Australian Masters tilt small - but fierce

·3-min read

It may be be small in number but former champion Adam Scott says the Australian contingent at the Masters has a 2013 feel about it.

Just five Australians are in the field for the first major of 2021 but Scott believes each of them have a legitimate chance at winning the green jacket.

Joining the 2013 champion are Cameron Smith, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones - all multiple PGA Tour winners.

They'll have their work cut out, though, with this year the first time in a decade an Australian contender hasn't been inside the top 25 in the world rankings leading into the tournament.

Not since Robert Allenby was ranked 27th entering the 2011 Masters has Australia's tilt been this light on long-term form.

From 2012, the top-ranked Australian at the Masters has been inside the top 15 and from 2014-2017 they occupied a top-five spot, including 2016 when Day arrived as the world's best player.

Smith was runner-up to world No.1 Dustin Johnson last year, Day has three times been in the top five and Leishman has two top-10s in the past.

Jones is playing just his second Masters but won the Honda Classic last month.

The Americans, led by defending champion Johnson, have the majority of pre-tournament favourites.

Players Championship winner Justin Thomas, US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, young stars Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele and former champion Jordan Spieth hold the attention.

Only Spain's Jon Rahm and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy break up the significant US dominance.

At the 2013 Masters, it was Scott, Day, Leishman and John Senden flying the Australian flag and all four spent time in or near the lead.

While Scott prevailed, Day was third and Leishman tied fourth.

Scott believes a similar scenario could present itself this year, particularly if hard and fast conditions continue.

"All of us here this week can win, there's no doubt about that," Scott told AAP.

"Four of us have contended here before and Jonesy is in red-hot form.

"If he plays like he did to win the Honda he can absolutely be up there.

"We didn't have many in 2013 but we all pushed for the title.

"I was lucky enough to be the one to win it."

It's been more than five years since an Australian won a major championship in men's golf.

"I thought I was going to win more majors when I won here in 2013 but it just doesn't happen that way," Scott said.

"Aussie golf was on a real high with Jason and I playing really well and others on the way up.

"I get the feeling we're coming back into another cycle of winning and that would be wonderful for me because I want to win multiple majors and I only have a certain window to do it."

The Aussies are preparing for tough conditions at Augusta National.

Only potential thunderstorms on Friday afternoon could stop officials presenting one of the firmest tests in some time.

It's been four years since the winning score was 279 (nine under par) or higher, with the average winning score in the past three Masters being 272 (16 under).

"It looked like it was already at a tournament length, the grass around the greens and the firmness and the speed of the greens had that brown tinge on it," Scott said.

"If that (starting point) is a sign of things to come we've got to buckle up."