It’s time for the first golf major of the season – and the world’s best golfers have already arrived at Augusta to prepare for their assault on the Green Jacket, one of the most coveted pieces of clothing in the world.
Rory McIlroy bids for a grand slam but can only boast a best placed 8th finish here, though his powerful straight driving and all-round game should see him post his best finish yet.
Tiger Woods is talking a good game, as usual, but hasn’t played well in ages – and hasn’t won a major for much longer, whilst Mickleson fans will be hoping that last week’s improved form at the Shell Houston Open signified a bold bid for a fourth Green Jacket – and he might not be far away.
Defending champion Bubba Watson may also be capable of a bold bid as he tries to become only the fourth player to successfully defend at Augusta, whilst super in-form Jordan Spieth looks to go one place better than he did when runner-up to Watson last year.
However, I expect them all to be eclipsed by …
Jason Day 5 points each-way @ 16/1 (Should get 6 or 7 places on Wednesday morning)
The 27-year-old Aussie has finished 2nd and 3rd in four attempts here and was injured in the other two. This year he comes here in tip-top shape after winning at Torrey Pines and posting career best efforts in many other events. He has the full repertoire of shots to conquer Augusta – and I’m that confident that he’ll at least get placed that he’s my only outright selection.
Ricky Fowler top-5 finish 2 points @ 17/2 (Coral)
Fowler was the nearly man last season having managed to finish in the top-5 in all four majors. He’s made no secret of the fact that he’s targeting all his efforts at the majors again this year – and the price looks far too big for him to hit the frame again.
The likeable Westwood may have missed his chance of being a major champion but he’s made the top-10 in 4 of his last 5 visits to Augusta – and still has the long game to post another high finish.
Ian Poulter top-10 finish 2 points @ 15/2 (Coral)
Poulter has never arrived here in better form and his short game can keep him in contention even when he misses a few greens. He’s hit the top-10 twice before and looks excellent value to do so again.
Brandt Snedeker top-10 finish 2 points @ 9/2
Turned to Butch Harmon to get his game back on track, which he did when winning at Pebble Beach for the second time. Has two decent finishes at Augusta on his CV – and will have been preparing himself for this ever since he got his invite.
Paul Casey top-10 finish 2 points @ 6/1 (Bet365 and Betfred)
The Englishman is fit and happy for the first time in ages and his form has reflected that in recent weeks. His tee-to-green game can get him in contention and he can get hot with the putter.