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 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.

Golf betting is growing in popularity

Golf has been synonymous with betting for most of its history.  There are not shortage of variations for golfers wanting to bet on the outcome of their game from the venerable Nassau to countless of more esoteric wagering formats.  While betting among golfers is old news there’s another form of golf betting that has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years—betting on professional golf tournaments at Las Vegas sports books.

At first consideration golf would appear to be a poor fit for sports betting enthusiasts.  The pace of the game is ‘leisurely’ at best with many considering it downright boring.  A tournament takes several days to determine the outcome.  It’s the antithesis of fast moving and popular betting sports like basketball or football.  Despite all of this, golf betting is one of the fastest growing betting sports in Nevada sports books.   It’s popularity now rivals—if not exceeds—long established betting sports like baseball and hockey.

So what makes golf such an attractive sport for sports betting?  Statistics—and plenty of them.  There’s a wide assortment of metrics that allow handicappers to evaluate golfers, courses and most importantly how individual golfers perform at specific courses or types of courses.  In addition to the availability of analytical data golf is a very ‘formful’ sport yet one in which players can go on ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ streaks.  There are plenty of tournaments featuring hundreds of golfers every week which creates a myriad of betting opportunities.

There are two primary types of golf wagering.  The first is a ‘to win’ wager on the individual tournament.  This is definitely the most simple form of golf betting in which the bookmaker quotes odds to win on all golfers entered in a tournament.  The bettor selects which golfer(s) he wants to back and if ‘his’ player wins he cashes a bet.

The other common golf bet is the head to head matchup.  In a matchup bet, a sportsbook will pair up two golfers and quote moneyline odds on each. The golfer that finishes with the best score wins the matchup.  Matchups are posted on the entire tournament as well as each individual round. Many people like to bet on golf due to the simplicity in lines presented to users. For a full list of golf sportsbook reviews, you can take a look at the list on Sports Betting Pal.

There are other proposition wagers offered to golf bettors at some sports books.  Players can bet on the nationality of a winning player, whether or not he’ll make the cut, whether he’ll finish above or below par and many other elements of the sport.

At North American sportsbooks it’s almost inevitable that Tiger Woods will be heavily bet for any tournament in which he’s entered.  ‘Sharp’ golf bettors look for other players that offer better returns on investment or who might not be as familiar to the casual fan or recreational bettor.

Tiger Woods hopes to be out of the wood

Playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida this weekend, former world number one, Tiger Woods, has stated that he will not be satisfied come Monday; even if he wins the event and finds himself back in the number one spot.

With 23-year old Rory McIlroy not playing at the event, Woods is in good stead to win the invitational and reclaim the number one spot; a place that Woods’ name has not featured since October 2010.

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the week, Tiger Woods said:

“I don’t want to be as good as I once was, I want to become better.”

The 14-time major winner has previously spent a record 623 weeks as world number one and has already this year won two of the four major events in which he has played.

Having already won at Doral and at Torrey Pines in January, bookmakers have placed Woods as the favourite to claim victory this weekend.

Speaking about the invitational, Woods said:

“Just got to win this week, not too complicated.

“Things are still becoming more efficient. You know, these two wins I’ve had this year have been built [on] some nice leads, which means I’ve played really well and things are starting to come around and become more efficient day in and day out.”

With the 37-year old eyeing up yet another title, both golf commentators and ex-professionals are predicting victory for the former world number one.

The BBC’s Golf correspondent, Iain Carter wrote:

“The 23-year-old’s closing 65 at Doral and top-eight finish were evidence that he is ready to play competitive golf rather than a game of rediscovering his swing.

“It is a big step in the right direction. Indeed, McIlroy and Woods are on the same road in that regard – all be it with the American in a more advanced position.”

To support Carter’s prediction, 83-year old and seven majors champion, Arnold Palmer, believes that Woods is already back to his best.

Speaking to the Golf Channel he said:

“He looks probably as strong and as good from a golf perspective as I’ve ever seen him.

“I think his swing and his posture and his attitude is far better than it’s been in some time, and it takes me back to when I first played with him at Augusta when he was a rookie.”

For any hints and tips on becoming a Golf champion this summer, visit the Direct Golf UK site for the best professional advice.

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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.

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