By Billy Gordenstein
As the Azaleas bloom and the field gets finalized, fans are hoping The Masters is as entertaining as ever. Augusta National Golf Club has been the host of some unforgettable moments. There have been fifty-one different winners of The Masters, but this year’s outright favorite is a familiar face that The Masters hasn’t seen in a while. According to GolfDigest.com, using Vegas’s odds, Tiger Woods opens with 9/1 odds to win. Tiger last played in the Masters in 2015 when he finished tied for 15th, and the last time he won the coveted Green Jacket was way back in 2005. It will be tough for Tiger to overcome his drought of winning a major that has lasted since 2008, and it will be especially difficult to at The Masters. He and a lot of golf fans clearly want him to make Sundays great again.
A golfer hoping to stop the Tiger hype train is current number one golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson. Dustin opens with 10/1 odds to win based on Vegas’s betting books and the veteran looks to add a second major and a Green Jacket to his name. Dustin Johnson didn’t compete in last year’s Masters after withdrawing due to a back injury before he teed off on Thursday. The closest that he has ever gotten to a winning at Augusta was in 2016 when he tied for 4th place. His inability to finish on Sundays of majors will certainly be a factor, but he very well could overcome it this Sunday.
One of the most exciting and up and coming young golfers who is an early favorite to win is Justin Thomas. JT has been on a tear amassing 6 wins over the past year including the 2017 PGA Championship. Having a major victory this early in his career is incredibly promising and it is only a matter of time before he earns himself a Green Jacket. He too opens up with 10/1 odds and the current number two golfer in the world looks to add another victory to his impressive stats. Perhaps a big concern is his history at Augusta National. Justin Thomas finished tied for 22nd last year shooting 2 over. On the bright side, it was his first time playing at the challenging course and he has improved immensely since last Masters.
Could this year’s Masters bring back one of the most exciting rivalries in golf. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Phil Mickelson has 16/1 odds to win, which clearly isn’t the best, but it is enough to give the rivalry the hype it deserves. The lefty is playing some of the best golf in his career at the age of forty-seven. According to ESPN, Mickelson has finished in the top six in four consecutive tournaments for the first time in his career. The three time Masters Champion is entering the tournament as the 18th best golfer in the world. One of the biggest concerns with Phil’s game is his age. If he were to win The Masters, he would become the oldest golfer to win a major.
Other notable favorites and their odds include Rory McIlroy at 10/1 Jordan Spieth at 12/1, Justin Rose at 14/1, Jason Day at 16/1, Rickie Fowler at 18/1, and defending champion Sergio Garcia at 30/1. There is no formula to pick who will win and it can be anyone in the field, but these golfers are all favorites for a reason. They have all had either incredible careers or amazing runs lately. Hopefully this year’s Masters will be able to give the fans what they want; something for the history books.