Looking at the early betting for this years Masters you would expect one of the worlds current top 4 players to be favourite but instead it’s the world number 6 Jordan Spieth who heads the market. That maybe based on his performance there last year when he looked to be heading comfortably for victory before having a mental break down on the back nine. At 5 shots ahead with nine holes to play he was long odds on to take the green jacket but inexplicably collapsed at the 10th and 11th holes and then threw his chances away with a quadruple bogey at the par 3 twelfth.
Spieth’s phenomenal putting is clearly suited to the lightening fast greens at Augusta but at 6/1 doesn’t represent any value when there are 5 players ranked higher than him in the world. You certainly need to be able to putt to have a chance of winning but you also need to hit the ball a long way especially if as it often is its a bit on the wet side. The new World Number One Dustin Johnson certainly fits the bill distance wise, and having already got a Major trophy under his built looks like he will be a lively contender. At 9/1 he looks better value than Spieth.
Rory Mcllroy is usually at the head of the market for most of the Majors but here is third favourite at 10/1. His present health problems and unreliable putting stroke are probably the reasons he is not the undisputed favorite. With around 6 weeks to go any signs of a revival in form and a healthy outlook would see his price contract considerably.
World number 2 Jason Day hasn’t found his form so far this season but this may be due to him altering his schedule to concentrate his efforts on winning his second Major title. He certainly has the game to win around Augusta having finished second in 2011 and third in 2013. Again, a sign of a return to the form that took him to World Number One between now and the start of the tournament would see his price contract.
If there was to be a European winner again then Henrik Stenson would be an obvious contender. However his current odds of 25/1 are probably not that generous as his Masters record is poor never having finished higher than 14th. Sergio Garcia looks a much better player this season but his record isn’t that great either his best place finish was tied 8th in 2013. His improved putting technique will come under severe pressure on the greens and it would be an outstanding performance for him to win his first major here. Last years winner Danny Willett is currently 50/1 to repeat, a similar price to Paul Casey, and Lee Westwood is at even bigger odds so if there is to be a European winner my money would be on last years runner up Justin Rose who looks good each way value at 28/1.
This years hottest prospect, Hideki Matsuyama, finished 5th last year and is currently ranked number 5 in the world following an incredible end to last year and he already has a win this season at the Phoenix Open but at 12/1 he seems to be a very short price. Adam Scott who won in 2013 usually plays well here and at 25/1 is a good each way bet.
Previous form usually counts for a lot and dual winner Bubba Watson (if he brings his A game) would be good value at 25/1 but he is too unpredictable to be a safe investment. Charles Schwartzel and Zach Johnson also have winning form here and can be backed at big odds.
There is an outstanding crop of young American golfers around and that doesn’t bode well for the next few Ryder Cups and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Justin Thomas continued his sensational form or if Rickie Fowler or Patrick Reed took their first major title here. I remain convinced that Brooks Koepka will win big somewhere and at 66/1 he might be worth a flutter here as his length will be invaluable round the Glorious Augusta course.
Who will you be picking?