Lovers of links may disagree but there is no course more beautiful in the world than Augusta in April and few sights finer than seeing the very best golfers try to navigate their way around its perfectly manicured hellishness.
Last year it was England’s Danny Willett who succeeded better than his peers, becoming the first European since 1996 to win the Masters in the process. This time out Dustin Johnson is being tipped to, ahem, master the eighteen holes all named after indigenous flowers ranging from magnolia to flowering crab apple. A word of warning though to anyone thinking of backing the in-form world number one – no favourite has worn the famous green jacket since Tiger Woods in 2005.
The tournament tees off this Thursday and boasts an especially open field this time out due to an underwhelming twelve months for both Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, two big-hitters who would usually be firmly in the frame. Indeed it’s been suggested that the former’s horrible quadruple bogey around Amen Corner last April is chiefly responsible for the Texan’s temporary loss of prominence in a sport many believed he was fated to dominate for years to come.
Neither should be ruled out of course, such is their incredible talent and in Spieth’s case there is the small matter of his exceptional record at the Masters – two ties for second and a record breaking score to win it in 2015.
As for McIlroy his injury-hit year may just produce a significant silver lining in improved putting after countless hours consigned to the greens over the fairways.
Looking beyond the expected main draws two home-grown talents in Lee Westwood and Justin Rose stand out along with debutant Jon Rahm who is showing fantastic form at just the right time.
Ultimately though it is us – the viewers – who win out with four days of the highest quality golf and unmissable drama to relish all played out in the unique and picture-perfect setting of Augusta. We can hardly wait for one of the sporting highlights of the calendar.
The best golf tournament of the year gets underway this week with the green jacket the coveted prize. The Masters always draws the biggest names and past Champion Jordan Spieth along with Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood make up a great 50/1 treble chance offer from one of the top golf betting bookies’ Bet On Brazil.