Masters preview

the mastersThe PGA Tour is back in full swing now and its first showpiece event of the season, The Masters, is just over two weeks away. Jordan Spieth will be hoping to defend the green jacket he won for the first time in 2015, but there will be an army of dangerous contenders looking to dethrone the current king of Augusta. So let’s have a look at the current odds for the 2016 Masters, and preview the top five contenders for the title.

If it wasn’t for the outstanding quality all around the golfing world at the moment, we could have had another Nicklaus/Palmer/Player situation on our hands with these three golfers.Spieth (15/2) took the golfing world by the scruff of its neck last season, winning the first two major and coming incredibly close in the other two. Rory McIlroy (8/1) didn’t have a particularly stellar campaign, thanks in part to an unfortunate ankle injury, but Jason Day (13/2) thrust himself well into the golfing stratosphere when he claimed the final major of the year.

That first major title was a long time coming for Day, but he seems to have taken it well in his stride, adding the Arnold Palmer invitational to his list at the weekend, when claiming a one-shot victory at Bay Hill. The 28 year-old has put in some good rounds at Augusta, finishing second and third in the last five years.He is extremely long off the tee and currently sits second in putting statistics on the PGA Tour, surely it won’t be long before he finally dons the famous green jacket.

McIlroy’s form looks to be returning so far in 2016, after ending last season with a win in the Dubai championship. He hasn’t managed to claim a victory yet this season, but encouraging performances at the HSBC and Cadillac championships will have been most welcome. A much-publicised change of putting grip, similar to the one used by Spieth, has seen a slight increase in his putting stats, which will hold him in good stead as he tries to claim the only major title to elude him so far in his short, but highly lucrative career.

It’s been an incredibly frustrating year so far for Spieth, who has struggled to reach the astonishing level he set in 2015. Despite his game not being totally there, he managed to win the Tournament of Champions in January and finished in the Top 20 in both the Valspar and Cadillac championships. His driving has caused him problems this season and despite being widely recognised as the best putter around, he’s currently ranked 22nd in the putting stats. However, he is clearly a young man for the big occasion, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he put it all together at The Masters for a second successive year.

Adam Scott (10/1) has really gotten to grips with his short putter in 2016, which has resulted in the Aussie winning two of his seven tournaments thus far and finishing in the Top 10 in four of the other five. His length and accuracy off the tee is still as good as it’s ever been and is renowned for being one of the straightest hitters on tour. His putting has always been a cause for concern, especially after his beloved long putter was banned. He struggle with the conventional putter last year, but this season has seen a dramatic change in fortunes on the greens, he will hope this continues as he bids to recapture the Masters crown he won in 2013.

Rickie Fowler (14/1) has added consistency to his game in recent seasons, making him one of the most dangerous golfers in the world. In 2014, he finished in the Top 5 in all four of the majors and despite not making the break-through last year, 2016 could be his time to finally win a major. It’s only a matter of time before Rickie does win a major and The Masters may be the perfect place for him to do it. Long driving has become such an important attribute to have around Augusta and Fowler sits very highly when it comes to Average Driving Distance. Combine this with his current seventh in the Strokes Gained through Putting stats and fourth in Greens in Regulation,his game looks perfectly suited for a win around Augusta.

The 2016 Masters Tournament will be held at the Augusta National Golf Club between April 7th -10th.


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