us masters

In the cold light of day, the US Masters can be seen as “just another golf tournament” and backing the winner is like any other success. But the added drama and excitement of landing a winner at Augusta always adds a little extra to the pot!

US Masters: The Tournament

Usually the first of the four golf Majors held each year, the US Masters is the only one of the quartet to be held at the same venue each year – which is the Augusta National. The tournament was first held in 1934 and has become famous for its various unique traditions like the Green Jacket given to each winner (which started in 1948), the pre-tournament Champions Dinner (first held back in 1952), the curtain-raising Par-3 event played on the eve of the Masters (staged for the first time in 1960), and the ongoing practice of all the caddies wearing identical white “overalls” with the name of their golfer on the back (players have only been able to bring their own caddies to Augusta since 1983).

Unlike the other Majors the field here is classed as an entirely invitational line-up, with no pre-qualification, and the numbers are limited to less than 100 players – the exact number varies slightly depending on how many former champions and exempt players attend. There have been 83 winners to date: 61 from the USA, five each from Spain & South Africa, four from England, two from Germany and one from each of Scotland, Wales, Fiji, Canada, Argentina & Australia. Jack Nicklaus leads the way with 6 career wins, Tiger Woods has 5 wins after his success last year, and Arnold Palmer (4) comes next on the list.

US Masters: The Course

The permanent base for the US Masters is Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Founded back in the 1930s, the course was built on the site of a nursery (hence all the holes are named after a flower, tree or shrub). The original design was by Rees Jones but the layout has been tinkered with over the years – mainly in terms of length – with the latest by Tom Fazio in 2002. The 18 holes now stretch out to 7,435 yards with a host of signature holes and areas (e.g. Amen Corner), water hazards (e.g. Rae’s Creek) and strategically placed bunkers. The set-up of the course year-on-year tends to put more emphasis on driving distance than accuracy off the tee, but what is tested on every hole is the ability of the players on their approach to, and their play around, the lightning fast greens – good putting and scrambling are key ingredients to success at Augusta..

72-Hole Record

268: Dustin Johnson (2020)

18-Hole Record

63: Nick Price (1986) & Greg Norman (1996)

US Masters: Recent winners (and top five)

2020: Dustin Johnson – Im, Smith – Thomas – Fritelli, McIlroy
2019: Tiger Woods
 – Johnson, Koepka, Schauffele – Day, Finau, Molinari, Simpson
2018: Patrick Reed – Fowler – Spieth – Rahm – McIlroy, Stenson, Smith, Watson
2017: Sergio Garcia – Rose – Schwartzel – Kuchar, Pieters
2016: Danny Willett – Spieth, Westwood – Casey, Holmes, Johnson
2015: Jordan Spieth – Mickelson, Rose – McIlroy – Matsuyama
2014: Bubba Watson – Blixt, Spieth – Jiminez – Fowler, Kuchar
2013: Adam Scott – Cabrera – Day – Leishman, Woods
2012: Bubba Watson – Oosthuizen – Hanson, Kuchar, Mickelson, Westwood
2011: Charl Schwartzel – Day, Scott – Donald, Ogilvy, Woods

US Masters: The Field

A standard field for the US Masters which means around 90 players will go to post. Reigning champion Dustin Jonson is $9.50 market leader with TopSport.

US Masters: The Weather

There is the slight chance of rain on all four days (the forecast reads reads 20% – 50% – 40% – 20%), but the rain that falls should be later in the day. The good news is temperatures will be seasonally good, reaching the low-to-mid 80s (F), and the wind will be barely a factor at around 10-12mph all week. So some rain aside (which, if anything, will soften up the greens), it’s a pretty decent week weather-wise in Georgia.

US Masters tips (each-way)

These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours… you can join this week for the big one for just $37.

Daniel Berger (currently $41 with TopSport)

Berger has reached a level of consistency over the last twelve months that should see him challenging and winning majors very soon. All parts of his game are excellent, with no obvious weakness, which is obviously a great recipe for success. Berger has played six strokeplay events in 2021, winning at the AT&T Pebble Beach, and finishing in the Top 10 on three of the other five occasions – the most recent of which was ninth at the Players Championship. Berger was knocked out at the group stage of the World Matchplay a fortnight ago, but actually played superb during those first three matches, shooting 12-under cumulatively. Berger has played Augusta three times, and has finished no worse than 32nd, and this year he arrives in the form of his life with his game at another level. Despite playing a predominant fade, Berger should be relishing the prospect of a firm, fast Augusta as his all-round game is of an elite level. With numerous each-way places on offer, Berger looks a cracking bet with so much going for him this week. His form is great, his game is world class, and he’s got enough experience here to challenge those at the front of the market.

Sergio Garcia (currently $65 with TopSport)

The 2017 Masters Champion is having a great 2021, which is largely down to his phenomenal tee-to-green play. Garcia has four Top 12 finishes from seven starts in 2021, the latest of which was a ninth place finish at the Players Championship where he had every chance of winning heading into Sunday. The numbers behind this consistent 2021 form are even more impressive, with the tee-to-green numbers as good as you’ll see from anyone. Garcia has gained over 50 strokes from tee-to-green from seven starts, which is an average of more than seven strokes per event! You’ll do well to find a player who has gained more this year on average than the Spaniard.

The last event he played in was the matchplay, where he made the quarter finals after defeating Westwood in a group stage playoff with a hole-in-one. His confidence is high right now, and hopefully the Augusta greens, which are often a huge leveler, can help ease his putting woes. With the each-way part of our bets this week so lucrative, it’s players like Garcia who produce high levels of consistency in the big events that are worth getting onside. While I appreciate Garcia will have to play very well to win a second Masters title, the odds are huge, and the place part of the bet also represents superb value, when you consider how well he’s playing and his ability to churn out high finishes.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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