Wyndham Championship 2015

Prize Fund – $5,400,000wyndham

Winner’s Share – $954,000

Course – Sedgefield CC, Greensboro (7,130 yards par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Bill Haas – T2, Ricky Barnes – T24, Freddie Jacobson – T2, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – MC, John Huh – T57

After a sensational performance from Jason Day last week, the major year has come to a close and all eyes will quickly turn to the last event before the season ending Final Series. In 5 tournaments time we will have crowned the new FedEx Cup champion who’ll pocket a cool $10 million. Outrageous scenes.

So keep an eye out for all those bumbling along outside the top 125 in the standings as they will be doing everything possible to make sure they’re teeing it up at the Barclays next week. For these lads, it’s crunch time –

120 – Scott Stallings 121 – Jamie Donaldson 122 – Spencer Levin 123 – Nicholas Thompson 124 – Luke Donald 125 – Charl Schwartzel 126 – Scott Langley 127 – Seung-Yul Noh 128 – S.J. Park 129 – Camilo Villegas (won here last year…!) 130 – Ryo Ishikawa 131 – Bily Hurley III 132 – Alex Prugh 149 – Martin Kaymer 156 – Graeme McDowell 170 – Ernie Els 187 – Tiger Woods

Stallings and Donaldson are the only two names above that aren’t playing this week, which is a massive risk if they want to qualify. There are obviously plenty of guys below Prugh who can jolt up the standings with a win, so keep tabs on the storylines as they develop throughout the week.  And yes, Tiger Woods IS PLAYING.  Madness.

As for the event itself, the Wyndham Championship is held at the Donald Ross designed Sedgefield Country Club. The 7,127 yard par 70 has played host since 2008 after 30 years at Forest Oaks and whilst being a cracking track, it’s often provided the players with little bit in terms of scoring.

The winning numbers have been very low and even with the subtle re-designs on the greens, Patrick Reed’s 2013 score was the lowest since the 08’ renewal.

The newly laid Bermuda greens did cause some changes in playability last year – the small, undulating and fast greens arguably provide the only true defence. Therefore we have to look at putting stats and GIR because you can’t score if you’re not giving yourself the chances but clearly going to take a peak at the scoring stats themselves as well.

5 tournaments to go ladies and gentleman, 5 tournaments to go.

Brandt Snedeker 20/1

Brandt Snedeker is looking like he’s getting close to his old self, finally putting that back injury behind him once and for all.

He is putting well again – 40th birdie or better % and 7th one-putt % – whilst his irons are nearly there.

He’s been scoring far better as well. After winning the AT&T earlier this year, pretty much from nowhere, he has gone on to record some very decent finishes.

5 top 12’s in his last 7 outings shows the sort of level we’re talking about at the moment – especially considering that includes a US Open and the PGA Championship…  He was hitting 65% of fairways and greens at Whistling Straits, whilst his putting is still is usual self – that 40-footer on the last bringing great entertainment to all of us!

All in all, we feel it would be a silly move not to at least consider the mighty Sneds, even with the shorts odds.

Ryan Moore (40/1 various)

Ryan Moore is an interesting one this week – on the surface he has the game to really challenge on this sort of track. However, his form hasn’t been the most eye-catching this season – his last top 10 came back in March… There’s been glimpses no denying, but he hasn’t been able to put four rounds together for quite a while.

So why plump on him here? Well, he looked in decent knick tee to green at the PGA, finding over 71% of fairways and 68% of greens, whilst a few weeks ago he had 83% driving accuracy and 72% GIR.

That is a potentially potent combination for this course, especially considering the fact he’s won here and recorded a T6 in the past.

He’s also 56th for strokes gained putting, 25th in total putting and 29th for one-putt percentage.

Decent shout.

Vaughn Taylor (125/1 various)

Vaughn Taylor may have a ridiculous way of spelling his name, but that doesn’t put us off the fact he’s a pretty decent shout this week.

He is a two-time PGA Tour champion believe it or not (2 Reno-Tahoe Open wins in 04’ and 05’) but his career has mainly been plugging away on the Web.com, NGA and other such Tours.

However in his last year before he turns 40, he’s been making some sort of inroads on the PGA circuit this season. A couple of top 10’s and only one missed cut in 11 outings is not a bad return and we feel he’s got something to offer on the sort of track.

He is 28th for driving accuracy, 25th GIR and 79th for strokes gained putting which really is a cracking combination – he’s also 13th for scoring average which just goes to show he can shoot low when he’s in the groove.

Much like Moore, he has to find the consistency to do it for four rounds and then we could have a cheeky outsider on our hands.

Hudson Swafford (200/1 various)

Hudson Swafford is someone that is worth looking at because of the very high odds and the fact he does, theoretically, suit this track.

A MC last time out at the Barracuda, but before that he was playing well for a couple of rounds in several tournaments in a row, only to have a stinker on at least one of the days.

He must keep his form going over a few days and he really could challenge here.

37th for GIR, 29th strokes gained putting, 71st scoring average and 48th 3-putt avoidance is now bad for someone who is at 200/1…

Why not?

PGA Championship 2015

Prize Fund – $10,000,0002015_PGA_CHAMPIONSHIP_TICKE

Winner’s Share – $1,800,000

Course – Whistling Straits (7,514 yards par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Sergio Garcia – T36, Hideki Matsuyama – T36, Marc Leishman – MC, Hunter Mahan – T7, Louis Oosthuizen – T15

So here we go, one last push, one final hurdle. The golfing Major season will come to a head at a Pete Dye classic, as arguably the best field of the four big ones battle it out to win the PGA Championship.

It often gets moved aside for the traditional majors and is only considered slightly bigger than The Players in some circles, but do not be fooled – The top 100 players automatically qualify whilst tournament winners in the past 12 months also get a spot (as well as some of the PGA Pro’s that got through their own qualification process) so this is a huge event with an unbelievable history and the very best players at this moment.

A history that includes some memorable moments as well. Y.E Yang defeating Tiger in 09’, the new boy Keegan Bradley toppling the world in 2010, Rich Beem and his heroics in 2002, Shaun Micheel in 2003. We really could go on, but there are so many magnificent sporting stories that come to the fore with this 4th Major.

So, before we get talking about Mr. Dye’s beautifully set up track, let’s have a look at some of the trends and recent history of the PGA Championship.

For starters, there are three points that consistently crop up with PGA winners –

  1. 13 of the last 15 champions recorded a victory in the same year.

This is no surprise in a lot of ways because the field is made up of winners, but it may help narrow down your search slightly. It does show that you have a recent knack of knowing how to get the job done and some sort of form.

  1. Since the WGC Bridgestone became the unwritten warm-up to the PGA in 2006, the winner has always been in the field and remarkably, always finished inside the top 22. (A big argument can be made to stretch that to those who finished T25 this year)

The lengthy nature of Firestone makes this little surprise as well – PGA tournaments are always on long tracks, so the comparison is obvious. Plus, another indicator that the winners’ game is in decent knick.

  1. Barring Jason Dufner in 2013, every winner going back to Vijay Singh in 2004 has averaged over 291 yards before the win

Again, hardly surprising considering the length of traditional PGA tracks – barring Oak Hill (2013, 2003), Southern Hills (07’) and Medinah (06’) every course measures in at 7,400 yards minimum.

So, if we are judging everything by that, we can actually narrow down the field to a select few names who fit the categories and they’re as follows (world ranking in brackets) –

  • Jordan Spieth (2nd)
  • Bubba Watson (3rd)
  • Jason Day (5th)
  • Justin Rose (6th)
  • Rickie Fowler (7th)
  • Patrick Reed (18th)
  • Shane Lowry (19th)
  • Brooks Koepka (20th)
  • Danny Willett (25th)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (26th)
  • Branden Grace (28th)
  • Robert Streb (40th)
  • Steven Bowditch (60th)
  • Camilo Villegas (156th)

So, those few names make for very interesting reading. We are now going to be able to whittle the list down even further by looking at Whistling Straits itself.

The Pete Dye layout will play as a 7,512 yard par 72 and is chiselled alongside the shores of Lake Michigan. There is absolutely no doubting there is a resemblance to classic Links tracks often found in Ireland – and even Chambers Bay in some regards, but at it’s core you have an American track that can be over-powered in good conditions and bite in tough, windy weather.

Not bad ay?

Not bad ay?

Eights of the holes are completely exposed to the lake and there are elevation changes of a staggering 80ft throughout the course. But the undulating, rolling landscapes have a cracking defence in the ridiculous 900+ bunkers littered all over.

On the surface you would think that driving accuracy will be key, but Singh and Kaymer were nowhere near the top end in that stats category and looking back at their performances, it seems far more important to have your irons in full flow.

Hitting the small, tough greens is no easy feet, especially trying to the ball to stop. Therefore the usual Links skill of scrambling will be vital for our 2015 winner.

If you look at it – Kaymer and Singh were both inside the top 10 for GIR stats throughout the week as well as the top 20 in scrambling. So, let’s now scrap those names above who are outside the top 40 in both those categories.

Here’s the five left –

  • Bubba Watson (3rd)
  • Jason Day (5th)
  • Danny Willett (25th)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (26th)
  • Branden Grace (28th)

Now you cannot deny those are some very fascinating names. Before we get into the nitty gritty of our own picks, we must mention that for us, Bubba and Day are too short to consider below 20’s – there’s much better value out there, but they should still be contemplated seriously before finalising your staking plans.

For the fourth and final time in 2015 – enjoy this week’s major!

Rickie Fowler (22/1 various)

Come on Rickie, it's time. - courtesy of golfweek

Come on Rickie, it’s time. – courtesy of golfweek

Yes, we’re going there again. We are just so adamant Rickie is going to win a major very soon that when a course sort of suits him, we feel our hands are tied.

He does fit the original trends, but didn’t make the last 5 because he lies in 93rd for scrambling, however we’ve seen how well he can play from tough positions when it matters most.

At the end of the day he won in typical Links conditions in Scotland and got himself into the mix at The Open, so he knows how to play these sorts of layouts. It clearly didn’t work for him at Chambers Bay, but some of that must be to do with the group he was playing in – they were all awful…

And in his last two outings, he finished 2nd at the Quicken Loans and T10 last week at the WGC. He’s in great knick and should be incredibly confident in his abilities.

He is an outstanding bunker player as well, which will without doubt come into play at times this week – his sand saves last week were 88.88%…

Overall, he’s a big hitter, 41st for driving distance – and can get in a real flow with his irons when everything is working well. You’d be a fool not to at least consider him…

Henrik Stenson (28/1 various)

Another big chance for the Swede

Another big chance for the Swede

We’ve heard a few whispers about Stenson recently that everything wasn’t quite going right, but he proved his form by a very solid T6 last week.

He never propelled forward massively, but was consistent in his scoring and should take confidence moving forward to a major that should suit his game.

So he hasn’t won this year, therefore didn’t make the trends, but blimey has he had some good outings – Five top 4 finishes this season say everything, so he isn’t in the worst knick

Looking at his stats, you have to be impressed as well. 38th for driving distance, 1st for GIR and 62nd for scrambling. With his prodigious tee to green game he could overpower this track and use his expertise on Links tracks to perfection.

A really good shout for the ‘top bracket’ of players…

Brooks Koepka (45/1 PaddyPower)

He's used to much tougher Links tracks than this...

He’s used to much tougher Links tracks than this…

Brooks Koepka has slowly been producing the sort of form that warrants him being a very interesting mid-ranger at 45’s.  He is consistently playing well on both sides of the Atlantic – he hasn’t missed a cut since The Players and has recorded 6 top 20’s, 3 of which were inside the top 10.

Last week he looked in good rhythm once again, finishing in a tie for 6th and he didn’t shoot over 70 again, taking his record to 9 rounds of 69 or better in his last 10.  That’s some going.

So, as well as being in good touch, he suits this sort of track down to the ground.  He hits the ball a mile and has the ability to get his irons working ridiculously smoothly – 6th for distance and 19th for GIR, whilst he is actually 49th for scrambling from the rough which bodes well here.

His overall scrambling isn’t great stats wise (155th) but we’ve seen enough of him to know that he can handle the pressures of an up and down in linksy conditions – 3 of his 4 Challenge Tour wins were on coastal tracks…  Plus he finished T10 at St. Andrews a few weeks back…

Plus he’s 58th for sand save which basically makes him the complete player.

And don’t forget he’s a two-time winner in the past year, so he knows very much how to get the job done… Intriguing to say the least.

Branden Grace (80/1 various)

Will he be Grace-ing the winner's circle?

Will he be Grace-ing the winner’s circle?

It’s probably quite easy to forget that Branden Grace is actually a 3-time European Tour winner in the past year.  Whilst that is simply ludicrous, you’d have to think he would be around 30’s if that form was on the PGA Tour…

In fact his form across just 2015 is just breathtakingly good – 18 tournaments, 2 wins, 5 top 10’s, 11 top 20’s and only 2 missed cuts.  Unreal.

The South African therefore has to be considered, especially when you think how close he came at Chambers Bay.  There was no bottle there at all, he genuinely had a chance going down 16 and a T4 finish is still no mean feat.

He really is coming into his own now and this could be a perfect fit for someone who is used to these sorts of tracks.  His stats on his predominant Tour in Europe match everything perfectly – 301 yards off the tee, 8th GIR and 18th scrambling.  Not bad.  Plus, he fits the trends and history, so there really is little to not like…

Danny Willett (100/1 various)

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

Danny Willett has had a pretty stellar year and is consistently recording top finishes. With two wins already this season and a further 4 top 6 performances, you cannot doubt the Englishman is an intriguing shout at 3-figure odds.

As we stated in our preview, he fits all the trends and stats for recent winners – a comfortable, if not exciting T17 at the WGC will definitely stand him in good stead – in fact his recent form line is so impressive – T17, 1st in Switzerland and T6 at The Open.

It was at St. Andrews where we saw the potential big tournament winning Willett really shine – a mini breakthrough if you will. He had every chance of capturing the claret jug going into that weekend but all the adverse conditions definitely didn’t do him any favours.

Overall, you’ve got someone that hits it over 292 yards, lies 23rd for GIR and 4th in scrambling on the European Tour and has the all-round tee-to-green game perfectly suited for this test.

Robert Streb (90/1 various)

Robert Streb showing his delight at winning the McGladrey last year  Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Robert Streb showing his delight at winning the McGladrey last year
Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Our final pick comes in the form of another non-major champion, making it a 6-man team who would all be debutants into the winner’s circle.

Robert Streb has performed above and beyond this year, pretty much continuing his early season form where he won his maiden title at the McGladrey Classic in October.

He almost won again a few weeks back at the Greenbrier but lost out to Danny Lee in a playoff, but that still shows how far he has come to nearly win 2 in the same season.He is actually 5th in the current FedEx standings, which says a lot for consistency – a stunning 8 top 10’s and 13 top 25 finishes prove how well he’s been playing on a very regular basis.

That playoff defeat was followed by a T14 at the John Deere, a T18 at The Open and a solo 5th at last weeks WGC. He was leading at St. Andrews for a while on that first day, which shows he doesn’t mind the adverse Links conditions or the pressures of the biggest tournament in the game.

Stats wise he is perfect as well – 40th for distance, 11th for GIR, 78th fro scrambling, 84th sand save and even 25th for strokes gained putting for a bit of good measure.

The real deal here.

2015 Open Championship

2015_Open_Championship

Prize Fund – £6,300,000

Winner’s Share – £1,150,000

Course – St. Andrews Old Course (7,305 yards Par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Adam Scott – T5, Graeme McDowell – T9, Zach Johnson – T47, Webb Simpson – MC, Shane Lowry – T9, Robert Karlsson – T12, Ryan Moore – T12, Stephen Gallacher – T15

So here we are. The third and most historic major of the golfing calendar. The US Open began in 1895, PGA in 1916 and The Masters in 1934. But The Open Championship? 1860.

That means the 144th edition of this great tournament will be held back at the (adopted) home of golf – St. Andrews.

As we’ve stated before, this season has been full of storylines and performances from top players, with Jordan Spieth obviously now going for the unthinkable this week.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what we can expect, we’ve got to mention the big omission of world number one Rory McIlroy. It has affected the odds and it the repercussions of him playing ‘soccer’ (It’s FOOTBALL) will definitely be felt across the globe. With his record at St. Andrews as well, you can’t help but think we really do now have a wide open contest.

On to the famous track though – we’ve had some truly great winners here, some of the best to ever play the game – Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Sam Snead and Bobby Jones.

We’ve all seen the layout thousands of times in replays and famous Open moments but for those of you that didn’t know, the par 72 lies at 7,305 yards running across the Scottish east coast near in Fife.

Courtesy of standrewstaxis

Courtesy of standrewstaxis

The Old Course has 112 individually named bunkers, including the infamous ‘Hell Bunker’ on 14 and the ‘Road Bunker’ on the 17th. Both have dished out serious pain to many that have succumbed to it’s sandy ways and can be the difference between a par and a triple bogey.

Tiger Woods managed to go round here without finding a bunker on his way to the 2000 Open title, whilst Sir Nick only hit a few in 1990. The likelihood is, you’re going to see everyone in one at some point, so scrambling and sand saves will be key when thinking about your bets.

The fairways are rolling, undulating and famously wide – there’s plenty of space to attack off the tee, but that doesn’t mean you can spray the ball wildly because the thick fescue ad gorse will take no prisoners.

The greens double up several times throughout the 18 and are therefore incredibly large, which means there’s a variation of slopes, lengths and speeds during a round. Knowing when to attack pins and go for those birdies is simply crucial.

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All in all there are several factors we are looking at when it comes to St. Andrews this year –

Links Form

Recent Form

  • Not necessarily on fire, but showing something in past few outings, because St. Andrews demands your full attention, just look at the recent winners –
    • Louis Oosthuizen won a tournament and had 5 top 5’s, however he missed the 2 cuts in the events prior to lifting the Claret Jug
    • Tiger Woods only had one finish outside the top 11 in the 6 tournaments prior to his 2005 win, including 3 top 3’s and a win.
    • No point even saying what Tiger was on during his win in 2000. It was barmy.
    • John Daly was a slight anomaly. Few missed cuts before and a couple of finishes inside the top 15.
    • Sir Nick had 3 top 5’s in a row before and had won The Masters.
  • Those past 4 winners all averaged nearly 300 yards plus off the tee. We’re not saying a truly big hitter is needed, but you need to have some sort of distance
  • Look at Dunhill Links for some cheeky European stalwarts at high odds
  • A scrambler and flag attacker. Birdies can sometimes be easy to come at St. Andrews.
Courtesy of TheOpen

Courtesy of TheOpen

Overall it will be an unbelievable week of historic golf, especially as we all say a final farewell to one of the greatest Open champions ever. Only Harry Vardon has more Open titles than this living legend.

Tom Watson. We salute you.

DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.
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You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!

Rickie Fowler (22/1 various)

This boy really does have everything Courtesy of golfweek

This boy really does have everything
Courtesy of golfweek

If you’d come to our site in the past few days, you would have seen the names Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood pop up in our preview. It’s obvious that these were our two antepost bets, mainly because we fancied them to do well for both events in Scotland.

So, we grabbed Fowler at 33’s with BetFred and duly watched him go on another birdie binge to win at Gullane. It was yet another unbelievable performance; a master class in complete golf.

There’s simply very few chinks in his impenetrable armour. We all thought that he didn’t have the bottle to win and that we would never see him push on from an outstanding amateur career.

Well from recording 4 top 5 finishes at the majors last year, he’s pushed on to unbelievable heights in 2015.

His form leading in is clearly very good, he is driving well and looks very comfortable with his mid-short irons and that is a potentially lethal combination at St. Andrews. We’ve seen his scrambling abilities quite regularly recently as well, which is always a must with the heather and bunkers protecting an otherwise simple track.

But there are two significant reasons why we really fancy him this week. Firstly, his bottle. He looks so comfortable on the greens in heated moments, he is really learning how to hole putts when it matters. Just think Sawgrass and that fantastic approach on the last in Gullane to give him his one shot victory. The boy got game.

But secondly, it’s ability on links tracks. We’ve seen him several times turning up on these shores to have a knock on seaside courses – T8 at the Scottish and T2 at The Open last year, T30 in Ireland a few months back, when he was challenging for the lead.

Plus he finished T14 at St. Andrews back in 2010 after surging through the ranks following a quality final round.

In Rick we trust.

Recent Form

Scottish Open US Open The Memorial Irish Open The Players Champs WGC Cadillac
WON MC MC T30 WON T9

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T2 MC T31 T5 T14

Henrik Stenson (22/1 various)

Another big chance for the Swede

Another big chance for the Swede

Well, here we go again. We’ve been through all sorts of ups and downs with Henrik Stenson, including at this very tournament back in 2013, but we’ve got something of a hunch that it’s time for us to re-visit and old pal.

His rise back to the summit of the sport is virtually complete and has kept very steady – he hasn’t left the top 10 since the back end of 2013 – but it’s blindingly obvious what’s missing.

He’s won The Players, a WGC and 15 other pro events, but that breakthrough major still eludes him. And whilst we feel his game can be transferred to pretty much any major, The Open feels like the best type of layout for him, especially the demands St. Andrews will bring.

He finished T3 here back in 2010, which in most years would have challenged for the title, but we all know what Louis went on to do. Plus in 2005 he finished T34 when his game was nowhere near the level it is now, so it adds up to some very encouraging signs.

He’s also played the Dunhill Links many times compared to the other big boys around him, so he’ll know the track incredibly well and having record 3 top 10’s there, you can’t help but gain that extra bit of confidence.

Form wise he’s definitely been topsy-turvy. A cracking return to his best at his last outing in Germany (T2) will keep him buoyant, whilst you have to remember he’s had top 20’s at The Masters and The Players and a solo 2nd at the Arnold Palmer and 4th at the Valspar.

His length off the tee will be an obvious advantage, especially with the wider fairways and his irons are a thing of beauty once he gets going. There’s just something telling us Stenson is going to go on a roll this week…

Recent Form

BMW International US Open Nordea Maters Wells Fargo Champs The Players Champs WGC Cadillac
T2 T27 T13 T58 T17 T34

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T39 2nd DNP 68th T3 T13

Brooks Koepka (66/1 StanJames)

Brooks Koepka is a man on a mission.  What a future this lad has

Brooks Koepka is a man on a mission. What a future this lad has

Brooks Koepka has been on a rapid rise into the higher echelons of world golf in the past year or so. Having started out 2014 in and around 100th in the rankings, he has been firmly amongst the top 25 since his breakthrough PGA Tour win at the Waste Management.

Including his win in Turkey at the back end of last year, he’s been showing genuine major contending form. If you remember he grabbed us some place money at the US Open in 2014 and wasn’t a million miles away a few weeks ago at Chambers Bay.

And the fact he played well on a proper links track shows that he’s got the game for an Open Championship. He learnt the ropes in the pro game over in Europe as well, which means he’s accustomed to ‘non-American’ courses and actually has a pretty decent record on these layouts.

T28 at the Johnnie Walker, T22 in Wales, T12 at the Scottish and a win at the Scottish Hyrdo all in 2013, whilst he actually finished T4 at the Dunhill Links last year.

Then he went on to finish in a tie for 22nd last week, following on from some good recent form, including a T3 at the St. Jude Classic a few events back. His length and iron game definitely suits St. Andrews and out of all the mid-rangers, he really looks like the perfect fit to challenge the very best.

Recent Form

Scottish Open US Open FedEx St. Jude Classic The Memorial AT&T Byron Nelson BMW PGA Champs
T22 T18 T3 T16 T72 MC

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T67 MC

Brandt Snedeker (50/1 various)

Come on Sneds, get that roaring passion going!

Come on Sneds, get that roaring passion going!

No denying that plumping on Brandt Snedker goes against everything we’ve said about distance, but this lad is in such good knick and simply too good with the short stick not to consider.

His recent form is up there with anyone (barring Spieth…) and he’s gone relatively unnoticed or even mentioned for the claret jug.

Don’t forget it wasn’t that long ago he challenged Adam Scott and Ernie Els very close. In 2012 he was unstoppable with his putter and irons – he shot 66 and 64 to equal the lowest 36 hole score in The Open. Yes he went on to finish T3 but that proves he’s got the game for links golf. Just look at his two wins at the AT&T – Pebble Beach is a proper seaside track.

But we really do feel he is closing in on that hot streak again, when attacking the pins and finding the cup is done with ease. His putting stats are a joke – 5th strokes gained putting, 19th total putting, 9th one-putt percentage. He just loves it.

He may not have played St. Andrews, but if he can avoid the bunkers as often as possible, keep in play and get that putter going, you never know…

Recent Form

Travelers Champs US Open AT&T Byron Nelson Crowne Plaza The Players Champs WGC Cadillac
T10 8th T6 T2 MC T52

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T58 T11 T3 MC DNP MC

Tommy Fleetwood (80/1 various)

Face of concentration - courtesy of golfwrx

Face of concentration – courtesy of golfwrx

Tommy Fleetwood has entered the top 50 in the world for the first time in his career this season and most of that is down to a new-found consistency.  He really is playing some decent golf.

7 finishes inside the top 21, with 4 top 10’s including a T10 across the water in Gullane at the weekend.  He had a genuine chance going into that final round but it started off with a double on the 1st and he never truly recovered.  That hasn’t put us off backing him (even though admittedly we laid him last week…) and most of that was because of his outstanding form at St. Andrews.

He is a remarkable 26-under in his last 4, yes FOUR, rounds there.  That is simply ludicrous.  His results at the Alfred Dunhill are crazy – T2 in 2014, 2nd in 2013, 5th in 2012, 55th in 2011 and T5 in 2010.  That is some of the best form of anyone at the event and bringing that to St. Andrews in the sort of confidence and vibe he will be in at the moment is very exciting.

Recent Form

Scottish Open BMW International US Open The Memorial Irish Open BMW PGA Champs
T10 T11 T27 MC T21 T6

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
MC

Retief Goosen (250/1 various)

LOVES trophies

LOVES trophies

We wanted to find another cheeky outsider and dabbled with the idea of Rafa Cabrera Bello but stuck with Retief Goosen.  We are only talking a few spare pennies, but he got back to some iron beauty in Germany, finishing T4 (and winning us some much needed dollar!) whilst his form at St. Andrews is not bad – T41 2000 and T5 in 2005 and 6th in 2010.

Plus he won the Alfred Dunhill Cup back when it was matchplay in the nineties twice in a row with Ernie and David Frost.

At the end of the day, he is a double major champion and we know that was some time ago, but all we say is, why not?

Recent Form

John Deere Classic BMW International US Open FedEx St.Jude The Memorial AT&T Byron Nelson
MC T4 MC MC T31 W/D

Open Championship Form

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
DNP DNP T64 WD 6th T5

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£2.00 e/w on Rickie Fowler at 33/1 (BetFred)

£2.50 win on Henrik Stenson at 22/1 (Coral)

£0.75 e/w on Brooks Koepka at 66/1 (BetFred)

£0.50 e/w on Brandt Snedeker 50/1 (PaddyPower)

£0.50 e/w on Tommy Fleetwood 80/1 (BetFred)

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 26 weeks
Golf Monthly
European Tour:  £49.17
PGA Tour: £-29.00
Total: £20.17
DownThe18th
European Tour: £-110.62
PGA Tour: £19.77
Total: £-90.85
Golf Monthly leads by: £111.02

AT&T Byron Nelson 2015

Prize Fund – $7,100,002015byronnelson

Winner’s Share – $1,278,000

Course – TPC Four Seasons Resort (7,166 yards Par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Jimmy Walker – T37 Paul Casey – T16 Justin Hicks – MC

This week on the PGA Tour we stay in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson with a field that doesn’t excite anywhere near as much as last week or over the event over in Ireland.

But, we’ve got to look past all that and try and value at a course which is honestly, quite hard to predict.

Only 3 of the 8 winners on this track had recorded a top 10 before their victory, whilst there has been another 3 first-time victors. Therefore course form can theoretically be chucked out the window, but we always feel it’s important to keep an eye on previous results.

The 7,166 yard par 70 possesses large, undulating greens with several water features and strategically placed bunkers that will swallow anyone who strays into them.  The tree-lined fairways clearly indicate how vital it is to be accurate off the tee, whilst you can’t help but think those that attack the pins and birdie hunt will find themselves near the top of the leaderboard.  If the wind gets up, there’ll be havoc amongst the scores, but if it’s mild, the players will go really low.

That makes this so tough because you could look at accurate grinders or bombers, so check out the wind before you bet – right now it looks like we could be in for a pretty horrific few days weather….

http://www.myweather2.com/Golf-Courses/United-States-Of-America/Texas/TPC-Four-Seasons-Resort-Las-Colinas/14-Day-Forecast.aspx

Matt Kuchar (33/1 Coral)

Keep on smiling Kuch Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

Keep on smiling Kuch
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

Kuuuch has been his ever consistent self this year, making 14 out of 15 cuts since the season began.  We are aware that one failure to make the weekend did come at his most recent outing – The Players – but we are going to be looking past that because this is a track where he should fare well.

His tee to green game is infamous and could be a great fit for the demands of the course – a place where his formline isn’t spectacular, but it is certainly impressive nonetheless.  2 top 10’s in his last 4 outings here with a worst finish of T33.  He really needs to bring the form from the RBC Heritage back here and if he can then 33’s will seem like incredible value and definitely worth backing.

His putter has been particularly hot this season as well, which will, without doubt, make for an easier effort here.

Harris English (66/1 various)

Didn’t we say it was last chance saloon for Harris English a couple of weeks back?  Yes he has intrigued us several times going into a few events this season and duly not delivered but at 66/1 we feel he’s worth another cheeky bet.

This is a track that has his name written all over it.  One of the best on tour off the tee – 17th total driving – he could be hitting it long and straight to set up perfect positions to attack pins.  Considering he is 21st for GIR and 26th for strokes gained putting, you can’t help but think his all-round game will be perfect here and although his best finish is T17 in 2 starts, you still think there’s plenty more to come.

And that can be said for his whole season really.  No top 10 since the Valspar a couple of months back, but a cracking player with the potential to show his true abilities at very reasonable odds.

Brendan Steele (80/1 BetVictor)

Looking for a Steeley performance

Looking for a Steeley performance

This is a course, despite missing the cut on the two times he’s been here, that Steele could be a real handful on. At first glance Four Seasons looks like it’s one for the straight hitters out there and to a degree that’s true – Steele isn’t renowned for being arrow-straight. But looking through the history books, it’s the ‘total-drivers’ that have really thrived here. That’s where Steele comes in. Okay, he doesn’t find every fairway but in the main he’s not only straight but long as well. He ranks T35 total driving on tour and was actually 1st in driving distance in his last event at the Wells Fargo.

It’s his T9 in his last outing that is the main reason we’re having a punt on the American in Texas this week. As always, we watched plenty of live coverage but Steele was someone who really caught our eye. It’s one thing ploughing through stats and then another actually seeing these guys strike the ball. He looked on top of his game and on further inspection you’ll find he ranked 1st in GIR for the week, absolutely no surprises there. At 80’s bookies are obviously looking elsewhere given his 2 MC’s here but he could go close this week.

Much like Chris Kirk, Steele has the quality to start pushing on now and racking up a few more PGA titles. The scene of his one and only PGA Tour title so far was in none other than Texas, at the Valero. Good omens.

Jerry Kelly (125/1 BetVictor)

Jerry Kelly will probably be a popular outsider this week because he looked pretty impressive with his irons at Colonial and he just seemed to be really bloody happy.

He was a smiling guru of approach play throughout the week and to finish T10 shows his game is almost there.  He is very much a true grinder with ridiculous accuracy stats – 13th driving accuracy – and this is a place that should suit him perfectly.

He has finished T3 here before and recorded 2 other top 11’s which shows it’s a place he likes and if he can continue his steady rise in finishes – T22, T17 and T10 – this will be a memorable week for the old timer.

Martin Laird (150/1 BetVictor)

Martin Laird has a really odd forehead...

Martin Laird has a really odd forehead…

Martin Laird will be incredibly accustomed to any wind that decides to barrage down in Texas this week and whilst his recent form hasn’t been great, at 150’s he’s definitely worth a gamble.

30th for total driving and 35th GIR proves he has plenty of potential on these sort of tracks.  We’ve seen him grinding and scrambling his way on tough courses already this season – T5 at the Waste Management and T7 at the Valspar – so if he can replicate that sort of form then he really is a decent outsider to consider if the weather decides to take a turn.

Will Wilcox (250/1 Paddy Power)

250’s might put some of you off but as we keep saying, pretty much every week someone at this sort price will always sneak a place, if not win. Adam Hadwin (400/1) last week, prime example.

So why will Will win? He’s played here once and missed the cut. Good start. But… looking at his recent form, he’s actually in good shape. Two top 20’s on the Web.com preceded by a T33 at the Valspar and T6 in Puerto Rico.

Then we look at stats. He ranks 7th total driving, 2nd bogey avoidance, T28 par 4 performance and 6th par 3 performance. Essentially, tee to green he’s one of the best on Tour. Naturally, he needs to up his short game and when the pressure is on how will he cope. All good questions but he’s 250/1 and worth a few coins.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£2.00 e/w on Matt Kuchar at 33/1 (Coral)

£1.00 e/w on Harris English at 66/1 (Stan James)

£0.75 e/w on Brendan Steele at 80/1 (Bet Victor)

£0.55 e/w on Jerry Kelly at 125/1 (Coral)

£0.40 e/w on Martin Laird at 150/1 (Coral)

£0.30 e/w on Will Wilcox  at 250/1 (Paddy Power)

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 19 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-71.95                  European Tour:  £-50.62

PGA Tour: £-25.94                           PGA Tour: £23.75

Total: £-97.89                                   Total: £-26.87

Golf Monthly leads by: £70.02

The Players Championship 2015

PLAYERS-LogoPrize Fund – $10,000,000

Winner’s Share – $1,800,000

Course – TPC Sawgrass (Par 72, 7215 yards)

After 5 days of unadulterated madness at the WGC Match Play, we now move on to another star-studded line-up for the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

The Players Championship has long been considered the ‘5th major’ and will always attract the very best players and this year is no different.

Rory McIlroy heads the betting alongside Jordan Spieth, but the fact he’s just played 7 rounds in 5 days makes him definitely un-backable, even if you fancied the 7/1 on offer.

We do feel the same can be said of all 5 of the guys that made it through to Sunday because it’s just a lot of golf to play both mentally and physically.

Especially because the Players is so prestigious and TPC Sawgrass is such a tough challenge in itself. It’s hosted the event since 1982, with Pete Dye designing a track specifically for this tournament and it requires a level-headed tee-to-green performance.

The Par 72 is not particularly long at 7,215 yards but possesses some of the smaller and tougher greens to hit on Tour. Total diving, ball striking and top scrambling will be requirements for anyone wanting to challenge, whilst historically, scoring on par 5’s has been an important factor.

It’s also absolutely vital to have course experience and knowledge of the track and it’s tough layout. 9 of the last 11 winners had a top 20 finish here before their victory. You will rarely see anyone you wouldn’t consider a ‘top player’ come here and win either, so you are essentially looking for someone with pedigree and some sort of form.

But as we said earlier, it’s probably best to avoid the guys that made it to Sunday at the WGC and instead look at those who may have been knocked out early but still showed some form.

Louis Oosthuizen (50/1 various)

He does like trophies, don't forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

He does like trophies, don’t forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Now we know we mentioned how important course form is here and there’s no denying that Louis Oosthuizen is lacking in that department. Four starts with three missed cuts, but he does fit the trends theoretically because he has one finish inside the top 20…

The main reason we like the South African this week is simply because of how he’s performing at the moment. He finally seems to be over his bout of injuries, playing regular golf and recording good finishes.

In his last 8 starts he’s missed the cut twice but found top 20’s in his other 6 outings. That includes 4 top 10’s. We were super impressed with his outing at the Match play last week – confirming to us fully that he’s in good knick. Yes, he lost to Jimbo Furyk in the Quarters but he beat Bubba in a playoff, Rickie Fowler and destroyed Keegan Bradley. Across his four rounds (the victories) he would have been -18 in strokeplay, which just proves how many birdies and pars he was able to find.

That includes just one bogey and you have to feel slightly excited by that. Plus in the stats department he is 46th for ball striking, 9th for GIR and 15th in par 5 birdie or better.

At 50’s you’d be silly not to get involved.

Phil Mickelson (40/1 various) 

Phil getting those fists pumping.  Come on! Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Phil getting those fists pumping. Come on!
Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Oh Phil. We couldn’t help it at 40s. It’s probably slightly ludicrous, but theoretically his last outing was a T2 at The Masters, so in our eyes, he’s found his mojo again.

As usual he pulled out of the Match Play which just makes us think he’s as fresh as a daisy, raring to add another big title to his legendary CV.

In all honesty if you actually look at his form line, it isn’t that bad. 5 outings and a worst finish of T31 proves that he’s nearly there and we cant help but get excited at him plugging away on the Sawgrass track.

He obviously won here back in 2007, so he knows everything there is to know about the course and we all know what he’s about tee to green.

Yes wild at times, but there are few better scramblers or par 5 players in the game, full stop.

Too intriguing at 40’s.

Adam Scott (45/1 Coral) 

Long putter or short putter?

Long putter or short putter?

Another top player at very interesting prices and someone that would command half the odds if he was playing at the top of his game.

Adam Scott is not in the sort of form that we’re used to and that’s why he’s drifted. But actually sit down and look at his results and you’d be a fool not to back him at 45/1.

5 outings in strokeplay this season, missing only 1 cut and recording 2 top 12 finishes. He was T4 at the WGC Cadillac earlier in the season and he did go into the weekend at The Masters with a slight sniff of challenging.

Whilst that obviously didn’t work out and he dropped back to T38, it still shows that his game isn’t as bad as what the bookies are making it seem.

He did lose 3 on the bounce at the Match Play, however barring a hideous stretch on the back nine against Paul Casey, his scoring was by no means horrific.

But you’ve also got to look at his history here. He won the event back in 2004 and has recorded 2 other top 10’s, whilst he’s only missed 2 cuts in 12 outings.

His abilities clearly suits the demands when it’s in full swing – a cracking all-round driver with a top iron game, the Aussie needs to pull together and really kick start his season.

Rickie Fowler (60/1 Coral)

Focused - courtesy of golfweek

Focused – courtesy of golfweek

And so the theme continues. Another top, top player at odds we simply couldn’t resist.

It’s remarkable that the market has been pushed out compared to The Masters but it’s most likely because of the top 3 and their clearly impressive form (McIlroy, Spieth and Rose.)

But still, Rickie Fowler at 60/1 is something we simply cannot ignore.

His calendar year has obviously not gone the way it should have, but we’ve seen progressive signs in recent outings to suggest he’s close to showing the form that propelled him to new heights last year.

Mainly he seems to enjoy the truly big tournaments at the moment. Obviously we all know his performances at the Majors in 2014, but even the 3 big ones so far this season – The WGC HSBC he finished T3, T12 at The Masters and a round of 16 berth last week.

Now obviously this is the flagship PGA Tour event and when you think he’s recorded a 2nd here back in 2012, you can’t help but get excited at his prospects.

He’s a top driver of the ball and a par 5 specialist and a proven scrambler. Much like Scott, this is the sort of event that can really kick start the year for Fowler.

Ryan Palmer (100/1 BetVictor) 

Ryan Palmer has every chance here. Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

Ryan Palmer has every chance here.
Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

You will often find us backing Ryan Palmer at these sort of events. Why? Because we know that he’s on the verge of something really special. His talent has proven it over the past 18 months and it’s just a matter of time.

So, at 3-figure odds, once again, we’re lumping on the American.

He’s had a whole host of missed cuts here, but there’s a cheeky T5 finish in 2013 that proves to us his game can suit the challenge, it’s just a case of whether he turns up or not.

Now, we do feel he’s putting in more regular performances and should thrive off that confidence. One missed cut all year, 8 top 25 finishes, including 4 top 10s and he played well at Augusta, on the whole, for his T33.

He is 52nd for total driving, T36 for ball striking, 45th for GIR, 52nd for scrambling and T20 in par 5 birdie or better. If that doesn’t make you want to back him, we don’t know what will.

Webb Simpson (125/1 Coral)

Lucky fella.

Lucky fella.

Webb Simpson is arguably in the same category as Palmer for us. The main difference being he’s already a Major champion. However, we still feel there’s more to come from such a consistent tee to green player.

His distances off the tee have been improving rapidly over recent years and the fact he’s 18th in total driving proves that. He has that potent mix of strength and accuracy which should suit Sawgrass perfectly.

So why his best finish is T15 is beyond us, but again, that still fits the trends in terms of a top 20…

As for his form, he’s shown glimpses without truly putting a 4-round performance in. Last week he faced an inspired Gary Woodland in his 3rd match, but before that beat the much fancied duo of Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker.

That shows he isn’t a million miles away.

7th in ball striking, 14th for GIR, 32nd scrambling and 2nd for par 5 birdie or better add to the appeal and we can’t argue with his 125/1 price.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£1.00 e/w on Louis Oosthuizen at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Phil Mickelson at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Adam Scott at 35/1

£1.00 e/w on Rickie Fowler at 50/1

£0.50 e/w on Ryan Palmer at 90/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Whilst we are not doing a preview for the Mauritius Open, we do have a staking plan in the betting challenge as follows –

£1.25 e/w on Prom Meesawat at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Eduardo De La Riva at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Justin Walters at 66/1

£1.25 e/w on Victor Riu at 66/1

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 16 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-48.70               European Tour:  £-63.75

PGA Tour: £-78.44                           PGA Tour: £48.75

Total: £-127.14                                   Total: £-5.00

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.14

The Masters 2015

Prize Fund – $9,000,000Masters logo

Winner’s Share – $1,620,000

Course – Augusta National (7,450 par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Jason Day – T20, Sergio Garcia – MC, Dustin Johnson – MC, Hunter Mahan– T26, Bill HaasT20, Graham DeLaet – MC, Fred Couples T20, Bernhard Langer – T8

So then, here we are. The week has finally arrived and excitement is beyond palpable. One of the biggest, most exhilarating and awe-inspiring tournaments in sport is upon us.

It’s time for The Masters.

For those that don’t know, we have produced two pre-previews over the past couple of weeks, so please do check them out.

The 1st preview – We looked at historic trends and stats from past winners here and broke down the entire field to see if anyone fit them all. Three did….

Click Here to Read!

The 2nd preview – We produced a table of over 50 names, detailing all their relevant stats and results that need to fit the mould of a Masters winner. Clearly shows who you should be looking at. There’s a brief description on several top players and what the stats mean.

Click Here to Read!

Now, after these two previews that give our over-riding feeling and non-concrete DT18 opinion, this 3rd piece will be finally showing our exact thoughts and where we’re placing our money this year!

But before we get to that, a little bit about the relatively unknown course – Augusta National.

Masters-Golf-Tournament-WGIYou can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for all things Masters!

Measuring in at 7,450 yards, this par 72 is infamous for catching out every player at any moment. Whether it be the infamous tree-lined fairways, the luscious second cut, ridiculous tornado-like wind on the par 3 12th (Bubba Watson shot 10 on this hole a couple of years ago….), anywhere on Amen Corner and of course the crazy, sloping and rapid greens.

As we’ve already stated, it’s imperative to be 100% on your game tee-to-green and those that drive the ball well, will be constantly setting themselves perfectly for birdie challenges. And if you are hot with your putter, then anything is possible, because these greens are generally known as some of the most difficult in the game.

Finally, before we run through our picks, we just want to quickly talk about that man and the field itself.

Regardless of how he plays it's so good to see him back!

Regardless of how he plays it’s so good to see him back!

Tiger announced he’ll be playing which will be welcome news to Rory McIlroy, because some of the pre-tournament heat has suddenly been taken off him.

Many people think he won’t stand a chance and we’re pretty much in the same position. You can get him at EVENS to miss the cut, if that’s a bet you fancy. There’s also an interesting market that BetVictor have produced – Missed Cut Insurance Bet. Tiger is at 35’s here, so if you’re a fan of the guy and don’t want to bet on him to be awful, you’ll have the insurance here of that likely scenario where he doesn’t make the weekend.

As for the field itself, we have to say that the odds are some of the most inconsistent and disappointing we’ve seen in any Major.

There isn’t a great deal of value from the top boys to be honest and a big reason for that is because so many are playing some outrageous golf at the moment.

Rory McIlroy 13/2 – It’s Rory, we know what he’s about

Jordan Spieth 11/1 – 3-time winner this season and on course to go close this week.

Bubba Watson 12/1 – 2-time winner here and won the WGC HSBC this season

Jason Day 14/1 – Actually coming into one of his favourite Masters with a win this season

Dustin Johnson 18/1 – Outrageous winning return (WGC Cadillac) from a long layoff

Henrik Stenson 20/1 – 4 top 10’s and won the DP World Tour Championship at the end of last year

Adam Scott 20/1 – Winner here and 4 top 5 finishes this season

Phil Mickelson 22/1 – Awful season, but loves it here and shown a slight return to form this week

Jimmy Walker 25/1 – 2-time winner in 2015 and has Butch Harmon in his ear-hole.

Then there’s a break to Matt Kuchar, but it’s madness to see 9 players at 25’s and below. All of which are in very decent form. Plus, it’s not as if the low to mid-rangers are in bad form either.

Basically, what we’re trying to say – this is by far one of the hardest Masters to call in recent history. So many could win and the bookies are likely to make a lot of money.

It makes everything really exciting, but we are sure we have names that should be in and around come Sunday and we’re absolutely buzzing.

WEATHER UPDATE

Everything we have written about so far still has the upmost importance, Augusta is one of the toughest courses you will play and that will never change. But looking at the weather forecast for all 4 days, we certainly have to look at things again. Here’s the forecast –

CB5Fe-3UEAEt31e.jpg-large

 

So what does this tell us? It’s going to be soggy, miserable and filled with plenty of delays – a Monday finish is certainly not out of the question. A wet track at over 7,400 yards immediately points at the bigger hitters gaining the upper edge, namely Rory, Bubba and DJ. But then we look back to 2007, the last real weather-hit Masters. Zach Johnson, notorious short hitter, won at +1. The score in particular is something we need to take not of – In recent times we’ve seen Watson (-10), Schwartzel (-12), Mickelson (-14) and Cabrera (-12) all reach double figures. Johnson’s over par total was over 10 shots lower than the average winning score. It tells us when the weather gets tough players need to GRIND.

Who plays well in bad weather? One trend that is always talked about is the European golfer fairing much better in poorer conditions. Now it’s not an exact science but you only have to look at the last 2 rain-affected majors (2013 US Open and 2014 PGA) where British pair Rose and McIlroy came out on top. The only way to properly show who performs well is by looking through the last couple of years at events that we know were affected by weather.

WGC Match Play 2013Leaderboard

US Open 2013Leaderboard

Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2014Leaderboard

WGC Cadillac 2014Leaderboard

FedEx St. Jude Classic 2014Leaderboard

PGA Championship 2014Leaderboard

Honda Classic 2015Leaderboard

And… The Masters 2007Leaderboard

Now these leaderboards make for some very interesting reading and without going into too much detail, here are the names who regularly perform in poor conditions:

Hunter Mahan (100/1), Phil Mickelson (25/1), Jimmy Walker (25/1), Matt Kuchar (40/1), Paul Casey (80/1), Ian Poulter (80/1), Jason Day (16/1), Luke Donald (125/1), Padraig Harrington (150/1), Patrick Reed (33/1).

DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.

TwitterYou can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!

Here’s our troops:

Jason Day (16/1 Ladbrokes)

World Number 5

“Everyone knows that you just don’t get anywhere in life without working hard and putting in the dedication to the profession that you love. I feel like I should be winning more. But it’s a process and I’m just really happy with how things have started this year. Everything’s trending in the right direction for the majors.”

We went with Jason Day last year and it didn’t go too well. He simply didn’t get going till too late in the week. Fast forward one year and our feelings about the Australian have not differed, only grown much stronger.

JD

JD

Yes, he added the WGC Match Play last year, but he didn’t play a great deal in strokeplay events. This year he has finally added another PGA title, claiming the Farmers Insurance Open a couple of months back.

He has added a few more competitions to his schedule and we just have that feeling about him once again. No denying that 14s is incredibly short and we admittedly did question whether it was too low. However, so many boxes are ticked with Day and we would just feel horrendous if he was up there and we hadn’t backed him.

As you can see in our 2nd preview, he fits all the stats barring driving accuracy, which proves how set up he is for this course. He hits it a long way, has the ability to draw the ball and can be devastating with his irons. Some cracking outings at Augusta in recent years and (he ended only 7 shots behind last year after that poor start…) a new lease of injury-free life, means Day has every chance to don that green jacket come Sunday.

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T20 3rd WD T2
Arnold Palmer Invitational WGC Cadillac AT&T Pebble Beach Farmers Insurance Open Sony Open Hyundai Tourn. Of Champs
T17 T31 T4 1st T17 T3

Patrick Reed (40/1 Stan James)

World Number 15

“I’m very comfortable out here.  I like playing a little draw, so it sets up really well for the golf course as well as I’ve worked really hard on being able to hit a controlled cut, as well.  So in case you need that, because you do need that on a couple holes out here.”

Talented. Controversial. Confident.

Probably the three words you would use to describe the nature of Patrick Reed. He is one of these young guns who has catapulted himself into the limelight recently. Many of the youngsters have become favourites for majors and Reed is definitely one of them.

Top 5 player in the world - he actually is looking like one

Top 5 player in the world – he actually is looking like one

His form this season has been ridiculously impressive. A win that kick-started 2015 at the Hyundai, whilst 5 top 10’s and no missed cuts is pretty damn good.

He may have only played The Masters once, missing the cut in the process, but when you look a bit deeper at his background, you can’t help but think he has a big chance. He went into the turn leading during the first round, even beginning Amen Corner at the top, however 3 bogeys on the trot really set him back and he, admitting it afterwards, never recovered.

Then, you realise he was a graduate of Augusta State University. He has played here several times as an amateur and has some experience. We then think that these past 12-15 months have been such a meteoric rise, his standing in the game is completely different, even to the moment he teed it up at Augusta last year.

He has the perfect all-round game and on his day can be so consistent tee-to-green. His scrambling is up there with the best we’ve seen this year, he simply finds a miraculous way to get the ball back in play and close to the pin. He only missed out in 2 trends as well, so he does tick most boxes. Another risk at 33s, but you can see the reasons behind this bet!

It’s also good to note he excels in poorer conditions but did suffer a slight knee injury throughout the Shell Houston last week.

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
MC
Shell Houston Open Valspar Champs WGC Cadillac Honda Classic AT&T Pebble Beach Waste Management
T2 T23 T7 T29 T40

Matt Kuchar (40/1 BetFred)

World Number 16

Kuuuch is a late addition to the line-up having been considered throughout the build-up but failing to 100% convince us. But then we heard about the weather. Matt Kuchar donning a beanie is like Lewis Hamilton donning a crash helmet, you know they’re going to produce something.

Hear his thoughts on the week (Courtesy of Golf Channel):

Matt Kuchar in the bag Augusta interview

He grinds.

He grinds.

His first ‘big’ win came at the 2013 WGC Championship in some really tough conditions. Quite simply, he’s one of the best grinders in the game. He has a taste for the tougher tracks too when you look at his career wins – Honda Classic, Players, Barclays, Memorial and RBC Heritage.

His recent form over the past couple of months has been questionable but all preparation will have been for this week and his T15 in Texas showed all of his game was firing. And just look at his last 3 years around Augusta…

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
T5 T8 T3 T27 T24
Shell Houston Open Valero Texas Open Valspar Champs WGC Cadillac Waste Management Humana Classic
70th T15 T33 T23 T30 T2

Paul Casey (70/1 BetFred)  

World Number 48

You know, I feel like I’ve got the shots to get around Augusta. I’ve clearly played some very good rounds of golf around there. I love the golf course. I think it sets up beautifully for my game. I think I’ve got a way of getting around it. I’ve put myself in a good position probably a couple of times back in 2004. You know, for me, I didn’t have enough experience. It was great playing with Langer in the final round in the penultimate group. I just didn’t have it to sort of get up there and challenge Phil and Ernie coming down the stretch.

Paul.

Paul.

Playing really well again this week, used to America again and cracking tee to green game. Has 3 finishes inside the top 11 here as well, when he was in his heyday. Fit quite a few stats as well. He led in 2007 FIVE holes into the final round…. He called a penalty shot on himself at the 6th after the ball moved slightly when he went to putt it – cleeeeeearly affected him.

When you also factor in Paul’s ability in tough conditions, especially off the tee, we REALLY like the Englishman.

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
MC T38 MC T20
Shell Houston Open Arnold Palmer Invitational WGC Cadillac Honda Classic Northern Trust Open Farmers Insurance
MC T38 T3 T2 MC

Louis Oosthuizen (50/1 Paddy Power)

World Number 34

He’s an incredible talent and has that unflappable temperament that you need to win big tournaments. I believe he will win more majors in his career. Ernie Els, 2012

The South African has unfinished business with Augusta. Just take a look at the image below to see what Bubba had to do to beat him in 2012…

Courtesy of The Masters

Courtesy of The Masters

Louis’ swing is up there with the best in the game and it’s that consistency that means he’s never far away from the top of the leaderboard in any event he plays. Question marks have surrounded his health throughout this year but when he has played, look at his results! But his T9 at the Arnold Palmer and 2 more competitive rounds in Houston means fitness-wise he’s back in good shape.

At the Arnold Palmer he ranked T10 GIR, T15 putting and was as good as ever off the tee – top 30 in both driving distance and accuracy stats.

Despite not featuring in our ‘poor weather players’ section, we know he has a game that can adapt to any conditions. Come rain or shine, the South African has a great chance this week.

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
25th MC 2nd MC MC MC
Shell Houston Open Arnold Palmer Invitational Valspar Champs WGC Cadillac Alfred Dunhill Champs Nedbank Golf Challenge
MC T9 MC 6th 2nd T7

A couple more names for you to ponder over:

Lee Westwood (50/1 Stan James)

World Number 30

“But you must understand it means more to me than anyone else; nobody wants it as much as I do. And the fact I’ve come near so often only reinforces to me that it’s within my grasp if I do the right things at the right time.”

The Englishman has featured heavily in all of our research and previews and has forced his way into our staking plan. His recent form combined with his love for Augusta is too good not to have a dabble on. We know he will be as good as anyone tee to green it’s just whether the hard hours he’s put into the short game will pay off. If the weather gets poor, which it’s likely to, Lee will use that good old English grit to fight his way into contention.

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
7th T8 T3 T11 2nd 43rd
Valspar Champs WGC Cadillac Honda Classic Maybank Malaysian Open Omega Dubai Desert Thailand Golf Champs
T17 T12 T25 T5 T9 1st

Hideki Matsuyama (70/1 BetVictor)

World Number 16

 I think you’ve just seen the start, of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 or 15 years – Jack Nicklaus on Matsuyama after his win at The Memorial in 2014

Hideki was our first bet for this event over 6 months ago and our feelings are perhaps not as strong given his lack of appearances of late – even so, he knows his body and the schedule he picked will have been with the intention of being in the best possible shape for this event. In just these first couple of years in America, he’s proven what a player he is and will be up there with the Spieth’s and McIlroy’s in years to come, that we are sure of. Statistically speaking, he’s one of the best players in 2015. To be precise, he ranks 3rd in all-round ranking behind Jason Day (1) and Webb Simpson (2).

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
MC T54 T27 (la)
Arnold Palmer Invitational WGC Cadillac Northern Trust Open Farmers Insurance Open Waste Management Sony Open
T21 T23 T4 MC T2 T78

You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for all things Masters!

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

Picks and staking plan to follow…

The Masters 2015 Preview Two

For the past 2 years we have extensively looked into the Masters, working out who is playing the sort of golf to challenge at Augusta.

As you can see in our 1st preview – check it out!!! – we took a peak at trends and stats of recent winners to see which players fit the bill in 2015.2015 Masters

For this 2nd preview we’ve decided to take a mixture of the last 2 years but and produce a write-up that gives a few of our opinions but is more of a database for all of you out there to decide where your hard earned money should be going this year!

One of the main reasons we’ve decided to do this is that we really feel that this years event will be one of the closest and toughest to call in recent history. There are so many top, top players in ridiculous form and with the attributes to put together a real challenge for the green jacket.

Jordan Spieth – 3-time winner this season, Rory McIlroy going for a 3rd Major in a row, Bubba Watson – winner in 2015 and double Masters champion looking to retain his jacket, Jason Day finally recorded a solid victory not long ago and has a cracking record here, Dustin Johnson – WGC Cadillac champion and on his day can destroy any course, Patrick Reed – nearly a double winner this year, let alone the bundle of others in cracking form. We don’t mean to leave anyone out but we could be here for ages if we carried on!

We will then take a small peak at a few of the names who stand out in multiple categories and have a closer look at their recent Masters form.

Hope you enjoy the read and find it useful, please do get in touch with us if there’s any questions or something you simply want to get off your chest!

Our email is downthe18th@hotmail.co.uk and twitter @downthe18th

Happy researching and more importantly, happy punting!

Key:

– The stats in bold indicate that the player in question fits the corresponding trend
– The stats highlighted in blue indicate that this stat is from the European Tour – it’s wherever that player in question has ‘played’ the most in the corresponding category.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 18.08.54

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 18.10.09

Rory McIlroy (6/1 various)

If Rory doesn’t win at Augusta in a few weeks’ time, he’ll win next year. And if he doesn’t win next year, then he’ll win it the year after. His game is perfect for that golf course. He’s going to win there. It’s only a question of when, he’s that good. 

Darren Clarke on Rory McIlroy in the Independent this story by Karl MacGinty in the Independent.

The World number one. The man of the moment. The golfer with his sport in the palm of his hands. Rory has won the last two majors and will be looking to give himself a chance of creating history by owning all four in a row.
His form has been ridiculous throughout the past 18 months – 6 wins to his name – so the fact he is at 6/1 is more than understandable.
That is some feat to even dream about but he clearly has every chance because his game suits Augusta perfectly.

Well, to be honest it suits most tracks, but we all saw his potential here in 2011 when he went into the final day with a 4-shot lead. The idea of him bottling from that position now is simply unthinkable.

Stats: Right, so in our original trends for recent winners, McIlroy missed out in driving accuracy. He was as low as 55% for the season which is pretty poor considering how you associate him with a ridiculous game off the tee.

But his last outing at the Arnold Palmer has changed that and pushed him up to 60%, meaning he now FITS EVERY SINGLE STAT AND TREND – very ominous if you ask us…

Martin Kaymer (80/1 Coral)

I was never able to hit a draw, but now I can hit a draw without a problem, so that was the biggest thing.

Martin Kaymer talking about his own game last year

This statement makes interesting reading because the well-known ‘draw factor’ is so vital to overcome the challenge at Augusta. Martin Kaymer will surely know that the rest of his game has the perfect fitting to match this famous track, so adding a draw could be a massive help in his quest for victory.

A half decent season, barring that obvious bottle in Abu Dhabi, but as a 2-time major winner, he has all the credentials. Not the greatest form here admittedly, but if that draw is working, he could really put something together this year.

Stats: Considering his inconsistent season, may be surprising to see that he fits absolutely everything in the stats department. However, he does possess a top quality all-round game. It was still a surprise to see he ticked all the boxes, so the fact you can get him at 80’s should appeal…

Henrik Stenson (20/1 PaddyPower)

I would think Henrik is one of a few players who can win tournaments on ball striking alone. He’s certainly got the game. There are quite a few players who deserve to win majors, but unfortunately you have to win them.

Henrik Stenson’s swing coach Pete Cowen

As his swing coach Pete Cowan rightly alludes to – Stenson has one of the most incredible ball striking games in the world. If he’s on it, then he can destroy any course, even Augusta.
He may not have played particularly well here in terms of overall finishes, but he has shown brief rounds of ability around the notoriously difficult track. He lead for 17 holes of the first round in 2012 buy a quadruple bogey on the 18th completely ruined him and meant he could never quite recover. 

A slight bottle at the Arnold Palmer may deter a few, especially with his odds being cut in half, but don’t discount the big hitting Swede.

Stats: In our original trends and stats method, Stenson failed to meet the requirement in putting stats, however after an outrageous performance at the Arnold Palmer, he shot right up to 2nd in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour.

This does now mean HE NOW FITS EVERY TREND of recent winners and makes him so much more backable.

Bubba Watson (10/1 various)

When you’re playing a hook it usually takes off. But that ball danced like it had a lot of backspin on it. I saw that ball hit the green, and I said, ‘Wow.’ That was something.

Not only did he play the shot, but he played the shot and ended up with control at the end of the shot – which I thought was the amazing part. That will go down as one of the great shots ever played in the game.

Jack Nicklaus on Bubba Watson’s shot to help win the Masters playoff in 2012

One of the great mavericks in world golf. Bubba has picked up two green jackets with his unique and bombing displays. He would be the first player since Tiger to win back to back Masters and what an achievement that would be.

His season has had it’s ups and downs, but a win recent enough at the WGC HSBC will still give him confidence, along with a couple of top 10s since.

Don’t back against Bubba.

Stats: Fits everything barring greens in regulation, which is incredibly surprising. A lot of his game is built around his prowess with the irons, so that might put you off.

Or you may think it doesn’t matter at all because this course clearly suits his eye so much…

Jason Day (14/1 everywhere)

I’ve loved the way he’s refocused and rededicated himself to the game of golf. He’s playing extremely well and he’s managed his schedule extremely well coming into it.

I think he’s primed, he’s fresh and ready to go. His game suits Augusta National

Greg Norman talking about Jason Day

This recent crop of Aussies do seem to enjoy Augusta. Whilst Scott won here, Leishman and have shown plenty of promise in previous years. The latter has an enviable record considering his limited time at the top of the game, but he very much a part of this new crop of young, emerging talent.

A big factor with the 26-year old is that he’s bagged himself another win. A good win as well – the Farmers Insurance Open is never an easy title to get.

That would’ve silenced a few doubters and you cannot argue with how incredibly consistently he’s playing this season and that hasn’t really happened before coming here…

Stats: As you can imagine, fit everything except for driving accuracy. We’ve all seen him spray a ball into the middle of nowhere before, but he’s shown that on his day, his tee to green abilities can propel him to the top of leaderboards.

Patrick Reed (40/1 BetVictor)

I believe in myself and – especially with how hard I’ve worked – I’m one of the top five players in the world

Patrick Reed, talking about himself after winning the WGC Cadillac last year

A confident man who caused plenty of controversy last year with this outlandish comment. He would have upset an applecart or two after saying this, but few would have predicted his continued rise into the highest echelons of the game.

Currently 15th in the world and preparing for only a 5th start in any major, Reed shouldn’t be dismissed easily.

He went to University in the area and has previous knowledge of the courses as a junior and we saw for half a round last year how devastating he could be at Augusta.

A win at the Hyundai and nearly a double at the Valspar shows what sort of form we’re talking about here.

Stats: Misses out in two areas. He obviously missed the cut last year, but you can look past that if you consider how well he played before Amen Corner.

He also fails in driving accuracy which has seemed to be his downfall at times.

Adam Scott (22/1 Coral)

It will not surprise me if he wins more major championships than any other Australian golfer in history. Adam’s an incredible competitor. He’s not a guy that wants to sit back and relax and rest on his laurels. He has incredible fire within his system

Greg Norman on Adam Scott after his Masters victory in 2013

Adam Scott will have a big place in our hearts for many years after becoming our first big, big win when he wore the green jacket a couple of years ago.

He has gone from strength to strength since then, recording a further 4 top 10’s in 7 major outings. He may not have won this calendar year, but his form is still consistent enough to make you really think about plumping on the Aussie.

Stats: Fits everything barring putting. Completely understandable when you consider his change with the short stick recently, attempting to use the shorter putter.

We are lead to believe he will use his trusted anchor version for Augusta, so don’t be surprised to see him with it. Potentially a big game changer in whether to back him or not, so keep an eye out in pressers, on twitter and general news sites.

Jordan Spieth (12/1 Ladbrokes)

It’s clear as a bell to me, he gives you a look I’ve never seen before. It’s like a mean look, but not really mean. It’s a look of I-know-where-I’m-going.

It’s not cocky. It’s confident. It’s wonderful to watch what he’s doing.

Ben Crenshaw talking about Spieth

The next protagonist in this new bundle of leading youngsters. After an outrageous start to his professional career, who would back against him adding his first major, especially after a superb first effort at Augusta last year – pushing Bubba the whole way.

His form this season has been absolutely ridiculous and record-breaking. No one has produced more wins than the 21-year old this season (3) and he became just the fourth player since 1940 to record 2 PGA Tour victories before turning 22.

With one of the most complete all-round games in world golf and a T2 finish last year, Spieth really is one of the danger men.

Stats: Bizarrely, he fits everything but GIR. You would expect his approach stats would be right up there, but across the season he just misses out because of that.

He does have a remarkable scrambling game though, so missing the odd green won’t really effect his chances. However at 12/1, you have to be really, really, really confident on his abilities…

Jimmy Walker (30/1 PaddyPower)

He just works hard, has a lot of talent, a good demeanour. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg with this guy.

Coach Butch Harmon after his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach in 2014

Some may argue that this is a surprise inclusion in our quick peak at some of the players from the stats table but just look at his results.

Firstly, at the time of writing, he is right in the hunt for another win in Texas, whilst he recorded 4 victories since the beginning of last season.

That’s not bad going for someone who was widely considered a journeyman! But the legendary touch of Butch Harmon has clearly galvanised the American and now a major challenge doesn’t seem far away.

By far his best performance in majors came last year with 3 top 10s – his only top 10s to date – so he is clearly on the cusp. A long game that suits Augusta and form that smells of a Major champion.

Stats: Right, he also fits everything barring driving accuracy and that is certainly understandable. We’ve all seen him spray a few at times, but when he is on it, his drivers are ludicrously dominant.

That’s how he can win tournaments, especially with a very, very consistent game around the greens. Although at 30’s, you’ve gotta have real faith in him because there’s some top players in and around those odds that may be preferred.

Rickie Fowler (40/1 Coral)

The one thing that’s so good about Rickie if you watch him is his mind. His mind is the best part of his game. His physical game is great, but his mind is so good.

He’s gonna fight to the end, and he’s not gonna let bad swings or bad putts or whatever creep in his mind. He’s gonna just keep fighting.

Bubba Watson talking about Fowler in 2010.

It’s not been a good season for Rickie Fowler. By any means. He doesn’t actually fit the stats in 3 areas, which therefore seems ridiculous to even think about writing a Fowler spiel.

However, he has to be thought about because of how he performed in the big events last year.

4 top 5’s prove he has all the credentials and we can’t help but think his game has the perfect hallmarks for Augusta – if it’s working properly.

Stats: As we said above, misses out in 3 areas, but that shouldn’t deter you from seriously thinking about putting your money on the young American. He has already gone out to Augusta and got plenty of practice in, so it’s whether you feel he is worth it at 40/1 with Coral…

Hideki Matsuyama (66/1 Coral)

I think you’ve just seen the start, of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 or 15 years.

Jack Nicklaus on Matsuyama after his win at The Memorial in 2014

Now, we backed Hideki Matsuyama at 80/1 for The Masters about 10 months ago. We thought he was going to go on and blow away all sorts of records, therefore find himself at 33’s/40’s. Whilst he hasn’t quite delivered, you can hardly say his form and performances have been poor.

He won in Japan at the back end of last year and came so close at both the Waste Management and Northern Trust Open. He had a putt to get into a playoff in Phoenix and the ball brushed the hole, simply not wanting to drop, so he has shown his form.

Won the leading amateur at Augusta in 2011, but hasn’t shown anything again since, which may worry a few, but his game is so consistent that you wouldn’t back against him.

Stats: That missed cut here last year means he doesn’t fit everything; otherwise he would have done quite easily. Not surprising considering how talented his all-round game is, so definitely one to consider as a mid-range outsider.

Lee Westwood (50/1 various)

Lee is one of the best drivers of the ball, he has been there a couple of times coming down the stretch and he knows what it takes, he just has to get over that factor of not winning a major tournament

Ian Woosnam talking about Lee ahead of Augusta a couple of years ago

Clearly the surprise package of all the players who made the trends. In fact, we nearly had a heart attack. But, when you look at it deeper, you can understand.

The perennial bottler who will top many peoples list as the ‘best player never to have won a major’ Lee will have to do a lot for all of us to even consider putting our money on him.

Although in his last 5 outings at Augusta, his worst finish is T11 and that includes 2 inside the top 3. Ridiculous form.

As for this season, he won in Thailand at the back end of last year and has a couple of top 10s in Europe.

Stats: Obviously, he fits everything – including putting! He is actually 17th for strokes gained in America, which is just madness. He has still shown the odd bottle over the short putts recently, but there’s been a marked improvement.

Louis Oosthuizen (66/1 Ladbrokes)

He’s an incredible talent and has that unflappable temperament that you need to win big tournaments. I believe he will win more majors in his career. Ernie Els, 2012

The 2010 Open champion has one of the smoothest swings in the game. Because of his injury issues and time off, people have generally completely forgotten about Louis. But do that at your peril.

5 appearances this season and 4 top 10s. The Arnold Palmer and WGC are notoriously difficult tracks and generally contain the crème de la crème, so the fact he finished strongly in both outings, shows where he’s at when he gets on the course.

Famously came 2nd here in 2012 when Bubba beat him with that ridiculous shot in a playoff, so he’s shown he can do it round here.

Stats: Actually fits everything barring putting. He would do if it was calculated on the European Tour though and he has shown his short stick can perform when he gets in a groove.

But his game is more about the tee to green brilliance and at 66/1, you can’t help but think he’s a decent mid-ranger.

Webb Simpson (150/1 PaddyPower)

Webb had such natural instincts as well as natural talent, he learned the game from the green back to the tee. He was making 30-foot putts all the time when he was 10 and 11 years old.

Once Webb filled out, he got his distance, and then he got even better

Webb’s coach Ted Kiegiel, who has been with him since he was nine years old

Another major champion, but by far and away the highest odds of anyone in this list. You can find him at 150/1 with some, which is madness considering his background.

Admittedly, he has never really performed here, but his overall abilities could overcome the Augusta challenge if he brings his a-game.

3 top 10s this season show that he isn’t in the worst knick and widely regarded as one of the best in and around the greens.

Stats: The main reason we couldn’t help but write him down here. The only stat he doesn’t fit is the fact he missed the cut here last year.

He ticks all the other boxes and has shown that he’s got the perfect game for many courses, let alone Augusta.

But at such high odds, it may be worth looking into him at great length.