The US Masters (or the Masters Tournament or simply The Masters), held at the iconic Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, has produced some of golf’s most memorable moments over the years: Sandy Lyle’s breathtaking bunker shot in 1988, Tiger Woods’ unbelievable 12-shot victory in 1997 and Jack Nicklaus winning his final title back in 1986.
The green jacket has been worn by all the greats of the game, Nicklaus, Woods, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Arnold Palmer being some of the most notable. And those men helped a good few punters win a lot of money betting on this fantastic golf tournament!
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US Masters Betting Tips
The Masters Tips and Betting Offers, Augusta National, Thursday 6th April 2017
Russell Henley claimed the final available place at the Masters last week with his victory at the Shell Houston Open. The 30-year-old will have to quickly make plans for the first major of the year but most of those in the field have been looking forward to this since the end of last year’s renewal. This is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the sporting calendar but it’s all business once the tournament begins so let’s have a look at what it will take to win the 2017 US Masters.
Masters Betting Tips and Offers
- Dustin Johnson to win at 11/2 with Coral
- Lee Westwood each way at 100/1 with Betfred (bet £10, get £30 free)
Augusta National is one of the most picturesque golf courses in the world. However, no player can afford to enjoy their surroundings as there is trouble around every turn. At 7,435 yards, Augusta is a longish par 72 and when you factor in the width of the fairways and the relative lack of rough you’ve got a course at which the longer hitters have a distinct advantage.
Not just for the big hitters
Shorter hitters needn’t worry though. There is more than one way to get it done at Augusta as Zach Johnson proved when winning despite not going for any of the par fives in two. Johnson won the famous green jacket thanks to a world class display on and around the greens and that is the key at Augusta. The difficult run off areas around the greens require a deft touch and the lightning fast, heavily sloped surfaces mean only those who have a very good week with the putter have a realistic chance of victory.
It is fitting that the world’s number one player, Dustin Johnson, heads to perhaps the biggest tournament of them all as the bookies’ favourite. Johnson doesn’t have the strongest record at Augusta but there is no arguing that he’s playing the golf of his life right now.
Three wins in a row (a run which included two WGC wins) have given Johnson immense confidence. We’ve long known that DJ is one of the longest hitters in the world but his rise to the best player in the world is thanks to hours and hours of hard work to complete his game. He currently ranks number one for strokes gained tee to green on the PGA Tour due a combination of his driving and his wonderful wedge play. Johnson is also a top class putter when he gets it going on the greens so he’s going to take some beating at 11/2 with Coral.
100/1 Each way shot anyone?!
From the top of the betting market to much further down and Lee Westwood who is a 100/1 shot with shot with Betfred. The Englishman may be in the autumn of his career but there is plenty of fight left in him and this is a tournament at which he performs well more often than not.
Westwood’s finished 11th or better in six of his last seven trips to the Masters and once again his game looks primed for another crack at finally breaking his major duck.
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US Masters History
The Masters is one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious, of golf tournaments that any male golfer can aspire to win. It is one of the four majors in the golfing calendar (along with the US Open, The Open and the US PGA Championship), and as a result of this, the amount of success that golfers have in the Masters and the other three majors tends to determine how successful their careers are historically assessed to have been (just don’t tell Colin Montgomerie that!)
The playing field at The Masters is smaller than those of the other major championships due to it being an invitational tournament. Whilst all of the other majors rotate the course that they use, The Masters is unique in that it is always held at Augusta National in Georgia.
The tournament has not always been referred to as The Masters with it previously being known as the “Augusta National Invitational”, only becoming known as The Masters (or commonly The US Masters) in 1939. The first winner of the event was Harold Smith in 1934. The designer of the course was the legendary Bobby Jones, and the 1934 tournament was made up of a field of some of Jones’s golfing friends. The course was initially designed to be used as a course for the US Open event, however the USGA (United States Golf Association) denied this request.
From 1960 through to 1978, three golfing greats in Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player dominated the event with them managing to win the Augusta showpiece 12 times between them during this period. The impact of these three players on the event is typified by the fact that they have been the honorary starters of The Masters as a trio since 2012, something which is reserved for golfing legends.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the tide of the winners of the event shifted away from the previous US dominance. During this time non-Americans won 11 Masters Tournaments in 20 years and during this time Englishman Nick Faldo won the event three times. The legendary Seve Ballesteros was the first European to win the event in 1980.
In recent years, the nationalities of the winners of the tournament have become even more varied. Ranging from Mike Weir in 2003, who became both the first Canadian to win a major and also the first left hander to win The Masters; to Adam Scott who in 2013 became the first Australian to enjoy success at the iconic Georgia course.
Despite the variety of different nationalities of golfers that have won The Masters, overall Americans have dominated the event. In the 79 years of the event (as of 2015), Americans have won the event 59 times with their being 36 different Americans to have carved their place in Masters folklore, with the most recent being Jordan Spieth in 2015. To put the US supremacy into context, the next most successful country at Augusta is South Africa with just five wins.
The Masters, with all of its history and tradition remains one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. The importance of the tournament is emphasized by the fact that 11.1 million Americans tuned in to watch the final day of the 2015 tournament. Due to its continued ability to provide terrific sporting drama, its spectacularly beautiful setting and the fact that it produces such a fair test, it is certain that the magic of Augusta and The Masters will remain for many years to come.
US Masters Trivia
- The Green Jacket – as well as the prize money awarded, the winner receives a green jacket. The awarding of a jacket was only introduced in 1949 and the jackets, symbolic of honorary membership of the club, must always remain at Augusta!
- The Par 3 Contest
- World War II – the tournament was not played from 1943 to 1945, due to World War II. In order to provide assistance to the war effort, livestock was raised on the grounds at Augusta!
- Jack Nicklaus – widely regarded as the greatest professional golfer of all time, Nicklaus won The Masters 6 times in his career. He also holds the record for the most top five finishes (15), most top 10 finishes (22), the most career birdies (506) and the most career eagles (24). How long that last record will last remains to be seen, with Dustin Johnson managing three in one round in 2015! In 1986 Nicklaus also became the oldest winner of the Masters at the age of 46!
- Dwight Eisenhower – the former U.S President had a great affinity with Augusta. The famous Eisenhower tree on the 17th hole of the course was only removed in February 2014. This tree was named after Eisenhower demanded that the tree be cut down due to its interference with his golf game!
- Defending Champions – only three men have managed to defend their titles the year after; Jack Nicklaus (1965, 1966), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990), and Tiger Woods (2001, 2002)
- Female Members – 2012 was the year that females were first allowed to become members of Augusta. The first two female members were Former U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and banker Darla Moore!
- Greg Norman – seen as the best golfer in the world for a few years in the mid 1990s, Norman could never cross over the final hurdle and win The Masters, ending up finishing second three times. The most notable of his agonising near misses was in 1996, when Norman led by six strokes going into the final round but ended up losing the tournament to Nick Faldo by five strokes, posting a 78 in the final round in comparison to Faldo’s score of 67!
- Membership – individuals cannot become members without being invited to become one. In 1934, the initiation fee was $350 with annual fees of $60. This equates to only around $5,000 of today’s money although today it is estimated that the annual fees are around $10,000
- Amen Corner – The most notorious part of the course is Amen Corner and this is the part of the course that comprises of the 11th, 12th and 13th holes. However, the statistically hardest hole on the course throughout its history is the 10th hole, a lengthy par four called Camellia