The Masters | Friday, April 7-10 (AEDT), Augusta, Georgia
World number 1 Dustin Johnson heads into the 2017 The Masters as the favourite to don the green jacket, but the South Carolina native won’t have it his own way.
A cracking field containing a bevy of former winners and world no.1 players are ready to tee-off at the famous layout and the man they call ‘DJ’ is every experts’ tip to lift the Masters trophy for the first time.
Former Masters champion Adam Scott and world no.3 Jason Day headline the Aussie charge with Scottlooking to draw upon his 2013 triumph to don that prestigious jacket for the second time.
Here is a breakdown of the leading contenders.
Dustin Johnson (USA) – $6.50
DJ’s power striking will see him tear up the fairways but it will be his putter and short game around the Augusta greens, which will determine his fate.
The 32-year-old is in the form of his career and has won his last three events at the Genesis Open, WGC Mexico Championship and WGC Dell Match Play.
He might have missed the cut in 2014, but he finished T6th in 2015 and T4th last year and is ready to rise to the next level.
Jordan Spieth (USA) – $8.50
No-one boasts a better record at August than this man.
Spieth won the event in 2015 with an historic wire-to-wire triumph and was T2nd in both 2014 and 2016.
A lacklustre performance at the Shell Houston Open is a concern, but back at the scene of his 2015 victory, he’ll be one to watch.
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) – $9.00
Padraig Harrington believes the man from Northern Ireland is the only man who can deny Johnson the green jacket.
Like Johnson, McIlory is chasing his maiden green jacket and the 27-year-old can’t be discarded.
McIlroy is a four-times major winner and if he’s in the leading group on day four, the green jacket could be heading back to Northern Ireland.
Jason Day (Australia) – $21.00
Hard to know how Australia’s top-ranked player will perform with the world no.3 heading to Augusta with a heavy heart.
The 29-year-old was forced to withdraw from the World Match Play after his mother, Dennig Day, was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Day has played just six events this year, but with his mind elsewhere, it would be a huge effort to reign supreme at Augusta. But if anyone can do it, Jason Day can.
Adam Scott (Australia) – $31.00
Four years ago, Adam Scott etched his name in the history books after becoming the first Australian to win The Masters.
The likeable Aussie achieved the feat after sinking some monster putts on the final day to clinch his first green jacket.
The 36-year-old hasn’t set the world on fire in 2017 but he’s familiar with the Augusta layout and spurred on by those 2013 memories, he could surprise.
Henrik Stenson (Sweden) – $31.00
He might be 40-years-old, but Henrik Stenson is still one of the elite golfers in the world and his world ranking of five proves it.
Surprisingly, last year’s Open Championship winner boasts a lacklustre record at The Masters with his highest finish being a T14 in 2014.
The Swede can’t be discounted but his mediocre record around Augusta is a concern.
Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) – $21.00
The 25-year-old Japanese star is in the prime of his career and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before he collects his maiden major.
The four-time PGA Tour winner has performed strongly at Augusta, finishing T7 in 2016 and T5 in 2015.
He’ll be under immense pressure though with a huge contingent of Japanese media shadowing his every swing and putt.
Marc Leishman (Australia) – $67.00
Leishman comes into the event in red-hot form, after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first PGA Tour triumph since 2012.
He’s had mixed results at Augusta with a T4 in 2013 when Adam Scott pulled on the green jacket, before missing the cut in 2014.
The big Aussie though is in good form and he’s an outside chance if he can get into a winning position on the final day.
Others to watch out for:
The US charge will be led by Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and three-times winner and crowd favourite Phil Mickleson.
The European contingent is driven by defending champ Danny Willett, Englishman Justin Rose and Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm.
Hard to go past Dustin Johnson to don his first green jacket.
The 32-year-old from South Carolina is in career-best form and top six finishes at The Masters over the last two years is proof he’s found a way to master the majestic Augusta layout.
Spieth, McIlroy, Fowler, Mickleson and Matsuyama will be the hunt with the Aussie charge led by Day, Scott and Leishman.
But no-one deserves it more than Johnson, it’s just a matter holding his nerve on that final day.
Unibet Odds (Winner):
Dustin Johnson 6.50, Jordan Spieth 8.50, Rory McIlroy 9.00, Jason Day 21.00, Rickie Fowler 21.00, Hideki Matsuyama 21.00, Phil Mickleson 26.00, Jon Rahm 26.00, Justin Rose 26.00, Adam Scott 31.00, Henrik Stenson 31.00, Bubba Watson 41.00, Marc Leishman 67.00
Tip: Jason Day at $21.00