This year the tournament promises to be as exciting as ever, with a rejuvenated Tiger Woods back on the prowl
For many, the Golf highlight of the year gets underway at the magnificent Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday when the best players in the world tee off for the 76th US Masters. It is the first of four "Major" tournaments played in the calendar year.
Regarded as the most prestigious tournament in the world, the Masters has produced many of Golf’s epic moments and in some cases many of its most desperate. Who could ever forget Nick Faldo’s incredible comeback in 1996 to overhaul runaway leader, Greg Norman?
It was Norman who suffered in 1987 when having reached a Play-Off he witnessed Larry Mize fire in a chip from way off the green to claim the crown at the second extra hole. This came just 12 months after Norman had been tied for second place which was the year of course that saw the magnificent Jack Nicklaus claim his record breaking 6th Green Jacket and his record breaking 18th and final "Major" title. Norman alas was never to win a Green Jacket!
Just 12 months ago, it was the turn of Rory McIlroy to suffer, heading into the final round by four strokes, the young Ulsterman had a nightmare round of 80 which cost him any chance of winning. It did allow however for another exciting young player to take the initiative. Charl Schwartzel played incredibly when under enormous pressure, to claim the title for the first time, becoming only the third South African to win the coveted crown.
Schwartzel will be defending his title this year against 96 players, which include the top 50 in the world rankings along with a number of past winners, the other three current ‘Major’ champions and five amateurs. As per US Masters tradition, one of those amateurs the reigning US Amateur Champion, Kelly Kraft, will play for the first two days with Schwartzel.
This year the tournament promises to be as exciting as ever, with a rejuvenated Tiger Woods back on the prowl , back to winning ways and looking for a fifth Green Jacket and is the favourite in the US Masters betting to do so at odds of 5/1. His great rival, Phil Mickelson, has also won on the PGA Tour this year and will be bidding to add to his three previous wins in this tournament and is rated as a 12/1 chance to do so and the pair rank as the biggest American threat. Rory McIlroy is sandwiched between the two veterans at 6/1 to add to his only "Major" victory to date, the US Open which he won last June.
World number one Luke Donald is a 16/1 chance to win a first "Major" as will his compatriot, world number three, Lee Westwood, who can be backed at 22/1. These two along with McIlroy and Martin Kaymer head the assault to claim a first European win at the Masters since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.
The Australian challenge too should be strong, with two of their top players, Jason Day and Adam Scott, who tied for second place behind Schwartzel a year ago leading the way for a first ever Australian win at Augusta and are both priced at 35/1 to do so.
The Masters begins on Thursday 5th April and concludes on Sunday evening when a champion will be handed the famous Green Jacket. As one of the biggest betting events of the year, bookmakers are battling to win the custom of the hoards of Golf punters who will be betting on the event before and during the four days by offering free bets and special offers. Paddy Power for example will be refunding all losing bets if Tiger Woods wins the competition.
Get the latest odds and follow the US Masters scores and betting in-play across all four days at http://www.betting-directory.com/
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