Straga opens the Masters alongside American stars Mickelson and Finau

The Hahnenkamm descent at Sreif in Kitzbühel is for daring skiers or Wimbledon for tennis professionals or the Grand Prix at Monte Carlo for Formula 1 drivers, the Masters at Augusta for the world's best golfers.

The first of four major events of the year brings together the best players and various tournament series from around the world. All 13 cast members of Saudi Arabia's multi-billion dollar LIV series have been invited to Augusta National Club.

Including one of America's biggest stars, Phil Mickelson. Now the 53-year-old California native has won the “Green Jacket” a total of three times. Mickelson won the prestigious course in the US state of Georgia in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Last year, “Lefty,” as the charismatic left-hander is called, only had to concede defeat to winner Jon Rahm.

Mickelson was the “Best Amateur” at the 1991 Masters

Phil Mickelson beim Put-Training in Augusta

Photo: © Getty

Mickelson opens the tournament on Thursday and Friday alongside Austrian No. 1 Sepp Straka. Tony Finau (USA) was third in the 9th flight of the day.

On Thursday, the trio kicks off at 3:36 pm CEST.

A total of 89 players will participate in the round at Augusta National Golf Club. After two rounds there is a cutoff. The two final rounds on Saturday and Sunday start at 4pm CEST.

Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm are favorites

World number one Scotty Scheffler is considered one of the favorites for the “green jacket”. The American will win the Masters in 2022. In 2024, Scheffler has already won two PGA tournaments.

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Defending champion Jon Rahm was also among the top winners last year.

However, the statistics speak against the Spaniard, who has been playing on the controversial LIV tour since December: the US Masters has not had a title defense for a long time. Tiger Woods last achieved this since 2001 when he repeated his feat.

Rahm is the fourth player to defend his Masters title.

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