US MASTERS, AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, 2012
Perhaps it is because this is the only major that is played on the same course annually or perhaps it is because of the sheer beauty of the place, that makes The US Masters probably the most talked about and recognisable golf tournament in the world.
This year’s contest looks fascinating with the first three in the betting arriving in decent form. With the return to winning ways of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy determined to overcome last year’s final round disaster and Phil Mickelson looking to add a 4th Green Jacket to his collection to equal his fierce rival Tiger, we have a wonderful week to look ahead to, and that doesn’t include any of the other players taking part. If we look at recent winners, four of the last five have been big prices, with only Lefty in 2010 being a well fancied starter. No British or Irish player has won since Nick Faldo in 1996 with Jose Maria Olazabal the last European winner in 1999. If we look a little deeper, then we see no Australian has won the Green Jacket that despite a valiant challenge last year from Jason Day and Adam Scott. Outside of the US, the most winning nations are South Africa with 5 wins and Spain with 4 victories.
This year’s tournament is sure to be full of twists and turns and unless we get a runaway leader, which is unlikely, then there, should be plenty of great trading opportunities.
TIPS FOR BETTING ON THE MASTERS
- A break before The Masters is not a handicap as in recent year’s players playing in the fortnight before have not always fared well at Augusta.
- Length off the Tee is usually seen as paramount but I believe that we should be looking at players with good iron play and a decent touch around the greens.
- The final pairing on the final day has produced the winner in 19 of the last 21 renewals.
- If playing in running, beware Holes 10, 11 and 12 as this is where tournaments can be Won or Lost.
- Consider playing in running in the Top Five and Top 10 markets as you can often lay at short prices with success.
- Shop around as some bookmakers have great offers and some pay on six places each way.
I have selected ten players to look out for, either because I think they offer a bit of value or because they are in the first few in the betting and therefore well fancied.
We cannot look at a Masters without considering Tiger who has recently got back to winning ways but that may be a hindrance when you look at the record of recent winners heading to Augusta. That said, Woods seems to be more ready mentally than last year where he Tied 4th despite a poor third round. As a four time winner he must be thereabouts and he has finished out of the top six only twice in twelve years.
We will all be keeping a close eye on Rory as I believe he is the one player capable of running away from the field this week. He has taken a break which is good and will be desperate to make up for last year’s disaster. Mentally he is now very strong so I would not put off anyone backing him, but for me he is a little short as he was available at 10-1 early in the year, although as I write this both VCBet and William Hill have pushed him out to 9-1.
Mr Consistent around here with three wins and eleven top 10’s in the last thirteen years. It seems inconceivable that he won’t challenge and he is available around Even money for a Top 10 finish. Looked to be putting some finishing touches to his short game last week and I expect him to be challenging on Sunday afternoon.
Rose is my particular trading fancy, as he has often played well here early on, and then faded. He is a much more mature golfer now and looks ready to challenge for a Major. If he gets off to a flyer in the first two rounds I will be in a position to trade out. He was 5th in 2007 and 11th last year and can lead the European challenge this week.
I have an inkling that Snedeker will play well here this week despite the fact he is not in red hot form. He won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year when he was gifted the title. A good 3rd in 2008 and 15th last year, Snedeker has the game to mount a challenge this week.
KJ loves it around here and must have a big chance of being in the Top 10 for which he is around 5/1. Steady but unspectacular this season, Choi boasts finishes of 4th and 8th in the last two years.
Stunned Tiger with a win in the USPGA in 2009 and has decent course form with an 8th place finish two years ago. He had a poor start to the year but has shown glimpses of coming back to form in recent weeks.
Could he become the first Aussie to wear the Green Jacket? Mentally he is in a good place nowadays and following his 2nd place last year he seems to have laid out a plan to arrive here fresh and raring to go. He putts much better than he used to but I always worry that he will bottle it in the final moments. Perhaps caddy Steve Williams will be the key to success.
Last week’s winner arrives here in top form which we know has often been a handicap. Two Top 10’s in the last three years means he will fancy his chances and he is another who looks to have found a new maturity.
Who? Some of you may not be too familiar with Ryan Palmer but he was 10th here last year. He is a long hitter and very good with the putter and at around 200-1 he is no back number for those of you who like to play the longshots. He finished in the Top 30 in all four majors in 2011.
I have backed Justin Rose with a view to laying back as I hope he gets off to a flyer. I have also backed Mickelson to finish in the Top 10 and had small e.w interests in KJ Choi, Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Palmer in the outright markets with six places. I will be following it closely in running and updating the blog and twitter @RacingTraders where possible during the event. I can’t believe that Woods will not trade bigger and as Rory is on the drift, I am happy to leave the two of them alone at present.