The moment we have been waiting for is finally upon us! The first and arguably most important 2019 PGA Tour Major event, The Masters, gets underway this Thursday night and as we have done all year, we will be providing you with a comprehensive preview and betting tips for the tournament.
As always, The Masters will be played from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia with Australian TV coverage getting underway at around 5am AEDT on Friday morning. You can also see every second of The Masters with a Golf.TV subscription for just $10 per month.
We take a look at The Masters in full and give our 2019 betting tips below.
The best golfers in the world will be competing for the coveted green jacket this weekend at The Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Defending champion Patrick Reed will be looking to become the first player to win back to back Masters Titles since Tiger Woods achieved the feat back in 2001 and 2002.
Is there a more famous golf course in the world? Probably not. As always, Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia will host The Masters. The 7,475 yard, Par 72 dates back to 1930 and throughout its history, all 18 holes have been etched in folklore in one way or another. It’s definitely not the longest course in tour but it is certainly one of the most challenging, most notably for the greens that are collection of extremely tough breaks, slippery slopes and some monstrous mounds.
A former tree nursery, the course was designed by Bobby Jones and Alistair McKenzie back in the 1930s and has undergone a number of changes throughout the year, most of them to make the course longer for increasing length off the tee over the years. A major change that golfers will have to navigate this season is the fifth hole, which now plays as an uphill 495 yard Par-4, a full 40 yeards longer than it was last year.
The course is lined with the famous magnolia trees and the if players miss the fairways, they will encounter incredibly thick rough or the famous pine needles which have become a staple in famous Masters shots throughout the years.
The expected field currently stands at 87 players with the latest entrant, Corey Connors, earning entry into the field with his win at the Valero Texas Open on the weekend. As you would expect, the field is absolute stacked full of star talent, with all of the top 50 players in the world set to participate along with a range of previous winners and other qualified players.
All eyes will, of course, be on Tiger Woods, who will be attempting to win The Masters for the fifth time and first since his win back in 2005. Tiger will be looking to solidify his comeback with another PGA Tour victory, which would bring him within just one of record holder Sam Snead, who has 82 victories.
Alongside Tiger will be previous winners of The Masters in Angel Cabrera, Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson. Augusta is a very specialised course and generally players who are out of form can still put in dominant performances at Augusta. Angel Cabrera, for example, has finished in the top 10 of The Masters on six occasions, the most recent of which a 2nd place finish in 2013 when he was 43 years of age.
Apart from the former winners, the field will be made up of the biggest golf stars on the planet in the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day and Xander Schufelle.
In such a star studded field, it’s hard to pinpoint value. However, a few players do really stick out to us heading into the opening round on Thursday. It’s incredibly tough to look past Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy ($7.50) at the moment. He might be a ridiculously priced favourite but his form justifies the price. He has played eight official PGA Tour events in the 2019 season and has finished in the top 10 in seven of them. He picked up his first win of the season at THE PLAYERS Championship a few weeks ago, capping off a dominant run of tournaments that saw him finish T4, T5, T4, 2 and T6 in his previous five tournaments dating back to the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.
Back at the beginning of the calendar year, it was hard to budge American Jordan Spieth ($21) off the top line of betting for The Masters in 2019. However, after a slow start to the season he has dropped in the betting markets. Has played in 10 PGA Tour events so far this season and while he is yet to record a top 10 finish, he has only missed the cut on three occasions. The reason why we like Spieth at this price, however, is his pedigree at Augusta National Golf Club. In five trips to The Masters dating back to 2014, Spieth’s Augusta resume reads as follows, T2 (2014) 1st (2015) T2 (2016) T11 (2017) and T3 (2018). Spieth was arguably the best putter in the world over that period and knows how to tame the tricky Augusta greens.
Another player that has fantastic and at times underrated pedigree at Augusta is the current No.1 ranked player in the FedEx Cup Standings, Matt Kuchar ($51). Kuchar has competed in every Masters tournament since 2010 and in that time boasts four top 10 finishes and has never failed to make the cut. Along with a proven record at Augusta, Kuchar is arguably the most in form player in the world at the moment behind McIlroy. The American boasts five top ten finishes from 11 PGA Tour events played this year and is just one of two players (Xander Schauffele) to record two wins on the season so far with titles at the Mayakobo Classic and the Sony Open. Finished 2nd at the WGC Matchplay two weeks ago followed by a strong T7 performance at Valero on the weekend.
Aussie Jason Day ($34) is great value this weekend as well. The World No.14 ranked player has had some back issues that hindered most of his March, however, after taking a week off over the Valero Texas Open, he should be fit and ready to go. Already boasts four top 10 finishes from nine PGA Tour events in 2019 including a fantastic T8 at THE PLAYERS Championship just last month. We love Day this week because he has been one of the best putters in all of golf this season, ranking fourth in shots gained on the green. Also has a great record at Augusta with three top 10 finishes through seven tournaments and has never failed to make the top 30.
Want a real roughie? Take a look at Argentine Angel Cabrera ($1001). His son might be a 28 year old pro golfer already, but Angel Sr. has one of the all-time records at Augusta, boasting six top ten finishes and a shock 2nd place finish in 2013 when he was 43 years old. Finished T22 and T24 in 2016-17 respectively and while he has failed to make the cut in the last two tournaments, it’s hard to write off the former Masters champion any time he tees it up at Augusta.
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