This season’s tour results have meant that the excitement surrounding this tournament is even greater than it normally is. The top six players in the world are all in great form, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, and of those only Rory has failed to win this season. Bubba, Adam Scott and Jason Day have won twice this season and a former winner who is also in tip top form, Charl Schwartzel has taken three titles around the world. The bookmakers have obviously reflected the dominance of these young players in their prices and any real value has long gone. Any one of them is more than capable of winning but I don’t want to be betting players in single figures for this particular tournament. Of those at the top of the market, I would rather be with Jason Day but it is asking a lot to win three successive tournaments so we are going to look for a little more value.
Two of the aforementioned players, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel must come into the equation. Bubba has two green jackets and would dearly love to add a third and remains in decent form having finished first and second in his last two stroke play tournaments. His game suits Augusta and if he can keep a cool head he will be challenging on Sunday night. Schwartzel is also a former winner and I love the way he just goes about his game, in a simple fashion with no fuss. If he gets hot with the putter he could well go close again. His compatriot Louis Oosthuizen is another to consider as a major winner already, he also has three second placing’s in majors, one here in 2012.
He won in Australia in February and was beaten finalist in the Matchplay last week. His game is just peaking at the right time. A third rest of the world player I want to add to my portfolio is Hideki Matsuyama despite no Japanese player ever winning a Major. He is a young player improving rapidly and managed a fifth place last year on only his fifth tournament start. He is twice a winner on the PGA tour including earlier this year and if the Japanese are going to win a major, this guy looks to have their best chance for a long time. I’m going to add one more player just in case he can repeat what he did here in 2013 when he finished fourth and that is Mark Leishman. He has four top twelve finishes in his last ten majors so has the bottle if he is challenging. He has shown touches of form in recent weeks and likes this course. A winner in South Africa in December he is worth including at his big odds.
Of the others I can’t see Phil Mickelson competing unless his game is 100% on and that doesn’t look to be the case and Stenson, Rose and Fowler would need to up their recent performances despite being in contention.