Irish champions Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are all set to do battle in the US Masters, the first major golf tournament of the season. No Irishman has every won the Masters. Hopefully, this will be the year, but Tiger Woods remains the bookies' favorite.

The competition will kick off next Thursday. Uniquely, the US Masters is played on the same course each year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The competition is by invitation only, and 50 golfers are eligible to play. These players are made up of official world rankings and winners of recent prestigious tournaments.

The tournament will be played over four days on 72-holes. This is the smallest field of any major championship. Groups are limited to three players for the first 36 holes after which players must make “the cut." The golfer with the 44 lowest scores, plus ties, and any players within ten strokes of the lead, go on to the final two rounds.

The champions are awarded a the club’s iconic green members jacket. The winners are automatically invited to play in the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship for the next five years and they will be invited to the Masters for the rest of their lives.

Could this year be Ireland’s chance?


Read More Masters 2011 in Sports