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20 capsules for the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Ten contenders for this week’s Masters championship, in predicted order of finish:

RORY MCILROY

Age: 24.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 7.

Worldwide wins: 10.

Majors: US Open (2011), PGA Championship (2012).

Masters moment: Losing a four-shot lead with an 80 in the final round of 2011.

Forecaddie: Plenty of signs point to him returning to the top of the game, it’s just a matter of how soon. He’s had a chance going into the final round at three of his four stroke-play events this year. That includes the Honda Classic, where he lost a two-shot lead and then lost in a four-man playoff. He showed in 2011 his game is suited for the Masters. This would be the ideal place to announce his return.

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 29.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 10.

Worldwide wins: 8.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Made eagle on consecutive holes (13-14) in the final round of 2009 and still couldn’t break par.

Forecaddie: This is the one major he has not threatened to win, yet his talent is such that he can’t be ignored. He’s on the A-list of power players, his natural shot is a draw, his short game is vastly improved and he has five straight finishes in the top 10 in PGA Tour events. Even so, his best finish at Augusta is a tie for 13th. He will be a contender one of these years. Maybe this one.

ADAM SCOTT

Age: 33.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide wins: 23.

Majors: Masters (2013).

Masters moment: Screaming “C’mon Aussie” after making a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation last year that got him into a playoff that he won.

Forecaddie: He might be swinging the club as well and as consistently as anyone in the game. The only thing keeping the Australian from winning more is his putting, which he showed at Bay Hill when he couldn’t hold a seven-shot lead on the weekend. His last three appearances at Augusta — tie for second, tie for eighth and win. Don’t be surprised if he leaves Augusta with the same green jacket he brings with him.

PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 43.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 5.

Worldwide wins: 45.

Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), British Open (2013), PGA Championship (2005).

Masters moment: “The leap” when he holed an 18-foot birdie putt in 2004 to win his first major.

Forecaddie: Except for the one year he missed the cut, Mickelson had his worst Masters ever last year. He still has three green jackets, and 14 top 10s in 21 appearances. He is playing both weeks in Texas leading to the Masters, and while Lefty has had only one good week this year (in Abu Dhabi), he showed last year at the British Open that he is capable of big surprises. Even if it’s rarely a surprise at Augusta.

PATRICK REED

Age: 23.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 22.

Worldwide wins: 3.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Winning two titles at Augusta — that would be NCAA titles at Augusta State. This is his first Masters.

Forecaddie: It would be an injustice to have Reed listed anywhere outside the top 5. He said so himself after winning a World Golf Championship at Doral, his third PGA Tour win in seven months, leading to say he was among the top five players in the world. More amazing that his pronouncement on television is that Reed has never played a major championship. Lost in the hutzpah is that his game is capable of being top 5 in the world.

HENRIK STENSON

Age: 38.

Country: Sweden.

World ranking: 3.

Worldwide wins: 12.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Attended the ‘99 Masters with his wife, who played college golf at South Carolina. Took one look at Jose Maria Olazabal and meant to place a bet on him, but he forgot. Olazabal went on to win.

Forecaddie: He was the best player in golf the second half of last season and got off to a slow start this year. His 69-68 weekend at Bay Hill to tie for fifth might be enough to nudge him in the right direction. But he has yet to finish in the top 10 at the Masters.

SERGIO GARCIA

Age: 34.

Country: Spain.

World ranking: 8.

Worldwide wins: 22.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Telling Spanish reporters after the third round in 2012 that his game was not good enough to win a major.

Forecaddie: Opened with a 66 last year to share the first-round lead, so he is capable around Augusta National. Garcia won the Qatar Masters in Feburary, and he has not finished out of the top 20 since last August. He arguably is the most talented player to have not won a major. The question is whether he really believes he is.

JIMMY WALKER

Age: 35.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 26.

Worldwide wins: 3.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Having an Augusta National pin flag tucked into the trophy when he won the Frys.com Open in October to qualify for the Masters for the first time.

Forecaddie: Along with Patrick Reed, a three-time PGA Tour winner making his debut at the Masters. Injuries kept Walker from arriving sooner than he did, though there is not a lot of weakness in his game. He’s long and a very good putter. Consider him one of the favorites from this strong rookie class to make a good first impression.

BUBBA WATSON

Age: 35.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 12.

Worldwide wins: 5.

Majors: Masters (2012).

Masters moment: That gap wedge he hooked out of the trees on the 10th hole in a playoff to beat Louis Oosthuizen.

Forecaddie: Until he withdrew from Bay Hill with allergies — presumably he was allergic to shooting 83 — his game was starting to round into the form. And when he’s in form, Watson can hit shots no one else can. He won at Riviera at the end of the West Coast Swing, part of four straight tournaments that he was a serious contender.

GRAEME MCDOWELL

Age: 34.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 14.

Worldwide wins: 12.

Majors: US Open (2010).

Masters moment: With Tiger Woods coping with the implosion in his personal life in 2009, McDowell took his spot in the Chevron World Challenge and finished runner-up to earn enough ranking points to get into the Masters the following year.

Forecaddie: A winner three times last year, has been consistently high on the leaderboard without being a serious threat to win. Will try to take zero expectations to the Masters to see if that helps his cause. He has made only two cuts in six appearances. His best hope is knowing that Zach Johnson, another player with only moderate length, has a green jacket.

— The Associated Press

JUSTIN ROSE

Age: 33.

Country: England.

World ranking: 6.

Worldwide wins: 12.

Majors: US Open (2013).

Masters moment: Having a two-shot lead going into the weekend in 2004 and posting an 81 in the third round.

Forecaddie: What his victory at the U.S. Open proved is that Rose can perform under stifling pressure. He made par on the last two holes at Merion with a 3-iron and 4-iron, both nearly flawless. What he needs is a smidgen of confidence. His early year has been derailed by a shoulder injury. The shoulder is fine, but he hasn’t had the kind of results he would like heading to Augusta.

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JORDAN SPIETH

Age: 20.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 13.

Worldwide wins: 1.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Playing Pine Valley and Augusta National during a two-day trip last fall. Making Masters debut.

Forecaddie: Spieth already has played in a Presidents Cup. He finished No. 7 in the FedEx Cup. He has won on the PGA Tour and lost in a playoff. He is among the top 15 players in the world ranking. And put all this in perspective, he was born a year after Fred Couples won the Masters. While he still only has one PGA Tour win and has barely made a peep in the two majors he has played, he has been in the mix just about every tournament he has played this year. His patience will be tested at Augusta National.

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IAN POULTER

Age: 38.

Country: England.

World ranking: 19.

Worldwide wins: 14.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Par or better all four days in 2012, his only top-10 finish at Augusta National.

Forecaddie: He isn’t very long. He isn’t always very straight. His iron play comes and goes. His short game is among the best. He would need conditions and his week to go just right to be there on Sunday. Or just pretend this is the Ryder Cup.

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JASON DAY

Age: 26.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 4.

Worldwide wins: 3.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Making birdie on the 18th hole to tie for second in 2011.

Forecaddie: This had all the trappings of a big year, especially a big Masters, when he won the Match Play Championship with a crisp performance. But it was only the second win of his career. As much as Day shows up big in the majors, he doesn’t have as many titles as his talent would suggest. Even more troublesome are the injuries, the latest being his thumb has kept him out of action for six weeks leading to the Masters.

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JASON DUFNER

Age: 37.

Country: Unites States.

World ranking: 16.

Worldwide wins: 3.

Majors: PGA Championship (2013).

Masters moment: This is the only major where he has never missed the cut. OK, he only played in three Masters.

Forecaddie: He hasn’t come seriously close to winning since the PGA Championship last year. And perhaps the weakest part of his game is his putting, which wouldn’t seem to be a good fit for Augusta National. But he does a great job of making it look simple, and his unexcitable approach to golf and to life can go a long way.

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ERNIE ELS

Age: 44.

Country: South Africa.

World ranking: 34.

Worldwide wins: 65.

Majors: US Open (1994, 1997), British Open (2002, 2012).

Masters moment: Being on the putting green to prepare for a playoff when he heard the crowd react to Phil Mickelson making birdie on the 18th to win in 2004.

Forecaddie: This is the major that haunts the Big Easy. He showed up out of nowhere (and withheld from Adam Scott) to win the 2012 British Open, and stranger things have happened. He would need at least one more runner-up, or even a close call, to earn his place with Tom Weiskopf, Ken Venturi, David Duval, Greg Norman and others who feel truly vexed by the Masters.

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MATT KUCHAR

Age: 35.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 11.

Worldwide wins: 6.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Tied for the lead with three holes to play in 2012, then making bogey on the 16th hole and tying for third.

Forecaddie: For years, his best performance at the Masters was as an amateur. That began changing two years ago with his tie for third, and he went into the final round last year just three shots out of the lead. There’s no part of Kuchar’s game that is distinctly better than anyone else, he just does it all very well. And having been through the heat of the final round, he’s more equipped than ever.

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VICTOR DUBUISSON

Age: 23.

Country: France.

World ranking: 21.

Worldwide wins: 1.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: Watching on television.

Forecaddie: Of all the Masters rookies among the top 50 in the world, this is the most mysterious. He won in Turkey last year against a strong field that included Tiger Woods. And he is famous for the two shots he hit out of the desert during the final of the Match Play Championship. He is plenty long. He makes clean contact. He putts well enough. This could be a big debut or a short week, and probably nothing in between.

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HARRIS ENGLISH

Age: 24.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 36.

Worldwide wins: 2.

Majors: None.

Masters moment: The birdie on 16 in the final round in 2004. He wasn’t playing. He was a freshman in high school in the gallery watching Phil Mickelson win his first major.

Forecaddie: When compliments start coming from other players — Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell — it’s worth nothing. English has won twice since June, and he has a full arsenal of shots, starting with his power off the tee. This is his Masters debut, but he played it once a year while playing college golf at Georgia.

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LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN

Age: 31

Country: South AFrica.

World ranking: 35.

Worldwide wins: 11.

Majors: British Open (2010).

Masters moment: Making an albatross 2 on the par-5 second hole in the final round of 2012, only to lose in a playoff to Bubba Watson.

Forecaddie: He has been slowed by back issues, withdrawing from two majors last year and missing the third one. But when he’s on, he has one of the most envied swings in golf. He reached the quarterfinals of Match Play before his back started to act up and he lost in the quarterfinals. Had two weeks off before going to Houston for a tune-up. Has a chance to join an elite group — Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are the only players to win at Augusta and St. Andrews.