta stage


The Oscars of Golf – They Have The Red Carpets and the Masters has the Green Jackets

We’re in for one of the most exciting Masters that we’ve ever seen – being played out on the stage of golf’s greatest theatre – Augusta National’s back 9.

Whether it’s the birdies, bogeys, eagles and doubles of 13 or the rollercoaster fun of 16 – it will provide all the entertainment we, the audience, need as the tournament heads to being one of the most exciting finales we have ever seen.

And the reason for why it is going to be so exciting? That leaderboard we have ourselves at Augusta with 13 players within two of the lead – and Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas sitting at the top.

You can’t look past Thomas and DJ as the two to beat, they’re both swinging it great and DJ is like a duck on the pond, he’s serene though the feet are probably paddling away underneath. He’s playing as good as he was when he won three times in a row in 2017 and he was the red-hot favourite for the Master, before falling down the stairs.

Thomas has won 13 times as well a major, but he has a bit of history on the last day, Saturday hasn’t been the issue but on Sundays he can let it go, but he and DJ are the guys to get past.

It is great to see a fellow Aussie leading the way with Cameron Smith also at -9 he is a two-time Australian PGA champion, and he’s got a couple of major top 5s.

He’s no stranger to winning, he’s very straight off the tee and very competent, nothing would surprise me about the laid-back Queenslander. He’s one of those guys who won’t get flustered and he won’t flap at all.

Who’s going to make a run from beneath the lead? You’d be looking at Jon Rahm who has looked sensational for a long time and I am sure Tiger will get a wriggle on.

Even though it’s soft it and the ball is stopping very quickly it doesn’t suit one type of player right now and a lot of it, as always, will be about who putts the best. It will dry out and there won’t be any wind so we’re looking at a lot of guys who can win it.

Then there’s the grey matter and you’re looking at the guys who have won a Major before to control that best.

We’re in for one of the most exciting Masters that we’ve ever seen – And that’s what the Masters is, pure theatre.

I call it the Oscars of golf – they have the red carpets while the Masters has the Green Jackets. It’s going to be special and we’re lucky that we’ve got two of them in six months.

Wayne Riley is a Golf Monthly columnist and Sky Sports Golf commentator.

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