Later on today, UK time, The 2021 Masters tournament will get underway, back in its usual scheduled slot in April in the golfing calendar. Last year’s delayed event was played in November and it was World Number 1 Dustin Johnson who donned the famous Green Jacket at the end of the tournament when he lifted the trophy for the first time.

Conditions in November were wet, with the greens being a lot more receptive than they usually are in April, so I think the golfers will find Augusta much more back to its usual self and baring its teeth when the tournament gets underway later today. It promises to be a fantastic event with 88 of the best golfers in the world, including 18 former Masters Champions, set to take part.

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Let’s now preview the tournament in a bit more detail bringing you information about the tournament, the famous Augusta National course as well as which of the golfers competing in the event stands the best chance of winning and who, of course, I’d back to win the tournament.

Given I tipped Justin Thomas to win the Players Championship last month at 18/1, I am hoping I can land an equally good winner this time around too!

The Masters Preview

  • Date – April 8-11
  • Course – Augusta National
  • Purse – $11,500,000
  • Winners Prize – $2,070,000
  • Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson (USA)

After a somewhat unusual Masters in 2020, with its November date meaning the course played very differently to usual, the 2021 Masters tournament is back in its usual place in the schedule and the famous challenge of playing Augusta National will be as familiar to the players as it is difficult.

No fewer than 18 former Champions will feature in the field of 88 golfers that start the tournament on Thursday after Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Elder, the first black player to complete in the Masters, have played the ceremonial opening tee shots of the tournament.

With no par-3 contest this year once again, players will have had extra time to get a practice round in on the course and there won’t be any excuses for players not being well-prepared given the build-up to the start of the tournament.

Patrons will be in attendance in limited numbers and socially distanced and of course, for many of those competing, it will be another chance to enjoy the specific challenges that await them on the famous Augusta National Course.

Augusta National

Augusta National was built on the original site of a plant nursery, and its legacy is retained by the fact that each of the 18 holes is named after a bush, tree or shrub that was grown (or continues to be grown) on the site.

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

The most famous part of the course is Amen Corner, which mainly runs for holes 11, 12 and 13. It begins with the devilishly long and tricky par 4 White Dogwood, where par is an excellent score, followed by a short par 3, Golden Bell, which always has a hole positioned behind the bunker on the final day for added drama.

Finally, Azalea is the par 5 final hole on Amen Corner, a perfect risk and reward hole where you can take on the water and go for the green in two for a chance at eagle, or risk hitting the water and making bogey or worse.

All the holes at Augusta have their own historic moments. Few will forget Tiger Wood’s famous chip into the hole on the 16th, Redbud. Gene Sarazen’s ‘shot heard around the world’ saw him land an Albatross at the par 5 fifteenth.

Will further iconic moments from Masters history be added to the long list from this year’s event?

The Field At The Masters

Unlike other Major tournaments, entry into the Masters is by invitation only and is limited to 88 players. 18 of these will be former champions, including some of the most experienced players in the world like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam.

A number of amateurs are also given entry to the event if they win one of a number of events to qualify, with the remaining entries handed to players based on a number of factors including Major title wins, wins on the PGA Tour, finishing position at last year’s Masters and their world ranking.

The result is a smaller field than normal but one that is packed with quality and from which picking a winner, especially for this tough event, is not easy.

Who To Back At The Masters 2021?

There’s the usual list of players ranging from the favourites to win, which starts with defending champion Dustin Johnson at 9/1, down to the rank outsiders for the tournament at several thousand to one.

There are a couple of players I would rule out. Rory McIlroy’s form isn’t the best at the moment and I think he is not going to find this tournament east. Jon Rahm’s wife is purportedly set to go into labour and he has said he will walk off the course if she does and exit the tournament.

I do feel this year feels like it will be an American winner and for me I think Bryson DeChambeau at 11/1 is the smart pick. He tried to overpower Augusta back in November and it didn’t work out for him. However, that experience will serve him well in this event. Add to that he is very much a man in form, a Major title winner and has massive distance from the tee and I think he is the smart pick for a win bet.

For an each way option, I’d go for Tommy Fleetwood at 50/1, who is overdue a top performance at a Major and who has the game and quality to be in amongst the thick of things late on Sunday afternoon.