It’s Masters week! Probably the best week of golf of the year.
Everyone likes a little flutter on the action at Augusta and we are no different.
It seems like a wide open tournament with lots and lots of players showing good form. Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas have all won recently.
Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose have all put in good performances of late.
And of course, the return of Tiger Woods. The biggest story of the season and he has not even won, but could that change at Augusta?
So here are the five players we are picking. Starting with three former champions.
Jordan Spieth – 10/1
Spieth has been made favourite for the tournament after a strong showing at the Houston Open.
He has struggled on the greens all year – something we do not associate with the three-time major winner – but despite what people tend to say, putting isn’t that important at Augusta.
Looking at the recent winners, Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett and Bubba Watson are not players that stand out as great putters.
What is important is not making big errors on the greens. Avoiding the three putts, Spieth can certainly do that.
Tee-to-green he is playing as good as anybody right now and he showed that last week. Despite more struggles with his putting he posted -16 to finish in third.
He has an incredible record here. A win, two runner-up finishes and an 11th in four visits, it does not get much better.
10/1 is short, but Spieth can make that look like great value.
Phil Mickelson – 16/1
What a year the 47-year-old is having. A win at the WGC Mexico topped off a fantastic run of form.
He will have his sights set on the US Open and completing the Grand Slam, but he can become the oldest ever Masters winner this week.
He had a strange week last week in Houston. He finished at -10 but made so many birdies throughout the week, they just happened to be inbetween some not so good holes.
That doesn’t bother me though. Heading to Augusta, I love that he is making lots of birdies.
He is sitting in second for strokes gained putting this season and this can take him all the way this week.
I love Mickelson this week to win a third green jacket.
Zach Johnson – 100/1
Not necesarrily one that jumps off the page but Zach Johnson has what it takes to win another green jacket and another major.
Two of the most important stats at Augusta are three putt avoidance and wedge play – two categories where Johnson does very well.
Of the players in the field, on the PGA Tour this season he is ranked second in three putt avoidance and sixth in approaches from less than 100 yards.
Of course, he is not going to overpower the course like some of the other players in the field, but he has the game in other departments to make up for it.
Webb Simpson – 150/1
Again, not necessarily a name that jumps out at you, but Simpson has quietly been having a good year.
Seven starts has brought three top 10s and like Johnson, he has done very well in some key stats for Augusta.
Of those in the field, he is top 10 in approaches from inside 100 yards and three putt avoidance. He also ranks seventh in strokes gained putting. A good recipe for doing well at the Masters.
He is 150/1, so obviously it is a bit of a long shot and if you could get a top eight like many bookmakers are offering for each way bets, you’d be delighted.
But Simpson is a major winner and is a quality player. I really like his value.
Patton Kizzire – 150/1
Another 150/1 shot, but one who has shown some great golf this year. There are three players with two wins this season – Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and yes, Kizzire.
He sits 2nd in the FedEx Cup right now so is obviously doing something right.
Like Simpson and Johnson, his stats look good. Inside the top 15 in three of the key stats we looked at.
It is his first Masters tournament, so it is hard to know how he will fare on the course, but he has the elements in his game to do well.
Like Simpson, a place for Kizzire would be superb, but who knows, maybe he can make it win number three for the season this week.