The Masters Tournament has often been called the Super Bowl of golf as it’s the most prestigious of the sport’s four major championships. Part of its popularity in the United States is cold-weather golfers watching the event on television and seeing all those azaleas bloom. That means winter is in the rear-view mirror and spring has sprung.
The 82nd Masters tees off Thursday from both the most storied and exclusive golf course in the USA, Augusta National. This year’s tournament is chock-full of storylines. The biggest surrounds Tiger Woods, who is a four-time Masters champion and basically forced Augusta National to “Tiger-proof” the course when he won by 12 shots at 18-under 270 in 1997.
When Woods won his fourth and last green jacket in 2005, it was widely presumed he would surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of six. However, Tiger hasn’t won a single major since 2008 as off-the-course issues and physical maladies have derailed his career. Woods looks healthy for the first time in years – he missed three of the past four Masters due to back trouble – and enters Augusta off back-to-back Top 5 finishes on the PGA Tour. He’s +1400 on the odds to win the Masters this week at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
There’s also 47-year-old Phil Mickelson (+1800) looking for his fourth Masters title. He would be the oldest to win a green jacket, and Lefty has had a career resurgence this year with his first victory anywhere since 2013 and four other Top-6 finishes. Mickelson last won at Augusta in 2010 but was a runner-up as recently as 2015.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (+1000) looks to complete the career Grand Slam – only five other golfers have done it – by taking the only major he hasn’t won. McIlroy has been Top 10 at Augusta the past three years and appeared on the way to a win in 2011 before collapsing on the back-nine Sunday and shooting a final-round 80.
Bubba Watson is a two-time Masters champion and at +1600 this week. Watson was in a major slump last season but has broken out of that in style with two victories in 2018. He hasn’t contended at Augusta since his second victory in 2014.
Last year, Spain’s Sergio Garcia beat Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff to shed the label of “best player to never win a major.” Could El Nino repeat? No one has since Woods in 2001-02 and Garcia is at +2800 odds for this week.
Three players could take the world No. 1 ranking this week from Dustin Johnson (+1100) with a win and depending on where DJ finishes: 2015 champion and betting favorite Jordan Spieth (+900), Justin Thomas (+1100) and young Spaniard Jon Rahm (+2200). Spieth hasn’t finished worse than 11th in four Masters.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.