Golf: Molinari, Woods at Masters

'Green Jacket' and world leadership at stake in Augusta

Redazione ANSA Rome

(ANSA) - Rome, April 9 - The 83rd edition of the Masters Tournament, the most exclusive and fascinating golf event, is kicking off on Thursday in Augusta, Georgia.
    The tournament, whose symbol is the "green jacket" donned by the winner, is wrapping up on Sunday.
    At stake in the first seasonal major is not just a "green jacket" but the world leadership.
    Francesco Molinari is dreaming of a Major win after his triumph at the 2018 Open Championship.
    Tiger Woods is vying for another triumph 14 years after the last time, equaling Jack Nicklaus's record of six victories.
    After the first edition of the women's Masters won by US player Jennifer Kupcho, the best players in the world are ready to face off on the golf course created by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the Augusta National. The golf course has beautiful vegetation, including magnolias and secular pine trees.
    Each of the 18 holes has been named after a plant that can be found on the course.
    Sergio Garcia, who won the 2017 edition of the tournament, called his daughter Azalea after hole number 13.
    Traditionally, it is hard to predict a winner at a tournament that has been compared to Wimbledon for tennis.
    Patrick Reed is defending the title conquered in 2018 after dueling with Rickie Fowler.
    Meanwhile Rory McIlroy is eyeing a victory to complete the Grand Slam.
    The world leadership is at stake.
    Justin Rose has regained the leadership on the eve of the Masters with Dustin Johnson relegated to second position.
    Yet with a victory in Augusta McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas could take the helm.
    Meanwhile Francesco "Chicco" Molinari, the only Italian on the green, will be among the great protagonists of the tournament.
    The Italian player in Augusta conquered his best result in 2012, ranking 19th.
    He closed in 20th position in 2018 and now wants more.
    The champion of the Race to Dubai was recently quoted as saying by the BBC that he wants "to surprise" at the Masters.
    The Piedmont native had a brilliant start of 2019, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational (PGA Tour).
    He then conquered the bronze medal in the WGC-Dell Technologies, the second of four events in the mini world circuit.
    "Winning again" is one of the major objectives of the "king" of the Ryder Cup in Paris, who is preparing for the eighth tournament of his career in Augusta.
    He debuted in 2010 although his first time at the Masters dates back to 2006, when Molinari, today seventh in the world ranking, was a caddie to brother Edoardo and could see his myth Woods in action, who was at the time the outgoing champion.
    Molinari has gone a long way, although he has remained humble.
    The tournament that cannot be played without titles or an invite by organizers, includes among possible outsiders also stars such as Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Day for a challenge within the challenge.
    Reed wants a second win to become the fourth player in history to score a back-to-back victory. Such an achievement has so far been conquered only by Nick Faldo (1989-1990), Nicklaus (1965 e 1966) and Woods (2001-2002).