Rory McIlroy will stride up Magnolia Lane at the iconic Augusta National Golf Club with history there for the taking, as the 25-year-old attempts to triumph at the Masters and secure a career Grand Slam.
The world No. 1 is the man to beat at the year’s first major, and a win here would see him in possession of all four major titles. But with a massive field bristling with the planet’s finest players in situ, there will be plenty of quality golfers ready to seize their chance should the Northern Irishman dip below his typically immaculate levels.
Here’s a look at how the bookmakers are seeing things ahead of the tournament getting underway and some recommendations on where your money should be going before the competition begins in earnest.
|The Masters: Winner Odds|
|J B Holmes||40-1|
Rory to Fend Off Jordan Spieth Challenge
There is a remarkable clutch of extraordinary young golfers at the moment, and it’s astonishing that McIlroy has the chance to check off every major title before his 26th birthday. But if anyone’s going to halt the Northern Irishman, it will be another prodigious star.
There’s going to be immense pressure on McIlroy this week. He’s made no secret of his intentions to secure this career Grand Slam at the earliest opportunity, and the focus on every shot he makes throughout the week will be unrelenting. The European Tour Twitter account broke down his numbers leading up to the Masters:
McIlroy has the look of a thoroughbred now too. He’s won four major titles in a variety of circumstances, meaning he now has the requisite experience and a steely mentality to complement his marvellous array of fundamental golfing skills. Put that all together and it’s tough to see past him notching another major this week.
Nike released this advert ahead of the tournament getting underway, illustrating just how far he has come in the game:
Another player who has made immense recent strides will surely fancy his chances of pushing McIlroy close, though. Jordan Spieth finished as joint runner-up at Augusta last year, and after a strong performance at the Houston Open—where he finished second in a playoff with J.B. Holmes—his game is looking in superb order.
Longhorn Network tweeted to say they think the American is ready to win a major:
But there’s something ominous and almost inevitable about McIlroy donning the green jacket this weekend. After winning two major titles and the Ryder Cup last year before starting this season with a bang, everything seems to be geared up toward him peaking at the Masters.
While there’s a lot expectation on his shoulders, he has the temperament and talent to handle it with distinction. Even at 6-1 in an enormous field, Rory represents fine value.
Martin Kaymer a Dark Horse
When it comes to these marquee titles, experience can be vital in high-pressure situations, and while he’s never quite flourished at Augusta before, Martin Kaymer has all the requisite qualities to push for victory here and notch his third major win.
Kaymer’s best ever finish at the Masters is 31st, suggesting that he’s a player who struggles with the bespoke setup. But after fine-tuning his swing recently—the German now hits a draw, which is preferable for the Masters—his game seems to be coming together at just the right time.
He’s cut a rather relaxed figure at the venue this week as well, as we can see here, courtesy of Golf Central:
While other players typically wilt under the pressure of being up there in contention for a major championship, Kaymer performs superbly when the heat is on. He’s shone in tense moments when winning the U.S. Open last year, the PGA Championship back in 2010 and in various Ryder Cup instances, too.
For a player of his undisputed quality and major-winning pedigree, 80-1 is a gargantuan price. Even if it’s as an each-way wager, make sure you get some money on the German to do the business at Augusta this week.