2012 Masters Odds: Martin Kaymer and the Top 4 Europeans Who Could Win

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2012 Masters Odds: Martin Kaymer and the Top 4 Europeans Who Could Win
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The beautiful and historical Masters Tournament at Augusta National begins first-round play on on April 5.  Some of golf's greatest moments have transpired on this course, and there will surely be some more memorable ones this weekend. 

Historically, the Masters has been dominated by Americans, who have a 56 to 11 lead over the Europeans.  However, the Europeans have a lot of star power headed into the tournament this weekend. 

Let's break down the top five Europeans that have the best shot at stealing the show.

 

Luke Donald- A native of England, Donald has had about all the success possible without actually winning a Major.  He has had ten combined PGA and European Championship wins, and is currently ranked the No.1 golfer in the world.  Yet, Donald has not been able to claim a Major. 

It's been a classic case of "close, but no cigar." 

He finished in the top ten six times since 2005 and finished tied for fourth at last year's Masters.  For being the No. 1 golfer in the world, it is hard not to believe Luke Donald has a good shot at bringing home his first Major on Sunday.

 

Martin Kaymer- German-born golfer, Martin Kaymey was atop of the world golf rankings last year beginning in February.  He has 18 professional wins including a PGA Championship Major which he won in a playoff against Bubba Watson in 2010. 

His record at the Masters hasn't been so pristine. 

In his four trips to the Masters, he has missed the half-way cut very time.  However, Kaymer is already making headlines with his improbable tee shot in a practice round on the sixteenth hole which he skipped the ball across the pond, onto the green and in the hole. 

It appears as though Lady Luck is already on Kaymer's side and that may be exactly what he needs in order to win his first green jacket.

 

Rory McIlroy- Last year's Masters will always be a stain on McIlroy's already impressive career.  His huge lead headed into Sunday dissipated when he posted an 80 for his final round, becoming one of the biggest collapses in Masters history. 

McIlroy kept the disaster out of his mind and went on to win the U.S. Open later in June, and continued through 2011 winning two more Championships.  If McIlroy is in contention after 54 holes, it will surely be a test of his mental toughness.

 

Lee Westwood- Much like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood has had a dominant career in golf but still has not achieved a Major victory.  His consistency is perhaps his best trait, attributing to his 23 PGA and European Tour Wins, his three Player of the Year awards, and his No. 3 ranking in the world. 

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He has been much closer to winning other Majors than the Masters, finishing in the top ten at Augusta only twice since 1995.  In 2010, he finished second behind Phil Mickelson and was in contention heading into the final 18 holes last year before finishing at number 11. 

If there is one thing, above all else, needed to win the Masters, it is the putting game.  That's the one thing that Westwood has struggled with the most during his career.  Although some of the other Majors are probably better opportunities, you can never count out steady Lee.

 

Sergio Garcia- With a whopping 17 career top ten finishes in Major Championships, Sergio Garcia can never be left out of the discussion.  He has made the cut in each of the past three seasons at The Masters but has failed to make a push into the top 25. 

The primary reason holding him back, like Westwood, is his putting game. 

Garcia can control is wedge and iron shots as good as anybody so getting the ball to the green has never been the problem.  It is getting the ball from the green, into the hole. 

With the spotlight on Tiger, McIlroy and Mickelson, Garcia should be able to just go out there and play his game.  If he can manage to have a successful weekend of putting on some of the most difficult greens in all of golf, he might very well be a surprise and win his first Masters on Sunday.

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