Odds On The Masters Tournament - COPIED

By Chris DatresApril 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
Have you ever looked at the odds boards in a Vegas casino and wondered what the explanation was as to why a golfer was a 5-to-1 pick to win a certain event? Well, thats what I hope to achieve ' to give you the reasons behind the numbers that are posted. Of course, Vegas has saner reasons for the numbers their computers spit out. Without further ado, lets get to the facts and figures and the stories behind them. And as I tell my co-workers when they dont like the odds I set for some of our friendly competitions ' play better and prove me wrong.
 
THE CONTENDERS
 
Tiger Woods (EVEN): Yeah, I know. Its a real shock that Tigers the favorite, right? Well, here are some reasons NOT to pick Mr. No. 1 at Augusta. Hes an ordinary 1 for his last 5 at Augusta, including over-par efforts in three of those appearances. He hasnt cracked 70 in his last nine rounds. And if youre banking on streaks, well, chew on this ' if he wins the Masters, hell tie Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan AND Arnold Palmer. Granted, itll be a tie pretty far down the list on the All-Time Win Streak list. Of course, I didnt mention that hed also tie the likes of J.C. Snead, Bobby Nichols, Ben Curtis, and Ryan Palmer who also at one time in their PGA TOUR careers had a one-tournament win streak. Choose at your own risk!!
 
Phil Mickelson (3-1): Its an even-numbered year so expect Lefty to be near the top. In his career, hes averaged a fourth-place finish in even-numbered years, including his wins in 04 and 06. But heres my question ' if Phil can pull it off again at Augusta, will his now 5-year-old son, Evan take laps around the 18th green like he did at Baltusrol after the 2005 PGA? Id like to see the look on the greenjackets faces when someone shows pure joyful emotion.
 
Zach Johnson (5-1): Its only right that Zach gets the 5-1 odds since he ruled the par-5s in his breakthrough 2007 performance. If he should pull off the double, hed be the first player not named Tiger Woods to repeat since Nick Faldo pulled it off in 1990. Georgians refer to him by another name ' General Sherman. Hes burned his way through the state in his last three tournaments there -- a win at both the Masters and the AT&T Classic, followed by a third-round 60 at the TOUR Championship.
 
Ernie Els (10-1): Lets run down the Big Easys performance chart since he won the Honda at the beginning of March ' a missed cut at PODS, a withdrawal from Arnold Palmer due to fatigue (reports of him being tired of getting his butt kicked by Tiger were unfoundedthus far), and a 75th-place finish out of 77 golfers who completed the WGC-CA Championship, which sent him scurrying to an impromptu lesson with Butch Harmon, with whom he has now aligned forces. If this were horse racing, Ernie would get sent back to a claiming race to regain his confidence. So why is he amongst the contenders? Because I still remember his five straight top-6s at the beginning of this decade and maybe he can recall that past success rather than the fact that he hasnt broken 70 in any of his last 10 Augusta rounds.
 

THE SLEEPERS
 
Retief Goosen (15-1): The Goose is in this section only because hes slept through most of the past year. But at this number, he could be the steal of the century. He has three straight top-3s and hes closed with sub-70 rounds in all of those. But the key to Retief at Augusta is that he plays from behind. In 2002, he was tied for the lead after three rounds with Tiger Woods and that usually doesnt end too well for the other guy in major championships. He shot 74. Tiger doesnt shoot over par in final rounds when in the lead in major championships.
 
Vijay Singh (15-1): THE BIG FIJIAN (cmon, say it like the kids) cant like the way hes performed when hes ascended to the top of the leaderboard. He yakked away Pebble Beach in February and then had pretty good control over Arnies event until he decided to go swimming on Saturday. He still hasnt won in the U.S. since last March and these two setbacks cant bode too well under major pressure.
 
Rory Sabbatini (20-1): I would think Rory will be near the top of the leaderboard once we get to the weekend. The only question will be whether or not he mentions the name of a certain golfer who hes had a bit of a feud with recently. No, Ben Crane is not in the field this year. If Tiger and Rory are linked in the same sentence anytime after 7 p.m. on Friday, all bets are off.
 
Sergio Garcia (20-1): Sonic Restaurants claim they have 168,894 different possible drink combinations to choose from on their menu. Id say at this point that Sergio is about halfway there with his putting options. Lets see, do I go with the cross-handed grip on the conventional putter, the split grip on the belly putter, or maybe just for Augustas slick greens, Ill put the fat grip on the belly putter and go with that claw grip I see everyone using. Yeah, with that large number of options, hes an easy pick to tame these greens.
 
Argentine Combo (25-1): Both Andres Romero and Angel Cabrera can bomb the ball off the tee and both have tested well on major championship venues (Romero getting a hard-luck 3rd at Carnoustie; Cabrera winning at Oakmont). But, please learn from your elders and triple-check your scorecard on Sunday so you dont end up calling yourself a stupid.
 
Justin Rose (30-1): He was very close to winning this tournament until he realized that very fact and started spraying tee shots into trouble. If this was Jeopardy and Alex Trebek posed that answer to you, wed accept any of a number of questions ' What is the 2007 Masters? What is the 2007 Bob Hope? What is the 2006 Disney? You get the idea.
 
Any Australian (50-1): No Australian has ever won the Masters. Stuart Appleby flirted with the idea last year before history and Zach Johnson stepped in. There are eight Aussies in the field and I think Geoff Ogilvy probably has the best shot. But listen, if the Masters wouldnt let Greg Norman win just one green jacket, they probably wont let anyone else from his country win one either.
 
The Special Invitees (150-1): The Masters Committee elected to bring Prayad Marksaeng, Liang Wen-Chong, and Jeev Milkha Singh to Augusta to help grow the game internationally. Wouldnt it just be the sugar in Colin Montgomeries tea (see below) if one of these guys won?
 

OFF THE BOARD
 
Colin Montgomerie: The weather forecast calls for sunshine most of the week. Mother Nature must know Mr. Black Cloud wont be anywhere to be found. Monty has been a subject of ridicule in the U.S. for a number of years and just when he was beginning to get on everyones good side, he insults Asian golfers after being passed over for a Masters invite in favor of the three players listed above. I wonder how this is going to play if Monty again represents Scotland in the World Cup which will be played inwait for itChina.
 
John Daly: The big lug wont be able to duck into a Hooters tent during any rain delays that the Masters may endure. Instead, hell likely be hanging out at the Hooters on Washington Road signing just about everything you could ever want. Just dont ask him to stoop over too much. You know, he does have a bad back. Thats what drove him out of Houston last week and not that pesky 9-over he had going before the rains hit on Friday.
 
Richard Johnson: If Daly is Mr. Hooters, Johnson is Mr. Waffle House. The leading money winner on the 2007 Nationwide Tour punched his ticket to THE PLAYERS next month but couldnt get anything going to work his way into Augusta. Thats a shame because after graduating Augusta State, he was the manager at the Washington Road Waffle House when Tiger won his first green jacket in 1997. That would have been a juicy prop matchup if he and Daly were in the tournament ' a dozen hot wings vs. a stack of pancakes and sausage links.
 

THE PROPS
 
TRADITION! TRADITION! (Fiddler on the Roof DVD sold separately)
  • Over/Under number of times the phrase tradition unlike any other is uttered ' 30
     
    CHANCES ARE
  • Over/Under number of times a CBS announcer says a putt is makeable -- too many to list. Besides, theyre ALL makeable, Bobby.
     
    HIGHEST SCORE DOES WIN
  • Over/Under worst single-round score of the week ' 83 . Billy Casper, Tommy Aaron, and Charles Coody choosing not to play brought this number down a couple of ticks.
     
    AMATEUR NIGHT
  • Which amateur will have the best finish:
    Trip Kuehne +105
    Drew Weaver+220
    Michael Thompson+300
    Colt KnostOFF ' oops, he turned pro and gave up his invitation.
     
    WINNERS STAY
  • Which past champion will have the best finish (of those who have very little chance of winning)
    Bernhard Langer+115
    Ben Crenshaw+200
    Sandy Lyle+275
    Mark OMeara+325
    Craig Stadler+350
    Tom Watson+375
    Fuzzy Zoeller+450
    Ian Woosnam+525
    Larry Mize+600
    Ray Floyd+750
    Gary Player+850
     
    FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
  • Which rookie Masters participant will have the best finish (complimentary cigarette not included)
    Nick Watney+150
    Andres Romero+225
    Boo Weekley+275
    J.B. Holmes+300
    Bubba Watson+400
     
    PARTY LIKE ITS1989?
  • Over/Under shortest putt missed: 16 inches ' Scott Hoch will even help you read it.
     
    You are now properly armed with all the necessary information to make a winning pick in the 72nd Masters Tournament. Choose wiselyas in, take that guy who wears the red shirt on Sunday and has 64 other PGA TOUR victories. This feature will return for THE PLAYERS on May 8.
     
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.