The Masters Preview – Tiger To Tee It Up At Augusta

The first golf major of the season is always a massive event and this year, The Masters at Augusta which gets underway on Thursday this week, will perhaps be even more special.

That’s because, as it stands at the time of writing, Tiger Woods is still in the field to compete for the first time since his awful car accident.

Woods’ participation will likely be a ‘game-time decision’ so the phrase goes, with the superstar likely to test how he stands up to the rigors of Augusta on practise rounds this week. He has already been to the course and played 18 holes the week before last and managed to walk around the 18-holes.

That was reportedly the issue for Woods as to whether he could compete, moreso than whether his game was in the right shape for him to tee the ball up.

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It is incredible to think that Woods is still rated as a 60/1 chance to win the tournament with bet365 Sports. That is despite him not playing a tournament since the 2020 Masters tournament, which took place in November that year and at which he was the defending champion.

To put that in perspective, Woods is now the same price, or shorter odds than a number of players that have been in great form this season, some of whom have won tournaments such as Jason Kokrak (125/1), Talor Gooch (125/1), Kevin Kisner (125/1) and Tom Hoge (175/1).

In terms of the field, there are just 23 players that have odds lower than Woods 60/1 price. That is the level of greatness and expectation that Woods carries with him should he tee his ball up this week.

Last year, Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win the tournament, but injury may rob him of a chance to defend the title, as he has pulled out of the last two events due to a neck problem.

Let’s take a closer look now at the timetable for this week at The Masters.

The Masters – Timetable Of Key Events

  • Monday & Tuesday – Practice Rounds

All players that have been invited to the tournament are eligible to play practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, with patrons in attendance.

  • Tuesday PM – Champion’s Dinner

In one of the most popular and exclusive events of Masters week, all previous winners of the tournament are welcome to the Champion’s Dinner, hosted by the previous year’s winner of the tournament (Hideki Matsuyama this year), where the champion will not only decide the menu, but also give a speech to guests.

Only former Champions at Augusta are invited to attend this exclusive event.

  • Wednesday – Par 3 Competition

On the eve of the tournament, players are invited to take part in an informal par-3 contest over nine holes on the 9-hole course tucked away in a corner at Augusta National.

Players will often ask their children, friends, or other members of their family to caddy for them in this event.

One unusual fact is that no player has ever won the Par 3 competition on Wednesday and then gone on to win The Masters on the following Sunday.

Over the last few years, this informal event has been televised.

  • Thursday AM – Ceremonial Tee Off

At the first tee the tournament gets underway each year with a ceremonial tee shot from a number of the most famous and esteemed players in golf. This year, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will be joined by Tom Watson to take the ceremonial opening shots.

  • Thursday & Friday – 1st And 2nd Rounds of the Tournament

After the ceremonial tee shots have been played, the tournament will then begin. Players are drawn into groups of three to play the first two days, with different tee times (as is customary in tournaments) to allow players to play at different times and in different conditions.

  • Friday PM – The Cut &

By the end of the second round on Friday, the cut mark for the tournament will become apparent and it is usually set at around 50 players (around half the field) or players that are within ten shots of the leader of the tournament after Friday’s second round.

  • Saturday & Sunday – 3rd And 4th Rounds Of The Tournament

For each day on Saturday and Sunday, players play in groups of two, with the players with the players ranking near the bottom of the field after each day teeing off first and the leaders teeing off last.

Playing partners are decided by how the field shapes up on Friday night and Saturday night after the completion of the second and third rounds.

After the tournament has been completed on Sunday, the presentation of the trophy and of the ceremonial green jacket to the winner by last year’s Champion, will take place.

It is worth noting that these scheduled dates are dependent on weather and can change as a result of delays due to poor weather conditions.

Is This The Most Open Masters Tournament In Years?

Yes it could well be. This season has seen a number of players emerge from the ranks to either make significant moves up the rankings, such as new World Number 1 Scottie Scheffler, or to claim a big win on the PGA Tour.

This allied to injuries to players like Bryson DeChambeau and Hideki Matsuyama, plus a drop off in form from some of the top players means that picking a winner this week at Augusta is going to be especially tough.

Bet365 have Jon Rahm as their 11/1 favourite and after him they have Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson both at 14/1, then Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler at 16/1, with Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Brooks Koepka at 18/1.

A look down the list though reveals some great value options. Runner up last year, Lee Westwood, is a 150/1 chance to win, and his record at Augusta is so good that he would make an excellent each way option for many.

Who Is My Pick To Win?

Given that bet365 are paying out on the top eight and ties in the each way market, I do feel that this option offers a much better bet for punters than an outright win bet.

If I was forced to pick someone to back to win, I’d probably go for Brooks Koepka at 18/1 as he is long overdue a big win and his game seems to be returning to the levels where he was claiming Major titles left right and centre.

However, I feel there are better each way options including Jordan Spieth at 20/1, Tommy Fleetwood at 70/1, Seamus Power at 100/1 and Luke List at 125/1.

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