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.

Adam Scott and his Masters winning golf clubs

Adam Scott became the first Australian to win The Masters after beating Angel Cabrera in a play-off at Augusta National in April. Having posted eight top-ten finishes at majors, including three top-ten finishes at Augusta, it was a relief to see Scott finally realise his potential and win the Green Jacket.   Here are a few of the golf clubs in Adam Scott’s bag.

Driver: Titleist 913 D3

The 2013 Masters was the first time Scott used the 913 D3 (9.5 degree) in competition, although he continued to use his Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8 shaft which he has used for years now, one of its kind and only for him. Most players don’t tend to make too many equipment changes before a major, but clearly the switch to the new driver paid dividends.

The key difference between the 913 D3 and its predecessor, the Titleist 910, is the newly developed face insert. The insert is designed to give improved ball speeds on off-centre strikes. The 913 delivers an 11 per cent increase in the maximum ball speed area on the face, resulting in 2 mph more ball speed that will produce an additional 4 to 6 yards that would not be achieved in the older 910 model.

Fairways: Titleist 910Fd

Scott also played with the Titleist 910Fd (15 degrees) fairway metal. It has a larger volume head design for enhanced distance and control from the tee compared to a traditional fairway metal, maximising the chances of hitting the fairway more often. It’s patented, SureFit Tour, dual-angle hosel technology provides the ability to make precise loft and lie adjustments to fine tune ball flight for more distance and accuracy.

Irons: Titleist MB Forged Irons + Titleist 712U Utility Iron

They say you learn more in defeat than in victory; this certainly seemed to be the case for Adam Scott having blown a commanding lead at the 2012 Open Championship to finish tied for second behind Ernie Els. Scott certainly did not let his nerves show during the Masters, hitting 83 per cent of greens in regulation on both the third and fourth round, and averaged the highest of any player with 76 per cent.

The tools behind his success are the Titleist MB Forged Irons. MB irons feature a uniform muscle shape that provides more mass behind the impact area to achieve the quintessential soft, solid feel. This weighting also produces consistent launch angle, backspin and ball speed in order to provide precise distance and shot control demanded by better players.

In addition, Scott used a Titleist 712U Utility Iron. The forged utility iron is designed to deliver consistency and control to high-ball speed players.

From April 2013 Titleist’s 712U utility iron was officially introduced for retail, not just as a Tour-only prototype.

Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X

All four major championships have now been won using belly or broomstick putters. For many, the anchoring ban can’t come soon enough.

Scott has been using Scotty Cameron putters for over a decade but moved from a regular putter to a broomstick in 2011 after some inconsistent performances. Scott’s move to a long anchored belly putter has clearly had a positive effect, moving up from 145th on the PGA Tour putting statistics to 78th before the Masters this year.

Scott’s Futura X prototype is crafted for him specifically following several rounds of design at the Cameron Putter studio. The putter is milled from aluminium and includes a balance bar and four tungsten weights that are positioned under four adjustable stainless steel weights in the far four corners of the putter giving it an extremely high resistance to twist at impact.

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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US Masters Golf Championship

Watching the US Masters Golf Championship last weekend was absolutely riveting. The final round had so many twists from the off with some spectacular golf shots.  Charl Scwartzel and Tiger Woods both made an early surge on Rory McIlroy’s overnight lead and they were followed by a group of others playing some exceptional golf.

Charl Schwartzel eventually won the Masters by two shots (14 under par) by playing some truly amazing shots but most of all by playing a steady, confident round.  He appeared to be unfazed by the pressure and said it was helpful playing with another steady player KJ Choi.  But from the off Schwartzel’s chance of slipping on the famous green jacket was given a kick start with a chip and run for a birdie on the first and an amazing eagle at the third.

By contrast, it was sad and rather distressing watching Rory McIlroy fall apart and eventually breakdown in front the cameras and capacity crowd at the famous Augusta Golf Course.

McIlroy had lead from day 1 and had previously played three great days of golf as he went into the final day with a four shot lead that had everyone convinced he was finally going to win his first major. The boy from Hollywood, Northern Ireland will turn 22 next month but for the past four years, since turning pro when anyone was asked they said it was only a matter of time until Rory McIlroy starting winning majors.  Over the past few years he has won plenty of championships, but like Britain’s young tennis star Andy Murray, has fallen shot when given the chance to win a major.

On Sunday McIlroy looked nervous, quickening his pace and from the off the lead began to shrink.  But as he went into the back nine he was still leading by one shot from the likes of Charl Schwartzel, K J Choi, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Tiger Woods who was playing some sublime shots and looked to have returned to his best.

As McIlroy fell apart at the 10th with a triple bogey that included hitting two trees and shot to pieces through Amen Corner, the chasing pack was joined by Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy.  Rory literally broke down on the 12th hole with a four putt, it was the reason I don’t watch reality TV.  I was watching a young person’s world shatter and it was uncomfortable viewing.  Rory McIlroy finished the day with a round of 80!

With three holes to go the young Australian, Adam Scott had edged into the lead from his playing partner and fellow Australian Jason Day, and Charl Schwartzel.  But it was Scwartzel who remained calm while playing some sensational shots who eventually won the US Masters by two shots.  A very worthy winner that seemed appropriate exactly 50 years after fellow South African, Gary Player became the first overseas golfer to win the Masters.

Charl Schwartzel won with 14 under from Adam Scott and Jason Day on 12 under.  While Luke Donald was the best placed Britain tied in fourth on 10 under par along with Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy.

It was good to see Rory McIlroy get a great reception as he walked towards the 18th hole.  He had started the final day on 12 under but finished on 4 under, and everyone felt his pain.  And though he was magnanimous in defeat and faced the media soon after, showing a maturity beyond his years, I wondered if this was just another experience that Rory McIlroy will place under his belt to win a major or would he follow in the golf shoes of Sergio Garcia, who also received global accolades and showed all the promise as a teenage golfer but choked on several occasions when it looked like he was about to win a major.  Sergio Garcia is now 31.

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