2018 US Masters Golf

golf-270x179With the final golfing Major of 2017 completed, it’s a good time to look ahead to next year and the first big event in Augusta. It may be several months before the US Masters tees off next April but the markets for this tournament have been open for some time and they are already proving to be busy ones.

It’s a highly anticipated tournament where the players not only compete for a trophy and a considerable amount of money. A Green Jacket is awarded to the winner, usually handed over by the previous champion and that’s a nice tradition that helps to set this event apart.

Dates and Venue

The 2018 renewal of the US Masters will take place from Thursday April 5 through to the following Sunday with the world’s best golfers heading to Augusta. Not only is it the first major event of the golfing year, it’s also one of the first big occasions in the entire sporting calendar and it’s met with as much anticipation as the Cheltenham Festival or the FA Cup Final.

The Masters was first held in 1934 when it was won by Horton Smith of the United States who held off Craig Wood by two strokes. The great Gene Sarazen took the trophy the following year and he set a trend that saw the biggest names come to the fore in this tournament.

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Jack Nicklaus

The record holder in terms of Masters victories is Jack Nicklaus who picked up his sixth Green Jacket at the age of 46. In doing so, the legendary golfer became the oldest winner of the event. Tiger Woods picked up his fourth Masters Trophy in 2005 and seemed set to overtake Nicklaus but based on current form and fitness levels, he may never reach the same mark.

The event is held at the Augusta National course every year at a venue that has seen a lot of changes since it was first used. The most recent change came from designer Tom Fazio in 2002 and it’s the one that has most bearing on Masters results in the modern day era.

With club design helping some players to make a mockery of distance, Augusta was lengthened accordingly while Fazio replaced the Bermuda grass with Bentgrass, making a distinct impact on the greens. The putting surfaces at Augusta are now lightning fast and that may have levelled out the fields to some extent. While the biggest drivers may still gain an advantage off the tee, golfers simply have to be in supreme form with the putter or they will not be going home with the Green Jacket.

Showdown

We’ve seen some great drama in the Masters over the last two years in an event that always seems to produce more than its fair share of entertainment. In 2016, an alarming slump from the runaway leader Jordan Spieth allowed England’s Danny Willett to take the Green Jacket while a year later, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose could not be split coming down the last.

Eventually, 2017’s contest went into a play off with the Spaniard Garcia subsequently taking out his first ever Major. Will we see such drama in 2018?

The Market

With some seven months to go before the first ball is struck in anger at Augusta 2018, current British Open Champion Jordan Spieth is favourite to win next year’s Masters at a top price of 8/1 with BetFred. World Number One Dustin Johnson is out very slightly to best odds of 9/1 with SportingBet while Rory McIlory is back at 10/1 with SportingBet once again.

Those prices are a perfect illustration of how an ante post market works. At this stage, we have no idea what form is going to be like in the lead up to the US Masters so the bookmakers are going on performances that are recent at the time of writing – August 2017.

Dustin Johnson suffered an injury on the eve of the 2017 US Masters and had yet to regain his best form since returning to the sport. It’s possible that he may rediscover his best touch as the 2018 renewal approaches and his price may shorten so some punters will already be on this golfer based on that theory.

Chasing Pack

2017 US Masters Champion Sergio Garcia is further back in the markets at a top price of 33/1 with William Hill while Justin Rose, who pushed the Spaniard so hard in that play off, is slightly shorter at best odds of 25/1 with SportingBet.

Both men have won Majors before and at this very early stage they look very good at those figures. Other options include Rickie Fowler who is commonly known these days as the ‘best golfer yet to win a Major’. American Fowler is on offer at a general price of around 20/1 from the likes of 10Bet and Betway.

Other outstanding prices as you move down the field include 2016 British Open Champion Henrik Stenson at best odds of 40/1 with SkyBet and 2016 US PGA winner Jimmy Walker at an exceptional 100/1 with BetFred.

Available Markets

Aside from the outright betting options, punters will be able to stake Each Way and on a tournament as big as the US Masters, payouts on places are likely to go beyond the usual levels and down to sixth or even lower.

Certain bookies such as Stan James and Coral will also give customers the option to bet on a Top 5 or a Top 10 finish and there are other side markets too such as First Round Leader, Top European, will there be a play off and much more.

As the tournament draws closer, we will provide a more in depth preview of the 2018 US Masters, taking a look at the hot prospects for the event and considering more up to date form as we attempt to pick a winner.

It’s a great sporting occasion and even now, all true golf fans will be looking forward to those four days in April when the Masters arrives and the new season truly begins.