Well, well, well. It is that time of year again, with the first major of the year just a few weeks away. In many peoples eyes it is the best major, the most exciting major and the most historic major. Whilst you can hardly argue with that, in our eyes it is also a major that due to its history and longevity at the stunning Augusta course, we can work out the sort of players who could/should do well each year.
As we did last year, with our extensive 3-post research and detailed analysis, we have looked at the sort of things that you should be considering when betting at The Masters.
This year, we will be posting 2 pre-previews before our final preview on the Monday before the tournament.
In this first research, we have looked at previous Masters and decided to whittle down every player that does not fit each trend or statistic in recent years.
The players listed below the bolded trend or stat, are the guys that have failed to achieve whatever is being said and after our research, we were left with 4 golfers, all of whom would interest any betting guru.
Our 2nd preview will be up later in the week, so do keep checking the site and our twitter to kee up to tabs with what we are doing.
All we can say is for now, enjoy.
(All in order of Golf World Ranking after WGC Cadillac)
Each of the past 14 winners made the cut at The Masters the year before –
Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson, Jamie Donaldson, Hunter Mahan, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Streelman, Russell Henley, Francesco Molinari, Matteo Manassero, George Coetzee, Martin Laird, John Merrick, Nicolas Colsaerts, Padraig Harrington, Ted Potter Jnr, Ben Curtis, Y.E. Yang
The past 19 Major winners had at least one top 10 in the same year – so far this year, will update weekly. (Bear in mind that the last 12 Major winners all had MULTIPLE top 10s before their win…)
Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwod, Nick Watney, Jonas Blixt, Martin Kaymer, Boo Weekley, Scott Piercy, Brendon de Jonge, Angel Cabrera, D.A Points, Bo Van Pelt, Michael Thompson, Luke Guthrie, Tim Clark, Robert Garrigus, Fredrik Jacobson, John Senden, Sang-Moon Bae, John Huh, David Toms, Geoff Ogilvy, Vijay Singh, Stewart Cink, Camilo Villegas, Mike Weir
There has only been one first-time PGA Tour winner at The Masters since 1948. (Bernhard Langer in 1985) –
Hideki Matsuyama, Victor Dubuisson, Thomas Bjørn, Graham DeLaet, Stephen Gallacher, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Joost Luiten, Thongchai Jaidee, Richard Sterne, Branden Grace, Thorbjørn Olesen
Only one person in the modern era has won at Augusta on the first attempt (Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979) –
Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Harris English, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Roberto Castro, Kevin Stadler, Marcel Siem
Changes were made in 2008 to combat a certain Tiger Woods and since then every winner hit GIR of at least 68% during the 4 days. We are looking at players with at least 67% GIR on Tour for the season. 10 of the top 13 for GIR over the 4 days in 2013 finished inside the top 25 –
Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Peter Hanson, Marc Leishman
Past 6 winners were in the top 60 for driving distance on Tour and averaging 290 yards throughout the season The top 10 in 2013 all averaged over 285 yards –
Henrkik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Bill Haas, Ryan Moore, John Senden, KJ Choi, Trevor Immelman
The last 6 winners had driving accuracy of at least 57%, so we feel around 57% accuracy of the tee is required. 6 out of the top 7 in Driving Accuracy in 2013 finished inside the top 25 –
NEW: RORY MCILROY, Charl Schwartzel, Rickie Fowler
9 of the last 12 winners were inside the top 20 for putting average during the tournament, so we are looking at around the top 75 in putting stats. 10 of the top 14 in overall putting stats in 2013 finished inside the top 25 –
Gary Woodland, Martin Kaymer, Robert Garrigus, Paul Casey
The last 7 winners have been inside the top 63 for scoring average.
The last 5 winners have played their combined 64 Par 5 holes in –44, so around top 75 in par 5 birdies or better %. 9 out of the top 11 in par 5 birdie or better leaders in 2013, finished inside the top 25 –
8 of the past 9 winners finished in the top-25 at the previous year’s PGA Championship –
So, after all the chopping and axing, we are left with four players, who suit absolutely everything for the 2014 Masters. And they are…?
1. Adam Scott (16/1 BetVictor)
Many fond memories for us, after his win last year earning us a fair bit of money! Scott survived all the trends and stats in 2013 as well, so it is no surprise to see him doing that again. Will go into this years Masters as the reigning champion and only 3 people have ever defended their green jacket – Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. That is illustrious company to say the least.
The Australian is the all-round package as a golfer, completely capable in every aspect of the game, so you can see him doing well again on a course that does demand so much. His worst finish in the 2013/14 season is T25 at the WGC Cadillac and that really is some going.
Whilst the form he showed at the back end of last year was beyond scintillating, winning two Australasian Tour events in a row and The PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
What will be interesting to see over the coming year or so is the development of his relationship with caddie Steve Williams, who announced he would be stepping down from a full time role next year. There is no doubting Williams was a key influence on Scotts career and that joint knowledge of Augusta was a big help in that maiden major victory.
We are yet to know whether they will join forces at major tournaments next year, but as it stands, could this be their last time at The Masters together?
Admittedly, we have personally decided not to back him this year because of the select few who have defended their title here, but it is completely understandable if you feel too strong to ignore him.
2. Jason Day (18/1 BetVictor)
If you follow us regularly on our posts and Twitter, you will know we are a big fan of Jason Day and we backed him for Augusta before his win at the WGC Matchplay – in the worry he would come out on top. We managed to get him at 25s and although he has significantly dropped, he should still interest anyone wanting a solid bet.
It is no surprise to see Day fitting all the trends and stats in the run up to this years Masters. He is one of a select group of players who can be considered a strong contender in every major tournament.
But Augusta seems to bring out the ultimate best in the Australian. He has finished T2 and T3 the two times he has completed all 4 days here and that can only mean he enjoys the place.
In fact his overall major performances since a T60 at the 2010 Open have been consistently impressive. 2010 – PGA T10. 2011 – Masters T2, US Open 2nd, Open T30. 2012 – Masters W/D, US Open T59, PGA MC. 2013 – Masters 3rd, US Open T2, Open T32, PGA T8.
That is 6 top 10s. This guy simply loves the big tournaments.
Meanwhile this season, he has 5 top 10s in his last 6 starts, including 2 wins (The World Cup of Golf being one of them) and that shows his growing maturity and consistency to play at such a high level regularly.
Obviously, only 2 PGA Tour wins from such a talented player worries, but the WGC should prove to everyone that he has what it takes to join the majors honours list.
3. Rory McIlroy (8/1 Coral)
Some may be surprised at McIlroy’s inclusion here, but at the end of the day he is playing with freedom once again and his all round game was always going to mean he would be close to making it through the trends.
Since his T6 at the WGC HSBC last year, he has not finished any lower that T25, including 3 top 10s.
In fact at Sheshan International, he was first round leader and has been at two tournaments since then, not managing to finish the job every time. This will be a concern for Rory, with it seeming like he is unable to put together 4 consistent rounds.
In fact he has only had 4 under-par rounds during his T2 in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour. Every other tournament he somehow finds at least one day where he is all over the place and this is a big worry at Augusta.
The Honda Classic was one that he ought to have won; losing in a playoff is something that should never have happened after nearly going wire-to-wire. He was in complete control before that final round Sunday and it was barmy seeing not just himself but everyone around him losing their heads and dropping shots for fun.
However, that approach shot on the par 5 18th will be watched for many years. Knowing he had to get an eagle to win the tournament (with birdie only meaning a playoff), he crunched a 3-wood 260 yards, landing it unerringly softly inside 10 ft. Obviously he went on to miss the putt, but the audacity and winning mentality he showed to take on that shot proves the former number one is ready to fight again.
He has never found the top 10 at Augusta, but if everything comes together for him, he can destroy pretty much any course, let alone here. And when you think back to that 2011 Masters, he had a 4-shot lead going into the Sunday before a horrendous few holes on Amen Corner. It was painful viewing for every McIlroy fan, but it is experiences like that, which he will have learnt so much from.
For us, he is too short to touch, but like Scott, a completely understandable bet.
N.B – As we mentioned earlier, McIlroy has been first round leader in 3 out of his 6 strokeplay tournaments this year and having shot a marvellous 65 to be top at the 2011 Masters, he could be an interesting choice in this market.
4. Dustin Johnson (25/1 BetVictor)
Out of the 4 guys who didn’t get chopped throughout our trends and stats, Dustin Johnson is arguably the surprising one.
But when you actually think about it, his game is the perfect fit and in recent months he has shown that everything is clicking for him from tee to green. Even his putting has been impressive.
Look at his 2013/14 form though, it is beyond outrageous – 1st WGC HSBC Championship, 18th, T11, T6, T2, 2nd, T33 WGC Matchplay, T4 WGC Cadillac. You cannot deny that is major winning form and if he is going to breakthrough, you have to think Augusta is a place it could happen.
He has never played particularly well in the first major of the season, before ripping up the course last year in the opening few rounds. He eventually faltered by trying to attack too much and finished T13. His putting and driving accuracy let him down, but we cant help believing this has been a different Dustin of late.
He has often looked better suited to a British Open, however he has played at Augusta enough times now to know the shots, know when to attack and when to defend and understand all the intricate details of such a tough course. If anything, he would of learnt so much last year.
Of the ‘big players’ in form, he represents interesting value, so he is another one of our antepost bets. If you are confused about whether to back him because you like what he does, but may not trust his mentality, laying him is certainly an option.
Ultimately, wouldn’t he look good in a green jacket?!
Finally, we would like to say that Sergio Garcia (40/1 BetVictor) is our 3rd antepost bet. Firstly, he was so close to making it through all the trends and stats, before the last hurdle (not making the top 25 at the PGA last year). Secondly, he is also showing signs of superb consistency in recent months and we really do feel his putting is finally up there. Finally. In his last 8 starts, he has amassed 8 top 20s, including 5 top 10s and a win in Qatar. That victory in a playoff against Mikko Ilonen will have given him an unbelievable amount of confidence, having not won on either Tour since August 2012.
He has often played particularly well at The Open, but 3 top 10s here, including that T8 last year, is a decent return. He should have done better after leading the first round in 2013, but a horrendous 76 on the Friday ruined any chance of victory.
We did have a gut feeling about the Spaniard last year and although he didn’t quite get us returns, that feeling has not gone away and we do like him once again.