It’s the official kickoff to the golf season for many fans and a tradition unlike any other, and thus we’re doing a special Wednesday blog dedicated to that tournament in August. The Masters is easily the most anticipated golf tournament of the year and the 2016 trip down Magnolia Lane is approaching shortly. Winning the coveted green jacket completely changes a golfer’s career, and winning at Augusta multiple times will cement a legacy.
So who is going to conquer the course this year? Also, what leads to success at Augusta? Is it familiarity with the course? A hot streak leading into the tournament? The unrelenting desire resulting from past failed trips through Amen Corner or one too many balls landed in Rae’s Creek? Even the golfers don’t know which of their games will show up on the biggest stage in golf, but here are five great bets to add to their wardrobe come April 10, 2016.
The Repeat Champs
Winning the green jacket is a once-in-a-lifetime feat, but like champions in any sport, most Masters victors will tell you they aren’t happy with just one. Therefore some of the best bets for the 2016 Masters champion would be a golfer who has won before. Bubba Watson (12/1) has proven to be the Artist of Augusta with two masters wins in the past four years. 2015 winner Jordan Spieth (17/2) has struggled early in 2016 (by his expectations) but is still the odds on favorite to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods in the back-to-back club. 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel (40/1) already has a win in ’16 while 2013 winner Adam Scott (12/1) has two. Three-time winner Phil Mickelson (15/1) could join super-elite company with his fourth win at Augusta (Woods, Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer).
The Overdue First-Timers
With all due respect to repeat winners, there is nothing quite as exciting to a fan to see somebody win their first green jacket, especially after years of close calls. Jason Day (17/2) is on the very short list of people who could win the 2016 Masters as his time is seemingly now. Rory McIlroy (17/2) needs only a Masters victory to complete the ‘Rory Slam’ of all four majors, but he has struggled with an average finish of 23rd at Augusta. Fans are also ready to see Rickie Fowler (15/1), Dustin Johnson (18/1), or Sergio Garcia (55/1) to put together four rounds of solid golf and win their first major after many near misses in the past.
The Viable Underdogs
While the Masters is the most psychologically intimidating golf tournament to win, its history is littered with golfers such as Trevor Immelman, Mike Weir, and Tommy Aaron who have played their best on the game’s biggest stage. Another great thrill of the Masters is the possibility of a tour afterthought instantly becoming a major part of golf’s lore with four great days of driving, chipping, and putting. Matt Kuchar (65/1) has a top 3 Masters finish in his resume (2012) and Charley Hoffman (175/1) was in the running a year ago until a final round 74. Bill Haas (100/1) has four top-10s already in 2016 while Justin Thomas (65/1) has a win and two other Top 3’s.
Whether it’s a first-time winner, a repeat, or an underdog amateur like Paul Chaplet (4500/1) whoever wins the 2016 Masters Tournament will be a part of golf history forever. Is it tee off time yet?