Something I drummed up for pals at work. Thought I'd share the love. If nothing else it's a great cure for insomniacs.
Last year Bubba adopted a baby, then took a ride to Augusta and won himself The Green Jacket. Based on last year’s form, it is no great surprise to see Madonna being backed across the board this year.
With the words ‘no great surprise’ fresh in the mind, I am afraid my main selections this year will echo that sentiment too. But, if all goes to plan, a short-priced winner still leaves more left in the pocket than big-priced losers.
I just cannot get away from the in-form players teeing it up at Augusta this year, and with question marks hovering over a lot of the leading fancies, I feel the winner can only come from a handful of players. Maybe one of the spray and prays might help the more adventurous punters to make you some money.
Selections are set out below, with some stats and gossip to follow, for those who may be interested.
Selections [to a 10 point staking plan]
Tiger Woods : 6 points win @ 4/1
Every time The World Number One has teed it up this year on a track where he has an excellent record, he has won with consummate ease. He has taken hold fairly early on and just kicked on further from the chasing pack after each round has been completed. It is impossible to ignore these facts. Another big positive is his personal life is as good as it has been since he got rumbled for his serial philandering.
The perception that he has lost tournaments because of his errant driving would ring true in most cases, but not when it comes to Augusta. His putting has been abject the past few years. This year he has been on fire with the flatstick. He took 100 putts when he won the WGC at Doral last month, the lowest 4 round total of putts in his career.
Tiger is 37 years old and playing his 61st Major Championship, of which he has won 14. Jack Nicklaus was in exactly the same position all those years ago. The Golden Bear went on to win 18 Majors. Close friends say that Tiger has ‘Target 20’ on his mind. With the imperious form he is in, he might half that deficit to Nicklaus this year alone.
I do not think his price will contract before the off, but it might be worth waiting to see if one of the boys on the High Street [probably Paddy Power] decides to take him on and offer 5/1 on Tiger to win [bite their hands off!]. I would also be backing him if there was a price in the ‘Tiger Specials’ market of 6/1 for him to win by 2 shots or more.
A World Number One has not won The Masters since 2002. No prizes for guessing who won it.
Justin Rose : 1pt each way at 20/1
Rose has had an excellent 12 months, culminating with our man disposing of Phil Mickelson in an epic singles victory in the Ryder Cup. The birdie putt he nailed on 17 that day, was, in my view, the moment that could change Rose’s game in a huge way. Apart from Westwood he would have been my last pick on that European Team to try and make that putt. To then go on and birdie the 18th hole thereafter, and win the point for Europe, was immense.
He has threatened before at Augusta, usually fading away on Moving Day. He has had the total driving and the solid GIR stats to threaten winning here as he has before. This time he has the big time winner’s mindset and a solid putting stroke as well to possibly go all the way. Three top 10 finishes in 2013 from 3 USPGA tournament played bodes well too.
Matt Kuchar : 1pt win @ 35/1
‘Kuch’ has had an awesome 12 months since teeing it up at Augusta and finishing 3rd in 2012. Winning the ‘5th Major’, the TPC @ Sawgrass last year shows he can handle the pressure and close out a tournament, just when a few of the doubting whispers were starting to get a bit more vocal. A player I want on my side this week.
Henrik Stenson : ½ pt each way @ 60/1
Stenson’s frame of mind seems to be as good as ever, after the horrors of what was rumoured to be a sizeable 7 figure investment into the Stanford Group a few years ago. His form slumped to 230th in the world at one point, purely due to the aforementioned reason.
To get the all-important Augusta invite he shot an incredible final round 66 at the Shell Houston, birdieing 4 of the last 5 holes to get there. There was a lot to admire about that back 9 in Houston. A lively outsider this year.
Spray n Prays [Small Investments... big prices]
Freddie Jacobsen [160 on Betfair] : Arguably the best putter on this planet, in good form too. His 3 Masters visits have yielded 1 MC and two Top 20 finishes.
Richard Sterne [250 on Betfair] : The European Tour Number 1 for 2013 is a player I have admired for years. He has had awful luck with back injuries over the past few seasons, but, right now is in the form of his life.
Thorbjorn Olesen [250 on Betfair] : I mentioned this lad as a spray n pray for the Open last year. I think he is one of the most exciting young prospects in European Golf. The only negative I can draw on him is he is a Manure fan. He is having a decent season, although he did have a shocker at the Shell Houston the other week. A little bit disconcerting, and he is a Masters Rookie. But at the price he is trading at, he is worthy of inclusion.
Top Englishman : Justin Rose 7/4. Not a working man’s price, but seems very generous when he is pitched up against Luke Donald, Ian Poulter [both out of form], David Lynn [Rookie] and Lee Westwood. Dare I say a 7/4 shot for a 2 horse race, Westwood the only danger to me.
First Round Leader : Henrik Stenson was actually leading last year in the first round, until a horror show on the 18th hole. At 50/1, I will be having a small investment for him to be 1st round leader this year.
To miss the cut : Rory McIlroy 7/1 [William Hill]. Ok this is a brave one, but Rory Fellaini hitting 8 balls in the water over 4 rounds at Shell Houston the other week is as fresh in the memory as the first decent tournament he has played this year, over the weekend. He loves to confound the critics, he has done so before, and he could make me look silly by ripping up the formbook. But, at 7/1 I am happy to get involved, albeit in a small way.
Other notable mentions
Would not put you off backing Charl Schwartzel or Keegan Bradley, both on form, all done well at Augusta in recent years. But as I have said on previous emails, you can’t back em all!
4 good rounds in them? No sir
Rickie Fowler : Still bags of potential but always has propensity to get the odd snowman on his card.
Phil Mickelson : Has won before when on a poor run of form going into The Masters, but I just feel the players who are on their game will see him off over the course of the tournament.
Luke Donald : Big hitters who tend to spray the odd tee shot have an advantage at Augusta. Luke’s tidy game, with neat scrambling stats usually means he does well here too. But he is so out of form at the moment, even missing his first ever European Tour cut last month in Malaysia.
Brandt Snedeker : Hard to feel sorry for a guy who got paid $10m for winning the Fedex Cup last season, but the rib injury sustained in March has all but ruined his chances this year. He was in awesome form before then, he could well have been my main selection.
Ernie Els : Hip injury earlier in the season for the game’s favourite Saffer, been out of form.
Weather Report for Augusta
The weather doesn’t influence tee-times and their [dis]advantages as much at Augusta as it does for the other Majors. The only reason worth looking is to see if you are going to be sitting up an hour or two later watching it due to suspended play.
The link below hints at severe thunderstorms Thursday and isolated storms on Friday. Cosmic.
Also Backed Rory at 7s to miss the cut. Quite how he is a bigger price than phil to miss it is beyond me. He far more likey to bomb out, and its not as if his Augusta record is anything to wite home about either. His petulance could see him throw away a few shots if out of realistic contention on Friday afternoon, and his inconsistency ths season has hardly been cured by his good round on Sunday, in what were very easy conditions. Great bet.
Also Backed Rory at 7s to miss the cut. Quite how he is a bigger price than phil to miss it is beyond me. He far more likey to bomb out, and its not as if his Augusta record is anything to wite home about either. His petulance could see him throw awa