Jack Nicklaus believes Rory McIlroy is the man to beat in the 83rd Masters as he seeks to complete the career grand slam with a victory at Augusta National.

A resurgent Tiger Woods, world number one Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson are among the favourites for the year's first major championship.

But six-time Masters champion Nicklaus agrees with the bookmakers who have installed McIlroy at the top of the market following his victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass last month.

"I'd find it hard to pick one (winner) but Rory is playing terrific and would probably be number one," Nicklaus told ESPN.

"DJ, Tiger... you just go right down the list. Justin Rose is playing great and Tommy Fleetwood, no one is really talking about him but he's been playing great. Rickie (Fowler) has been close quite a few times.

"There are so many, that's the beauty of the game today and it's going to be exciting and fun over the next four days."