US Masters 2012 preview and odds

The first golf major of the year takes place this week, with the US Masters arguably the biggest tournament in the entire calendar as the best players from around the world compete for the Green Jacket at Augusta

Many people like to place a bet on the US Masters whether it’s before the tournament gets under way or instead when the action has started and the In-Play betting markets are made live by the wide range of bookmakers out there.

Tiger and Rory head the Winner Market
The favourite to win the 2012 US Masters is Tiger Woods, who demonstrated that he’s bang in form after recently winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The American already has four Green Jackets in his locker at Augusta, although the latest of these came seven years ago.

Even so, the 36-year-old is an 11/2 chance (Bet Victor free bets) to claim victory this week and is clearly playing with plenty of confidence, although it should be noted that the win at Bay Hill was the first on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009.

Woods has traded at single figure odds for countless major tournaments over the years, although there is another golf player whose price will be typically short every time he plays in a tournament. Rory McIlroy has already achieved so much at the tender age of 22 and could be open to further improvement.

The Northern Irish player earned plenty of plaudits twelve months ago when playing fantastic golf for three rounds at Augusta before blowing up on the final 18 holes, although his major duck was broken shortly afterwards when he made short work of the opposition to win the 2011 US Open and he looks full of confidence here.

McIlroy is currently a 9/1 chance (William Hill £25 free bet) to win at Augusta this week although you might have to be quick to get hold of this particular price.

The British Challenge
Luke Donald might have occupied the number one ranking spot in 2011 although the fact that the 34-year-old has never won a major is a stat that he wants eliminated by the end of this week.

You would think that Donald’s short game lends itself very well to the tricky greens in Augusta, although his best ever finish in the Masters was tied third in 2005 and subsequent years have not been too kind.

Donald is a 16/1 chance (Ladbrokes bookmaker) to claim victory, while Lee Westwood is another player that would finally love to be adorning that Green Jacket and avoid becoming another Colin Montgomerie when it comes to lack of major success.

The Worksop player has every chance at odds of 22/1 (bet365 £200 free bets) and he finished second behind Phil Mickelson two years ago in this tournament, with the 38-year-old arriving with bags of confidence despite an indifferent 2012 so far.

Justin Rose (33/1) shouldn’t be overlooked and Ian Poulter can be backed at a mighty 100/1, with the Englishman having had a stinker of a year although he is the sort of man that can score birdies on a frequent basis.

The American Challenge (apart from Woods!)
It used to be all about Tiger and Phil, although Rory McIlroy’s meteoric rise has seen Mickelson become something of a forgotten man at Augusta, even though it is Lefty that attends the Champions Dinner at Augusta thanks to the three Green Jackets he has claimed.

The 41-year-old is one of the greatest golfers that has ever lived and has won in even-numbered years since 2004 with the exception of 2008. This is clearly the major where Mickelson excels thanks to his brilliant short game where the player can dream up brilliant chip shots to get out of trouble.

Sadly, Dustin Johnson’s back injury rules him out of the competition, although Hunter Mahan will be flying the Star Spangled Banner high considering he won the Shell Houston Open last week, which means he is now the highest-ranked American for the first time.

Mahan is a 33/1 shot with William Hill to win his first ever major and he did manage to tie 8th two years ago, while Keegan Bradley is another player from the States who has regularly featured at the top of the leaderboard in recent years.

This will be the 25-year-old’s first ever US Masters, although he claimed the PGA Championship at the first time of asking last year and looks a sensational talent. It remains to be seen whether this tournament will come along too early for him to make a real impact.

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