Your betting guide to the golf Masters at Augusta
IF you look at the bookmakers odds for this year s 72nd US Masters at Augusta National you would be forgiven for thinking that there can only be one possible outcome – a win for Tiger Woods. He is currently on offer at Even money and 11/10 – odds which
IF you look at the bookmakers odds for this year's 72nd US Masters at Augusta National you would be forgiven for thinking that there can only be one possible outcome - a win for Tiger Woods.
He is currently on offer at Even money and 11/10 - odds which seem ridiculously short. However, Tiger has won this event four times (in 1997 he won by 12 shots!) and this season he has already won more than $3.5million. If you look at his stats this year he is top of the scoring averages, birdie average and greens in regulation percentage. Furthermore he has been in exceptional of form of late and his winning sequence only came to an end last time out when he finished fifth at the World Golf Championships.
However, Tiger has been dominating the golf scene for over a decade now but during the last five years has only won the Masters once. The good news is that with Tiger being such a short price there is value to be had by looking at the other world class golfers that will be on show. There is no doubt that the 'cream' rises to the top in this event with all but one of the winners this decade being in the top 15 of the world rankings (last year was the exception when Zach Johnson won the event).
Obviously with the course playing at almost 7,500 yards one would presume that the long hitters, such as Mr Woods, would have a massive advantage. However, it is the greens that Augusta is famous for - therefore it is essential that we have players that can hit them and, perhaps more importantly, putt on them. KJ Choi is currently ranked second this year on the PGA Tour for greens in regulation percentage. I admit that Tiger is leading this category but the South Korean, Choi, has played in 66 per cent more events than Woods, proving that he is ultra-consistent. In 2004 Choi finished third and has only missed the cut once in the last five years.
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Padraig Harrington won the Open last year and has been playing for the last couple of weeks in the US to fine-tune his game. The popular Irishman is in the top 20 for driving distance and, more significantly, is ranked first in the putts per round category. Putting is crucial at Augusta and this Major winner will certainly have the nerve to hold on if he is on contention on Sunday evening.
My final selection is the Swede, Henrik Stenson. He finished 17th last year and is currently ranked 13th in the world. He is playing some very decent golf at the moment and his caddy, Fanny Suneson, was on the bag when Nick Faldo won at Augusta.
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K.J. Choi @ 40/1, Henrik Stenson @ 66/1, Padraig Harrington @ 28/1
I, for one, will be glued to the BBC coverage throughout the weekend culminating on the Sunday evening which will undoubtedly be filled with thrills and excitement. Let's just hope that that one of our selections can tame the Tiger and win the first Major of 2008.