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The mystique and anticipation of the US Masters is like no other golf tournament. 8 months of 'no Major frustration' since the PGA Championship comes to an end at Augusta National Golf Club, which just so happens to be the most pristine and manicured golf property on the planet. It's where nothing's left to chance, where golf history is made each year, where a player's mettle is tested to its maximum. The 81st edition of The Masters takes place from Thursday 6th April 2017. Now into our 8th season, Golf Betting System will as ever be hunting for profit with our US Masters tips from Paul Williams and Steve Bamford. Golf Betting System has full 2017 coverage with US Masters tips, our new DraftKings coverage, long-shot and alternative market selections, a full range of free course and player statistics, plus of course our famous statistical Predictor Model.
Talk of The Masters takes us nicely into our Golf Betting System Majors Competition, sponsored for the 5th successive year by bet365. Our 2017 winner will receive a £150 (or currency equivalent) free bet with additional £75 and £25 free bet prizes for 2nd and 3rd place finishers. All we want are your 4 player selections across the 4 Major Championships before the Masters tees off. It's a One & Done format - full competition rules and entry details are available here so don't hesitate to get involved!
The US Masters as the first Major of the season always captures the imagination of the golfing world and the betting public alike. Plenty of questions will be answered at what will be the 81st edition of the Masters. How will Jordan Spieth respond to his collapse around Amen Corner last April? Can Danny Willett become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to defend the Green Jacket? Can Rory McIlroy complete his personal Grand Slam with the Masters title he craves so badly? Can Hideki Matsuyama become Japan's first ever Major winner? Or will Augusta specialists Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson triumph on a course they revel upon so much?
A case of Sunday despair to victory for Jordan Spieth at Augusta in 2017?
Will the World Number 1 break the Augusta jinx?
World Number 1 Jason Day (at the time of writing) goes into the 2017 Masters typically as one of the short-priced favourites. The amiable Aussie goes into this year's tournament with two top 3 finishes in 6 attempts at Augusta to his name, the best of which was a runner-up finish back in 2011. But if Day is to go one better in 2017 then he'll go against the trend which no player since Tiger Woods has yet to overcome: no World Number 1 since 2002 has successfully captured the Green Jacket.
Danny to win consecutive Green Jackets?
Danny Willett winning The Masters in 2016 was a shock to both the golfing and betting worlds. Well backed as an each-way punt at 66/1, the Sheffield man turned the tough conditions to his advantage when Spieth let a significant lead, which at the turn had been 5-shots, slip around Amen Corner. Taking his opportunity with both hands, Willett landed the Green Jacket in only his second visit to Augusta National. But if Willett is to repeat in 2017 it will be a performance which only the golfing elite have managed previously.
Look through past results and since 1960 only Jack Nicklaus (1965/66), Nick Faldo (1989/90) and of course Tiger Woods (2001/02) have defended their Masters title. A pretty select group. Even from an each-way punting perspective, since Tiger defended successfully in 2002 only Woods himself and Jordan Spieth last year have finished in the top 5 when defending. That puts Spieth's performance into real context.
|Defending Champion||Position||Defending Champion||Position|
Augusta Favours Hot Form
Time was that any player with course experience driving down Magnolia Lane had a real chance of capturing the Masters title. Indeed 2007 through 2010 saw Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman, Angel Cabrera and Phil Mickelson capture Green Jackets with a combined two season-to-date Top 10 finishes between them. Astonishing but true!
Since 2011 though, form players have dominated with Adam Scott in 2013 being the only player to feature as little as a single Top 10 as part of a deliberate pre-Augusta schedule that contained just 3 strokeplay tournaments. He was 3rd though at the WGC at Doral so was clearly peaking for his target event. Winning prices from 2015 through 2011 of 12/1 (Spieth), 28/1 (Watson), 28/1 (Scott) and 55/1 (Watson) tells its own story.
Winning Prices since 2011: Willett 66/1, Spieth 12/1, Watson 28/1, Scott 28/1, Watson55/1.
Trouble in Texas
I always warn punters who are interested in backing the winner of the tournament immediately prior to a Major Championship. However there are a couple of notable exceptions: the mercurial Phil Mickelson always throws the form book out of the window and clinched the Scottish Open / Open Championship double in 2013 and of course Rory McIlroy who won the Bridgestone Invitational / PGA Championship double in 2014.
However at The Masters there's a definite trend and that's not to back the winner of the Masters warm-up event which, since 2007, has always been in Texas. Last year Jim Herman won at the Golf Club of Houston but ultimately joined a list that includes Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Martin Laird, Matt Jones and J.B. Holmes, all of whom peaked a week too early and couldn't go back-to-back and claim the Green Jacket. Only Kim rewarded his backers with an each-way return. The last player to win the week before winning at Augusta was of course Phil Mickelson (who else could it be) who in 2006 won the Bell South Classic the week before capturing his 2nd Masters title.
|Warm Up Winner||Augusta Finish|
Powerful Driving Is The Key
Every year there's a debate about whether a short hitter can win around Augusta. Some believe that players of the ilk of Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar can still triumph despite their obvious lack of big hitting ability. Naturally Zach Johnson won here in 2007 by going for every par-5 in 3 shots, so what is the reality statistically? Since the course was last re-modelled prior to the 2008 Masters, shorter hitters such as the aforementioned Kuchar and Jonas Blixt have featured, but every winner since 2008 has been in the top 35% in terms of power hitting on Tour - the best measure to use is Distance to Apex (Distance in yards from the Tee to the Apex on measured Par 4 and Par 5 tee shots) in my opinion.
The challenge of Augusta, which effectively plays around 7,800 yards in course length, is like no other. The course is quoted as a 7,435 yard Par 72, but don't believe that as all fairways are mown against the hole direction to minimise fairway run, effectively meaning it plays far closer to a 7,800 yard Par 72 format. So those who are long and have a high ball flight flourish.
Making the real difference at Augusta is the ability to reach as many of the par-5s as possible in two shots. The 2nd, 13th and 15th holes are reachable for players who are long enough from the tee and have the in-built aggression to go for it with their approach, rather than laying-up. Spieth and Willett may be more tactical with their approaches across a season, but when they needed to go for it at Augusta they have both the firepower off the tee and from the fairway to do so.
|Masters Winner||Distance to Apex Rank||Going for the Green|
|2016||Willett||62nd (pre-event)||56th (pre-event)|
You may also be interested in our US Open preview and Open Championship preview written for the 2016 events - these will be updated shortly for 2017. Author Steve Bamford. Our 2017 US Masters tips preview was last updated 18th January 2017.
US Masters Tips 2017
Our final preview and selections for the 2017 Masters will be published as we approach the event itself - watch this space
What next? Before the Masters starts you might be interested to read our golf trading guide or latest bookmaker offers pages where all the extra place deals and enhanced odds offers for this year's event are listed.
2016 final selections published 5.4.16: Steve Bamford published his final preview and selections here; Paul Williams published his longshots and alternative market preview and selections here.