Rarely have so many top-players arrived at the US Master in such good form and, as golf fans, we can only hope that the outcome is every bit as exciting as it promises to be.
Bookies are also falling over themselves to get our money, with plenty of top-6 betting, whilst Paddy Power are betting 1/5 odds 7 places, and Skybet an amazing ¼ odds 8 places – despite this being the smallest of all the major fields.
So let’s take a look at the leading protagonists.
Jason Day 7/1
The Aussie arrives in irresistible form having won 6 of his last 13 events, a statistic which would have seen Tiger Woods priced-up at around the 6/4 mark at his best. Placed twice in 5 attempts, and injured for two of the other 3, only another injury will surely keep him out of contention having won his last two events with a solid all-round game.
Rory McIlroy 17/2
Until he wins a green-jacket, McIlroy will always be remembered for blowing a four-shot lead in 2011, but he’s getting closer having been 8th and 4th the last two years. Beaten by Day in the semi-finals of the recent WGC Matchplay, his game doesn’t look far from his best, though a wet course may have played more to his strengths.
Jordan Spieth 10/1
Second and first in just two appearances is amazing for such a young player, but will have to prove he’s every bit as good as Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods who are the only three players to have defended a Masters Title.
Bubba Watson 12/1
1/38/1/50 are Bubba’s last four finishing positions here and, whilst he couldn’t defend either of his titles, he looks to have his “A” Game simmering nicely in a bid for a hat-trick, and the course his ideal for his power and shot-shaping prowess
Adam Scott 12/1
The 2013 Masters champion is playing his best golf since that historic first win for an Aussie, and claimed one of his two victories this year despite carding a 7 on a par-3. A new-putting style is backing-up his amazing tee-to-green game, and it’s just a case of whether the new style stands up to the stiffest test of putting in the business.
Rickie Fowler 16/1
Two seasons ago, Fowler made the top-5 in all four majors and, though he couldn’t match that feat last year, he’s since learned to close-out tournaments. His tee-to-green game is also better now, and like everyone else he just needs a good week with the putter to be in contention.
Dustin Johnson 20/1
Posted his best finish when sixth here last year, though has had a tough time getting over the winning line recently. Not sure his nerves will hold even if he gets in contention.
Phil Mickelson 20/1
The three-time champion needs little introduction, but he hasn’t won a tournament since 2013. Can’t rule him out, as he was tied-second last year, but he might need to be better than ever to win this at 45, and that’s a big ask.
Justin Rose 25/1
Never worse than 39th here in 10 attempts, and posted his best finish when tied second with Mickleson last year. Not in the best form of the principals so far this season, but wasn’t before last year’s event. Needs to have one of his better putting weeks to win.
Henrik Stenson 28/1
Yet to get in the top-10 here, despite 5 top-20 finishes, but arrives here in good from. Doesn’t win as often as he should though, despite winning some big-money pots over the last few years.
Oosthuisen (35/1), Schwartzel (40/1), Snedeker (66/1) and Casey (66/1), who all have at least previous placed form at the Masters, and have played well this year, have place claims.
First things first, as I’m writing this on Tuesday, you may well get some bigger odds on Wednesday morning if some of the bookies fancying trying to get more than their share of the bets – so shop around for prices.
Selections wise, I think the winner will come from the top-10 in the market, with Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson the two I’m happiest to leave out. I think backing Day, Watson, Scott and Fowler each-way will probably pay dividends, with just two places required to get most of our stake back.
Jason Day 1.5 points each-way @ 7/1 (BetVictor) ¼ odds 6 places
Adam Scott 1 point each-way @ 12/1 (Skybet) ¼ odds 8 places
Bubba Watson 1 point each-way @ 12/1 (Betvictor) ¼ odds 6 places
Rickie Fowler 1 point each-way @ 16/1 (Betvictor) ¼ odds 6 places