Odds On The Masters Tournament

By Chris DatresApril 8, 2008, 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
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.