Player backs Day for Masters title

The golf icon believes Charl Schwartzel is South Africa’s best hope of claiming the title.

Masters legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - South African golf icon Gary Player on Thursday told EWN Sport Charl Schwartzel is South Africa's best hope of claiming the 2014 Masters title at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Player, who won the event three times, will travel to Georgia in the United States for next week's tournament.

He also picked Australia's Jason Day as his overall favourite to win.

Tiger Woods, the world's number one golfer, won't be in the field as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

Player says Schwartzel, the 2011 champion, has the best chance.

"He's the one who's got the best chance of winning. He's used to being up there and he's a very fierce competitor."

Player says that Schwartzel's irritability on the course can play in his favour if he manages to marry it with a number of other factors.

"You need a combination. You need to be relaxed, you need to be a little bit irritable and you need to be keyed up. It's hard to combine the three of them, but that's what you need to do to win."

Player says with Woods missing this edition, Day is his favourite to win the famous green jacket.

"He's my favourite to win the tournament this year, as long as he doesn't get the bad weather. Second is Adam Scott. They've got the two best swings in the world. Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen are also right up there with beautiful golf swings."

Player says Day has the perfect game and temperament to tame Augusta.

"The best golfer I ever saw was Ben Hogan and I'll tell you what, Day's got the closest to Hogan's swing. He is dynamic."

Player says Woods is quickly running out of time in his quest to overtake Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Major titles.

"If he doesn't win a Major this year, he's got a big problem."