In this Masters 2020 preview, Bill Elliott ponders what we can expect from Autumn in Augusta and examines the chances of the leading players

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Masters 2020 Preview

Ready for The Masters‘ 84th edition? You bet we are. Let’s face it, we’d be ready for anything that offers an alternative, happier narrative to the ongoing challenges of life in 2020.

But this joust on the old battlefield in Augusta is not only going to be unique in its autumnal setting and its silence, it surely is going to provide not just spectacle but the most compelling golf of this year.

The thin-lipped men who set up Augusta National for the world’s best players will not edge towards making it significantly easier than usual but I have no doubt they will set it up for thrills and spills from the start.

For too long this year we have all been on a slow-moving train to nowhere but now we hopefully can board a roller-coaster. Grab a sofa and a drink and enjoy.

Don’t know about you but I now have more bets on more players for this Masters than ever before. I still won’t pull the winner, of course, but every time I look at or listen to this player or that I think that he really might be the one.

Related: The Masters Golf Betting Tips 2020

I’ve just placed a few quid on Tiger despite yesterday convincing a friend that Woods had no chance this year. Why did I change my mind?

I listened to his interview yesterday, watched him go all soppy as he revisited winning last year and realised that if he can plug into that deep emotion when play starts then his favourite playground might yet caress his genius one more time.

Probably not but wouldn’t it be great if he was at least in contention come Sunday.

The same goes for Wee Rory. I fear he will never complete the Grand Slam but he says he likes the fact he is coming into this weekend in Georgia as almost nobody’s idea of a winner.

What he doesn’t like is the inescapable fact that several players are getting away from him. Led, of course, by the eccentric outlier I know as Baron DeShampoo.

Woods, McIlroy and DeChambeau make up the trio who will grab most of my attention during this first round.

If these men come through unscathed then the scene may well be set for something utterly fascinating. Bryson’s record to date at Augusta is less than impressive but the new, bulked-up, slightly nuttier golfer playing this week is a different man.

Whacking his ball over 100ft high pines, teasing us with threats to bring out a 48ins driver at some point, he is programmed to overpower Augusta.

Which he might. Justin Thomas played a practice round with him on Monday and said afterwards “ it’s a substantially easier course for him than for everybody else “. Well, now we’ll find out.

All I’ll say is that the Baron does not figure in my bets. But Brooks Koepka does. Good luck to us all.

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