Top 5 US Masters long shots

As the 2015 season gets under way, the golfing world’s focus is already looking forward to the first major of the year at the Masters in April.

While the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and defending champion Bubba Watson will be the focus of much of the betting public’s interest in the build-up to the event at Augusta, there will be a lot of players being overlooked that have more than enough talent to win the tournament.

These long shots might not always come off, but the Masters has shown in recent years that players can come from nowhere to win the famous green jacket.

Mike Weir’s victory in 2003 surprised a lot of fans, but not as much as Trevor Immelman’s 2008 success.

It has been a few years since a shock winner took the Masters title, but there are some real contenders in 2015 that could start the tournament with some very long odds.

Martin Kaymer

With odds of around 50/1 with some bookmakers, including betfair online, Martin Kaymer could well be one of the most overpriced players at Augusta in April. While the Masters is by far the German’s least successful of the four majors, it wouldn’t be a massive shock if Kaymer was in contention come the final round this year. The two-time major winner has a best finish of 31st at Augusta but victory in last year’s US Open showed he has the ability to succeed in a tournament he has previously struggled in.

Luke Donald

Donald’s current betting odds are a reflection of a dismal 2014 but the Englishman will know he has the tools to prove a lot of people wrong this year. The former world number one might not have been at his best over the past couple of seasons but the 37-year-old still has plenty of time to turn things around. After missing the cut at the Masters and US Open in 2014, Donald failed to impress in the remaining two majors of the season. Recent form aside, Donald is still a name that many feel will one day win a major, and the Masters looks as likely as any.

Webb Simpson

While his memorable 2012 US Open victory stands out like a glorious sore thumb on Webb Simpson’s C.V. the American has shown on more than a few occasions that he can play some incredible golf on his day. Not many of those days have come at Augusta but Simpson still looks overpriced by a lot of online bookies heading into this year’s Masters. Two missed cuts in his past two appearances at Augusta might not give Simpson huge confidence as he prepares for the first major of the year, but the 29-year-old is still young enough to get it right when it comes to the testing conditions at the Masters.

Padraig Harrington

Not many players have experienced the slump that Padraig Harrington has over the past few years but the Irishman could still have one last hurrah in him. The three-time major winner ended 2014 with a welcome win on the Asian Tour and the 43-year-old will be hoping that is a sign of things to come this season. With four top-ten finishes to his name, Harrington has shown that he has the game to handle Augusta and there will be some betting fans jumping on the chance to back the Irishman should he make it into the first major of the year.

Rory McIlroy Set For US Open Bid

Rory McIlroy goes into the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst Resort as the Betfair favourite to claim his third major championship and his second in this tournament.

The Northern Irishman has already tasted victory in 2014 as he was successful in the BMW PGA Championship last month at Wentworth. That win in England marked his first European Tour win since November 2012. It was also his first tournament since he officially announced to the public that he had split from his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

Rory McIlroy will be hoping to join the elusive list that includes players that have all won the US Open on multiple occasions. The 7495-yard course is expected to suit his long-hitting game which will be tested this week in California.

European golfers have been successful in three of the last four runnings of the US Open. Justin Rose is the defending champion as he came out on top in 2013 at Merion Golf Club to reward Betfair backers.

Rose has yet to prevail so far in 2014 but he has had four top 10 finishes. In his latest outing, the Englishman missed the cut in the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

Graeme McDowell was the other European to lift the US Open trophy in recent years. He won with a winning score of E in 2010 as conditions were tough at Pebble Beach four years ago.

World number one Adam Scott has finished in the top 10 off all the major championships but the US Open. The best the Australian has achieved is a tie for 15th which came in 2012.

Scott has been drawn to play with fellow major winners Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel on the opening two days of the tournament. The former Masters winner is the near the top of the outright for the event with Betfair.

Rory McIlroy ready to step up at The Masters

Rory McIlroy has insisted he is ready to take the role of Tiger Woods at this year’s Masters and be the man to watch at Augusta in the first major of the year. Woods was forced to withdraw from the Masters following surgery on his back, opening the door for McIlroy to step into the limelight left by the absent world number one.

After his victories at the 2011 US Open and then the 2012 US PGA Championship, McIlroy won his first two majors at a younger age than Woods, but the Northern Irishman has so far failed to add to his collection. While Augusta holds some dark memories for McIlroy following his famous final round meltdown in 2011, the 24-year old will still head into the first major of the year as the Betfair favourite for the title.

With the first major of the year fast approaching, McIlroy has admitted he is looking to use the tournament as a chance to establish himself as a dominant force in the sport, knowing victory at Augusta would be the best way for him to prove to Betfair fans that he is the man to beat this year.

“You are getting so many different winners and there are not as many guys dominating the sport like in the past with Tiger, Vijay and Phil,” said McIlroy.

“I’d like to establish myself as that sort of player and someone’s got to step up, so I’m trying to be that person and it would be a great place to start next week.”

Following on from a dismal 2013 season, McIlroy has found himself down in seventh in the world rankings and some way away from where he wants to be. But a morale-boosting victory in December ensured McIlroy didn’t end the year without a title to his name and now the 24-year old will be hoping to re-establish himself as top dog in Tiger’s absence.

Rory McIlroy ends season on a high

Rory McIlroy pipped Adam Scott to win the Australian Open and claim his first tournament victory of 2013, with the Northern Irishman clinching the victory on the final hole at Royal Sydney. After a season in which he has failed to produce anything like his best golf, McIlroy was delighted to have recorded a tournament win before the end of the year.

After starting the tournament as the strong favourite with, home-favourite Scott looked on course to win the Australian ‘Triple Crown’ by holding onto his lead during the final round. While McIlroy produced some impressive golf in Sydney, it was Scott who looked to be on his way to victory up until the dying moments of the tournament.

Despite a wobbly few moments on the back-nine that may have worried those who backed the Aussie with Betfair before the tournament, Scott managed to keep McIlroy at bay up until the 18th which he begun a shot clear of the former world number one. A club selection error on the final hole of the tournament saw Scott finish with a bogey while watching McIlroy notch up a birdie to steal the title from under the Aussie’s nose.

The Northern Irishman was obviously relieved to have secured the victory, admitting he had targeted winning a title before the end of a tough year.

“To be able to play your best golf when you need to, when you’re under pressure, you can’t ask for more. The perfect scenario was to achieve a win before the end of the season and thankfully I have done that,” admitted the world number six.

With the monkey now off his back before the end of the 2013, McIlroy will be able to head into the new season with some genuine belief that he can get himself back up the rankings and in the minds of Betfair customers ahead of the Masters.

Who will win the US Masters 2013?

The US Masters 2012 was won by Bubba Watson after an exciting play-off with South African Louis Oosthuizen following both golfers having an exceptional round on the final day and finsihing on -10.  The 33-year-old left-hander won at the second extra hole to claim his first major title. Peter Hanson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson finished in a three-way tie for third finishing on -8.  England’s Ian Poulter (69) finished seventh on -5, while Australian Adam Scott, last year’s runner-up, carded a 66 that included a hole in one on the 16th to finish -4.

England’s Justin Rose and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington finished in eighth with Adam Scott.

Pre-tournament favourites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy ended a disappointing tournament tied on five over last year.  But that has no bearing on this year’s golf betting ahead of the US Masters 2013 where Tiger Woods is closing in on Rory McIlroy at the top of the official golf world ranking list; and after winning this year’s WGC Championship title for the seventh time, is now only one average point behind Rory McIlroy.  A victory at the US Masters would see Tiger Woods regaining the #1 world ranking he held for so long before injury and personal problems caused a meltdown in 2009.

The US Masters 2013
starts the week commencing Monday 8th April with the actual golf tournament beginning on Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th April at the famous Augusta Golf Course.

Is anyone prepared to bet against Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005) winning his fifth US Masters Tournament next month?

I am expecting Tiger Woods to win but hope to enjoy a battle between Woods and Rory McIlroy all the way to the final pin. If both players have a good tournament and play to their potential, the US Masters could offer one of the most exciting final rounds in recent history.  But don’t forget three-time winner Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010) has his own private love affair with the tournament and US golf fans.

At the time of writing this article, bwin golf betting has Tiger Woods favourite at 5/1 from Rory McIlroy at 9/1 and Phil Mickelson at 11/1.  The big three are followed by Brandt SnedekerCharl Schwartzel & the highest place Englishmen Luke Donald at 21/1.