Golf isn't something we normally cover here on Geegeez, but then the US Masters isn't a 'normal' golf tournament. The Masters is famed for the slick greens of Augusta National, where the tournament is played.
And, this year, there are some pretty tasty bookmaker concessions to get stuck in to. Before I share those, here's my view on who might be worth backing (for what it's worth: note that, whilst I used to take a keen interest, I'm somewhat out of the loop this season).
The first thing to say is that the key attributes needed are tee to green accuracy, short game and putting strength. Basically, you need to get it on the green in regulation; you need to be able to get it back on the green when your brilliant approach rolls off; and, you need to putt with steely resolve.
Obviously, historical form here is a very handy pointer to those who can match that skillset, and the best players over the last four years have been (2009 first, through to 2012; T = tied for that position) :
Tiger Woods (T6-T4-T4-T40)
Phil Mickelson (5-1-T27-T3)
Angel Cabrera (1-T18-7-T32)
Lee Westwood (43-2-T11-T3)
And the best tee-to-greeners on the PGA Tour this season have been:
|RANK||RANK||PLAYER||ROUNDS||%||GREENS HIT||# HOLES||RELATIVE/PAR|
The best short gamers (making par or better when missing the green in regulation) on the PGA Tour this season have been:
|RANK||RANK||PLAYER||ROUNDS||%||PAR OR BETTER||MISSED GIR|
|3||4||Howell III, Charles||36||69.74||136||195|
The best putters on the PGA Tour this season have been:
|RANK||RANK||PLAYER||ROUNDS||AVG||# OF PUTTS||# OF HOLES|
|19||18||Howell III, Charles||36||1.565||958||612|
I've included twenty putters because this is SUPER important here.
The fellow with the best credentials on these three scores, is Brandt Snedeker, who is currently ranked #2 for Greens in Regulation; #2 for scrambling (i.e. when he misses a green in regulation); and #20 for putting.
If his fitness can hold together, he might be very interesting at 40/1.
Others to appear in both of the related tables of putting and scrambling are Graeme McDowell (66/1), Charles Howell (not playing), Freddie Jacobson (125/1), Matt Kuchar (40/1), Ian Poulter (50/1), Rickie Fowler (50/1), and Chris Kirk (not playing).
Putting all this together, I'm against Tiger Woods (hasn't won since 2005), and Rory McIlroy (though he was tied second last week).
Phil Mickelson seems sure to go close again. 'Lefty' has had three top five finishes in the last four years, and recorded top ten finishes in all bar two Masters since 2001 (including winning three times).
He's 12/1 with five place bookies and 11/1 with six place bookies.
Lee Westwood has been playing solidly if not spectacularly this season, and he ought to again go well this time. 28/1 with sportingbet and Paddy Power (both paying six places on each way bets) looks fair.
Then I'm asking for bigger prices.
I love Angel Cabrera, and always have. He's getting a bit long in the tooth now, but might still have a last day (or four) in the sun. He goes well here - winner in 2009 and 7th in 2011 - and he's been in reasonable form, and improved to a tied 16th finish in his last event. He's 125/1 with Stan James, five places.
Brandt Snedeker is the stat pick. He drives accurately, scrambles well and putts brilliantly (despite what the stats might show for this season). He's also been in blinding form. But... recently he's taken time out to recover from an injury, and his game the last two weeks has been well below previous levels.
He's a player seriously on the up (still only 33), and I reckon he's a massive player here at 40/1, IF his rib cage holds up.
And that's my four off the tee:
Brandt Snedeker - 1 pt each way (40/1 Stan James 1/4 1-2-3-4-5)
Phil Mickelson - 1pt win, 1/2 pt place (12/1 Stan James 1/4 1-2-3-4-5)
Lee Westwood - 1/2 pt each way (28/1 PP 1/4 1-2-3-4-5-6)
Angel Cabrera - 1/4 pt each way (125/1 Stan James, William Hill 1/4 1-2-3-4-5)
Total stakes: 5 pts
Best US Masters 2013 Bookmaker Offers
As with most major sporting events, the bookies are scrambling for your business, and you should play them to your advantage. Here is my pick of the bookie offers on this year's Masters.
These offers are all open to new and existing customers, and of course each bookmaker will sweeten the deal with some sort of free bet offer if you're a newcomer to their site.
Ladbrokes are breaking from tradition and making a standout offer! They'll refund your stake as a free bet if a UK or Irish player wins the US Masters. That's pretty fair, in my view.
BetVictor will return your stakes - up to £50 - if either Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy wins. Given that they're the first two in the betting, that's pretty good. But do be careful that they're the best price about your selection. I mean, there's no point in getting what equates to a 30p rule 4 deduction but still being paid out short!
Stan James are guaranteeing to be best price (or joint best) on any player up until tee off time on Thursday. They're paying five places, which means the only reason to bet elsewhere would be if you can get six places and the same or better price.
Paddy Power are paying six places. That's a pretty good reason to bet there if they're top price on your fancy.
Sportingbet are also paying six places. If they're top price your fancy, back him here!