The Masters Betting Preview 2014
Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Par 72, 7,435 yards
Well it’s the first major of 2014 and in my opinion, one of the best. Augusta National is one of the most beautiful, eye catching courses on the planet and has seen so much emotion over the years. The course was opened in January 1933 and has undergone a lot of changes since then. It is a long demanding test with very tricky greens and lots of run off areas.
There is a big emphasis on length and accuracy here with this course measuring just under 7,500 yards so it will certainly favour the bombers but also the accurate players. Previous experience will also be import here ( Phil, Kuchar, Scott etc..) not to mention a very good putter. Many of the holes are dog legs so players that can shape the ball will have a big advantage. Greens in Regulation is another stat to consider here as the greens are big and slopey so hitting the ball in the right portion of the green with a high ball flight will be very important.
An ability to chip and putt well is also worth considering as Augusta has a lot of run off areas. Par 5 scoring will be a factor as most of them are reachable in two.
Phil Mickelson 14/1
Phil’s record at The Masters over the years is beyond impressive. He has won this tournament three times, 2004, 2006 and 2010. He has nine top ten’s in the last 11 years and comes off a very respectable finish in Houston last week coming in T12th. It looks to me that Phil seems to be over the worst with the back injury and seems to be fit and healthy again. He is a natural fader of the golf ball and with him being left handed, should suit here.
Mickelson’s superb short game will also be a huge advantage with a good touch being essential around these tricky greens. His putting stats are also quite good so far this year ranking seventh in putts from 5-10 feet, tenth in putts from 5-15 feet, 24th in scrambling from the rough and 17th in par 4 performance. His record here speaks for itself and with a good finish in Houston last week, I expect Phil to be a big contender here and could very well pick up his fourth green jacket.
Henrik Stenson 28/1
Stenson seems to be coming into some good form lately and played well in Bay Hill finishing fifth. He had a poor week last week in Houston finishing T54th but seemed to be striking the ball well. He has played well here at The Masters over the years with three top 20’s in his previous eight starts including a T18th last year. He was one of the most accurate players off the tee at The Arnold Palmer co leading fairways hit and hitting the most greens in regulation.
Last season, Stenson ranked third in total driving, sixth in par 5 birdie or better leaders, sixth in par 5 performance and first in GIR. With stats to suit this course and coming here after some fine tuning in Houston last week, Stenson is another player that has played well here in the past and could be a huge contender especially on the par 5’s.
Bubba Watson 28/1
The 2012 champion is having a great year so far with a victory already under his belt this season which came at The Northern Trust Open back in the middle of February. Bubba has a victory and five other top 10’s in his last eight starts which includes his withdrawal from Bay hill due to bad hay fever. He came very close to winning in Phoenix where he missed a tricky five foot putt and handed victory to Kevin Stadler. However he comes to Augusta off the back of a very good T2nd finish at The WGC Cadillac.
As I said in the course preview, length is a big factor here in Augusta which Bubba has in spades. He leads driving distance on the PGA Tour hitting it an average of 317 yards off the tee. He also ranks 39th in total driving, 16th in GIR, fourth in par 4 birdie or better leaders, 10th in par 4 performance and 11th in par 3 performance. His putting stats also look very favorable here ranking first in putts from 15-25 feet, fourth in putts from 15-20 feet and seventh in putts from inside 5 feet. Bubba comes to Augusta in great form and I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t continue here, on a stage where he has performed so well on in the past.
Zach Johnson 28/1
The 2007 winner comes to Augusta on the back of a recent T6 finish at The Valero Texas Open. Johnson is another player with a victory already in the bag this season with a win at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions back in January. He then followed that with a T8 at The Sony and a T3 at The Humana Challenge which included a superb final round of 62. His form then took a bit of dip for a couple of events with a couple of T33 finishes at The WGC Matchplay and The Honda Classic. However he seems to be back to himself and had a great performance in Texas.
Johnson ranks fourth in driving accuracy, 11th in GIR, eighth in birdie average, third in par 3 performance and seventh in par 4 performance. He also ranks 11th in scrambling, first in putts from 25+ feet and 11th in proximity to the hole. Despite Zach’s lack of length, his accurate driver and irons should do more than enough to make up for it here.
Matt Kuchar 20/1
What a huge disappointment it was for Matt Kuchar not to finish the job last week in Houston. A poor approach shot and a superb chip from Matt Jones shut the door on Kuch’s chances of victory. However, that was his eighth top 10 finish in his last 11 starts so he’s obviously doing something right. His record at Augusta National has been very good over the last couple of years finishing eighth last year and third in 2012.
Kuchar ranks eighth in scoring average, 15th in scrambling, fourth in par 4 performance and 16th in GIR from 200+ yards, which will be a big advantage on these par 5’s. He also has good putting stats ranking 12th in putts from 20-25 feet, 14th in putts from 15-25 feet and 13th in 3 putt avoidance. With great current form and a good history, Kuchar could be a big contender here in Augusta.
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
With a win here in 2011, Charl Schwartzel is another past champion in with a big shout here and looks to be playing well over the last few weeks. He has two top 10’s in his last four starts on the PGA Tour with a solo fifth at The Northern Trust Open, T9 at the WGC Cadillac and a top 20 last week in Houston finishing T19th. Charl has also been playing well on the European Tour this season with a win at The Alfred Dunhill in early December and followed that with a solo 6th at The Nedbank Challenge the following week.
Schwartzel ranks sixth in driving distance on the European Tour, first in putts per GIR and third in putts per round. Last year on the PGA Tour, he ranked 29th in driving distance, fifth in birdie average, third in birdie or better conversion percentage, fourth in par 5 birdie or better leaders and 12th in par 4 birdie or better leaders. Schwartzel is playing well at the moment and has a good history here at Augusta National.
Jimmy Walker 66/1
Jimmy walker has been one of the superstars of the PGA Tour this season with three victories under his belt already this season which came at The Frys.com Open in October, The Sony Open in January and the AT&T in Pebble Beach in February.
Despite this being his first visit, Walker also seems to have the stats to go well here, ranking 13th in driving distance, second in strokes gained putting and third in birdie or better conversion percentage. He also ranks second in par 4 performance and ninth in par 5 performance.
Patrick Reed 66/1
Patrick Reed is another player with two victories on tour this year which came at The Humana Challenge back in January and another at The WGC Cadillac at the start of March. He also had top 15 at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions and in Pebble beach. Coming here off a T52 at The Arnold Palmer and should be well rested after taking a break last week. Has said that he played here during his college days so he is no stranger to Augusta National.
Reed ranks 38th in driving distance, 22nd in strokes gained putting, 15th in par 4 birdie or better leaders, 22nd in par 5 birdie or better leaders and 14th in total putting.
Harris English 66/1
Another first timer here but also another winner on tour this year with a win at The OHL Classic back in November. He also has top 10’s at the Sony, Phoenix Open, WGC Matchplay and comes here off a T14th at The Arnold Palmer after taking the last couple of weeks off.
English ranks 22nd in driving distance, first in GIR, 11th in birdie or better conversion percentage, second in par 5 performance and first in par 4 performance. Had a hole in one here in practice on the 12th a couple of days ago and looks to be sharp.
Final selections –
Phil Mickelson 2pts/ 4pts EW
Henrik Stenson 1.5 pt/ 3 pts EW
Bubba Watson 2 pts/ 4 pts EW
Zach Johnson 1 pt/ 2 pts EW
Matt Kuchar 1 pt/ 2 pts EW
Charl Scwartzel 1 pt/ 2 pts EW
Long Shots –
Jimmy Walker 0.5 pts/ 1 pt EW
Patrick Reed 0.5 pts/ 1 pt EW
Harris English 0.5 pts/ 1 pt EW
Total staked – 20 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,