US Masters | 7 April - 10 April | Augusta National Golf Club
Hot damn, it feels good to be back. It’s been a while since my words have graced this site, and what a time to get back in the game. The Masters – there’s no tournament like it. It is the only major played on the same course each year; the daunting Augusta National Golf Club. With a back nine capable of turning hardened professionals into quivering wrecks and greens about as submissive as a wild appaloosa, Augusta is a treacherous beast, but one that is not wholly unpredictable.
As with any tournament that returns to the same grass and undulating hills as the year previous, the Masters has an air of predictability around it. Long drives, great iron play and an ability to scramble are a must. Those that know the course tend to fair well, so previous Masters experience is key.
To Win Outright
Jason Day 13/2 | Rory McIlroy 8/1 | Jordan Speith 9/1 | Adam Scott 12/1 | Bubba Watson 12/1
Top South Africans
Louis Oosthuizen 35/1 | Charl Schwartzel 45/1 | Branden Grace 80/1 | Ernie Els 300/1
Charlie Hoffman 1st Round Leader (100/1)
Now I tend to do things a little differently when it comes to golf betting. Sure, there is value to be found in backing outright’s, but when it comes to majors, the options are endless. The 1st Round Leader market is a nice way to boost the float ahead of the weekend and I reckon Hoffman could be the man here. The American shot a 67 on the opening day last year, only to be blown out the water by Jordan Speith’s 64. He’s a fast starter, as shown by last week’s opening round 64 at the Shell Houston. He’s also been handed a favourable early tee-off time, which is enough for me to dabble at 100/1. You can't get hurt at that price.
Louis Oosthuizen (35/1 Win & 7/1 Place)
Oosthuizen has seen some betting support in recent weeks following his showing at the WGC Match Play, where he lost in the final to Jason Day. He may have missed the cut last week, but Oosthuizen has shown he has the temperament for the big stage. The 2010 British Open champ finished runner-up at the US and British Open last year and might’ve already had a green jacket had it not been for Bubba Watson’s wonder stroke on the 10th in 2012. The sweet-swinging South African is a definite place chance here, with some wins thrown in for good measure.
Matt Kuchar (80/1 Win & 17/1 Place)
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Matt Kuchar is Masters winning material. He isn’t. But he is one of the most consistent players in the field at Augusta and at 17/1 there’s definite value about a place chance. The American has finished in the Top 10 in three of the last four years, including a T3 in 2012, a T8 in 2013 and a T5 in 2014. There are not many players who can boast of that kind of recent success at Augusta.
Rafael Cabrero-Bello (Top Debutant 6/1)
One of just two Spaniards in the field, Cabrero-Bello earned his spot in the Masters by moving into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking following his 11th place finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He followed that showing by advancing to the semi-finals at the WGC Match Play and finishing fourth at the Shell Houston Open. He has the game to master Augusta and might even offer some value for a place chance at 20/1.
Bubba Watson 12/1 Win & 25/10 Place
Let’s be quite frank about Bubba Watson. He’s not everyone's favourite human but he’s a damn good golfer. The talented left-hander is a two-time Masters champion and if he makes it three over the weekend, I’ll be a very happy man. He gets the nod over Jason Day for his previous achievements at Augusta and they cannot be ignored. While his season has been inconsistent, there is a T2 finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Here’s where it gets interesting. He finished the exact same position in 2012 and 2014, when – you guessed it – he went on to win the Masters. Superstitious as that may sound, the correlation is undeniable. He has the pedigree, the temperament, and the experience to come out on top again. Back to the Waffle house we go.
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