Published: Wed, April 05, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Five things to watch for from the 81st US Masters in Augusta

Five things to watch for from the 81st US Masters in Augusta

Bad weather severely disrupted the first official day of practice for the Masters on Monday, with players and spectators twice forced to evacuate Augusta National.

Day withdrew from the World Golf Championships Match-Play event two weeks ago to be with his mother, Dening, as she faced cancer surgery.

The Australian says he spent a good seven hours on the golf course on Friday playing nine holes during practice, and did the same the following two days. "She had the left quarter of her lung taken out..." For people like me who just turned pro it doesn't get much better than this. It's a very painful thing to go through and watch someone - you don't expect to go through it.

Here are 10 golfers participating in the 2017 Masters that could be considered dark horses for the event.

Johnson will be the penultimate player in the 94-man field to hit his opening tee shot at Augusta National after being drawn in the final group at 2.03pm (7.03pm BST) local time.

Even if greens and fairways are more receptive, it's likely the lightning-fast trademark putting surfaces will be back at full speed for Sunday's final round.

Epps sorry for dancing with kangaroo on stage
Epps, best known for his appearances as a drug dealer in the "Hangover" movies, was joined onstage by a man with a kangaroo. While Detroit rapper Tee Grizzley blared through speakers inside Joe Louis Arena, Mike Epps held a kangaroo by a harness.

The Masters begins this Thursday, and by most bookmakers estimates despite Day's turbulent preparation, he is still tipped in and around the top of the leaderboard, along with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and favourite Dustin Johnson. Jon Rahm has gone from rising star to bonafide star real quick, and he's been outside the Top 10 just once since late January. "I'm coming into this week focused a lot better". "If you don't have that it's hard to compete against the best players in the world".

Spieth has already won on the PGA Tour this season, at Pebble Beach, for his ninth title. One of the crucial areas to master is Amen Corner - the noted par-4 11th, par-3 12th and par-5 13th holes.

In December, he returned to the scene of the crime - specifically the par-3, 155-yard 12th hole at Augusta National - where he deposited two balls into Rae's Creek while taking a quadruple-bogey 7 in the fourth round past year.

Scott, who didn't manage to get to the course before it was closed, said he believed he was close to his ball-striking best. "Unfortunately with what's going on off the course, it isn't going to be Jason Day's year".

"You have to have a lot of patience because you do get a little edgy when it comes time for the Masters and you haven't really performed how you wanted to".

"He walked by and said, ‘Good chip, Quinn, '" Thomas said.

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