Welcome everyone to the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. This is the 77th edition of this historic event that is the most prestigious of any golf tournament in the world.
The Masters is the most revered event for many reasons. It is the only major to be held at the same venue every year, Augusta National Golf Club founded in 1933 by golf legend Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and was designed by Jones and Alistar Mackenzie who passed away shortly after it opened in 1934.
Winning the most coveted tournament in golf will not be an easy task this year, many in the field have been playing well of late, especially Tiger who has recorded three wins in four stroke play events this year and showing little signs of slowing down. Tiger has won his last two events played, first at the WGC Cadillac when he won by two strokes over Steve Stricker, then he got his eighth career victory at Bay Hill winning by two strokes over Justin Rose. So much of winning at Augusta will be mental form/strength a difficult course combined with the enormous pressure makes for a mentally draining event. A strong, winning mental aptitude will be required for those who want to be in contention. Augusta National is a beautiful and challenging 7435 yard Par 72. Last year Bubba Watson won his first major here with a score of -10/278 after winning a playoff on the second hole vs Louis Oosthuizen. The second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the tee shot at the 13th hole at Augusta are nicknamed "Amen Corner", this is just one of the many landmarks at Augusta. Membership here is exclusive to put it mildly, some notable Augusta National Golf Club members include Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Pete Coors.
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US Masters Preview
The field at the Masters is always interesting, maybe more so this year with 14 year old Guan Tianlang of China who qualified by winning the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He won't make our card this week but keep an eye on him in the coming years. He has already received some instruction from Tiger Woods whom he played with a couple years ago and Tiger taught him to play a draw. If he makes the cut that would be phenomenal.
What will the field need to do to claim a green jacket this year? Play as perfectly as possible. Every mistake will come back to haunt the players. Also players will need to be very good with their putter. The usually fast greens at Augusta are some of the toughest the players will face all year. Proximity to Hole will be worth looking at as well with the tricky false front greens and tough pin placings. Of course good course and current form is also an attribute former winners have shared. At the time of this writing the weather looks like they may get rain and some wind Wednesday-Friday before clearing up to near perfect playing conditions on the weekend.
Masters Betting Tips
Phil Mickelson 10/1 – click here to bet
Phil will be our first selection and for good reason. Phil has won four career majors with three of them coming at Augusta. He already has a win this year at Phoenix where he shot an opening round 60 and went on to tie Mark Calcavecchia's tournament record of 28 under par. He also tied for third place at the WGC Cadillac. Phil has 41 career wins on tour and ranks second on the all time money list to you know who. In 2010 Phil won here by three strokes finishing at -16/272. That was a big win for him then with his Wife and Mother having been dealing with serious cancer concerns. This year Phil has been playing comfortably and confidently and there is no reason to think he won't pick up another green jacket.
Justin Rose 20/1- click here to bet
Justin is one of the best players in the world and will be seeking his first green jacket. Justin got a big win in 2012 at the WGC Cadillac and aside from missing the cut at the British Open his major finishes looked like this last year, Masters T8, US Open T21, PGA Championship T3. Rose will be playing in his eighth Masters this year and has shown good results since 2003. '03 T39, '04 T22, did not play in '05/'06, '07 T5, '08 T36, '09 T20, did not play '10, '11 T11, '12 T8. Has been playing well early this year recording three straight top tens beginning at the Honda T4, WGC Cadillac T8, Arnold Palmer Invitational solo second. Rose is in form and I feel will no doubt be on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Louis Oosthuizen 28/1 EW- click here to bet
Louis is great player who we feel will be in contention this year at Augusta. Despite recording a double eagle on the final round on the par 5 2nd, Oosty finished runner up here to last year's winner Bubba Watson after a two hole playoff. Louis' only PGA tour victory came at the British Open in 2010 at St. Andrews as he won by a convincing seven shots over Lee Westwood. He has missed two cuts in five starts on the PGA Tour this year, though he record a T10 in Houston recently and did win the Volvo Golf Champions event in January as a big favourite on the European Tour from Durban, South Africa. A good all around player with a stellar short game if he can get his putter working, he'll be adding a very special jacket to his wardrobe.
Adam Scott 25/1 EW- click here to bet
Adam is a great player who has had some good history at Augusta. This season the 32 year old Australian has two top tens in four starts including a T3rd at the WGC Cadillac. Another long hitter off the tee and solid tee to green player, Scott will look to become the first Masters winner from Australia. Another player looking for his first Major, Scott has seven wins on the European tour and eight more on the PGA with his biggest and most recent coming at the WGC Bridgestone in 2011 when he won by four shots over Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler. He’s 9/11 in cuts made at Augusta with his last three years looking like this 2010 T18th, ’11 T2nd, ’12 T8th. In 2011 he held a two shot lead on the final round after he made birdie on 16 however Charl Schwartzel was on fire and shot a final round 66 to steal the win. This year may be Scotts year to steal the show and pick up a nice new green jacket.
Dustin Johnson 28/1 EW- click here to bet
It's been quite a year for DJ. First he got a win at the TOC on the difficult Kapula course in Hawaii. He then picked up the flu and w/d from the Sony. Around this time him and his new g/f Paulina Gretzky(daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky) were having a little too much fun and he missed back to back cuts on the west coast swing where he usually plays well. Since then he's turned it around and is certainly primed to win his first major. He came in T12th at the WGC Cadillac and then took three weeks off to work on his game and took a T4th in Houston on a course that plays very similarly to Augusta. He didn't play at Augusta last year but has gone 3 for 3 in cuts made from '09-'11 finishing 30th, 38th and 38th again in '11, in fact he was tied with Bubba Watson that year. Dustin's game sets up well for this course, he's long off the tee, is a good iron player, ball striker and he can putt. He has seven wins on tour and will certainly be in the hunt on Sunday looking for his eighth.
Keegan Bradley 33/1 EW- click here to bet
Keegan is one of the best and most consistent young players on tour who we'll be happy to back this week. In just his second year on tour in 2011 he played extremely well, first winning the Byron Nelson in a playoff and then won a major, the PGA Championship just a few months later also in a playoff. Last season he took down yet another big event the WGC Bridgestone and also T3rd at the PGA Championship. Other top tens last year include WGC Cadillac, the Shell Houston open and he lost in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open. In his first appearance at Augusta last year he finished T27th despite posting a second round 77 I'm sure he'd like to have back. He's off to a good start this season making nine of ten cuts and posting five top tens including his last four straight. Honda T4, WGC Cadillac 7th, API-Bay Hill T3, Houston Open T10. Keegan is a patient and mature player who has been mentored some the past couple seasons by three time green jacket winner Phil Mickelson. One of my favorite picks this week look for Keegan to "surprise" some this week at a solid, under the radar price.
Bubba Watson 33/1 EW- click here to bet
Bubba is the defending Masters Champion and is a great selection again this year. Bubba has eerily similar current form to what he had last year prior to picking up his first green jacket. Last year he had three top tens and no finish worse then 18th, this year he has two top tens and no finish worse than exactly 18th, except for missing the cut this year at the NTO where he finished T13th a year ago. Bubba is confident, focused and feeling good about his game. He's done some fun stuff off the course recently as well with the 'Golf Boys' 2.0h music video that was a YouTube hit and now has made some noise with his own personal custom made hovercraft golf cart, also a YouTube hit. Although he has not won since his playoff win over Oosthuizen last year he has continued to play good solid golf week in and week out. A bomber off the tee, great iron player and solid all around. Bubba's game is in just as good of shape as it was when he won here last year except now he's got the experience and knows what it takes to win. Bubba will be looking to be the first back to back Masters winner since Tiger Woods did it in '01 & '02 and we're getting a good price for him to do it.
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