The FA Cup final is set. Tiger Roll has completed back-to-back Grand Nationals and the Boat Race has been and gone, but now it’s time for April’s main event – the US Masters, and we’re salivating at the prospect of one of the best majors in recent memory.
Nick Faldo sums it up perfectly: “I have got at least 20 guys I think you really could place. I don’t know who is going to win. If Rory wins the Grand Slam that is fantastic. If Tiger wins, my goodness, what is that story going to be. Might make the morning papers – for the next three months! There are plenty – let it unfold and see what happens.”
This year sees the 83rd edition of the Masters played – the first of four major championships in the Golfing calendar.
There are 86 players in the field for this year’s Masters, and we’re here to find you plenty of value.
First of all, let’s look at the past 12 winners and their pre-event price.
2018 – Patrick Reed -15 Pre-event price 70/1
2017 – Sergio Garcia -9 Pre-event price 50/1
2016 – Danny Willett -5 Pre-event price 66/1
2015 – Jordan Spieth -18 Pre-event price 12/1
2014 – Bubba Watson -8 Pre-event price 28/1
2013 – Adam Scott -9 Pre-event price 28/1
2012 – Bubba Watson -10 Pre-event price 55/1
2011 – Charl Schwartzel -14 Pre-event price 90/1
2010 – Phil Mickelson -16 Pre-event price 10/1
2009 – Angel Cabrera -12 Pre-event price 150/1
2008 – Trevor Immelman -8 Pre-event price 150/1
2007 – Zach Johnson +1 Pre-event price 200/1
Patrick Reed who won his first Major tournament last season and the defending champion is on offer at 50/1 to put on the Green Jacket once again this year.
It is however Rory McIlroy who is the favourite at 6/1. He comes into the tournament in fine form, having recently won The Players Championship and has shown in the past that he has the game to compete at Augusta.
This is the Northern Irishman’s fifth attempt to complete the career grand slam by claiming a green jacket. He’d be only the sixth person in history to complete it.
Did you know that Rory has finished in the top ten of all of his seven events on the PGA Tour this year? The last player to enter the Masters with the same record was Phil Mickelson in 2004. Guess what? He won his first Green Jacket off the back of that form.
One man who stands out is Paul Casey at 25/1. The 41-year-old hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in any of the last four Masters, and he’s had five top 5s in 12 appearances.
Can a World Number 1 become the first top-ranked player to win The Masters since Tiger Woods in 2002? If you fancy him, Justin Rose is available at 12/1.
And speaking of Tiger Woods, A fit Tiger is a serious contender. He knows the course like the back of his hand and he certainly knows how to win around Augusta with four Green Jackets to his name. Could he capture his 15th Major, 11 years after his last? We have him at 14/1 to do so.
On the topic of Americans, there’s plenty on offer. Bubba Watson at 30/1, Jordan Speith at 18/1, Brooks Koepka at 14/1 and Phil Mickelson at 40/1 may be tempting to punters.
However the one to watch may well be the man who finished second last year – Rickie Fowler: ”A lot of confidence was taken from last year. I’ve been in similar positions before going into the weekend and either not had the Saturday or not had the Sunday I wanted. The way I executed on the back nine Sunday last year was definitely something I pull from. It was a lot of fun to be in the mix and make Patrick earn it a bit. But was just a little bit too far back. Time to do one better.”
Fowler’s runner-up finish last year was his eighth career top-10 in a major championship and he insists he’s never been more ready going into a Major. His fourth finish of 12th or higher at Augusta National in the past five years last time round will fill him with plenty of confidence going into this weekend’s tournament.
Another big-hitting American on everyone’s radar is Dustin Johnson and with three top-10 finishes in his last three attempts at the Masters, he’s shorter than many at 10/1, but equally seen as good value to add a second Major to his 2016 US Open victory. It’s all about being able to manage those par-5s and DJ should be able to score heavily.
Lastly, let’s talk about Hideki Matsuyama. He has played some of his best golf at Augusta National, including four top-20 finishes in his last four attempts, which also saw him finish in the top1- back in 2015 and 2016. Matsuyama offers great value at 25/1 and could well be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Venue: Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia
Date: April 11-14
Course stats: par 72, 7,435 yards
Defending champion: Patrick Reed (-15)