Masters 2012: Ian Poulter and Long Shots with Best Odds of Conquering Augusta
Tiger Woods has dominated the headlines leading up to the Masters ever since he cruised to victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago. When the media isn't talking about Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson control the conversation.
Don't expect a three-horse race at Augusta, though. There are several other golfers, including a couple long shots, who should be in the mix on Sunday. Let's take a look at three players the oddsmakers aren't giving enough respect. All lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Ian Poulter (100/1)
Poulter should be back to full strength after dealing with an illness that kept him from playing his best recently. He showed promise during his run at Bay Hill, finishing in third place during the Masters tune-up event.
That should give him plenty of confidence heading into the year's marquee tournament. When he's at 100 percent, there are few golfers on the planet who are more consistent. His success at match play events shows he understands his game and doesn't try to overdo it.
When other players will be playing themselves out of contention with overzealous shots, Poulter will keep himself in the mix with a safe plan of attack.
Alvaro Quiros (150/1)
Quiros splits his time between the PGA and European Tours, which represents the most likely reason casual golf fans might not recognize his name. The most important thing to know is that he can hit the ball a country mile.
He has shown glimpses of immense talent during his stops at American events, but he can't seem to put it all together for four rounds. That's why his odds are so high, but he provides terrific value because sooner or later he will break through.
Putting will be his deciding factor. If he can find his rhythm on the greens during the opening round, he has a legitimate shot to earn a green jacket.
Which long shot has the best chance at Augusta?
Kevin Na (200/1)
You probably remember Na as the golfer who shot a 16 on a par-four hole last year. But aside from that amazingly bad showing, he's actually a well-rounded player. He has finished in the top five three times in his past six events.
He finds the fairway on two-thirds of his drives and his green in regulation number is virtually identical, and that's the key to winning at Augusta. Keep it in the short grass off the tee and then give yourself as many looks as birdie as possible.
As long as he can avoid one disastrous hole, he should be in good shape during the weekend. He's definitely undervalued at his current odds.
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