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Masters chances: Can Martin Kaymer live up to the hype?

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This week before The Masters tees off, we'll be sizing up the green-jacket chances of many of golf's top players. Can the German add a Masters green jacket to his trophy case? We're about to find out.

Martin Kaymer

Current world ranking: 1

So far this year: Kaymer opened the season with a win in Abu Dhabi, but he's struggled to find some consistency in his game since taking over the top spot on the World Golf Rankings. Aside from his runner-up finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, his best finish was a tie for 20th at the Transitions Championship.

Record at Augusta: He may be the best player on the planet -- per the OWGR -- but Kaymer sure hasn't played like it at Augusta. His best finish is a CUT ... oh, wait, that means he's never made the cut at the Masters. Hmmm, that's probably not the kind of record you want to have going into the first major of the year.

Why he could win: Easy, he's the top-ranked player in golf. You have to like a guy's chances when he's at the top of his profession. Kaymer has been working hard on preparing for Augusta, having not played since the Transitions Championship. If anybody can turn a poor Masters record around, it's this guy.

Why he could fall short: The talk of Kaymer trying to alter his natural swing for a draw at Augusta is a little worrisome. Sure, having a draw in your bag is extremely important, but if you've got a swing like Kaymer's, you shouldn't consider changing things up right before the Masters. You just have to wonder if he's putting too much time into working on a draw swing and not enough on something that's a little more important: learning Augusta's treacherous greens.

Our take: If you've learned one thing over the years from watching the Masters, it's that past success and local knowledge play a huge role. This will be Kaymer's fourth Masters, and so far he's failed to make a cut. Could he go out there and get into contention this year? Definitely. But his past record says otherwise. Kaymer could put on a green jacket someday, but it won't be this year.

Your turn, friends. Your take on Kaymer's chances at Augusta this year?

-For the finest in Masters coverage, follow Devil Ball Golf all week long on Facebook right here and on Twitter right here at @jonathanrwall.-

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