GOLF GURU Louis Ross (@Louis Ross67) nailed three of the four Majors in 2015. Having landed a 66/1 winner last week, can Louis find us more glory in Augusta? Here, Louis looks at the runners and riders from USA.
The Masters: USA | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports
Jordan Spieth (9/1 William Hill)
Jordan is the US favourite, reigning champion, best player in the world (my opinion only) and all round nice guy. I am a huge fan.
There is one thing that stands out to me about Spirth and that is his ability to forget a bad shot in seconds. Yes he has a rant, but unlike some who fall apart after a disaster, this guy just moves on and gets it done.
Not an awful lot to say about his form here. Second on debut, winner the following year and an average round of 69.13 the best in the field. Write him off at your peril.
Bubba Watson (12/1 Ladbrokes)
Two green jackets to his name already, nobody hits the ball quite like Bubba. His technique is so far removed from the way the game is taught that he may as well be playing baseball.
An average score of 71.86 puts him well inside the top-10 this century but one note of caution – apart from his two wins, finishes of 20-42-38-50 and 37th last year give you the impression that only an outright win bet is viable.
Bubba is pretty much all or nothing.
Rickie Fowler (18/1 BetVictor)
Rickie will certainly features in my main picks.
It is rare to see a golfer maturing almost in front of your eyes but that is what happened after Rickie won The Players Championship last May. In 2014, the young man finished top-5 in all four Majors – a feat in itself.
A fifth-place is his best Augusta performance so far but he finished 12th last time and has a scoring average of 71.95 – a shade higher than a double Masters winner.
A future Major winner no doubt, Fowler is sneaky long and that first big win is not far away.
Dustin Johnson (20/1 Ladbrokes)
Dustin is next on the list and he’s the biggest riddle in world golf. He’s all the tools to be winning Majors on a regular basis but the more of them he blows, the less likely a win seems to get.
Sixth last year was easily his best finish – he loves the par-5s and will make a few eagles during the week. An average score of 72.14 in his six starts will need improving to get anywhere close to a green jacket.
Phil Mickleson (22/1 William Hill)
What can you say about Lefty? I am biased.
Three wins and 12 top-10 finishes including second last year, only Tiger Woods can claim a better record at Augusta. In decent form, although that rarely seems to be a factor when Mickleson and the Masters come together.
Will give anyone a run for their money.
Patrick Reed (50/1 Coral)
Patrick has the tools to do well at Augusta but a missed cut and a 22nd-place finish are all that he has managed in two attempts.
The self styled ‘Top-5 player in the world’ will need huge improvement in his short game to have any chance.
Zach Johnson (60/1 William Hill)
The 2007 winner and reigning Open champion, Johnson is a player I have had my eye on in the last few weeks. I have backed him each-way at odds of 80/1 and his recent improvement with the short stick has seen that price tumble.
He was on fire in the Matchplay last week, losing to Rory after a great battle. Ninth last year and with a scoring average of 73 in his 11 starts, Johnson will play the par-5s differently to everyone else as he just does not have the length to go for the greens but it works for him.
May not have quite enough to win, but I am sure you will get a run for your money at decent odds.
Brandt Snedeker (66/1 William Hill)
Everybody loves Sneds, don’t they? He is the reason my Mrs will let me watch every ball of the four days!
I backed him at 150/1 in 2008 and his third-place finish was a really nice pay-out – I gave the Mrs the lot and she has been hooked on the Masters ever since – I also backed Trevor Immelman at big odds and she got all that as well; I really didn’t think that through.
Snedeker has a very decent record here. Five top-20 finishes and he started this season on fire. A few little back injuries have impacted on his play in the last month or so, which is the only reason I could leave him alone this week.
Brooks Koepka (80/1 William Hill)
I am fairly sure this is a name that will be on a few lists – He is certainly long enough.
Thirty-third on debut last year, Koepka has been improving rapidly over the last few years progressing from the European Tour. H
is time may well come but there are a few too good this time round and the price looks a little short for a viable each-way play.
Jimmy Walker (80/1 BetVictor)
Jimmy has started just twice at Augusta and this is a man that has blossomed fairly late in his career.
Eighth in 2014, 37th last year and scoring an average 72.13 are very decent stats and an in-form Walker would be logical each-way punt.
I haven’t really seen much from him in 2016, although there were a couple of nice rounds at the Matchplay in a tough group.
Matt Kuchar (85/1 Betfair)
Matt has a fairly outstanding August record – third in 2012, eighth in 2013 and fifth in 2014 are numbers to be proud of.
71.77 ranks him highly in terms of scoring average so I’m not quite sure how he is as big as 85/1 and for firms paying eight places, that is an outstanding price.
Bill Haas (125/1 BetVictor)
Bill has six starts at Augusta – a 26th-placed finish on debut, Haas has made the cut every time and generally done better year-on-year with a best 12th-place in 2015.
If he is not on your shortlist at 125/1 you need a new list. He’s very much a live contender.
Its a year where I believe one of the elite will win, but with a 72.17 scoring average and FedEx Cup wins under his belt, Haas is a very attractive betting proposition and possibly the best chance of all at triple odds.
Jason Dufner (125/1 Bet365)
Jason has a Major to his name, the 2014 USPGA and is great fun to watch.
Is he a betting proposition here? A best of 20th from five starts suggests not and simply put, his short game just does not stack up.
Ryan Moore (125/1 Ladbrokes)
Ryan had a best ever 12th-place last time on his seventh start.
72.50 is a fairly good scoring average on a very difficult golf course but it would take a leap of faith to back him. He’ll hit plenty of greens and fairways.
The top-10 market may be one to look at but he’s not a real contender, in my opinion.
Justin Thomas (150/1 Coral)
Justin is one of this current batch of young American players who all seem to look alike, play a similar game and all capable of big careers.
His big friend Spieth has broken away from his college buddies on to a level all of his own, but Thomas has a big future on the main tour.
On debut here, he’s a good player, not one I would consider.
JB Holmes (150/1 BetVictor)
JB has just a 25th and a missed cut to his name at Augusta National.
JB hits the ball miles and will pick up odd wins on Tour but not a name I would consider. The Masters demands putting of the highest order and Holmes just does not have that in his locker.
Charley Hoffman (150/1 Ladbrokes)
I cannot work out how this guy is as big as 150/1?
A debut finish of 27th was very decent and ninth last year was outstanding. Only eight rounds to go on but a scoring average of 70.88 is incredibly low.
One for the First Round Leader and top-10/20 markets
Kevin Kisner (150/1 BetVictor)
Kevin makes his debut in 2016 following a fantastic end to 2015 and a decent start to 2016.
But he’s dropped away in recent weeks, although I wouldn’t completely write him off. He could place fairly high but its a stretch to think he can really make much of an impact.
Kevin Na (150/1 William Hill)
I get so much stick for liking this guy and have been banned from tipping him.
This might surprise you but Na has two 12th-placed finishes to his name from five appearances at Augusta and that alone is reason to look at him more than once.
One of those that could be a very decent top-20 punt.
Billy Horschel (200/1 Coral)
Billy is next on the tee. Very much a marmite character, I quite enjoy watching him but after his FedEx Cup wins in 2015, he has dropped off a cliff.
Just two starts at The Masters have brought a 37th-placed finish and a missed cut.
Harris English (200/1 Unibet)
Harris has just a missed cut from 2014 to his name.
Was he ever on a shortlist of any kind? No chance
Webb Simpson (250/1 Boylesports)
Webb is (amazingly) a US Open winner.
A woeful Masters record from his four starts – two missed cuts, 44th and a best of 28th. That was with his long putter and he is one of those who really hasn’t coped well with the return to the shorter sticks.
Easy to dismiss
The Masters – Rickie Fowler to win (18/1 BetVictor)
The Masters – Bubba Watson to win (12/1 BetVictor)
The Masters – Bill Haas to win (100/1 each-way Skybet)
The Masters – Matt Kuchar Top-5 Finish (13/1 888)
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