It is finally time, after 12 months of anticipation the US Masters is here again. The Master’s is the only major which is held on the same course each year and has a rich history of tradition that rivals some of the greatest sporting events worldwide. Here is our ultimate preview to the year’s first major featuring information on the course, the tournament history and our YGT ‘pundits’ betting tips…
The field this year is arguably one of the strongest in years gone by with so many of the world’s top players enjoying a ‘purple patch’ of form. Despite this Dustin Johnson seems to be everyone’s favourite. With 3 wins in his last 3 starts, the current world number 1 is in the middle of a rich vein of form which doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. Jordan Spieth is arguably the next best bet to clinch this year’s Green Jacket, the world number 6 has never finished outside of the top 2 at Augusta National and following his collapse on the 12th hole last year that cost him back to back wins he will definitely be looking to win this week. Rory McIlroy will also be looking to join an elite club and become only the 6th player in history to win all 4 majors, the Irishman is another one of the world’s top ranked players who is playing some very good golf art the moment and hasn’t finished outside the 10 in any of the stroke play events he has played in this year.
Other players to watch this week include 2 time Masters champion Bubba Watson who is yet to hit his straps this year but will certainly be looking to do so this week and youngster John Rahm who has already shown that he has what it takes to compete with the very best making his name one to look out for come Sunday evening. However, for yet another year in a row the field will be without 4 time Masters Champion, Tiger Woods who after a brief comeback at Torrey Pines earlier on in the year has had to withdraw from all tournaments since then. Although Woods may not be at his best he is still a notable absence from the line up as almost every golfing fan around the world will be wanting the see the great man grace the glorious fairways of Augusta National one more time. Moreover, with the Masters‘ field including only the very best players from both tours it is one of the hardest tournaments in the calendar year to predict a winner for and with Danny Willett’s shock victory last year the only thing that is certain is Sunday evening is going to be exciting.
The US Masters is a tournament full of a history and tradition like no other. The first ever US Masters was held at Augusta National Golf Club in 1934 when Horton Smith became the first man to win this incredible event. Since then, the world’s best players congregate at Augusta each year for the season’s first Major and without doubt the one that they all want to win. Nowadays, The US Masters is associated with the coveted Green Jacket; perhaps the most famous item of clothing in sport. However, players haven’t always received a Green Jacket for winning The Masters, it was only introduced in 1937 when Clifford Roberts (club co-founder) wanted patrons to easily be able to pick out who was a member during The Masters Tournament.
Sam Snead’s victory in the 1949 Masters was not only his first of three Green Jackets it was also the first to be given to the winner. Each winner may only take it home with them for one year and it is to be used for “golf associated functions only”. Over the years many of the game’s greatest players have completed boyhood dreams and donned the Green Jacket following a victory on the world’s most famous golf course and despite it being hard enough to win it once, there are an elite group of players who have more than victory to their name. It is Jack Nicklaus who still remains the most decorated Masters and Major Champion of all time with 6 Green Jackets and 18 Major Titles in total.
|Player’s Name||Number of Wins||Years Won|
|Jack Nicklaus||6||1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986|
|Arnold Palmer||4||1958, 1960, 1962, 1964|
|Tiger Woods||4||1997, 2001, 2002, 2005|
|Jimmy Demaret||3||1940, 1947, 1950|
|Sam Snead||3||1949, 1952, 1954|
|Gary Player||3||1961, 1974, 1978|
|Nick Faldo||3||1989, 1990, 1996|
|Phil Mickelson||3||2004, 2006, 2010|
|Horton Smith||2||1934, 1936|
|Byron Nelson||2||1937, 1942|
|Ben Hogan||2||1951, 1953|
|Tom Watson||2||1977, 1981|
|Seve Ballesteros||2||1980, 1983|
|Bernhard Langer||2||1985, 1993|
|Ben Crenshaw||2||1984, 1995|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||2||1994, 1999|
Struggling to decide who to back? Here is our perfect 2017 Masters Champion
Winning the US Masters at Augusta is every golfer’s dream and there are divided opinions as to what makes a Masters Champion.Based on current statistics, form this year and how well players have done at Augusta in year’s gone by, here is who we think is going to win The Masters this year.
Many people say Augusta National is set up perfectly for players who like to move the ball from right to left in the air (hit a draw) with many holes like the 10th and 13th suiting that shot shape. It is also the 10th longest course on the PGA Tour and typically people who draw the ball hit it further leading to them potentially having an advantage when playing the par 5s. This leaves us with players likes McIlroy, John Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen who would and have proven before the course suits their shot type. John Rahm is yet to play in a Masters Tournament yet but in the recent WGC Dell Match Play he proved he has more than just length off the tee by out driving Dustin Johnson with incredible accuracy.
Another thing a golfer needs is fantastic iron play. Many of the holes round Augusta National have run offs that can either lead to water or areas that lead to it being almost impossible to make up and down so the ability to find the greens consistently from range and close in is key to winning a Masters. This leads to players like Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia having a distinct advantage when it comes to playing well around Augusta. Garcia is often referred to as the best ball striker in modern day golf and this will help him massively around Augusta as his ability to stop the ball on Augusta lightening fast greens will stop him dropping off into any danger areas.
Working through the bag we are now at the all important Putter and short game. Many great pundits and former players consider this to be the all important factor when it comes to winning a Green Jacket as the greens typically run at 11 or 12 on the stimpmeter. Tyrrell Hatton is arguably the best putter on tour at the moment and has proven this so far leading in SG putting this year. Another man whose short game is up there with the very best in the world right now is Marc Leishman who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago.
With this in mind who is the perfect Masters Champion from this year’s field? Well I would have to say Rory McIlroy off the tee, his length and accuracy his too good to ignore. For iron play it has to be Sergio Garcia and despite his putter not being hot so far this year, for around the greens and putting it has to be Jordan Spieth. Experience at Augusta National is priceless and his knowledge of how to putt well on the lightening fast greens is a precious commodity. If the rest of each of these player’s game comes together like they have proven time and time again that it can, a bet each way or perhaps even outright is a good way of securing yourself some money.
YGT Betting Tips
|Pundit’s Name||Winning Picks||Top 10s||11 – 20|
Our YGT ‘pundits’ are back again for the year’s first major. We continued our accurate form by picking another top 10 2 weeks ago in the WGC match play and we hope that you have started to take our advice and have won yourself some money. If we thought trying to pick a winner for a match play event was hard then trying to decide who is going to win a major is even tougher as so many of the world’s best players seem to up their game even more. The top tip we have this week is not to just bet on an outright winner but to bet beach each way as there a number of players who have never won a Masters but continue to feature inside the top 10 almost every year such as Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson. Despite not having played in a Masters Tyrrell Hatton has consistently finished inside the top 10 this year and is a great choice for an each way bet. With this in mind here are our picks for this week’s US Masters…
Freddie Pestana (YGT) – Rory McIlroy (15/2)
When it comes picking who is going to win arguably golf’s most coveted major, this year is harder than ever as with Danny Willett’s shock win last year at 200/1 he has proven that anyone on their day can win a major on the Sunday. However, I personally don’t think there will be any surprises this year and world number 2 Rory McIlroy will clinch the win in fairly emphatic style as he tends to do in majors. Rory has been long overdue a green jacket and following his best chance yet, back in 2011 when he lead the tournament for 63 holes until a triple bogey on the 10th triggered a downfall like no other. However, since then the young Irishman has gone onto win 4 Major titles: 2 PGA Championships, 1 US Open and 1 Open Championship proving to the golfing world he can cope with the pressure.
Despite this it is not his previous major victories that lead me to believe he is going to win at Augusta National on April 9th, it is his form already this season. With 3 top 10s so far this year Mr McIlroy is in very good form and with a long game that is one of the best on tour, the long par 5s and 4s at Augusta should be easy work for him. All it will take for Rory to get his hands on the 2017 green jacket is his putter to be hot and from glimpses of what we have seen late last year in the Fedex Cup and in recent weeks, it all looks like it will fall into place for McIlroy at Augusta.
This year as well as Rory being my outright pick to win The Masters, I have put some money on Westwood, Hatton, Rose and Mickelson each way.
Oliver Gunning (YGT) – Phil Mickelson (28/1 each way)
For me, the 2017 Masters is the most exciting in years, the closeness on the odds between Spieth, Johnson and McIlroy is testament to this but I want to offer a slightly alternative option in offering one of golf’s most popular characters, Phil Mickelson, as my pick. You’d have to be pretty confident to take any of the top 3 as your pick, I don’t think there is much to choose from on them so at around 7/1 each they’re too tough a bet to take. Phil, on the other hand, to secure a Top 5 (or whatever your book maker gives you each way) looks like a better bets even at quarter odds. Mickelson showed at Royal Troon that he can produce the kind of golf that puts him at the very top of professional golf and he knows how to win at Augusta National, claiming no less than 3 Green Jackets in his career. For me, he’s the best bet out there, he has experience, the famed short game that is the key to winning at Augusta, think Mize, Ballesteros, Crenshaw and even Spieth as proof of that, and no less than 11 Top 5 finishes at The Masters from 24 appearances.
Tommy Eatenton (YGT) – Hideki Matsuyama (18/1)
This kid is growing with confidence with every cut he makes. Already a solid career round the Azaleas of Augusta and primed to be a Major winner very soon. The Masters set up is made for him, his ability to be passive/aggressive on the course will be what separates him from the field
I will be be putting my money all on the win, ignoring the cash out facility, as he strides to 18th green on Sunday with 3 putts to win the 2017 Masters.
Rory Anderson (YGT) – Dustin Johnson (11/2)
Picking the outright favourite isn’t exactly a bold move, but let’s look at the numbers…
- World Number One
- 3 wins from 3 his last 3 starts heading into Augusta, 2 of which were World Golf Championships
- 5 Top 10s from 7 PGA Tour starts this season
- Ranked 3rd in Strokes Gained off The Tee
- Ranked 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee to Green
- Ranked 11th in Strokes Gained Approach to The Green
- Ranked 8th in Strokes Gained Around The Green
- Ranked 31st in Strokes Gained Putting
- Ranked 1st in Shots Gained Total
- Top of the PGA Tour money list
- Top of the FedEx Cup standings
- T6 & T4 in his last two starts at Augusta
DJ’s amazing run has also coincided with a well documented switch to a “power-fade” shot shape. Now I know what you’re thinking…supposedly Augusta is ideally set up for players who tend to move the ball from right to left in the air. But Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods predominantly hit fades throughout during their careers. At last count, I’m pretty sure they’ve won 10 Green Jackets between them.
Nothing is certain in golf and there are plenty of names in the hat that make sense as far as picking a winner goes, but if I were on The Masters Committee, I’d be sure to have a Green Jacket in 42 long kicking around the place come Sunday evening.
Nicholas Goldie (YGT) – Jordan Spieth (7/1)
He’s only played in 3 Masters and could have won all 3!! He impressed in his first turnout in 2014, playing in the final pairing and finishing tied for 2nd when Bubba came out victorious. Many would have thought he would fade away after this, but he was straight back in 2015, finishing as the wire-to-wire winner and equalling Tiger Wood’s scoring record on -18. This would then start the ‘Year of Spieth’ as he won 5 times that year, including the US Open and finishing in the Top 5 for both The Open and US PGA. He would then return to The Masters last year as a firm favourite, and up until the final back nine he lived up to this by displaying incredible golf and leading by 3 shots going into the final round. So basically, 3 turnouts 3 Top 2 finishes…no brainer.
Outside pick – Angel Cabrera
A former winner of The Masters back in 2009 and has only finished outside the Top 25 once since 2008, including finishing 2nd in 2013. He just loves this event and at 300/1, how can I not have a punt on him.
Nick Martin (YGT) – Justin Rose (28/1)
As we get ready for the first major of the year, a certain DJ is clearly the man to beat, having an incredible start to the 2017 season with 3 victories in a row, including the recent WGC Match Play in Texas. However, I have decided to not go for one of the clear favourites, and instead I am going with the 2016 Olympics gold medallist, Justin Rose, who is probably the best player in the world yet to have won at Augusta. You could see from his performance at Rio, and from his reaction that it felt just as special as winning of golf’s four majors.
Justin has had a solid record at Augusta in recent years, which included T10 in 2016, T2 in 2015, 4 shots behind Jordan Spieth and a top 15 place in 2014. He is very confident playing at Augusta and his record certainly proves it. I’ve got a good feeling Justin will be in contention Sunday afternoon and don’t be surprised if you see him putting on a green jacket Sunday evening. Come on Justin!