By Josh Powell | U.S. Masters 2013
The US Masters is the first golf Major of the year and Paddy Power is pulling out all of the stops by paying 1/4 the odds on the first six. The favourite Tiger Woods has rediscovered his best form after becoming ‘Facebook official’ with skier Lindsey Vonn while world number two Rory McIlroy, is in more of a love-hate relationship with his new Nike sticks.
Both men have attracted plenty of money and while Paddy’s out perfecting his work around the greens, the Paddy Power Blog has delved into the books to see where punters are putting their dough.
1. Tiger Woods 4/1
Unsurprisingly there has been a truckload of money for Tiger. He is a four-time Masters winner and in his 17 US Masters tournaments, he has finished in the top five 59 per cent of the time. In his 66 rounds at the Augusta National Course Tiger has made par or better 77 per cent of the time. Woods has three tour wins to his name since the turn of the year and if he regains the Masters for the first time in eight years he’ll have the traders in Paddy Power running for cover.
2. Rory McIlroy
Despite Rory McIlroy’s issues with the new sticks, this hasn’t stopped punters ploughing into the world number two. He may be coming into form at the right time after finishing second in the Texas Open and shot a 66 in the final round. Punters have no problem backing Rory to win the Masters for the first time but Paddy Power will be praying for a ‘McIlroy meltdown’ circa 2011 to avoid a costly payout.
3. Justin Rose
Justin Rose has never won a major – missing 13 cuts out of 35 – but that hasn’t put punters off at a price of 20/1 for the US Masters. Paddy Power might pay for offering six places as Rose is having a pretty decent season and has no problem with the tough Augusta course. Since the turn of the year Rose has not finished any lower than 17th in six tournaments and in his seven Masters appearances he has made the top 25 five times.
4. Phil Mickelson 11/1
Hundreds of years ago left-handers were accused of witchcraft – now they’re busy winning the US Masters. Five of the last 10 tournaments have been won by leftys and Mickelson can improve that record. Punters have been emptying their piggy-banks for Big Phil who has finished in the top six in 11 of his 17 appearances at the US Masters. That 65 per cent success rate will leave Paddy watching the two-time Masters winner from behind the couch.
5. Lee Westwood 28/1
Westy might not have won a Major yet but punters haven’t been shy in backing the former world number one. In four of his last five Masters tournaments he has finished 11th or better and has finished in the top 25 in 62 per cent of tournaments since the start of 2013. This might not be Westwood’s best chance of a debut major but he makes excellent place claims and another top six finish will be a swift kick in the unmentionables for Paddy.
6. Louis Oosthuizen
Oosthuizen became just the fourth player to record an albatross in the Masters with his incredible 253-yard shot on the second hole in 2012. That set him up for an agonising play-off defeat against Bubba Watson to record his best-ever Masters finish. That recent form has punters throwing more than a few quid on the South African who has already notched up a tour victory back in January. Similar accuracy this year will put Oosthuizen in the frame and put Paddy Power on a one-way street to the poor house.