Who's going to win the Masters?
It's the question I get asked more than any other each year. Normally, I'd say I'm guessing as much as anyone else, but I did bet on Danny Willett last year, so I guess that makes me an expert. In all seriousness, the Masters is the easiest major to predict because it's played on the same course -- a course that usually produces a marquee champ. That being said, you can go in a lot of directions this year when making predictions thanks to the abundance of top players in good form. And when you're talking about betting on the tournament, that opens the door to more options (Sorry, but I'm not betting Dustin Johnson at FIVE-to-one odds). Anyway, Joel Beall joined me to talk about all that, some of our favorite Masters memories, and more in this week's podcast. Have a listen:
And if you're more old school and would rather just read my normal weekly picks, here's my fab foursome at Augusta National:
Jordan Spieth: 2-1-2. That’s what Spieth has finished in his first three Masters appearances. There’s not much more to say. If my life depended on it, he’s the guy I’m going with.
Jon Rahm: Everyone knows Dustin Johnson is the World No. 1, but Rahm has earned the second-most Official World Golf Ranking points in 2017. With as decorated of an amateur career as he had it's surprising that Rahm is a Masters rookie, but his exquisite power and putting touch should make him a favorite at Augusta National for many years to come.
Rory McIlroy: Rory's Masters track record is one of the oddest resumes of any player at any course. In the past seven years, McIlroy has seven scores of 76 or higher. However, he also has 17 sub-par scores in that span and has finished in the top 10 the past three years. With rain softening the course on Monday and another dousing expected on Wednesday, that should only play into McIlroy's favor as he tries to complete the career Grand Slam.
Louis Oosthuizen: I’m finally over losing a 90-to-1 bet on Louis at the 2012 Masters (Thanks for that hooked wedge, Bubba!). OK, so I’m not totally over it, but enough to bet on Oosthuizen at the Masters again. It’s not 90/1, but 50/1 is still pretty good for an Open champ who is overdue for a second major.
Just missed: Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose. Other than Oosthuizen at 50/1, Koepka at 60/1 is my favorite bet. Has he struggled in 2017? Sure, but after fixing his swing path at a range session at Bay Hill following his latest missed cut, Koepka played much better at the Match Play.
Two other value bets at 100/1 are Bill Haas and Alex Noren. Haas, coming off a third-place finish at the Match Play, ranks fourth in strokes gained/around-the-green and has made the cut at Augusta National in all seven of his trips, including four straight top 25s. Noren is the 10th-ranked golfer in the world. I don't care if he's a Masters rookie, getting the 10th-best player in the world at 100/1 odds is great value. Speaking of long shots, Danny Willett, the defending champ, is also 100/1. He was 65/1 last year. Again, when I bet on him. (Don't worry, Danny, you're still my boy.)
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And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:
Yahoo! lineup: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm (Starters); Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka (Bench).
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Jordan Spieth.
And here's the podcast link again, if you want to hear Joel and I jabber: