Masters Odds 2012: Phil Mickelson Still Isn't Safe Bet After Houston Open

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIApril 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 03:  Phil Mickelson looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's true that Phil Mickelson's odds of winning the Masters are better after the Shell Houston Open—but are they good enough to bet on him beating Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy?

Probably not.

Before the Houston Open, Woods' odds were 7/2, and McIlroy's odds were 9/2. Post-Houston, Woods chances are 4/1, McIlroy's are 5/1 and Mickelson's improved to 8/1, following his tie for fourth place.

The Masters may bring out the best in Mickelson, but this year, his best isn't good enough to overcome the momentum Woods and McIlroy have heading into the tournament. His history at Augusta National, however, is certainly impressive.

The best lefty in the history of the PGA won his first Masters in 2004, one year after a winless 2003. He won again in 2006 and in 2010. The fact that he played well in Houston bodes well for his performance at the Masters. On March 30, in the opening round of the Houston Open, he shot a seven-under 65, and in the second round, he shot a 70.

His shortgame, however, proved to be his downfall, as he missed several putts inside five feet and registered an unfortunate three-putt from inside 20 feet on a par 5. He may bounce back from such a poor putting performance and get it together for the Masters, but even if he does, it's unlikely he can overcome Woods and McIlroy.

McIlroy finished 15th at the Masters last year, staging one of the biggest collapses in tournament history. However, just two months later, he forged a comeback with a victory in the U.S. Open. The 22-year-old was ranked first in the world before taking a few weeks off to get ready for Augusta.

Now, he considers himself ready for the 2012 Masters after learning from last year's mistakes. He told The Times-Picayune's Mike Triplett:

That was a huge learning curve, learning experience for me. I took a lot from it and was able to put some of the things I learned into practice very quickly, and that's what resulted in winning the U.S. Open a couple months after.

Woods is coming off an impressive win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first PGA Tour win in 30 months. Not only did he win, but he won by five strokes in his first event since exiting the WGC-Cadillac Championship with an apparent leg injury. He has 14 major championships and has tallied four titles at Augusta, his last coming in 2005.

Mickelson may have a rich history at Augusta, but this year's Masters doesn't belong to him. He certainly did himself justice by staging an impressive run at the Houston Open, but as for the Masters, it's Woods' and McIlroy's turn to battle it out.

Here are the complete odds for the Masters, updated on April 2:

Tiger Woods 4/1

Rory McIlroy 5/1

Phil Mickelson 8/1

Luke Donald 15/1

Lee Westwood 18/1

Adam Scott 25/1

Keegan Bradley 30/1

Justin Rose 30/1

Bubba Watson 30/1

Dustin Johnson 30/1

Hunter Mahan 35/1

Charl Schwartzel 35/1

K.J. Choi 40/1

Jason Day 40/1

Nick Watney 40/1

Aaron Baddeley 40/1

Sergio Garcia 40/1