It’s (apparently) spring time, the clocks have gone forward, and the US Masters is upon us again. I always regard this tournament as the starting gun for a summer of magnificent sport, and on paper the Masters looks to have the potential to be a great appetizer for the next few months.
This will be the 77th Masters tournament, former Green Jacket winner Sandy Lyle is the lucky man who gets to hit the first ball this year. Of the 93 man field, the top 50 and those within 10 shots of the leader will make the cut this year, as opposed to 44 in the past.
The course has four par 5’s and this year is 7,435 yards long. All this points to suiting the big hitters, but there is a lot more to winning the Masters than a big booming drive.
Statistics are important when picking a winner. For example, American players are the form players at the moment having dominated the US PGA tour over recent months. Martin Laird’s win last week was the first non American winner on the US circuit this year.
Also only a small group of players have won on their first couple of visits to Augusta, Charl Schwartzel being the last, who won at his second attempt in 2011. Schwartzel is 28/1 to repeat that win this year.
2011 was also the year Rory McIlroy chucked away a four shot lead and capitulated on the back 9 of his final round. I know that he bounced back and won the 2011 US Open a few months later, but I believe the burden of pressure he will put on himself to right that wrong could hamper his chances.
It’s being billed as Rory V Tiger, and quite sensibly Rory played that down yesterday by comparing his record to Tiger’s and pointing out that their records are so different, that the two men just can’t be compared.
I thought this was a smart ploy by McIlroy, the last thing he needed was to (innocently) say the wrong thing and have the media stoking things up between himself and Woods. It showed maturity from McIlroy, that he is thinking about his conduct and (presumably) his game, which is a good sign after his early season struggles.
In the betting, Tiger Woods is the favourite, mainly at 4/1 or 9/2, he is as short as 3/1 with one layer.
I believe the odds for a Woods’ win is a tricky one for punters. On current form it looks a great bet, but on current ‘major’ form, he could never be backed at 4/1.
From a positive perspective, over the past few months Tiger has looked like the Tiger of old. He looks comfortable with himself again, like he has put all his troubles behind him and has finally moved on.
He is winning tournaments again, he is back at the top of the rankings and his putting has improved no end recently. There is also four par 5’s on this course which will suit Woods, and he has won here 4 times previously. So 4/1 is a good price on him?
I’m not so sure, if he was 8 or 9/1, I’d say he’s definitely worth a shot, but 4/1 looks too short to me. It’s a tempter on current form, but I’d definitely be taking a cautious approach to Woods who hasn’t won a major since 2008. Could that extra bit of pressure to win a major and complete his rehabilitation prove too much of a burden? Even for the great Tiger!
US Masters Betting (selected few, with best prices)
Tiger Woods 9/2
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Phil Mickelson 21/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Keegan Bradley 25/1
Adam Scott 25/1
Charl Schwartzel 28/1
Lee Westwood 28/1
Dustin Johnson 28/1
Louis Oosthuizen 28/1
Bubba Watson 40/1
This year most bookmakers are paying out for a top 5 finish (1/4 of the odds) in the each-way betting. Sportingbet, Paddy Power and 888Sport are all being more generous and paying out on 6 places, so it makes far more sense to bet with one of those if you are doing each-way bets.
Of those bookies, there is currently a Paddy Power Free Bet of £50.00 available to new customers who wish to open an account and take advantage of their 6 places in the each-way betting, the free bet can be used to bet for free on the Golf with as well.