Some class it as the greatest Golf tournament on earth, laced with tradition and oozing with historical significance.
The clubhouse has stood since 1864 and the land of the course was brought by Bobby Jones in 1931 and opened in 1933. It is thought that after he’s retirement he just wanted somewhere to play with he’s mates.
The first Masters proceeded in 1934 and was won by Horton Smith who collected the $1500 winnings, to put this into context Charl Schwartzel the 2011 winner collected $1,440.000.
A trophy which is made up of 900 pieces of silver and features the name of every winner, a champions locker room containing a personal locker marked with the name of every past champion show that this is a golf tournament like no other.
Although many traditions remain, the course itself has gone through a few changes over the years. The extra lengthening in 2001 drew some criticism however with the added length of the modern day player from the tee, iron shots from the fairway remain a similar distance to those that faced by Nicholas in the 70’s. Although length of tee and accuracy are key, the tournament is generally won through the short game imagination and the ability to scramble and hole your 10 foot putts for par.
Woods and Mickelson have won 6 of the last 12 Masters titles between them, 2 experts in Imagination of the short game and both in the pomp deadly from 10 feet on the green.
Vijay Singh won the masters in 2000 a former world number 1 and Mike Weir won the masters in 2003 following 2 PGA tour wins a month earlier following this up with a 3rd place in the US Open.
Zach Johnson won the masters in 2007 and a player I believe is in good shape to compete again this year, he is someone who understands the course, a former champion and after a solid start to 2012 is someone who finds himself in the top 10 for scrambling and putting.
I’m going to look at who can challenge the big 3 Mcilroy, Woods and Mickelson, Ian Poulter has never been out of the top 33 on he’s previous 7 Augusta appearances and he will have been encouraged by a return to form after he’s bout of Pneumonia.
Keegan Bradley has never played in a Masters and i usually believe that this is a course in which you need some inside knowledge and experience to tackle however I do believe he’s game is suited to Augusta.
Bubba Watson hits the ball a long way and no matter where you hit it you will generally have a shot at the green. What should also encourage Bubba’s challenge is leading the PGA tour stats on Greens in regulation. The other glaring fact on Bubba’s side is the fact he has had 10 top 20 finishes in a row which goes a long way to suggest he is playing the most consistent golf of he’s career.
There are a few players that I don’t think will pose so much of a challenge,
Martin Kaymer has never made the cut in 4 previous appearances at Augusta and last week Lee Westwood throwing he’s putter showed that he’s putting frustrations are very much getting the better of him
Nick Watney is having a pretty uninspired season compared to 2011. And what of last year’s Champion? Having missed he’s previous 2 cuts and having the responsibility of the champions dinner affecting he’s preparation, Charl Schwartzel will have he’s work cut out to repeat last year’s success.
So I would avoid those guys and Take an E/W punt on Zach Johnson and Ian Poulter at 100’s and maybe a cheeky few pounds on Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson