US Masters Golf:
Second only to any Brentford away game I am lucky enough to get to, the US Masters is just about my single favourite sporting event of the year.
It is the only major played at the same course every year, Augusta Natonal is at least as famous as the players who have tasted victory here and the holes are as familiar to televison viewers as any in world golf. It is a real horses for courses venue and whilst it takes a while to learn, once a golfer has played well here once, he tends to do so again. However, there is a lot of pressure and demands on the defending champion and in the last 50 years, only two players have won back to back titles, Tiger Woods in 2002 and he was not playing the same game as anyone else at that time and Nick Faldo in 1990. Jordan Spieth was the latest to try to defend and went mighty close, but it is a very tall order for anyone. Short priced golfers who are under a hugely increased spotlight here, also do not win that often, at least in recent years and 8 of the last 10 winners have started at 20-1 +, that alone is enough to put me off Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy . Jason Day is now out to 20-1 and could go well, but for both him and Rory the Masters has become something of an obsession, sometimes you can want something too much and I do not think that is healthy or conducive to getting the job done !
We have a limited field of 94 players, 10 of whom have lifetime exemption as previous winners, but would not nowadays be strong enough to play four rounds at this level, or probably even two in some cases and also a number of amateurs. There are 19 debutants who traditionally struggle and most spend the first couple of appearances at Augusta just getting used to surroundings almost from another era, that they have grown up watching. So the list of potential winners is far shorter than for any other major and most golf events.
The weather has been causing havoc in build up and has put newcomers at a further disadvantage with practice difficult and heavy rain and a wet course should give long hitters a very big advantage over the first couple of days and we might not see the greens really speed up until the weekend.
In terms of an identikit winner, we are looking for someone under 40 (last 10 winners), who is ranked top 30, has a top 10 at Augusta to his name and has played here 3+ times, hits it a long way, can can advantage of the Par 5's which are real scoring opportunities and who has already finished top 3 in a tournament this season, priced somewhere north of 20-1 !
My short list is Justin Rose, xxxx xxx , xxx xxxxxx and xxxx xxx , they all make the full criteria and I am going to side with each in some way.
I am going with Rose and Matsuyama, who have both long been clubgowi favourites, in the outright market and we can start with the British golfer.
Golfers visualise shots and I like to do likewise when it comes to betting and in my mind's eye I can clearly see Justin Rose
pulling on that green jacket awarded to the winner one day, infact, it is an image I cannot remove.Already a US Open winner, he has finished top 4 at all four slams and has gone close at the Masters in each of the last two years. In 2015 he was not in great shape and had posted one lowly finish and three missed cuts in build up, which was very un-Rose like, but hinted at a return to form at the Shell Houston Open where he played well over the first two days, before fading at the weekend, he held it together over all four rounds in the first major of the year and posted his highest ever finish at Augusta for second place. A golfer who holds his form exceptionally well once he finds it, he was in the winners circle just two weeks later at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I discussed Rose's consistency and how his game is largely focused around the big events nowadays in one of the first ever posts on the clubgowi website, which you can read on this link. He is a very dedicated individual and I spoke last year about the changes he had made to lift his game another level...........Rose has dropped some 5 kilos and been on a gluten free diet very similar to Novak Djokovic and he says he is much "meaner and leaner." He said: "I went on a bit of a diet to help my allergies. I have given up gluten like Djokovic." It worked for him - he is a little whippet - and I feel so much better for it. "My joints feel amazing, no soreness, no early-morning creeks, it has been amazing." Adding: "I'm really excited about the rest of the year now, iIt's a good momentum starter for me, this year for me is going to be about April to September when the big tournaments come around and that's when I want to play well."
Having shot low enough in 2015, when Spieth was an exceptional champion, to have won in 12 of the 13 previous years he arrived at Augusta last year in much better form and seemingly ready to win. However, he did not play the Houston strokeplay event in build up and came here from the WGC Matchplay and I feel and, more importantly I suspect that he, considers that a mistake. He played well for three days but gave up 3-6 strokes to the field on Friday and had to settle for 10th. This year he skipped the WGC event and again played Houston and very nicely, working on his game for Augusta but still finishing 15th. That feels just about the "perfect" warm up, getting your game in good shape, without the stress of major contention and practicing shots you will need this week under tournament conditions.
His record at August stands up to the closest scrutiny and in 11 visits he has never finished worse than 39th and that was on his debut as a 22 yo and includes a 2nd, 5th, 8th and 10th place finish in the last 8 attempts. He already has three top four finishes this season and arrives as Olympic champion and his game is 100% about the biggest tournaments and pretty much since teeing off at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, he has been thinking of the first tee tomorrow. He is my number one pick.
2 units each way Justin Rose 26.0 general quote 1/4 odds five places ( more places offered with some companies).