Masters Preview

The Masters tournament is the first of golf’s ‘majors’ every year and is special for so many reasons and we look ahead to the 2018 edition.

Conceived by golf administrator Clifford Roberts and the legendary Bobby Jones, it was established in 1938 and is the only major event ever to be played at the same course every year – the Augusta National Golf Club, on a course designed by Jones along with famed British course builder Dr Alister McKenzie.

The Masters awards the winners a ‘green jacket’ and although each winner owns the jacket, they have to leave it in the dressing room at Augusta – only the winner that year has permission to take it from the club grounds.

The Masters also boasts the smallest field of any of the four majors, as it is still categorised as an invitational event and is not just the 100 top players in the world.

The course itself now rivals St Andrews for the most famous in the world, given it gets the most exposure of any golfing venue in the world.

Every hole at Augusta has a story to tell but more often that not the best tales are found from Amen Corner – the most famous three-holes in the world. The par 4 11th (White Dogwood), the par 3 12th (Golden Bell) and par 5 13th (Azalea) are famed for where tournaments can be won or last. Most recently the world’s best have come a cropper here. Rory McIlroy’s now famous collapse in 2011 was sealed with struggles on all three after going into the final round leading by four, and in 2016 defending champion Jordan Spieth hit a quadruple bogey on the 12th to hand the title to Danny Willett.

See below as we run through the tournament for you including facts, odds and picks from our own golfing professional Cliff Jackson and Betfair.


  • Staged at the Augusta National, Georgia
  • First staged in 1934
  • Current champion is Sergia Garca

FIELD: The line-up is always hand picked, it is an invitational event and is limited to just 87 players – but don’t worry, every player who needs to be here, is…

QUOTES: For the first time in many years, Tiger Woods looks to be contention after making a great start to 2018 and with his injury problems now seemingly under control, there would not be a more popular winner at Augusta and he is looking forward to it for the first time in a long time. “I’ve got a chance to really do some good playing. That hasn’t been the case for years.”

World number one Dustin Johnson was the pre-tournament favourite this time last year before a trip down the stairs on the eve of the opening round, ruled him out.  “I’m definitely looking forward to it this year. You know, I was very disappointed I didn’t get to play last year, but things happen.

“So you’ve just got to roll with it. But yeah, it’s a place where I always love going to play. I feel like I really like the golf course.”

And defending champion Sergio Garcia could not be happier to be back, as he looks for successive Green Jackets.

“I’m excited to defend my title as well as I can do,” Garcia said.

“You know, if I’m looked at as a favorite or not, it doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, it depends on myself and what I do and on what I believe.”


The pro’s point of view…

Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.

There are few better weeks in golf than The Masters, so much to look forward for everyone who loves the sport.

For me, I am looking at one of the greats to come through – I would love Tiger to do something, and he is clearly back in shape which is the most important thing, and I think he could feature.

And to go with him, his old sparring partner Phil Mickelson – I think Phil could have a very good week indeed.

The Bookie says…

We caught up with Betfair’s Joe Dyer to get their views on this week’s action

it’s Masters time! Yep, we’re nearly ready for the 82nd edition of this iconic tournament and it really is looking like a potential classic.

The Betfair Sportsbook has rolled out the red carpet paying eight places at one-fifth the odds so even if you plump for 10/1 favourite Jordan Spieth you’ll be getting 2/1 or better on your place payout.

The 2015 Masters champion heads the Betfair odds after finally showing good form in last weekend’s Houston Open where he finished third, enough for Betfair tipster Dave Tindall to put him up as a headline selection The Texan is followed by 11/1 Justin Thomas and a quartet on 12/1 – Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Next up is a trio on 16/1 – Bubba Watson, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson.

It’s a fiercely competitive heat. Among the leading contenders are four former champions and, if they don’t have a green jacket, players with near-misses at Augusta. The only one without a Masters top 20 is Thomas and he’s only had two cracks at it. The 24-year-old has probably shown the best form of any golfer on the planet, to boot.

And if the winner doesn’t come from the very top of the market there are a host of plausible alternatives further down the list – defending champion Sergio Garcia is 25/1 to follow up, 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen is 50/1 and his fellow countryman, 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel, is 90/1.

If backing big prices is your thing then get stuck in to Paul Krishnamurty’s long shots preview >

while Steve Rawlings covers every possible angle in his comprehensive preview here >


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