The most prestigious tournament in golf is upon us and I, a bang average 19 handicap golfer, cannot wait to try and replicate what I see them do, to realise that golf is the hardest sport in the world. The Masters, held in Augusta National Golf Club, is back to grace our TV screens once again. Founded in 1934 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the course itself is a challenging par 72 and 7,475 yards in length. The Masters is the tournament every golfer dreams of winning and donning the green jacket, joining an exclusive list of golfing greats. From Horton Smith to most recent winner Dustin Johnson, The Masters has produced 53 different winners. The prize money hasn’t been announced as I’m writing this but in the previous year, the prize fund was $11,500,000 with the winner netting a cool $2,070,000.
Out of the 53 champions only 3 have managed to retain the green jacket. 6 time winner Jack Nicklaus, 5 time winner Tiger Woods and 3 time winner Nick Faldo. The youngest winner is of course Tiger Woods who was only 21 years and 104 days old when he clinched his first green jacket in 1997. Tigers most recent win in 2019 after coming back from multiple surgeries on his back and knee, made him the second oldest Masters winner only bettered by Jack Nicklaus. The 6 time winner was 46 when he won his final Green Jacket a staggering 23 years since his first triumph.
The history of the Green Jacket
When Bobby Jones, co-founder of the tournament, was having dinner at the Royal Liverpool in England, he realised that all the club captains were wearing different coloured jackets to show their position. Shortly after came the green jackets to Augusta National where they were first purchased in New York from the Brooks Uniform Country.
The green jacket was first introduced in 1937. The founders thought it would be a good idea for the members of Augusta National to wear the jackets to stand out to members of the public should they need assistance. From then on only members of Augusta National would wear green jackets, until 1949 where Sam Snead was presented with the first ‘Green Jacket’ for winning the tournament. From then on the coveted Green Jacket was presented to the winner every year. In recent years the tradition has evolved where the winner from the previous tournament will present the newest winner their jacket.
The Masters Champion (currently Dustin Johnson), will keep their jacket until the following Masters tournament where the jacket will then remain at Augusta National. He is then only allowed to wear the jacket when he is at the golf club. Unfortunately for Johnson, he will have only had his jacket since last November due to the 2020 Masters delayed due to covid-19.
Golden Bell – The 12th hole
One of the most infamous holes in golf, the 12th hole has ruined many rounds over the years. At only 155 yards from tee to green, a lake in between and bunkers either side of the green. The Golden Bell has taken many victims. Tiger Woods the 2019 winner of the Masters the most recent. On the final day of the 2020 Masters Woods took 10 shots to finish the hole after finding the water 3 times. Woods managed to then birdie 5 of the last 6 holes but the damage had been done on the 12th, thus failing to retain the championship.
Along with many players having to swallow their medicine on the 12th, there has on the very rare occasion been a hole in one. However, in the entire history of the tournament, there have only been 3 of them, with nobody managing this feat since Curtis Strange in 1988.
The Masters 2021
With just under 5 months since the 2020 Masters, the current world number 1 Dustin Johnson will be looking to retain his title in hope he can keep a jacket for a whole year. Although he is currently out of form DJ is still favourite to win the tournament at 8/1 closely followed by Bryson DeChambeau at 9/1. The 2021 Masters begins on Thursday 8th of April until Sunday the 11th. 84 hopefuls will go into Thursday with their eyes firmly set on making it to the final day top of the leaderboard, only for half of them to be cut after their second round.
My pick to win the 85th edition of The Masters is 9/1 trailblazer Bryson DeChambeau, the single plane powerhouse is in red hot form. Coming off the back of winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the start of March then a 3rd place finish three weeks ago in The Players Championship, Bryson is on everyone’s radar.
Chris is backing Patrick Reid at 25/1. One of the most consistent golfers on tour, and constantly in contention during major tournaments. Fantastic putting makes up for his average short game.
Another player who’s turned up at the right time is The Players Championship winner Justin Thomas. Starting the final day of The Players 3 shots behind the leader, Thomas held his nerve to clinch his first trophy of the year. At 11/1 the former World number 1 is not to be overlooked.
At 28/1 Lee Westwood offers unbelievable value if you fancy going for an outsider. Coming off back to back 2nd place finishes in The Players Championship and The Arnold Palmer Invitational, Westwood winning tournaments in 5 continents spread across 4 decades, is somehow yet to win a major tournament. But, with him being one of the best golfers over the past 28 years is it finally time we see Westwood win a major?
If you fancy an absolute £1 bet outsider, Corey Conners could be your man at 80/1. Canadian born Conners finished 10th in last year’s Masters and has been consistent ever since. Finishing in the top 20 in 5 of his last 7 tournaments with a 3rd place finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Conners will be one to keep an eye out for.
Finally we have fan favourite Jordan Spieth at 14/1. 3 top 5 finishes in his last 5 tournaments have slashed Spieth’s odds to triumph at The Masters. Not having the best of times in last year’s tournament finishing a disappointing 46th, Spieth will be eager to drastically improve his final position.