by Jeff Skinner
The Masters Countdown continues as all of us fight off those bouts of daydreaming of azaleas, green jackets and that Kenny Loggins theme. It’s tough I know, but soon enough we’ll be watching Arnie, Gary and Jack stroking those opening shots.
If you’re looking to get in on the early Masters action here are the betting odds from Ladbrokes.com. The fine chaps at Ladbrokes must be thinking Tiger Woods ‘ailing back will be an issue when he tries for his fifth Masters title. Shockingly, Tiger isn’t their favorite to win at Augusta. Woods is at 8-1 and world number seven Rory McIlroy is their favorite at 7-1. So much for “Tiger is the favorite whenever he tees it up.”
Rory McIlroy (7) 7-1 Rory’s game is rounding into shape and he knows Augusta well but he has as many bad memories as good. No reason he can get his third major here.
Tiger Woods (1) 8-1 The perennial favorite at The Masters, Tiger’s back is the big question here. In his worst season as a pro Woods can stop all the chatter about his major slump and restart his quest to chase Nicklaus and his 18 majors with his first major in over five years.
Adam Scott (2) 10-1 The defending champion is playing well and says his meltdown at Arnie’s place was a learning experience. Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods are the only champions to have successfully defended their title at Augusta. That’s heady company and no one wears a green jacket better than Scott.
Phil Mickelson (5) 14-1 The three time Masters Champion isn’t off to a great 2014 and is teeing up this week at The Valero Texas Open for the first time in decades to get in some reps. But much like Nicklaus and Woods he knows Augusta better than most. He can roll out of bed and win at Augusta.
Dustin Johnson (9) 20-1 Can we call an eight time PGA Tour winner who has won in every year he has been on tour an underachiever? Well in the majors we can. DJ may be the best player without a major as he always finds a way to hit that one shot that puts him out of contention.
Henrik Stenson (3) 20-1 Last year’s FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai Champion can’t find his form of last season. He may be the third ranked player in the world but he isn’t playing like it.
Jason Day (4) 20-1 Day plays well at Augusta: he missed last year’s playoff by two shots and has a T2 in 2011. But a recent wrist injury has caused him to put his game on hold while it healed.
Justin Rose (6) 25-1 After a career changing win at the ’13 U.S. Open Rose has failed to regain his championship form. He was T8 in ’12 and T11 in ’11 so he can golf his ball at Augusta.
Bubba Watson (12) 25-1 Bubba was flying high for awhile with a wild Masters hangover. He seemed to have lost his focus and slumped for some time after donning his green jacket. Discounting his withdrawal from Arnie’s tournament, in his last three events he went T2, T9 and won at The Northern Trust Open. His game is back and another green jacket would put him in rare company.
Bonus: Patrick Reed (22) 40-1 The self described “top five player in the world” has his first chance at Augusta and The Masters. Here is Reed’s chance to put his money where his mouth is and shut all of us up.