Since Tiger Woods’s withdraw from The Masters last week, much ado has been made about the lack of compelling storylines. The 2014 Masters, despite losing it’s marquee performer, still offers a lot of drama for the viewer.
24 golfers will take their first crack at Augusta starting on Thursday, with 17 of those being professionals. If you’re one of the devotees who will still be watching, here is a primer on the new guys and the odds that they leave with a Green Jacket.
Note: Odds are my own and not intended to be used as betting advice.
Jordan Spieth: 9/1 – The kid has it all. He’s got the game, he’s very even keeled and he’ll be partnered with the legendary Masters champion and master putter Ben Crenshaw for the for first two rounds. If he can stay out of his own way, he’s as capable as any player in the field.
Patrick Reed: 15/1 – He’s got the length, he’s got the skill and he’s got the gusto to score well; but more importantly he’ got the ego to forget about the bad shots that Augusta will dole out. I’d be shocked if Patrick Reed didn’t bet six plus figures on Patrick Reed, and I’ll be a bit surprised if he’s not on the front page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Jimmy Walker: 18/1 – The 35 year old journeyman has won 3 times on TOUR this year, but the Masters is a different beast. Jimmy has reeled off 5 straight top 25′s since his 3rd win this year at Pebble Beach, but top 25′s don’t mean much here. He’s hard to count out, but can he finish on the big stage.
Victor Dubuisson: 20/1 – The French Wunderkind burst on to the scene with a scintillating duel opposite Jason Day at the Match Play; but he’s quietly risen to the elite levels of the Euro Tour well before that. It will be a disappointment if he does not find himself in the top 25.
Graham DeLaet: 25/1 – The Canadian has been consistently in the mix and is coming off a stellar 2013 campaign and shows no signs of slowing down so far in 2014. The lack of wins is concerning, but 6 top 10′s shows that he’s always lurking.
Harris English: 30/1 – I’m not sure what to make of Mr. English. He’s one of the hottest young prospects in the game, but I wonder if his consistent style won’t land him on the first page but without a win.
Billy Horschel: 35/1 – Billy-Ho has the game to be in contention, but can he keep hos firey disposition in check to overcome the dips.
Joost Luiten: 35/1 – Joost has established himself as a real threat on the Euro Tour, but a lack of major experience doesn’t bode well at Augusta.
Matt Every: 45/1 – Just 10 years ago, Every was a winless version of Patrick Reed. Now, complete with humility, can he validate his former top-prospect status.
Chris Kirk: 60/1 – Kirk has a weak field victory and not a whole lot else going for him heading into this week. But he’s too good to be down for very long and he has the ability to break out.
Brendon de Jonge: 60/1 – The South African had a solid Presidents Cup showing, but more importantly, he can flat out go low. He’s probably too inconsistent to win, but he’s got better than a punchers chance.
Stephen Gallacher: 75/1 – I just don’t see it. Gallacher has his moments, but he’s not quite seasoned enough to pull off the shocker.
Kevin Stadler: 75/1 – Kevin has probably the coolest story this week, playing with his dad, Masters winner Craig Stadler. But he’s looked shaky at best lately and Augusta can chew up and spit out the world’s best.
Matt Jones: 100/1 – This Aussie won last week in Houston, but SHO winners don’t have a great history at the Masters and I don’t think he’s special enough to break the mold.
Jonas Blixt: 100/1 – Jonas is a character, and when he’s on, a very good golfer. Unfortunately for him, he’s been off, which is not a good sign.
Stephen Bowditch: 125/1 – Stephen Bowditch is awesome. He’s talented, he’s humble and he’s a great dude. I hope he proves me wrong, but I think he’s the guy that’s most likely to get swallowed by the moment that is the Masters. Go get em’ Steve!
Derek Ernst: 150/1 – Derek has been less than awe inspiring since his win in Charlotte last year. I don’t expect him to make the cut, let alone compete.
Roberto Castro:150/1 – See: Derek Ernst. Roberto didn’t even win last year before hitting the wall.
Happy To Be Here:
Matthew Fitzpatrick: 250/1 – The U.S. Amateur Champion can compete, but with no professional experience, a cut is going to be a victory in and of itself.
500/1 and up: Oliver Goss, Chang-woo Lee, Michael McCoy, Jordan Niebrugge, Garrick Porteous – I just don’t know much about any of these guys. All qualified by winning important amateur events, but beyond that a glaring lack of professional experience does not bode well for the majorest of majors.