Jack Frost may be late in leaving the North-east but Stateside the azaleas are in full bloom for the most intriguing Masters for years.
The return of Tiger Woods, finally back on track after years of injury hell, will guarantee TV viewing figures go through the roof as he attempts to hunt down Jack Nicklaus’ record Major haul of 18 titles at Augusta.
But Tiger is not the only show in town …
Rory McIlroy is already a winner this year, matching the 2018 triumphs of Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson, John Rahm and Justin Thomas.
But if you’re looking for a little advice on where to put your money, what better than to ask the professionals themselves?
Kings Links director of golf Paul Girvan, a staunch supporter of Tiger in the past, was first to give his verdict before flying out to take in the action in Georgia this week.
Paul said: “Sorry Tiger, but the smart money has to go on the new powerhouse sensation, Justin Thomas.
“The latest new breed of young players have no fear of winning and hold zero respect for their elders … in the nicest possible way, obviously!”
Tiger is not without support, however, and Banchory’s Dean Vannet admits he wants the former World No1 to turn the clock back.
“I’m going for Tiger to add to his four Masters titles,” said Dean.
“He has had an amazing turn-around in his last three events … finishing 12th, second and fifth.
“They said Tiger would never play again but now he is well up on the Fed-ex Cup standings.
“It would be fantastic if he can record a nostalgic win.”
Former Scottish Men’s and Scottish Boys’ Amateur champion David Law, now a pro on the European Tour’s Challenge Tour, reckons a proven left-handed three-time Masters winner is peaking at just the right time.
David said: “I really think Phil Mickelson’s game has been very impressive lately especially having won the WGC in Mexico.
“That win felt like it was coming for a few weeks so not only is he on form, he is fresh off a win and high on confidence.
“Phil is also returning to a course that has brought him not only his first Major in 2004 but another two in 2006 and 2010.
“My outside shout would be Kiradech Aphibarnrat.”
Deeside director of golf Frank Coutts believes England’s Paul Casey possesses all the right credentials to come out on top.
“Paul hits the ball very long and high which you need around Augusta,” said Frank.
“He has played in the United States for a few years now and is a winner on the US Tour already this season.”
Rory McIlroy is the choice of Frank’s assistant, Graeme Nethercott.
“The manner of his victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational showed that Rory is in fettle,” said Graeme.
“Rory is one of the longest off the tee and has the ability to hit the ball extremely high with a draw.”
Murcar Links pro Gary Forbes reckons Justin Rose will be wearing his first green jacket on Sunday night after agonisingly losing out to Sergio Garcia in a play-off last year.
Gary said: “Justin Rose’s form has been very solid and he looks much more comfortable with the putter.
“I think he will put in another good effort this year as he has done in the last two. Augusta suits his game.”
Peterculter’s Ross Maconnachie looks to the East for inspiration.
“Hideki Matsuyama is a fantastic player and certainly one who has the potential to be a Major winner,” said Ross.
“The Japanese talent has a superb record at Augusta.”