Masters Odds 2012: Latest Predictions for Top 50 Players

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMarch 31, 2012

Masters Odds 2012: Latest Predictions for Top 50 Players

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    The world's top golfers will be in Augusta, Georgia this week for the 2012 Masters, the PGA's first major tournament of the year.

    The Masters was born from an idea by the great Bobby Jones in 1934.  It is the only major played on the same course every year.

    Augusta National was designed by famed golf course architect Dr. Alistair McKenzie with more than a little help from Jones himself.

    Golf fans around the world eagerly anticipate the first week in April and the renewal of one of the rites of spring, The Masters.

    Will Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson collect another green jacket? Or will another player win the prestigious tournament? Here are the rankings for the top 50 players.

50. Fredrik Jacobson

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    At 37 year olds, Fredrik Jacobson is rated at 150/1 odds to win the 2012 Masters.

    Jacobson turned professional in 1994 and had three wins on the European Tour before joining the PGA Tour in 2004. 

    He picked up his first PGA Tour win in 2011 at the Travelers Championship.

    Jacobson has just two top-10 finishes in 28 major tournament starts in his career.

    Fredrik should be able to handle Augusta’s slick undulating greens, but his path from the tee to the green can sometimes be an adventure.

    This probably won't be the tournament that Freddie Yock picks up his first major title.

49. Ryo Ishikawa

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    Japan's Ryo Ishikawa is just 20 years old, but it seems we have seen him on the world golf stage for a long time. 

    He turned professional in 2006 at the ripe old age of 14. 

    Ryo has nine wins on the Japan Golf Tour and is considered a rock star. 

    He was granted a special exemption by the Masters, but he qualified on his own with a runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open at the beginning of March. 

    Ryo has only had 11 starts in major tournaments and has missed six cuts.  His best finish in a major was T-20 in the 2011 Masters. 

    Ryo has all of the tools to be a great golfer, but at 125/1 odds, he doesn’t seem to be quite ready for the biggest stage in golf just yet.

48. Mark Wilson

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    If you are looking for a dark horse, Mark Wilson at 125/1 might be your guy. 

    He has been one of the hottest golfers in the world over the past two years. 

    He has five total wins on the PGA Tour, three of those coming within the last 15 months. 

    He is only 5’8” tall and tips the scales at a whooping 145 pounds. 

    Wilson plays a very controlled type of game, which has proven successful for Mike Weir and Zach Johnson in past Masters. 

    With his recent win at the 2012 Humana Challenge and renewed confidence, Mark Wilson could be a sound bet to pick up his first major.

47. Fred Couples

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    The odds on Fred Couples winning a second Masters are 125/1.

    He won his one and only major title at Augusta exactly 20 years ago in 1992. 

    Freddie’s last win on the PGA Tour was the Shell Houston Open in 2003. 

    He primarily plays the Champions Tour and just won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic for his seventh Champions Tour title last week. 

    Coming off his win, Fred will be playing three consecutive weeks.  He is in the field at Houston this week and then on to Augusta. 

    Couples still hits it long and relatively straight, but putting can be an adventure.  

    His touchy back limits his play and practice schedules.  

    Will his back allow him to compete three weeks in a row? 

    He would be a huge sentimental favorite at Augusta, but he is not likely to pick up his second green jacket.

46. Y.E. Yang

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    Y.E. Yang is a 125/1 to win the 2012 Masters.

    In 2009 he stared down Tiger Woods with a hybrid in his hand and won the PGA Championship, becoming the first Asian player to win a major championship. 

    He has 11 professional wins worldwide and has been a professional since 1996.

    Yang also has had a T-8 in the 2010 Masters and a T-3 in the 2011 U. S. Open. 

    He has been around the block and knows what it takes to compete in a major.

    His precision style game could be just the ticket for Augusta National.  

45. David Toms

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    David Toms has 13 PGA Tour wins and has a Wanamaker Trophy on his mantle from his win in the 2001 PGA Championship. 

    He did win the 2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, but it was his first win in over five years. 

    Toms’ unhurried swing and smooth putting stroke have made him a top pro on tour for over 20 years, but at 125/1 odds, it is doubtful that he will add a Masters title to his resume'.

44. Johnson Wagner

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    Johnson Wagner is in his fifth year on the PGA tour and has three career wins.

    He won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in 2011 and already has a win in 2012 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    The man with two last names has gained a ton of confidence and is a control player. 

    This will his second start in the Masters and only his fifth appearance in a major tournament.

    Even though he leads the 2012 FedEx Cup rankings, at 100/1 odds it is hard to predict a top-10 finish for Wagner this year.

43. Alvaro Quiros

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    Alvaro Quiros is a long-hitting Spaniard with a huge grin and affable personality. 

    He plays primarily in Europe and has made very few appearances in the United States. 

    He has six wins in his seven years on the European Tour. 

    This will be Alvaro’s fourth Masters, and he has only made four cuts in 12 starts in major tournaments.

    Augusta’s lack of heavy rough is a bonus for long hitters, but Quiros may find that hitting the correct spots on the green with his approach shots and putting may be a challenge for him. 

    At 100/1 odds, it appears that Alvaro is not quite ready for prime time just yet.

42. Francesco Molinari

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    Francesco Molinari, at 100/1 odds, could be a sound bet. 

    He has been a member of the European Tour since 2004 and has two wins.

    One of his wins was the 2010 WGC- HSBC Champions from Shanghai—certainly not a major but an event that is filled with major winners. 

    Molinari hits a lot of fairways and is an excellent iron player. Much is made about the severity of Augusta National’s greens.  Good putting stats can be a result of correctly played iron shots. 

    Molinari is 29 years old and has enough experience to become a factor in major events. 

    This could be the right time for an Italian to pick up a green jacket.

41. Paul Casey

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    Paul Casey has been dealing with injuries and has not returned to the world class form that got him ranked as high as third in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2009. 

    Casey has been a member of the European Tour for 11 years and has 11 wins. 

    He joined the PGA Tour in 2004 and won the 2009 Shell Houston Open for his lone American title. 

    He has only made two starts thus far in 2012 and has not shown that his game has returned enough to compete with the leaders at the Masters.

    At 100/1 odds, this is probably not Paul's year to win the Masters.

40. Sean O'Hair

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    Sean O'Hair turned professional in 1999 after his junior year in high school, but it took him six attempts at Q School before he made it onto the PGA Tour.

    O'Hair has four wins on the PGA Tour. 

    Sean had his best year on tour in 2009.  He won at Quail Hollow and finished the year in fifth place in the FedEx Cup standings.

    He is a very good driver of the ball and has a sound all-around game.

    He is rated at 100/1 odds, and thus it is hard to see him winning the 2012 Masters.

39. Jason Dufner

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    Jason Dufner has made seven cuts in his eight starts thus far in 2012.

    He finished runner-up after losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship.

    Dufner has been playing well of late with a T-10 at the Transitions and a T-15 at the Palmer Invitational.

    Jason spent five years and garnered his two professional wins on the Nationwide Tour. 

    He has played on the PGA Tour since 2007 with limited success until the PGA Championship last year.

    His odds of winning the 2012 Masters are 100/1, but he could be a sleeper. 

    He has been playing at a very high level over the past several months.

38. Bo Van Pelt

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    Another 100/1 shot is Bo Van Pelt. 

    He has played on the PGA Tour for several years and has one win, the 2009 U. S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

    He has missed only one cut in eight starts this year and has four top-10 finishes.

    Bo had five top 10s in 2011 and finished 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings

    He has had some success at Augusta National, finishing T-8 in the 2011 Masters.

    He has a solid game and could be a good bet to be near the lead on the back 9 on Sunday.

37. Trevor Immelman

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    Trevor Immelman won the 2008 Masters but has been recovering from elbow and wrist problems that have kept him out of the winner's circle for some time.

    He has two wins on the PGA Tour and 10 professional wins world wide.

    Coming off his 2008 Masters win, Immelman was one of the top players in the world.  Thus far in 2012 he has missed three cuts in six starts and does not have a top-10 finish.

    He appears to be another 100/1 shot who does not really have a shot to win the Masters this year.

36. Martin Laird

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    Scotsman Martin Laird has two wins on the PGA Tour and has been a PGA Tour member since 2008.

    He won the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in 2011.

    He had six top 10s to go along with the win at the Palmer in 2011 and has earned over $2.6 million. 

    Except for a runner-up finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he has had a rather undistinguished 2012 campaign.

    At 100/1 odds, he could catch fire at the Masters, but it is highly unlikely.

35. Peter Hanson

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    Peter Hanson has played on the European Tour for over 10 years and has four Euro Tour victories.

    He plays a limited schedule on the PGA Tour but has two top 10s in three starts in 2012.

    A T-5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and a T-4 at Doral in the WGC-Cadillac show that he is in good form coming into Augusta and can compete with the big boys.

    At 100/1 odds, 2012 will probably not be his year to get a green jacket.

34. Louis Oosthuizen

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    South African Louis Oosthuizen, can I buy a vowel Pat, is currently ranked No. 38 on the OWGR and won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

    He is a product of the Ernie Els Golf Foundation for young golfers from South Africa. 

    Louis had a T-9 at the 2011 U. S. Open but has missed the cut all three years that he has played in the Masters.

    He has four wins on the European Tour.

    He came from nowhere to win the Open Championship in 2010.  At 100/1 odds, maybe he can do it again in the Masters.

33. Zach Johnson

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    A 100/1 shot, Zach Johnson has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2004 and has seven wins.

    In addition to his win at the 2007 Masters, he had a T-3 in the 2010 PGA Championship.

    He only has one top-10 finish in 2012 but has made the cut in all of his eight starts.

    Johnson is a straight shooter with a superb short game.  If he can get the feel of the greens with his putter, he could contend for a second green jacket.

32. Aaron Baddeley

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    Aaron Baddeley won his first professional tournament the 1999 Holden Australian Open as a 19-year-old amateur.

    He turned professional in 2000 and joined the PGA Tour in 2003.

    Badds is currently ranked No. 39 on the OWGR and has not performed particularly well in his 25 appearances in majors.

    He does have three PGA Tour wins and two wins on the European Tour.

    At 100/1 odds, if he can get the ball to the green, his putter will carry him to the top.

31. Robert Karlsson

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    Robert Karlsson has 11 wins on the European Tour and is currently ranked No. 37 on the OWGR.

    He also played full-time on the PGA Tour in 2011, posting three top-10s and winning over $1.7 million.

    Karlsson does not have any wins in the U. S. but has top-10 finishes in all of the majors.

    He plays well in big events.  His best finish at Augusta was a T-8 in 2008.

    At 100/1 he is definitely a long shot.

30. Gary Woodland

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    Gary Woodland had a pretty good year last year. 

    He won his first PGA title at the Transitions, was runner-up at the 2011 Humana Challenge and won over $3.4 million in prize money. 

    With six top-10 finishes last year, he finished 17th on the FedEx Cup standings at year end.

    He also teamed up with Matt Kuchar to win the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. 

    Over the winter, he decided to change his agent who was also the son of his swing coach.  The swing coach decided it would be too awkward to continue working with Woodland, so Gary switched to Butch Harmon.

    Swing adjustments made by Butch are taking some time to become second nature to Gary, and his success thus far in 2012 has been mixed.  He has been making cuts, but his finishes thus far have been middle of the pack.

    Although Augusta National should be a perfect course for the long hitter, at this point Woodland is a true 100/1 shot to win his first Masters.

29. Kyle Stanley

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    Kyle Stanley had a very nice rookie year in 2011 on the PGA Tour.  One second place finish and four top 10s brought in $1.5 million.

    Golf insiders were predicting big things for Stanley.

    He made a big splash earlier this year by making triple-bogey on the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines and blowing a six-shot lead heading into the final round.

    He then came from eight shots off the 54-hole lead and won the very next week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale.

    It helps to have a short memory in golf.

    This will be his first Masters appearance and just his third major.

    At 80/1 the jury is still out.  Would you bet against him, though?

28. Rickie Fowler

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    Kids love him, mothers want to adopt him and golf fans just want to see him win something.

    Rickie Fowler is a walking ATM on the golf course. 

    In 2010, his rookie season on the PGA Tour, he had seven top 10s, banked over $2.8 million and earned PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors.

    In 2011 he slipped to only four top 10s and $2.0 million.  Most guys would take that year.

    Fowler has been close to winning and did pick some first place hardware in the Kolon Korea open last October.  Hey, a win is a win.

    With his sponsor agreements with Cobra and Puma, he is always on the cutting edge of fashion on the golf course. 

    His traditional Orangesicle attire for Sunday would contrast quite nicely with a green jacket.

    At 80/1 this might be a good bet to consider. He's gotta win sometime.

    Doesn't he?

27. Geoff Ogilvy

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    Geoff Ogilvy has won the 2006 U. S. Open and three World Golf Championship (WGC) events.

    Bright lights and big events don't scare him.

    He was T-4 in the 2011 Masters and has top-10 finishes in all of the majors.

    In six starts thus far in 2012, his highest finish was a T-16 at the Transitions.

    If you are looking for a dark horse at 80/1, Ogilvy could be your guy.

26. Ian Poulter

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    Ian Poulter has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the world and currently is No. 24 on the OWGR.

    He has been a member of both the PGA and European Tours since 2005.  He has 11 Euro titles and only one PGA Tour win.

    He did finish runner-up in the 2008 Open Championship.

    At 66/1 he is a long shot for sure. 

    Augusta National is a tad bit long for Ian, but his excellent putting skills could make for his lack of distance.

    He had a bout with pneumonia in early 2012 which may affect his stamina for this Masters.

25. Jim Furyk

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    Steady, consistent and unassuming are all adjectives that describe PGA Tour veteran Jim Furyk.

    His swing would make Ben Hogan turn over in his grave.  It was once described as resembling a bunch of monkeys falling out of a tree.

    2012 marks his 20th year on the PGA Tour, and he has 16 wins including the 2003 U. S. Open.

    In 2010 he won three times, one of which was the Tour Championship, and he picked up the FedEx Cup worth $10 million.

    Equipment changes and a balky putter in 2011 resulted in one of his worst years on tour.  He only posted four top-10s and finished a distant 36th in the FedEx Cup standings.

    His results in 2012 have been encouraging: A runner-up finish at the Transitions and two T-11 finishes have him ranked 29th in the FedEx Cup.

    At 66/1 odds Furyk may be worth the risk of a wager.

24. Brandt Snedeker

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    Brandt Snedeker picked up his third career PGA Tour win at the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines thanks to Kyle Stanley's historic triple bogey on the 72nd hole.

    Brandt does everything at warp speed, and you have to look quick to watch him play.  There is no such thing as slow play with Brandt in your group.

    In his first year on tour, he won the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina and picked up Rookie of the Year honors.

    He has had to deal with some injury problems that have set him back, but his solid start to 2012 makes him a person of interest.

    His 66/1 odds at the Masters might just be a solid bet.

23. Bill Haas

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    In his short PGA Tour career, Bill Haas has picked up some serious cash.

    In 2011 alone he had one win, two second-place finishes, seven top-10s and earned over $4.0 million. 

    He made the shot of the year from the water on the 71st hole in the Tour Championship to secure the win and take the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus money right out of Luke Donald's bank account.

    He already has a win in 2012 with his playoff win over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley at Riveria.

    Haas is a solid all-around performer.  He is able to handle the pressure of big tournaments and big shots.

    He is one of the brightest young stars on the PGA Tour and at 66/1 definitely rates a close look for the 2012 Masters.

22. Padraig Harrington

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    Ladbrokes has Padraig Harrington rated at 66/1 odds to win the 2012 Masters.  

    He has won two Open Championships and the PGA Championship, but unless he pulls out a win this week in Houston he will not qualify for the Masters field.

    He has fallen to No. 93 on the OWGR and has not had a win since his 2008 PGA Championship.

21. K.J. Choi

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    This is K.J. Choi's 12th year on the PGA Tour. 

    He has eight wins and has nearly $27.0 million in career earnings. 

    He was the first Korean to become a member of the PGA Tour, in 2000.

    Choi has made the cut in all seven tournaments that he has entered in 2012 but only has one top-10 finish this year.

    He has posted top-10 finishes the last two years at the Masters.

    At 66/1 odds, he may deserve a second look.

20. Graeme McDowell

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    Graeme McDowell appears to regaining the form that allowed him to win the 2010 U. S. Open at Pebble Beach.

    He seemed to make every putt in sight as he clinched the winning point for the Euros in the 2010 Ryder Cup and took down Tiger Woods in the Chevron at the end of 2010.

    He fell out of the top 10 OWGR in 2011 and could not find the form that had propelled him into the spotlight the year before.

    He just picked up a second place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his second top 10 of 2012.

    He is rated at 50/1 odds for the Masters.  He has the length and accurate iron play to contend if his putter will cooperate.

19. Bubba Watson

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    Bubba Watson is one of the most entertaining golfers on the PGA Tour.

    His massive drives will hook or slice more than any other player.  Bubba leaves nothing in the bag.

    Bubba is not just a "Drive for Show" kind of guy, either. 

    He has three wins, 23 top 10s and has won over $14.0 million in career earnings.

    Watson does not have a major win as of yet. 

    He will get one, maybe even a Masters.

    His putting thus far this year has shown too many flaws to handle the slick surfaces at Augusta National.

    His 50/1 odds are probably about right for Bubba this year.

18. Webb Simpson

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    Webb Simpson had two wins, three second-place finishes and won over $6.0 million in 2011. 

    He finished second on the 2011 PGA Tour Money List when Luke Donald won the last tournament of the season.

    Thus far in 2012, Simpson has not shown the consistently solid play that predominated his play last year.

    He does have two top 10s coming into Augusta, but his game seems to be lacking.

    This will be his first Masters start.  Only Fuzzy Zoeller has ever won in his first attempt at a green jacket.

    At 50/1 Webb Simpson may win several majors and maybe even a Masters, but not this year.

17. Matt Kuchar

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    Matt Kuchar was a tall, skinny kid from Georgia Tech when he won Low Amateur honors in the 1998 Masters.  He was always smiling and even spent some time on the leader board.

    Kuchar turned professional in 2000 and has three PGA Tour wins.

    Over the past three years he has been one of the most consistent players on tour.

    In 2010 Matt had one win, one runner-up and 11 top 10s.  He won the Vardon Trophy, the Byron Nelson Award and the PGA Tour Money Title.

    He had nine top 10s in 2011 and has had three top 10s already this year.

    "Kooch" has finished in the top 10 in his last three tournaments.  He seems to be peaking at the right time.

    He has some fond memories to fall back on at Augusta.

    Who knows, at 50/1 this might just be his year to get a green jacket.

16. Martin Kaymer

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    Martin Kaymer won in Abu Dhabi and the PGA Championship in 2010.

    He also added top-10 performances in the 2010 U. S. Open and the Open Championship.

    Even though Luke Donald beat Kaymer in the 2011 WGC-Accenture Match Play, he jumped to the No. 1 spot in the world. 

    He held the top spot until Luke Donald overtook him eight weeks later.

    Kaymer has not been a factor since.

    In four appearances in the Masters, Kaymer has never made a cut.

    He even changed his swing, trying to draw the ball more, to be more effective at Augusta National. 

    The swing changes adversely affected his entire game, and he has struggled to regain his world-class form.

    The 50/1 odds on Kaymer might just be optimistic.

15. Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley flashed onto the scene with his playoff victory over Jason Dufner in the 2011 PGA Championship, his first major championship start.

    He also won the 2011 Byron Nelson Championship and was named 2011 Rookie of the Year.

    Bradley has continued his strong play in 2012 with two top 10s and eight made cuts.

    Very accurate off the tee and superb iron play are the strengths of Bradley's game.

    In his win at the PGA he also made a ton of putts with his belly-style putter.

    The odds on Keegan are 40/1 for a Masters win.

14. Hunter Mahan

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    Hunter Mahan gained a measure of redemption by winning the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play.

    His poor chip shot on the 16th hole in his 2010 Ryder Cup singles match versus Graeme McDowell gave McDowell the win and secured victory for the European Team.

    Mahan was completely devastated after the match, and this particular win in match play had to be very satisfying for him.

    It also should give him a ton of confidence heading into Augusta.

    Mahan's game should be a perfect fit for Augusta National.

    At 40/1 odds, Mahan could be a factor come the back 9 on Sunday.

13. Steve Stricker

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    Steve Stricker picked up the 12th win of his career at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January.

    He has only played in four events in 2012 and has three top 10s.

    The always-consistent Stricker has won everything that there is to win in golf except a major.

    He struggled with a neck problem in 2011 but still managed two wins and finished 18th in the FedEx Cup.

    Strix is rated a 40/1 favorite to win his first major at the 2012 Masters.

    That just might be a good bet.

12. Jason Day

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    Jason Day is only 24 years old, turned professional in 2006 and made it onto the PGA Tour in 2008.

    He has one win at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship.

    In 2011 he had top-10 finishes in three of the majors and finished T-30 in the other.

    He birdied the last two holes on Sunday in the 2011 Masters and finished T-2.

    He is a 40/1 favorite in the 2012 Masters.

    His strong showing in last year's Masters could carry over to this year.

11. Sergio Garcia

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    Sergio Garcia has spent over 300 weeks ranked in the top 10 in the world rankings. 

    His game left him for a time in 2009 and 2010. 

    Two wins in his native Spain in 2011 seem to have Sergio back on the right track.

    During his slump he had fallen out of the top 50 in the world.

    He has always been a Ryder Cup star, and it was a shock for him to miss playing in the 2010 Ryder Cup.

    Sergio has been close in numerous majors in the past.  He has finished second three times in the PGA Championship and Open Championship.  He has a T-3 in the U. S. Open and a T-4 in the Masters.

    A new attitude may just make this 40/1 shot a Masters winner in 2012.

10. Dustin Johnson

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    Dustin Johnson joined the PGA Tour in 2008 and has five career wins.

    He has been close in majors—most notably missing out on a playoff in the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits when he was assessed a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker.

    He had the 54-hole lead in the 2010 U. S. Open at Pebble Beach and proceeded to shoot an 82 in the final round, finishing a disappointing eighth.

    Dustin is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour and, if he can control his putter, may contend at the Masters.

    At 40/1 odds he will probably not be slipping on a green jacket any time soon.

9. Nick Watney

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    Nick Watney won twice in 2011.  He won early in the year at the WGC-Cadillac at Doral and then again in July at the AT&T National.

    Watney is one of the true young stars on the tour.

    He has made all eight cuts in 2012 but only has one top-10 finish.

    He doesn't seem to be in top form as he heads to Augusta.

    Watney is another 40/1 shot who may have to wait to collect his first major win.

8. Justin Rose

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    Justin Rose is having a great start to 2012. 

    He has made all seven cuts and has a T-5 at the Honda Classic to go with his win.

    Justin has five wins on the European Tour and four wins on the PGA Tour.

    He has top-10 finishes in all of the majors but has never been able to catch one.

    He is rated at 40/1 to win the 2012 Masters.

7. Charl Schwartzel

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    Charl Schwartzel, like Louis Oosthuizen, is a graduate of Ernie Els' golf academy foundation in South Africa.

    Schwartzel has been a leading player in South Africa and on the European Tour for several years.

    He burst onto the world stage last year with his win at the Masters.

    He birdied his final four holes to secure the win over Jason Day and Adam Scott.

    Charl has seven European Tour wins to go with his Masters win.

    With 33/1 odds, can he repeat as the Masters Champion?

6. Adam Scott

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    Adam Scott is 31 years old and has been one of the top players in the game for over 10 years. 

    He has won 18 professional events in his career and put on some outstanding performances.  Scott seems to have everything needed to be a major winner. 

    He has not performed well in majors, however.  He has missed the cut 15 times in 43 major starts.

    After a birdie on the par-three 16th in the 2011 Masters, Scott held a two-shot lead until Charl Schwartzel went crazy and birdied his last four holes to take the green jacket right off of Adam Scott’s back. 

    He does seem to be playing with a new self-confidence, and his new caddy Steve Williams appears to be adding something to the mix. 

    Adam has the all-around game to win at Augusta if he can control that long putter.

    At 33/1 odds the return may be just worth the bet.

5. Lee Westwood

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    Lee Westwood is ranked No. 3 on the OWGR and has committed to play more events on the PGA Tour. 

    He is one of the best in the world from tee to green. 

    At 16/1 odds for the win, this might be a sucker bet.

    Lee’s chipping may not hold up to the tightly cut fairways and run off areas around the greens.  If his long irons into the greens are off just by a bit, he will find himself with 3-putts just waiting to happen over the elephant burial grounds that are Augusta National’s greens.

    Westwood has had an exceptional career.  He has been a top European player for many years. 

    Like Luke Donald, he needs a major to assure his place in golf history. He doesn’t want to end up like Colin Montgomerie.

    The odds are not good, however, that his first major win will come at the Masters this year.

4. Luke Donald

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    The 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year and the No. 1 ranked player in the world, Luke Donald is rated at 14/1 odds to win the 2012 Masters.

    Luke had four worldwide wins, won the PGA and European Tours Money Titles and took over the top spot on the OWGR last year.  For most golfers, that would be a career. 

    He has done everything to be recognized as one of the elite golfers in the world except win a major championship.

    Donald definitely does not get the respect that he deserves from the golf community because of that slight flaw in an otherwise perfect golf game.

    His total focus in 2012 is on winning majors.  The only problem with that is Tiger, Phil, Lee and Rory are focusing on the same thing.  It gets pretty crowded at the top.

    He has the short game to handle the severe greens, and the occasional errant tee shot won’t hurt him nearly as much with the forgiving rough on Augusta National. 

    Control players with outstanding short games like Larry Mize, Mike Weir, and Zach Johnson have won the Masters in the past. 

    Why can’t Luke Donald win it this year?

3. Phil Mickelson

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    Three time Masters champion Phil Mickelson is one of the favorites to win the 2012 Masters at 10/1.

    Phil took down Tiger Woods in grand fashion in his win at the AT&T at Pebble Beach earlier this year. 

    He followed up the next week with a runner-up finish at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera when he lost in a playoff to Bill Haas.

    He seems to be re-energized this year and appears to be on top of his game heading into Augusta.

2. Rory McIlroy

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    At 22 years old, Rory McIlroy is ranked No. 2 in the world, No. 2 on the FedEx Cup and is the reigning U.S. Open Champion. 

    He is rated as a 5/1 favorite to don the green jacket on Sunday.

    Rory had the 2011 Masters well in hand with a four-shot lead heading into the final round.  An errant tee shot on the 10th resulted in a triple bogey, and a four-putt double on the 12th hole knocked him out of contention and he fell to a T-15 finish.  

    Rory jumped ahead of Luke Donald as the No. 1 ranked player in the world for two weeks this year after his win at the Honda Classic. 

    Even though Luke Donald is ahead of McIlroy in the OWGR, most people feel that Rory is the best player in the world right now.

    Rory led the 2011 Masters for 63 holes.  Just two months after his fiasco at Augusta, he won the 2011 U.S. Open in spectacular fashion. 

    He knows what it takes to win here, and he has the talent to finish the job this year.

1. Tiger Woods

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    Tiger Woods, coming off his first win in over three years at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is listed by Ladbrokes as the betting favorite at 4/1.

    In the 2010 and 2011 Masters, Tiger definitely was not at the top of his game and still managed to post T-4 both years. 

    Augusta National is a perfect track for him, and he always performs well there.

    His recent win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational has jumped him back into the top 10 on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), and he moved up 24 spots to seventh on the FedEx Cup standings. 

    Tiger is driving the ball better than ever.  He is having a problem controlling exact distance with his short irons and that could be a huge problem at Augusta National, where precise iron shots to exact spots on the severely undulating greens is essential. 

    His putting is still a little suspect but appears to be improving.

    Tiger’s last win at the Masters was in 2005, but he does have four green jackets in his closet. 

    Will he add a fifth in 2012 and get one major title closer to Jack Nicklaus?