Augusta National Hole #1, Tea Olive (Image: Brerwolfe/Flickr)

Augusta National Hole #1, Tea Olive (Image: Brerwolfe/Flickr)

It’s Masters Week. One of the greatest annual sporting events is upon us again.

Tiger Woods will tee it up at 1:53 ET on Thursday, firing for his 15th major—just five away from Jack Nicklaus’ record. After his showing at Bay Hill, there is no reason to believe Woods isn’t as strong as ever. New knee. Same incredible swing. No one would be surprised if Tiger wins.

Here’s a few of Tiger’s stats for you to marinate on:

  • Woods has a 30.6% winning percentage in majors. That’s 14 wins in 46 starts. Thirty percent is a good batting average, but a golf tournament winning percentage? Incredible.
  • In the last four seasons, Tiger has played in 14 majors and won six. In that period, only twice did he finish outside the top four.
  • Tiger has won 66 tour events, 16 short of Sam Snead’s record.

Need we say more here?

Enough about Tiger though; of course he’s the favorite. Who else could give him a run?

  • Phil Mickelson: Standard answer here. But Mick has won twice already this season. Problem is, Phil fades when Tiger plays well. Coincidence?
  • Steve Stricker: One of Game Under Repair’s all time faves, Strick has three top 4 finishes this year. He’s rolling, but he needs to finish.
  • Sergio Garcia: A few months ago, I picked Sergio to win The Masters this year. So, though he’s sucking as of late, I’ll still include him here. Four more tries to win a major before he turns 30.
  • Camilo Villegas: He conquered the big stage at the Tour Championship last year. Let’s see how he does in the biggest tournament so far in 2009.
  • Rory McIlroy: He’s 19. He doesn’t know any better. Why not?
  • Lee Westwood: I just love his swing, and I want to see it on TV this weekend. That’s why he’s on this list.
  • Brandt Snedeker: Nashville guy. I’m biased.

Ian Woosnam, Chez Reavie, and Briny Baird kick off The 2009 Masters Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Check back for Game Under Repair’s cutting insight all week.