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Two years ago Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament and one thinks that Jason Day could follow in his fellow Queenslander’s footsteps at the Augusta National Golf Club and take out the most famous major title.
Rory McIlroy is the Masters Tournament favourite and one is not writing off his chance of becoming the sixth golfer to complete a career grand slam – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the five immortals who have achieved the feat. Everything apart from McIlroy’s Masters Tournament form figures suggest that he should love the Augusta National Golf Club but one finds it hard to get past those numbers – he has not finished higher than eighth in his six appearances, poor data for such a hot favourite.
Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson are the closest to McIlroy in the Masters Tournament betting. Spieth finished runner-up on his Masters Tournament debut last year and his last three PGA Tour starts have resulted in one first and two seconds. It is impossible to pick holes in those credentials but one thinks that Spieth could have done with a few quieter weeks than those that he has endured in the lead up to this year’s Masters Tournament. It is asking an awful lot to contend for four competitions in a row, particularly when the fourth one is the most eagerly anticipated event of the season. Watson has won two of the last three Masters Tournaments but, as a subscriber to the law of averages, surely three out of four is likely to prove beyond the colourful character. Only Nick Faldo, Nicklaus and Woods have ever gone back to back also.
Jason Day is the general Masters Tournament fourth favourite at odds of 14/1 15.00 +1400 14.00 14.00 -0.07 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, Boylesports and WilliamHill, and one thinks that he ticks every box required of a potential green jacket recipient.
For starters, Day’s Masters Tournament form is outstanding. Day finished second on his Masters Tournament debut in 2011 and he ended up third in the 2013 edition. One is willing to put a line through his 2012 Masters Tournament performance – he withdrew with an injured ankle – and his 20th place last year when he was playing his first competitive event for more than one month after suffering a hand injury. Day’s Masters Tournament average round score of 71.00 is lower than everyone else in this year’s field except Jonas Blixt (70.75 but based on one appearance), Spieth (ditto Blixt) and Woods (70.85 but no longer the world’s best golfer).
Then there is Day’s recent form. Unlike Spieth, Day has been building steadily towards the Masters Tournament, competing only three times since winning the Farmers Insurance Open in February. Day’s latest placings have been solid for a golfer who has never shot out the lights in Florida – 17th position in the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard was a superb warm-up result for him in the circumstances.
Statistically, Day and the Augusta National Golf Club are a great fit. If one was to piece together an identikit for a Masters Tournament champion it would be a long driver – not necessarily an accurate driver because the Augusta National Golf Club does not punish golfers who spray their tee shots – who hits lots of greens in regulation, possesses terrific scrambling ability and scores low on the longer holes. Day is ranked ninth for driving distance, third for greens in regulation percentage, seventh for scrambling, first for par four scoring average and 37th for par five scoring average, according to the latest PGA Tour charts. Also, Day is ranked first for all-round ranking and he is healthy unlike last year when he played hurt in the Masters Tournament.
The Masters Tournament is the event that Day wants to win above all others and one thinks that he is the pick of the market leaders in a major in which the cream usually rises to the top. Very few mugs have won the Masters Tournament.
If you want to add another couple of horses to your stable, take a look at our other Masters tips column.