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Five to watch (other than Tiger)

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001


1. Vijay Singh

1. Vijay Singh

VITAL STATISTICS: Two wins in Asia along with four straight top-4s on the PGA Tour coming into the Masters. Included is a runner-up finish to Woods at the Players Championship where he lost by a shot after a back-nine triple-bogey.

WHY HE COULD WIN: The Masters' defending champion is extremely confident and no longer seess to fear Augusta's greens. Although he took more putts than any Masters champ in a decade, his driving and iron play rivals that of Woods.

2. Mark Calcavecchia

VITAL STATISTICS: Set a PGA Tour scoring record of 256 at the Phoenix Open earlier this year and has improved his putting to the top five on the PGA Tour.

WHY HE COULD WIN: If not for a spectacular fairway bunker shot on the final hole in 1988 by Sandy Lyle, Calcavecchia already would have a green jacket. His improved putting is a key, and he has eight top-20 finishes at the Masters.

3. Davis Love III

VITAL STATISTICS: Led PGA Tour money list earlier this year after winning Pebble Beach and playing in the last group in three successive tournaments. Cooled off recently, but Love loves Augusta.

WHY HE COULD WIN: Love has five top-10s at the Masters in the last six years and seems to have regained the confidence that kept him out of the winner's circle for nearly three years.

4. Phil Mickelson

VITAL STATISTICS: The second-ranked player in the world to Woods and one who seems to have little trouble standing up to No. 1, Mickelson denied Woods victories at the last two Buick Invitationals and the Tour Championship.

WHY HE COULD WIN: Mickelson's power and short game seem perfectly suited for Augusta, where he has four top-10 finishes.

5. Jose Maria Olazabal

VITAL STATISTICS: He missed the cut last year for the first time since 1987.

WHY HE COULD WIN: The two-time Masters champion has nine top-15s at Augusta and makes up for driving deficiencies with spectacular recoveries and short-game play.

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