WE’RE off and running now JB Holmes has got my first win of the year. After a string of placed winners over the past few months I was wondering if I was ever going to land a winner – so to do it with a 28-1 shot was great.
And it came just in time for the first Major of the season and one I have been looking forward to this for months.
I love The Masters. It’s the tournament I most love to watch … unfortunately I will be in front of the telly not like Mr Fixit who’ll be there in person.
Maybe we should have a wee competition for the first person to see him on the course in his shorts (not a pretty sight). And having played with him last week I hope he watches the golf better than he plays (not hard).
Looking back over the last five years of The Masters the best performances have arguably come from Tiger Woods (three top-four finishes), Lee Westwood (not out of top 11 in five starts), and Matt Kuchar (who has not been out of the top eight in the last three years). And of course Bubba Watson has won it twice in the last three.
I mentioned Bubba a few weeks ago and thought he was looking good for Augusta but he blew the lead and lost out to big Dustin in the WGC-Cadillac recently. When he’s under pressure his swing seems to be all over the place and with his swing he’s got to be spot on.
I know he’s won two of the last three Masters, and I will probably regret this, but I’ve gone off him a bit recently and will leave him out.
The man I think is going to do it this year is big DJ. Since he’s come back from his self-imposed exile from the game he has finished in the top six four times, winning once and missing two cuts.
Johnson now seems to have his act together since becoming a father for the first time and when on form he’s hard to beat. I know his form at Augusta is, well non-existent, but this is a new DJ and one destined for a Major.
When you look at Henrik Stenson’s standings in the stats on the PGA Tour all you see is a high percentage of first and seconds. In driving accuracy he is 12th with 70%, in strokes gained:total he’s first, GIR second.
Apart from scrambling from 10-20 yards (11th) he is first in everything else. He is second in strokes gained:putting and the more I look at his stats I’m wondering why I’m bothering picking anyone else. But if it was just down to stats picking a winner would be relatively easy.
With six top-seven finishes this year, including a win and two seconds in his last three outings, Jordan Spieth looks the form horse coming in to Augusta. He is first in putting average and putts per round and although his driving accuracy is around 60% he is fourth in strokes gained:tee to green.
I wasn’t going to back him this week because I thought his price was too short but with the form he is on I can’t leave him out.
FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker is another form horse, coming off his win at the Valero Texas Open. Two wins and a second certainly prove the 36-year-old is playing well although it must be worrying by this time last year he had won three tournaments!
His driving accuracy is better than last year but it’s still only around 54% and his GIR is just short of 70%. He is third in strokes gained:putting and second in putting average so he’s good with the short stick.
For my last pick I’m going for an outsider. The guy who I think has a big future in the game and has started this season well. Brooks Koepka began the season with two top-10 finishes and then won the Phoenix Open.
He had a couple of mediocre tournaments and withdrew from the Arnold Palmer with a rib injury. Hasn’t started a tournament since then so don’t really know how his injury will bear up but he has the game to win big and a small each-way bet could turn out to be a nice little bonus.
One more thing. After looking at the last five Masters tournaments the most consistent player is … believe it or not Lee Westwood.
In 2010 he was second, 2011 11th, 2012 T3rd, 2013 8th and last year 7th. Top-ten finish? Just saying.
Dustin Johnson 2pts ew (16-1, William Hill, Bet365)
Henrik Stenson 1pt ew (22-1, Coral)
Jordan Spieth 1.5pts ew (11-1, Betfred)
Jimmy Walker 1pt ew (22-1, 888sport, Ladbrokes)
Brooks Koepka 0.5pt ew (90-1, Betfred)
Lee Westwood 1pt top-10 finish (4-1, Stan James)