The Masters preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
Jamie, Jamie, Jamie do you love (mark) me? No as it happens. Perhaps relevant this week Lovemark’s loss of composure when leading at the Shell is indicative of how hard it is to win on the USPGA Tour when you are entering new territory.
More than any other event the Masters plays into the hands of repeat performers. Same course, same time of year, and generally similar conditions. On that subject it may pay to keep an eye out for the weather with Thursdays early starters set to get the best of the conditions. If you haven’t got a game suited to Augusta then you’ll never contend.
And what sort of game is that? Power is clearly a key component. Zach Johnson’s win is a notable exception and curiously despite the improvements in fitness, the ball and the clubs fewer players seem suited to Augusta than ever.
Simple then to find the winner. Except its not just power – you also have to have a putting week.
Which brings us neatly on to Jordan – with a 2nd and a win from 2 starts – he gave an interview at the Shell where he said they had a green at his club when he was a kid with a wicked Augusta type slope and every putt was to win the Masters. He’s been playing it for years.
Power and putting hardly narrows the field. The big three alone all have great credentials.
Speith for all his competitive genius is hitting it sideways – left and right – yet still manages to finish inside the top 20. Can he win with such a (currently) flawed tee to green game? How good did he putt last year? He dropped 10 shots yet still won by 4. He could well turn up and have addressed the tee to green issues and putt like he did in 2015 but at the price, 10/1, we can’t be on him.
Day is flying, looks visibly confident, has 6 wins in his last 13 starts plus he has form at Augusta. He’s just too short at 7/1 for me.
Rory is hacking it round – so you’d think the way he’s spoken about. He looked pretty good to me in the match play and Day commented that Rory actually shot a lower number than him in their match. Leaving aside it was match play it was telling that Day was sufficiently generous to point this out but also clearly an indication that he knows Rory is playing well. The premier player of his generation – he has 4 majors remember – Rory actually had his best finish last year and with the change in putting and his pre-masters schedule he looks to have timed his run. As a winner of majors by huge margins Rory’s price is made by his contemporaries and while he has let us down in the past you just don’t get 17/2 about class acts.
4 pts win at $10 on
Bubba is 2 wins from 7 starts here and is clearly inspired by the place. His current form is excellent but aside from the match play he hasn’t played for a month. He looks a win or bust proposition and at 12/1 is too short.
Of the big guns Ricky, Adam, Phil, Justin and Dustbin all have claims.
While we have spoken about the main market contenders and plumped for Rory there is another at a price who would not surprise.
After a spell we’ll get back on Patrick Reed. Two starts here for a first time MC followed by a 22nd last year Reed has been working on a softer fade and showed signs that he was beginning to roll in some putts last week. A draw doesn’t hurt around here either. We’ve alluded to Reed’s ball flight and his ability to control his ball in the wind that is forecast for the first three rounds could be a factor. This is the 10th best player on he planet remember with 7 top 10’s from his last 11 starts. He putted better at the Shell and it wasn’t lost on him that he has not been converting his chances. Four wins from 107 tour starts show what a class act Reed is. Yes he’s not Rory or Jordan but he is 49/1!
1pt each way at $51 with