That is enough to get any golf fan salivating, but there is one way to up your anticipation another notch – have a wager on the action!
Because, believe me, there is no better feeling than watching your man stride up the 18th on his way to claiming the Green Jacket for himself and a tasty little earner for you!
The 10th at Augusta usually ranks as the toughest hole on the course. This, of course, is where Rory started his meltdown in last year’s event.
And Betfair’s betting exchange is the best place to do it due to a combination of factors – namely great odds, a huge choice of markets and the ability to both back and lay bets.
We’ll talk you through the nuts and bolts of Betfair in weeks to come, but for this opening column we’re going to focus on the first major of the year and hopefully pick a winner or two!
In theory, finding the Masters winner should be easier than the other three majors and most other PGA or European Tour events. The tournament is played at Augusta every year so we know who performs on the course and who doesn’t and with a smaller field than the Open, US Open and USPGA, the odds of picking the winner greatly improve.
Generally speaking, when searching for an Augusta winner what we need is someone who can hit it long off the tee (but doesn’t necessarily have to be the straightest driver), put approach shots close to pins, and putt well. And when it doesn’t all go to plan like, our man simply must be a world-class scrambler.
That covers pretty much every length and type of shot in the book, but there’s reason those particular strengths are important at Augusta. Here’s why.
The 12th Hole at Augusta; also known as Golden Bell.
At nearly 7,500 yards Augusta is long, so long in fact, that we’ll indulge ourselves and call it looooooooong. Short hitters can function around here, but they will be hitting long irons into glassy greens and controlling the ball will be an issue. If they don’t hit the green, it’s scramble time and that’s where those chips and gentle dinks around the dancefloor become so important.
Betfair’s tournament winner market is mesmerised by two of the game’s biggest names who represent the past and future of golf – Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. That pair lead the betting at 5.5 (9-2) and 6.6 (11-2) respectively and it’s easy to see why they’re so strongly favoured.
Four-time Masters champion Tiger has just registered his first PGA Tour win in nearly three years, obliterating the Arnold Palmer Invitational field by five shots. Rory has been in exceptional form for months now and won last month’s Honda Classic to become world number one at the tender age of just 22. Both are worthwhile wagers though neither would be a life-changing win for you.
Luke Donald is commonly known as a short hitter but finished tied fourth last year thanks to his wonderful ability with the putter, at 18 (17-1) he would provide handsome returns, but perhaps should be backed at a smaller price to finish top-five.
The tee shot on Augusta’s final hole will be a daunting prospect for the leader if the chasing pack is close behind.
Two tournament winner wagers who would return chunky profits are Jason Day and Nick Watney. Australian star Day finished second on his Augusta debut to kickstart a golden season that brought a further seven top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour. Watney has shown a liking for Augusta before, finishing 11th on debut and seventh in 2010.
Neither man has hit top form this season, but that has helped to push their odds out to tempting prices. It would be no surprise to see either compete for Masters glory and if they pull on the green jacket on Sunday night you could be celebrating just as hard as they will!