The Masters from Augusta National is not only the most aesthetically pleasing sporting event to watch – it’s also one of the most exciting.
The cream of professional golf arrive full of hope of taking the first major of the season, but many can be ruled out through lack of course experience, talent or both.
At 7,500 yards, Augusta is long and the generous fairways provide the big-hitters with a perfect opportunity to put some distance between them and the competition. Length is a huge advantage as hitting shorter-irons into the tricky Augusta greens allows more control, and short-hitters will require a razor sharp short-game and a red-hot putter if they are to emerge victorious this week.
When it comes to golf I’m not usually one to side with the favourites, but there is a strong case to be made for backing all of the first four in the betting this week. The theory behind it is that Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Phil Mickleson and Jason Day all look to have serious chances and, as they’re trading at 12/1 or above, if two of them get placed (first 6 with some bookies) we at least get our money back.
In the enforced absence of Tiger Woods, I’m surprised to see Rory McIlroy at 12/1 as he’s twice the price he was last year, yet in twice as good form coming into this event as he was in 2013. Five year form figures of 20/MC/15/40/25 don’t tell the full story, as he really should have won here in 2011, and I’m sure he’ll win one of the next ten Masters, so represents value.
Adam Scott has the extra burden of being defending champion this week and the press will no doubt demand plenty of his time. However, he seems to relish being one of golf’s pin-up boys nowadays. Placed 2/8/1 in the last three years shows he is totally at home here and he’ll surely add to his one green jacket sooner or later. 12/1 is fair.
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickleson needs no introduction and ‘Lefty’ has been in the first-five in 7 of his last 10 Augusta appearances. Older than the average winner, but that didn’t stop him winning last year’s Scottish Open and Open Championship back-to-back. There will be plenty taking the 14/1.
Jason Day has amazingly finished 2nd and 3rd here in three appearances; withdrawing in his other attempt when injured. His recent thumb injury has been well-documented, but a new found confidence gained from winning the Golf World Cup and the WGC Matchplay should even that out. 16/1 is a big price for someone who could win a few green jackets in the coming years.
If you want to back a runner at a bigger price, I wouldn’t put you off Bubba Watson at 28/1 or Jason Dufner at 40/1.
Rory McIlroy each-way 12/1 or better (6 places Stan James)
Adam Scott each-way 12/1 or better (6 places Paddy Power)
Phil Mickleson each-way 14/1 or better (6 places Paddy Power)
Jason Day each-way 16/1 or better (6 places Paddy Power/Stan James)
Football – Champions League – Bayern v Man Utd.7.45pm
With Bayern (best priced 2/7) having secured an away goal at Old Trafford, they’ll be keen not to let United score here. With that in mind backing them to win 1-0 (6/1) and 2-0 (8-1) looks a good percentage play.
Bayern Munich to win 2-0 6/1
Bayern Munich to win 3-0 8/1