Three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo didn't name them all, but his list kept growing when he talked about 20 players who could win the Masters, all from what he referred to as the second tier and described as "pretty darn good."
Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald. Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas. Louis Oosthuizen and Schwartzel.
"Yes, Tiger is the favorite," Faldo said. "He's strong. He's determined. We will see. But he's going to be chased by a lot of really good players."
Robert Garrigus considered the last few weeks on the PGA Tour to illustrate how fickle this game can be. Martin Laird had missed the cut in half his tournaments and had yet to crack the top 30 when he closed with a 63 to win the Texas Open. D.A. Points had missed seven cuts in nine tournaments and had not finished in the top 60 when he won the Houston Open.
"I saw the odds on Tiger last night and I thought, 'Man, you just never know what's going to happen,'" Garrigus said. "I saw I was like 200-to-1, and thought if I could bet I might throw a couple of hundred dollars on me."
Woods is annoyed that seven Masters have come and gone since he last sat in Butler Cabin with his green jacket, though he looks at his record and isn't worried. He keeps giving himself chances, and he figures one of these years, everything will fall into place.
And he's still the guy to beat.
"One shot in front of Tiger is not a bad place to be around here," Ian Poulter said.
It all starts on Thursday, with the biggest concern a weather system that was due to arrive before the weekend and could alter the nature of the course. It has been beautiful all week, the kind of weather that allows officials to set the golf course for birdies or for pars, whatever they choose.
All eyes will be on Woods, though this might require some patience. Woods has broken 70 only once in his 16 years at Augusta as a pro. His average score is 71.9.
"I think everybody has the same thought on Tiger: We'll worry about that Sunday afternoon," Snedeker said. "I'm sure he's going to be up there. I think everybody has a complete idea of knowing he's probably playing the best golf in the world right now, hands down. If I'm there Sunday afternoon with Tiger Woods at some point ... it's probably going to be a good week because he's going to be somewhere close."
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