It’s the start of April and the U.S. Masters has returned to its traditional slot as the first Major of the year.
Covid restrictions meant that last year’s tournament took place in November, with softer greens and no patrons meaning a very different event at Augusta Golf Club, in Georgia.
Dustin Johnson was the pick of Lap of the Odds last year, and he returns to defending the title he won in record-breaking fashion just five months ago. He has an obvious chance, but we have been concerned for a few weeks about his putting, and this weakness could be exaggerated by the expected fast greens.
Next in the betting is Bryson DeChambeau. The weightlifter turned golfer failed dismally in his attempt to overpower Augusta in November. We think he will try to do so again this week, with the same result.
We have more time for Justin Thomas, who was outstanding at the Players last month and has already tasted victory in a Major, having won the 2017 US PGA. JT is one of the best iron-players in the game, which should suit him here, but his flat stick can run cold, and we’ll pass, admittedly with trepidation.
Rory McIlroy is still seeking the final leg of a career Grand Slam, but hasn’t been on form and has many demons to slay here. Jon Rahm has just become a father and this could provide the inspiration as well as calmness to make a Major breakthrough.
However, the player we are siding with is Jordan Spieth. The American star ended his victory drought on Sunday, something he had threatened with three top fives in 2021, and has an outstanding record at Augusta, including winning in 2015.
Normally we are reluctant to select a player to record back-to-back wins, but Spieth should have no difficulty in getting up for this tournament after his struggles saw him tumbling out of the world’s top 100. He putts like a god and has a scrambling game to die for. If he can keep his drives in play then he has a great chance.
Speith to win, 1 pt, at 11/1, bet365