The long-awaited Masters returns to Augusta National, Georgia on Thursday, the final major in the golfing calendar rescheduled from April. Let's go!
We'll notice a few changes not seen at this event in 85 years namely the two tier tee starts due to loss of daylight at this time of year and also the cut will see the 10 shot rule format discarded. Only the remaining lowest scoring 50 players (including ties) will be playing golf come Saturday, competing for that unique golf prize and prestigious green jacket presentation on Sunday evening.
Last week I selected another winning NAP at the Houston Open. I suggested that since Brooks Koepka helped re-design the course then it must surely give him an advantage over Tony Finau in the 72 hole match bet and it surely did with Koepka winning comfortably at 11/10. Well done to anyone who followed my advice.
Before we get started this week, did you see Jon Rahm's incredible effort at the 16th today? If this is anything to go by we're in for a treat this weekend.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) November 10, 2020
On with the show…
Tiger Woods returns to Augusta to defend his title after an amazing comeback year and will be aiming to win a sixth green jacket adding to his 15 major championships.
Tiger simply adores Augusta and will be the one they all have to emulate again this year but with the quality of golfers in this field it may prove a difficult task to go on and defend his title but I would never rule him out especially here at Augusta. Tiger is a best priced 45/1 bet 365.
One to most certainly keep an eye on is Bryson De Chambeau who has only played in one tournament since winning the last major at Winged Foot.
The US Open champ is producing the best golf on the planet at present and one can only admire his unique style, it’s simply breathtaking. It remains to be seen who can stop him, he is simply eating up golf courses for fun and the PGA just can’t find a way to tame him.
This is going to be a thrilling weekend for for all golfing enthusiasts with lots of twists and turns along the way to keep us all entertained.
The field this year will see 92 competitors taking part on this stunning 7,475 yards, par 72 Augusta National Course with the first golfers teeing off at 12pm BMT on Thursday. The event will be shown on Sky Sports with continuous live coverage.
The course layout will see the fairways mowed at 3/8 inch, tees 5/16 inch and greens at 1/8 inch.
The weather is forecast for significant rain due to Tropicsl storm Eta with sunny intervals . The original belief was that it would be much colder as it's November, which would mean the ball would not fly as far, however the temperatures are now predicted to be in the high 70° Fahrenheit range. It’s fair to say expect similar conditions temperature wise to April when this event was originally scheduled.
I always like to look for value at tournaments but for this event I think it’s safer to be more cautious when making selections. With this in mind my first pick is the ever popular Rory McIlroy at 14/1 EW bet365.
The Irishman had struggled on the PGA tour of late and has also had the added distraction of becoming a father for the first time, however this is Augusta and this is Rory McIlroy. There is no doubt this course is tailor-made for McIlroy's game. Augusta is going to play longer and with wetter conditions forecast this can only play to Rory's strengths.
His best place at Augusta was fourth in 2015 but from 2014 to 2018 he has finished in the top 10 on five occasions and top 25 on his past seven. In fact since his first appearance in 2009, the Irishman has only been outside the top 25 twice. I think it’s fair to say that Rory has always been in the mix and never off the pace here which surely must make him hard to dismiss.
I just feel he will shine at this event this weekend and can make it major number five with a maiden Masters. Let’s hope Rory's wearing that green jacket come Sunday.
Bryson De Chambeau
For my next selection I’m just not prepared to go against the ever impressive machine which is Bryson De Chambeau at 8/1 with William Hill.
He is definitely the one to beat here this weekend and with the weather forecast predicting wet weather then this will bring his unstoppable long game even more into play.
I’ve noticed recently that Bryson’s short game has also improved and if combining both successfully then it’s near impossible to oppose the big hitting Incredible Hulk.
Just have a look at these figures;
- In ten of his last 15 tournaments he has finished in the top 10
- He's won two of them including the US Open at Winged Foot where he simply destroyed the field
- Seven of those finishes were also in the top 5
He is a force to be reckoned with and he has been practicing at hitting the ball even further than before in his lay off and build up to this Major.
Listen to this, it was noted and witnessed that the world number six hit a 403-yard drive in practice here this last week, he reached the par 4 third hole green with a 3 wood – absolutely ridiculous!
He leads the PGA tour in average driving distance at 344.4 yards, world number one Dustin Johnson is next with an average 328.8 yards and McIlroy 3rd on the tour with 325.3 yards.
This is why I’m going to suggest DeChambreau will once again be contending come Sunday and could well follow up on that US Open victory with another major to his name here at the Masters.
For my next suggestion I’m going to look for some value and suggest Cameron Smith 70/1EW bet365.
The young 27 year-old Australian finished 5th here at Augusta back in 2018 and has already won twice on the PGA tour, most recently at the Sony Open. Smith has been producing some impressive stuff of late and in the build up to The Masters in the past few weeks he finished 4th at The Zozo and can also back that up with 11th at The CJ Cup.
He has been showing lots of consistently and found lots of success on the greens with his putter recently. Although putting figures alone won’t win him a green jacket, what happens on these greens will be pivotal.
He is currently ranked in the top 50 in the world and with a win already this year along with his two top 5 finishes in majors I feel 70/1 represents some decent value.
He has posted eight events on the PGA tour with positive strokes gained approach against the field. This Aussie is a fighter and showed that most recently when winning The Sony in a play-off against Brendon Steele.
If he can get up the leaderboard then he can stay their and stick around to remain in contention at the weekend.
Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson
My NAP selection is a 72-hole match bet between Tiger Woods 8/11 Betfair to beat Phil Mickelson.
I feel with Tigers dominance at the Masters in previous years and the fact he just loves it here at Augusta against the fact that Mickelson is just not firing on all cylinders with poor form lately this is the banker of the tournament.
No Hole In One
My final selection is for their to be no hole in one this year, more a fun bet at minimum stakes at 6/4 (bet365). With no par 3 tournament at Augusta before the tournament then not as much practice on those par 3s could prove key here .
- Rory McIlroy 12/1 EW (bet365)
- Bryson De Chambreau 8/1 EW (William Hill)
- Cameron Smith 70/1 EW (bet365)
- Tiger Woods to beat Phil Mickelson 72 hole match bet 8/11 NAP (Betfair)
- No hole in one 6/4 (bet365)
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