Tiger Woods is a clear favourite for this year’s US Masters and on the basis of current form and course form he deserves that position in the market but a best price of 7/2 may put off potential of backers who will be looking elsewhere to identify potential winners of the first major of the season. Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson have a great deal in their favour and it’s about 9/4 that the winner will come from these three players.
Woods has won the US Masters four times in his career, including his first major in 1997 when he became the youngest player to win the event and record the highest winning margin of 12 strokes. Woods last won the Green Jacket in 2005 but he has built up a solid bank of course form since that last win.
Mickelson is also a multiple winner and the last of his three wins at Augusta was in 2010 when he beast Lee Westwood by three shots. Westwood is the only player in the history of the game to finish in the top three in each major without winning one. He has a game well suited to the course but his medium length putting may be a problem on the lightening fast greens at Augusta National.
The Masters is the only major championship that is played on the same course every year so there is plenty of course form to assess. The other three majors are played in rotation over a number of courses so those events are more difficult to analyse due to a lack of recent course form for the leading contenders.
The last English player to win the Masters was Sir Nick Faldo in 1996. Rose has the right attributes to record a win for England, including the temperament to maintain his form when the pressure is most intense over the back nine on Sunday. Ian Poulter is another English player who has the profile to contend this week.
Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson have been the champions in the last two years so clearly both have games suited to the course. Watson’s form has dipped somewhat since his win a year ago and it is Schwartzel who looks the most likely winner of these two former champions.
The last debutant to win the Masters was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. That means history counts against George Coetzee. However, the South African player is the top 50 for the four key skills so he looks a lively outsider. Russell Henley was identified as a future major champion after winning the Sony Open at the start of the year. One of his major strengths is his putting under pressure, a key requirement for good scoring at Augusta.