The Masters 2013
By Lewis Pacelli + Andy Taylor
The first major of the year is only four weeks away and after glancing at the odds in and around the web, we felt there was some real ante post value to take advantage of. There are eight names we feel could really challenge at Augusta – four of which have a serious chance of winning and four outsiders who could upset the odds. We will do a comprehensive preview the week of the tournament and compare how the eight of now are looking four weeks on. The excitement is palpable and if you have some spare change, we do recommend dipping into the market early as odds will fluctuate significantly between now and the 11th April.
Some cheeky stats –
- 69% or 24 of 35 players of the Top 3 finishers from 2004 through 2012 at Augusta were residents in the Southern United States.
- Past 5 winners were averaging over 290 yards during the season.
- With the fastest greens on tour, putting is a must at Augusta
- The par four 1st was the hardest hole last year.
- The average attempts before a first win is 6.
- Youngest champion – Tiger Woods (21)
- Oldest champions – Jack Nicklaus (46) – sorry Mr. Stricker but that means we cannot look at you!
- The average age of the green jacket bearer is 32.
- Only one man has won the tournament during his first trip to Augusta National, and that was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
- In the 75-year history of the Masters, only three men have ever won back-to-back titles: Jack Nicklaus—’65 and ’66, Nick Faldo—’89 and ’90, Tiger Woods—’01 and ’02.
- In the 75-year history of the Masters, only 16 Europeans have ever won the event. The last being Jose Maria Olazabal
Ian Poulter (50/1 Stan James)
Birthplace: Stevenage, England
Residence: Buckinghamshire, England and Orlando, Florida
All sentimental feelings for Sir Ian aside, Poulter genuinely is in with a massive chance this year and with the years ticking by, he knows it’s now or never. His passion for the game has been on show for many years now and it will be a real shame if he doesn’t get a major in his career. If anyone watched him at the WGC Match Play this year, you will know he hasn’t lost his spark. On both tours last year he was more than consistent. (2012 PGA Tour stats) 285 yards driving average, 39th Driving accuracy, 52nd putting average, 2nd Scrambling. (2012 European Tour stats) 9th Driving accuracy, 3rd GIR, 14th Putts per GIR, and 17th in Scrambling. And his track record here is very impressive for someone without a major to his name. He is very consistent and his natural abilities can really hurt this course. And let’s be honest, we can all see Poults in the green jacket!
Brandt Snedeker (20/1 with various)
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee
Residence: Nashville, Tennessee
With Brandt Snedeker being out the game for a little while, we are hoping he drops a bit in the market, which will certainly play into punters hands. How likely that is, we are not sure, as this is a man who has to be up there. We don’t need to say much about him, everything is beyond obvious but at 20/1 currently, wait until next week, if he is anything more, get on him straight away! A man as lethal as him with a putter is going to have a formidable chance come the Sunday.
Adam Scott (28/1 SkyBet)
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Residence: Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Rewind the clock back to 2002 and a 22-year old Australian showed signs he will be challenging for majors in the future. Winning the Scottish PGA Championship by 10 clear shots and recording a top 10 in his first ever appearance at The Masters. Since then Adam Scott has always been on the radar. His complete bottle at The Open last year was horrible to watch and also a shock for everyone in the game because he has such a level head. But we cannot see him ever doing that again if he is in contention and we are sure he will be when it comes to the weekend. He has purposefully only played a few tournaments this year –10th at the Northern Trust and T3 at the WGC Cadillac where he interestingly shot an –8 on the last day. All in all his game is a perfect match for the Augusta challenge and he is a major winner in the making.
Charl Schwartzel (22/1 BetVictor)
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Residence: Verceeniging, South Africa and Florida, USA
You can call this an obvious pick with the sort of form he has been showing in 2013, but he really does look like a mean prospect to once again don that famous green jacket. Of course his credentials here do not need to be questioned, winning on his 2nd time out here. At the start of the year the South African won 2, and had two 2nd places in his first 6 outings. His form has dipped somewhat of late but has still managed to finish T9 at the Honda Classic and T16 at the Cadillac Championship. His sights are certainly now set on the Masters. Some stats to throw at you emphasising this form: 2nd Driving distance (307 yards) 25th Driving accuracy and 2nd GIR (European Tour). Putting is a must at Augusta with the fast greens and 10th in Putts Per Round and 3rd Putts per GIR bodes well! He also switches his residence from his native South Africa to Florida throughout the year, which is very interesting.
The Outsiders who are worth a look.
Peter Hanson (80/1 Bet365)
Birthplace: Svedala, Sweden
Residence: Trelleborg, Sweden
Peter Hanson has been knocking on the door in recent years. He is an unassuming Swede who is arguably one of the most reliable putters in the game. Even though he may not have ever won a major or “flagship” event as of yet, last year he challenged. 5th at the Match play, 4th at the WGC Cadillac, 7th at the USPGA and the most interesting – 3rd at The Masters. That sort of form is incredible and he hasn’t started this season too badly either, not finding himself outside the top 30 in any tournament yet. His attributes seem to suit Augusta – a level-head, lengthy drive and a putter that can make miracles happen. His distances have consistently averaged over 290 yards off the tee, which is certainly healthy, where as his stats on the green are pretty much perfect. In 2012 he was 4th for putts per round and 1st for putts per GIR on the European Tour. To top it off he loves the sand as well, 24th last season and currently 15th this year.
At prices as high as 66/1 in antepost betting, it seems worth a look.
Fredrik Jacobson (150/1 Bet365)
Birthplace: Gothenburg, Sweden
Residence: Hobe Sound, Florida
The big Swede has been very impressive so far this season, mainly due to his outstanding putting abilities. In recent years he has not really performed to his true abilities, but there is a real sign of change. In late 2011 he began a revival, whilst a T16 at WGC Cadillac, T25 at The Honda, T3 at The Northern Trust Open and T7 at AT&T Pebble Beach show that Jacobson means business in 2013.
However, in the majors he has failed to make a top 10 for a decade. In 2003 he climbed to 17th in the world rankings after a T5 at The U.S Open and T6 at The Open. During that season he went into those majors in similar form as he is now and his putting was just as hot. On the European Tour he was 3rd for putts per GIR, 30th for putts per round and 41st for one putts. Fast-forward 10 years and on the PGA Tour he is 5th for putts per round, 22nd for birdie or better conversion rate and 4th for strokes gained putting. With crazy golf style greens at Augusta, he could putt his way into a place without doubt.
Charles Howell iii (145/1 Bet365)
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia
Residence: Orlando, Florida
Charles Howell III cannot be ignored at the huge price he currently finds himself at. The American is 150/1 with most bookmakers but some are recognising his chances, Paddy Power for instance now have him at 100/1. For a man who was born in Augusta and resides in Orlando, Florida, he is an interesting prospect. After 3 none appearances at Augusta (frankly due to some woeful form) Howell came back solidly last year finishing 19th. He has always had the credentials to be one hell of a player, once holder of a top 15 world ranking spot and 2 time PGA Tour winner shows this. Howell’s current form is something that cannot be ignored either. His placing on the PGA Tour this year goes 3rd, T2, T9, T36, CUT, T29 (Honda Classic) and T12 (WGC Cadillac). The latter 2 are very impressive as they are on major-like tracks. A few interesting statistics to throw in there, 20th in strokes gained through putting, 7rd in scoring average, 42nd driving distance (294 yards) and 31st in all round ranking.
Michael Thompson (200/1 SkyBet)
Birthplace: Tucson, Arizona
Residence: Birmingham, Alabama
We simply cannot believe how this guy is putting at the moment. From pretty much anywhere on the green he is finding the cup right now. And at 200/1 (with SkyBet) it would be silly not to put a bit of e/w money on him. Now of course you can argue he has had his win for this year, but we can see no reason why he can’t continue his form going into the Masters. But we will be honest, how he has turned it on these past few weeks we don’t know! Thompson went from CUT, T78, CUT, CUT to 1st at the Honda Classic and T8 at the WGC Cadillac, both of which are much harder tournaments than the previous 4! Again interestingly he resides in Southern United States, which does seem to be a recurring theme in the winners of late! Even more promising, Thompson finished T2 at last year’s US Open so majors certainly do not bother this man.