The bookies wasted no time in installing Rory McIlroy as their new favourite to win the upcoming Masters from Augusta, after Northern Irishman won his first tournament for 18 months, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at Bay Hill.
Paddy Power and Betfair both now make McIlroy 8/1 for the Masters. He is competing for favouritism with Americans Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, both at 9/1. With Justin Thomas at 10/1, Jordan Spieth 11/1, and England’s Justin Rose at 14/1. 2017 Champion, Sergio Garcia is back at 28/1 to defend his title.
McIlroy started the final day at Bay Hill, 2 shots off the lead, but a blistering 64 seen him win the tournament quite comfortably by 3 shots, ahead of second placed Bryson DeChambeau.
The main focus in the betting leading up to the 2018 Masters will no doubt be Tiger Woods. He finished the Arnold Palmer tournament 8 shots behind McIlroy, in joint 5th position. Although this is a remarkable turnaround in form and fortune for Woods, to have him as a possible winner at Augusta so shortly into his comeback seems a bit far fetched to me. Backing him at 9/1 certainly wouldn’t be for me.
As for the other favourites, McIlroy has unfinished business here, Spieth has shown he has the temperament to win big competitions, and Justin Thomas also looks a great prospect with both the game and temperament to get over the line in big competitions. As for Dustin Johnson, he has the skill, but I personally am still not convinced by him if he’s put under serious pressure.