Lawrence Donegan | U.S. Masters 2013
Tiger Woods is Paddy Power’s 9-2 favourite to win the Masters, a startling piece of odds-making which suggests (a) the rest might think twice about showing up on Thursday and (b) there is some unbelievable value lurking down the field for those punters prepared to take a closer look for Masters tips. Personally, I’d lay Tiger Woods all day at the prices.
Here are six “outsiders” – to match Paddy Power paying 1/4 the odds the first 6 places – who should be anything but.
1. Keegan Bradley (22-1)
The 2011 PGA Championship winner is no shrinking violet. He is a long hitter (he was striping it past McIlroy when the two played together in Houston recently), a decent putter and fierce and passionate competitor.
2. Nicolas Colsaerts (90-1)
The Belgian bomber hasn’t shown much in the way of form in 2013. But he is the very definition of “streaky” – the kind of player who could wake up on Thursday morning and decide he fancies winning the Masters. He certainly has the talent to contend. But does he have the guts? A top-six finish is not out of the question.
3. Robert Garrigus (200-1)
A proven winner on the PGA Tour with the power to reduce Augusta National’s par-five to a drive and short iron. Last year, he hit a wedge from 180-yards on the 13th hole. Not many players in the field enjoy that kind of advantage.
4. Lee Westwood (28-1)
The Englishman has played well at Augusta over the years, defying the orthodoxy that only those with a great short game can win. Westwood’s short game is far from great, although buoyed by his move to Florida – where the warm weather allowed him to practice solidly through winter for the first time in years – appears to have improved his chipping and putting.
5. Sergio Garcia (40-1)
The Spaniard has never been a fan of Augusta National which is strange given that the course suits the game. He can shape the ball either way, and he can hit it high and low. He is an excellent wedge player and imaginative around the greens. The problem is his putting. If he has a great week on the greens, or even a good one, then he will contend.
6. Padraig Harrington (55/1)
Strange to think that in 2009 Harrington arrived at Augusta as the most talked about man in golf chasing his third successive major championship. Since then Paddy has had about 27 different putting strokes and 11 different swings. Still, he’s gained a bit of distance put on a few muscles and retained his deft short game. He thinks he can win this week and that’s half the battle.