DUSTIN JOHNSON was red-hot favourite for the Masters but his hopes of a first Green Jacket may have been scuppered by a fall.
The big-hitting world No.1 has all you need to win at Augusta having improved his short game – and crucially his temperament.
But he doesn’t have the balance required to nip around his rented home in Georgia so watch for developments on the back injury he suffered on Wednesday night.
Doubts used to be expressed about the American’s mental strength and he threw away several Majors before a breakthrough victory at the US Open. Now the only question he gets is: How did you hit that 9-iron 200 yards?
He’s won his last three events and was market leader at 7-1 with Stan James before the news broke about his accident. Bookies reacted by pushing him out to 8-1 and he could slip further with Rory McIlroy the new market leader and as short as 13-2 in some places but 8-1 at Ladbrokes and McBookie.
McIlroy’s certainly prepared well by playing 90 holes with friends and family but social golf is different to competitive play and he’ll need to hole his share of putts to have a chance of completing the Slam.
Third favourite Jordan Spieth is 9-1 at Ladbrokes but outside the top three it’s 22-1 the field so with bookies paying up to eight places a good tactic is to hunt down each-way value.
Also it could pay to wait until the cut before having the majority of your bets due to the bad weather forecast. Wednesday’s par three tournament was cancelled due to tornado warnings and 40mph winds and delays are expected on Thursday so some players’ hopes could simply be blown away.
Three or four months ago I liked Hideki Matsuyama but his putting’s deserted him and it’s the wrong place to go with a cold blade.
Phil Mickelson usually goes well – he has 15 top-10 finishes at Augusta – but I prefer another American Justin Thomas at 40-1 with Ladbrokes. He’s won three of his last 10 events.
Spaniard Jon Rahm’s being tipped as a future world No.1 but no rookie has triumphed for 48 years. He could place so consider him each way at 30-1 with Betfred.
At bigger prices Amercian Daniel Berger at 80-1 with 188BET and Canadian Adam Hadwin at 100-1 could go well.
There are just two Scots in the field – Russell Knox and 1988 champion Sandy Lyle. Knox is 3-5 at Marathonbet make the cut and is 40-1 to be top senior. I like fit-again Fred Couples at 7-2 with bwin.
By contrast there are 11 Englisman and the likes of Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher could go well. I fancy world No.15 Tyrell Hatton at 7-1 with BetStars to beat his compatriots.
D Johnson to win*
Hatton top Englishman
Couples top senior
*Check latest injury news before having a bet and beware of bad weather forecasts
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