He is one of the most talented golfers of his generation, a former World Rankings Number one and four-time Major winner. At just 29 years old, Rory McIlroy still has his best golfing years ahead of him but despite a career that has seen him notch 24 professional wins, there is no doubt that a lack of Majors in recent years (his most recent was the 2014 USPGA Championship) is something of a disappointment.

At the end of 2014, with McIlroy top of the world rankings and having won two of the four Majors that year, it seemed only a matter of time before McIlroy hoovered up more Majors to approach the numbers held by the likes of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. However, since then, McIlroy has been close but so far, failed to win another to add to the two USPGA Championships, the US Open and the British Open he had already netted.

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The one Major that has eluded McIlroy so far in his career is The Masters and the Irishman has made it clear that it is the primary tournament that he wants to win in each of the last few seasons. The tournament has haunted him since 2011, when despite starting the final day with a four-shot lead, McIlroy carded an unbelievable 80 to finish in tied-15th in the tournament.

Let’s now take a look at the tournament in a bit more detail before we analyse Rory’s chances of donning the Green Jacket on Sunday night.

The Masters 2019

This year’s Augusta layout is slightly increased in length from previous years, with one of the holes , the fifth, being increased by an additional 40 yards, which makes it a 495 yard par four with one of the most treacherous greens on the course.  In total the 18 holes now measure out at 7475 yards, which is long but still not as long as some courses on the tour itinerary.

The Course

  • Hole 1 – Tea Olive – 445 yards (par 4)
  • Hole 2 – Pink Dogwood – 575 Yards (par 5)
  • Hole 3 – Flowering Peach – 350 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 4 – Flowering Crab Apple – 240 Yards (par 3)
  • Hole 5 – Magnolia – 495 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 6 – Juniper – 180 Yards (par 3)
  • Hole 7 – Pampas – 450 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 8 – Yellow Jasmine – 570 Yards (par 5)
  • Hole 9 – Carolina Cherry – 460 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 10 – Camellia – 495 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 11 – White Dogwood – 505 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 12 – Golden Bell – 155 Yards (par 3)
  • Hole 13 – Azalea – 510 Yards (par 5)
  • Hole 14 – Chinese Fir – 440 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 15 – Firethorn – 530 Yards (par 5)
  • Hole 16 – Redbuf – 170 Yards (par 3)
  • Hole 17 – Nandina – 440 Yards (par 4)
  • Hole 18 – Holly – 465 Yards (par 4)

The most famous part of the course are the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, which are known collectively as Amen Corner. Three holes which have, in the past, played a key role in deciding the outcome of many a tournament.

The Field and Masters Tradition

A total of 87 players will compete in this year’s Masters tournament with a total of 20 former Champions in the field. The previous winners, along with other non-playing former Champions, will attend the Champions Dinner, hosted by last year’s winner of the tournament Patrick Reed, on the eve of the tournament in what is one of Augusta’s more endearing traditions.

Another is the Par 3 course championship, a nine-hole tournament played on the Wednesday before The Masters starts. The legend is that no Par 3 Champion has ever gone on to win The Masters in the following days. Will this year be the year that the hoodoo is broken?

Alongside McIlroy, the players who the bookmakers feel have the best chance of success are as follows (Odds shown are courtesy of bet365 and were correct as of 8.30 am on Wednesday 10th April).

  • Rory McIlroy – 13/2
  • Dustin Johnson – 10/1
  • Justin Rose – 12/1
  • Tiger Woods – 14/1
  • Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler – 16/1
  • Jordan Spieth – 20/1
  • Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka – 22/1
  • Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood – 25/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau – 28/1
  • Bubba Watson, Jason Day – 30/1
  • Louis Oosthuizen – 35/1
  • 40/1 Bar

A number of this field are all in great form, in particular the top two golfers on the list, while Tiger Woods seems to be getting back to something like his old self, although the American has not won a Major in many years. Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler both have excellent records in Major tournaments in recent years and they can never be discounted.

Jordan Spieth has the best scoring average of all players at Augusta and he has never finished outside the top 11 and in four of his five starts he has finished inside the top three, winning once, coming second twice and third another time which makes him a particularly attractive each way option, given that he has been struggling for form a little since his 3rd place finish at last years Masters tournament.

Another player that could threaten McIlroy is the two-time US Open Champion Brooks Koepka who has the ability to strike the ball far from the tee and who has shown his fortitude in winning back to back US Open Championships, a very rare feat nowadays.

British duo Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood are both in form and both have the game to do well around Augusta so it is possible that McIlroy will face stern tests from players from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as all the other far-flung corners of the globe in his quest to win his first Masters.

Is McIlroy worth backing to win?

Heading into the tournament, McIlroy is in a good place. His dip in form of last year has been sorted and he is back winning big tournaments again, including a huge win at The Players Championship last month, which is seen by many golfer’s as the unofficial Fifth Major. If he can win in that illustrious field, then Augusta should hold no concerns for him.

Given his price, I don’t see any value in backing McIlroy to finish in the places, so I would back him to Win only and hope that his talent takes him to the Green Jacket on Sunday night. If you wanted to back an each way outsider to land a bit of extra cash then I think Jordan Spieth at 20/1 is one well worth considering simply due to his outstanding record at Augusta, while Henrik Stenson at 60/1 is another I feel could be in with a chance of finishing in the places.

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