Welcome to Masters Week everyone! This week we have the first major of the year and arguably the most prestigious. 96 of the world’s best will be hoping Charl Schwartzel puts a green jacket on them to cap off a spectacular week. Charl on the other hand, will be hoping to retain the green jacket and capture his 2nd Masters title.
The first ever Masters champion was Horton Smith in 1934. Since that inaugural win, the mystique and excitement surrounding the Masters has grown with each year. Champions like Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have all won the green jacket multiple times. Recently we have seen two men dominate the Masters, Tiger and Phil. 6 out of the last 11 years either Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson have taken the title at this weekend’s tournament. Will they do it again or will another player achieve his first major championship with a Masters victory.
Augusta is a Par 72, 7435-yard course, which demands players are at the top of their game. The course is one of the most stunningly beautiful place in the entire world (It actually almost looks fake it’s so perfect). Since the course has been lengthened people have said that it has turned into a bombers course. Zach Johnson however used the approach of laying up on every Par 5 in the 2007 Masters and took the championship.
My favorite hole on the course is the 170 yard Par 3 16th; a hole that has seen its fair share of excitement. The most famous shot on the 16th occurred in the 2005 Masters when Tiger hit a chip shot witnessed around the world. Woods chipped it to the upper shelf of the green (past the hole) and watched as the ball made a U-Turn and headed back towards the hole. The ball rested on the edge of the cup for what seemed like an eternity, only to roll in for an amazing birdie. If you are looking to see a hole in one at the Masters, the 16th is a great place to park your seat. Look for the 15th (reachable Par5) and the 16th to make a difference come Sunday.
The 11th Hole I feel is the most difficult hole on the course, and the beginning to Amen corner. A 505-yard, tree lined Par 4, forces players to be very accurate off the tee. A pond guards the left side of the green and you will see many shots this week come up short and to the right (in a large swale). Look for plenty of bogeys this week on number 11.
THE PLAYERS FOR 2012 MASTERS
97 players have the opportunity to win the Masters at the start of the week (Though I would not put my money on Ben Crenshaw, even if he is paying out 1000/1). The Masters will have a slew of players making their first appearance at the storied event. Only one player in the last 75 years has won the event when competing for his first time (Fuzzy Zoeller 1979). Players such as John Huh, Kyle Stanley and Webb Simpson will all be trying to become the first man since Fuzzy to achieve such a feat.
Large swarms of people will be following players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and for good reason. But there is a new group of golfers who will also attract plenty of attention this week (Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy.) People are intrigued by the up and coming stars golf has produced over the past few seasons.
Finally, will this be the year Lee Westwood or Luke Donald wins his first major. The two best players in the world who have not won a major have both enjoyed previous success here at Augusta. Luke is the top ranked player in the world and Lee is the 3rd ranked. The fact that neither of these men have won a major, speaks volumes to the difficulty of the task.
STEVES SIX PACK SYSTEM PICKS FOR THE MASTERS
All of you have been following me this year and if you have followed the head to head picks and the outright winner picks you have done very well.
With the Masters being the most bet on golf event in North America, my reputation is built through my success at this tournament. Just three years ago I hit a winner that almost no one had on his or her radar. Angel Cabrera was paying 140/1 and won the 2009 Masters through a playoff. The celebrations that ensued were legendary. Then two years ago I had Phil Mickelson as my favorite at 11/1. He won the event and my clients were again happy after we hit a second straight Masters champion. This year we look to make it 3 out of the past 4 years.
Prop Play for the Tournament
We are going to say that a Hole in One DOES occur (+105). Always a good one to cheer for and with good value. Martin Kaymer even skipped one over the water for a hole in one in Mondays practice round.
Round 3 Head-To-Head Pick
@ 5Dimes – Bubba Watson (-145) over Paul Lawrie
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