The first major of the year is always an exciting moment in the golfing calendar, but this year has some extra spice!
Golf is often compared with tennis, because the two sports both have four major championships a year, but there are some significant differences - chiefly the fact that while Melbourne Park, Roland Garros, the All England Club and Flushing Meadows host the tennis Grand Slams every year, three of the four golf majors are moveable feasts. The exception is the Masters, making Augusta National a special and unique venue where the roughs, pine woodland and tricky bunkers of Augusta are as familiar to golf fans as the winner's famous green jacket.
Followers who have watched the sport for many years will recall a myriad of great moments, from the multiple victories of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods to the first-time major winners, such as England's Danny Willett and Spaniard Sergio Garcia in each of the last two years. And who can forget Bubba Watson's two victories, one of them with the most extraordinary hooked shot out of the pines to win the title when all seemed lost?
The biggest talking point of all is the reappearance of Tiger in his first major since 2015. Barely able to sit upright at the Champions' Dinner a year ago, here he is, back on form. The New York Times made much play of the fact that he warmed up with Phil Mickelson but where there was once a fierce rivalry there are now smiles and respect, a recognition that just to be here and competing in their 40s is as important as trying to add to the seven green jackets they have won between them.
Rory McIlroy is not yet of veteran status, but he is certainly no rookie and his illustrious career - not to mention his wardrobe - has one obvious omission. If he wins the Masters, the green jacket will mark the completion of the full set of all four majors, placing the former world number one in some rare company.
The Northern Irishman has hit form at just the right time, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month to secure his first piece of silverware since 2016 and describing his final round 64 as "perfect".
McIlroy has provided every reason for fans to be optimistic about his prospects but Nonetheless, it is Tiger who has emerged as the favourite. The fact that he is yet to win a tournament this year might inject a sense of realism for some, but the hype is not without substance as those watching him play have seen plenty of signs of the old Tiger coming back. Will the clock be turned back forcing the rest of the field to be left trailing in his wake?
Many would love to see a first-time major winner at Augusta for the third year running, especially if it is McIlroy. While that would mark a fantastic comeback from injury, however, nothing would top another triumph for Woods!