Bookmark me!

2014 Masters Preview 

Image description


The Masters is finally here. There is no golf tournament on the planet that can top this one at Augusta National. Up here in the northeast I think this carries a little more weight since it is a de facto beginning of the warm weather, and start of the golf season. Yes, Tiger won’t be playing, but there is still a lot to look forward to and some money to be won.


Before we get to the course layout, let’s take a look at some of the notable tee times for the first two rounds…

Round 1/2 Notable Tee Times

9:35am/12:53pm - Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker

McDowell is always a threat to win these major championships while Rickie Fowler has been trying to break through for a few years now. Also, pulling up the rear of this group is the FedEx Cup points leader and the guy with the most wins on tour this season.

9:57am/1:04pm - Zach Johnson, KJ Choi, Steve Stricker

This is the elder statesman's group. All three of these guys are seasoned vets. ZJ has won this thing before while Choi seems to always be competitive in big tournaments, especially at Augusta. Lastly, Steve Stricker is probably the most accomplished golfer on tour that has never won a major. He deserves to break that trend before he hangs em up. I know I will be rooting for some waterworks out of him on Sunday, hopefully he can pull it off.

10:41am/1:48pm - Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Matthew Fitzpatrick

One of the top amateurs has been paired with two of the four major champions from 2013. Scott and Dufner could provide a few extra butterflies or could elevate the young amateurs game a bit. Either way we know two of these guys have a shot at donning the green jacket on Sunday night.

10:52am/1:59pm - Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

Here is the top group of youngsters. The weird part about this group is that the guy with the least confidence in himself is the most proven. It will be interesting to see how these guys fair playing together.

12:20pm/8:51am - Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee

Who knows how Kuchar is going to rebound after that heartbreaking loss last weekend. He could use it to fuel him but I don’t know if it is going to be an easy one to get over. Louis Oosts has won the British Open in blowout fashion in the past and they will be paired with probably the best/weirdest name in the tournament. Thongchai? Is that like a tea made out of spent thongs?

1:04pm/9:35am - Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

This might be the best group top to bottom to tee off in the first two rounds. I don’t think it would shock anyone if any of these three wins this thing, I just hope it isn’t Jason Day.

1:15pm/9:57am - Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia

Sergio is really playing some good golf lately. He has that putter hooked up. Man it’s going to be fun watching him choke once again.

1:37pm/10:19am - Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson

Keegan is due for a breakout tournament. Since he won the PGA Championship a few years back, he hasn’t really blown up like some of us thought he might. Alongside him will be the most fun Frenchman out there.

1:48pm/10:30am - Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

Historically this is the best trio in the tournament. With Tiger out I know Phil will be my top rooting interest this year. I really hope he can at least compete because like Tiger, he makes golf more entertaining to watch. Another thing to watch besides Rose’s defense, is that Els wasn’t invited to Augusta last year. Despite his nickname being “The Big Easy”, he might come in here pissed off looking to prove these guys wrong.

Going Out

Image description


Hole 1: Par 4 455 yards

In previous years, this has been a great hole to get some momentum going, but now the tee has been moved back an extra 20 yards and that large bunker on the right side, that requires 327 yards of carry to clear, has grown a tongue that will collect anything that cuts the edge and comes close. They have also added some trees to the left for those a little over worried about being gobbled up by that bunker. If you can land your tee shot in the short stuff you have a good chance to make birdie but don’t get your hopes up because this green can easily provide you with a birdie putt that contains 7-8 feet of break. The green is also tricky in a few other ways. If you leave your approach shot short the false front will run the ball well off the green leaving a very difficult up and down. In addition, while it’s usually easier to chip uphill, if you hit your approach long and left you will be thrilled with a bogey.

Image description


Hole 2: Par 5 575 yards

If you cashed in at 1, you stand a chance at really gaining some confidence early on at Augusta. The first par 5 is a legit birdie hole, but can be made a mess of. The tee shot is relatively open, but in order to reach the green in two it requires a right to left shot shape. Everyone on tour can hit that shot, but it is the second shot that separates the men from the boys. If you want to really make a statement and go for the eagle you have one of the more difficult second shots on the course in front of you. You will be faced with a 240 yard approach shot with a lie that wants to push the ball above the hole. Not to forget about the two giant bunkers guarding the green or the false front you will have to climb to reach the green with a legitimate chance at eagle. You will see plenty of guys plunking the ball in the right greenside bunker but the ones you should really keep an eye on are the guys who land in the left greenside bunker. Even with a second shot into that left bunker you would be thrilled with making par.


Image description


Hole 3: Par 4 350 yards

This is a fantastic risk/reward par 4. The long hitters might choose to try and reach the green off the tee. The shorter, and possibly smarter, drivers will look to leave it short of the army of bunkers guarding this green in order to leave a second shot that will allow for an uphill birdie putt. This L shaped green slopes severely from right to left so a lay up off the tee is probably the smart play, but we all know there are plenty of guys willing to gamble to earn themselves a green jacket.

Image description


Hole 4: Par 3 240 yards

The first par 3 on the course will really create some anxiety this week. Now that the tee has been moved back into the woods, this has become one hell of a long par 3 that is guarded heavily by a false front and two giant deep bunkers. We might see guys go long just to avoid the majority of the threats however they will be looking to get up and down while chipping back onto the green with a downhill lie. This is not going to be a fun hole for anyone playing this week.

Image description


Hole 5: Par 4 455 yards

They have recently added some trees on the right side to combat the enormous bunkers on the left side. In fact they say the only thing you can see out of those bunkers is the sky. While the approach shot is extremely difficult from the fairway, it is nearly impossible out of those bunkers. You will need to land the golf ball at least 15 yards onto the green, when it finally becomes a bit flat, to have any shot of a two putt.

Image description


Hole 6: Par 3 180 yards

A lot of courses have tried to become longer in order to challenge this generation of longer hitting professionals. However, 180 yards of the 6th hole at Augusta National is more than enough to baffle the best of the best. You know that is true given the fact that this hole has not been changed in 31 years. This green has three distinct tiers separated by significant slope. This hole really depends on the pin placement. If the pin is front left you have a chance to hit a solid shot and feed the ball back down to the hole. A top right pin placement is almost impossible to get the ball to because the worse case scenario is going over and chipping back downhill with three clear cut downhill tiers. Only the best of the best golf shots will result in a birdie attempt of under 20 feet and will still likely carry some significant slope. Golf course designers take note, 180 yards can be more than enough.

Image description


Hole 7: Par 4 450 yards

As beautiful as the entire Augusta National course is, it’s the greens that really take your breath away. I will promise you this approach shot and this green will take the breath away from many a golfer this week. It is guarded by five bunkers and has a bit of a center peak point. The first three rounds the ball will feed away from the flagstick. If you miss left you will lose the ball off the green. If you miss right you will be far right by the time the ball stops. However on Sunday, the pin should be front right and there will be a slope available to land on and feed the ball back down too in order to make birdie. The first three days this is as tough a green as you will see, but on Sunday you will either see more birdies or more bunker shots here at #7 than any other hole.

Image description


Hole 8: Par 5 570 yards

As a pro you should expect to make birdie out of every par 5, but this hole has some serious hazards. Off the tee that giant bunker on the right is the number one thing you need to avoid. However if you bail out left there are plenty of trees that can impact your 2nd shot. If you do land in that bunker you might be able to lay up with a long iron but if you are anywhere near the lip you are hitting wedge and hitting a long iron into the green, which by the way is almost diabolical. There is a ridge cutting the green in half making a pin placement in the front half an opportunity while a pin placement in the back half a near impossibility, I guess that is why they give you five shots.

Image description


Hole 9: Par 4 460 yards

The furthest you will get from the clubhouse is the furthest you may get from sanity. The tee shot is set back in a place in which you can’t really feel the wind which means you need to remember which way the wind is blowing on #8 in order to read this tee shot correctly. Also, you won’t be able to see where your tee shot is landing, instead you are aiming for a giant tree off in the distance. From there you will be hitting a second shot from a severe downhill lie way up hill to a three tiered green. As with most of these holes at Augusta, the false front is very prevalent. If you miss this green short you might be 75 yards short of the green by the time the ball stops rolling.

Coming Home

Image description


Hole 10: Par 4 495 yards

Augusta National sets up for the best golf tournament every single year for many reasons, but it helps that they set it up so the 10th hole is a birdie hole. Yes it is a long par 4, but it is a downhill par 4 with a right to left slope in the fairway. You are going to see a lot of long drives that carry forever and result in birdie attempts. However, it has played as one of the most difficult holes in past Masters’ events because of the right greenside bunker. Golfers will try and avoid the giant bunker in the front and thread the needle to let the ball filter towards the hole but in doing so they might land in that right greenside bunker. From there they will be left with a bunker shot with little green to work with that works away from them. This hole can be had, but it can also be lost, rather easily with the second shot.

Image description


Hole 11: Par 4 505 yards

Amen corner starts here. What a beautiful picture of such a monster of a hole. As if it weren’t difficult enough, they moved the tee back 15 yards. This super long/demanding par 4 is now more difficult than ever. A 300 yard drive down one of the more narrow fairways is needed to get to the crest of the hill in the fairway. This green isn’t typical of most Augusta National greens in that it has one slope, back right to front left. But this long par 4 is about as difficult as they come.

Image description


Hole 12: Par 3 155 yards

Remember when I said 180 yards is enough to baffle the pros? 155 yards is enough to stifle the pros. There is a reason this hole is the picture you will see that goes with any Masters promo. Those bunkers you see over the green are going to be a very common place to land your tee shot. Yes of course you want to avoid the water, but you also want to avoid a shot off the green back towards the water. This is one of the most fun holes to watch on Sunday without a doubt. Any tee shots near the hole are basically worth a full stroke.

Image description


Hole 13: Par 5 510 yards

The 13th hole has a magnificent setup. Anyone that wants to go for the green in two is going to have to deal with the four bunkers behind the green and a tributary of Rae’s Creek guarding the front of the green. There are no easy up and downs around the green if you go for the green in two and miss therefore the best play is to lay up short of the creek and playing for a birdie instead of going for the eagle. But ask Phil Mickelson how well that strategy works, even from the pine straw.

Image description


Hole 14: Par 4 440 yards

Augusta is held in such high regard for a reason. This hole is a perfect explanation as to why. The slope of the fairway in the landing area for the drive is sloped from left to right. The green however has three tiers, but the majority of the landing areas will be sloped from right to left. In other words you will be hitting an approach shot that wants to end up above the hole, when that is the exact spot you don’t want to be in. You can hit a great approach shot and catch a bad bounce and be 50 feet away from the hole without much change.

Image description


Hole 15: Par 5 530 yards

The 15th hole is another beautifully designed par 5. If you want to go at this green in two you are going to battling an extremely narrow green with water guarding the front and a slope working away from the green resulting in a chip back towards the water if you go long. The guy that dawns the green jacket late Sunday afternoon, might just stick this in two and make eagle, but it takes some serious balls to hit that shot in that moment.

Image description


Hole 16: Par 3 170 yards

This is the home of maybe the most famous shot of Tiger’s career. That chip that sat on the lip for roughly 25 minutes before dropping in. Two bunkers guard the right side while water and another bunker guard the left. Meanwhile on the green itself is an absolute mystery. You could hit a solid tee shot and be faced with 12 feet of break in your birdie putt.

Image description


Hole 17: Par 4 440 yards

It is sad but the Eisenhower Tree is now gone. While that opens up the tee shots a bit it still isn’t easy. You are still hitting your tee shot out of a chute to a very narrow fairway. Even if you hit the fairway you are hitting an approach shot to one of those three tiered Augusta greens. This could become a very pivotal hole that could render a large birdie late Sunday that changes the scope of things.

Image description


Hole 18: Par 4 465 yards

What a tough finishing hole. It might be the toughest on the tour. This hole is almost completely uphill and requires such an accurate drive through a chute of trees while dodging some key fairway bunkers. The second shot is also uphill and plays roughly 200 yards with bunkers guarding the front of the green. On Sunday the pin will be sitting front left and if you find yourself short and left on Sunday you will be looking at bogey unless you can hole a 20+ foot putt.


Now what should we be betting?

Best Matchup Bets

Henrik Stenson +130 vs Matt Kuchar

After last week I have to believe Kuchar is going to struggle a bit. While I believe he is one of the most mentally tough on tour, that loss is going to be difficult to forget. It has to impact his game to some degree this week. On the other side you have arguably the best golfer on the planet in 2013, why wouldn’t you take the +130 value?

Henrik Stenson +140 vs Sergio Garcia

The best golfer on the planet in 2013 vs a guy prime to choke while riding high yet again.

Zach Johnson +115 vs Sergio Garcia

Brandt Snedeker +140 vs Sergio Garcia

Have you figured out a trend yet? This week Sergio has become a bit of a trendy pick for whatever reason. Think about it for a second, would you prefer Sergio or a former Masters champion? Would you prefer Sergio or a former FedEx Cup Champion?

Stay Away From

Adam Scott 8-1

When is the last time someone won their first two majors in consecutive Masters? I don’t need to have an answer that question answered itself, since he is just 8-1.

Jason Day 14-1

There is a chance that this is a little biased because I absolutely do not want him to win. But what has he done to make me believe he deserves to be one of the favorites in this thing?

Sergio Garcia 16-1

Too obvious to continue.

Matt Kuchar 16-1

Again an obvious stay away. However I will say that if he can get off to a good start he has a shot. Kuchar is mentally tough. He f’d up and then got sucked out on in the playoff last week. It is just a matter if he can mentally push through early and then again late in this tournament. Either way I don’t love the value and I don’t love the idea of him replaying that shot into the water on 18 last week in his mind coming up 18 at the Masters with a lead.

Bubba Watson 20-1

Bubba just doesn’t feel ready to win another major. He competed for the wins earlier in the season, but he has been out of sight and out of mind the last month or two. He knows this course, I just can’t see him pulling magic out of his ass out of nowhere.

Best Bets

Dustin Johnson 20-1

This list was two deep, but of course one of them landed on the “My Pick” section. DJ may not have gotten the nod, but he is a 1A in my opinion. He has played as well as anyone this year and has the game to dominate at Augusta if he has his best stuff.

Best Value Bets

Jordan Spieth 40-1

I doubt this kid is going to burst through with his first major victory at Augusta, but he is good enough to do it. My only problem with him is that he seems to almost want to be great too much. He, like 2013-14 Tiger, can’t get over the idea of hitting even one bad shot. When he is on point he is among the best on the planet but one bad shot can ruin him, think Rory at the 2011 Masters.

Lee Westwood 45-1

It really stuns me that this guy hasn’t burst through the no major barrier. Every year it seems as though he leads every major heading into the weekend, yet he has nothing to show for it. While that is likely to happen again this weekend, 45-1 is pretty good for the leader heading into the weekend.

Jason Dufner 50-1

Just flat out stupendous value. Cool as a cucumber and a proven champ. 50-1 is a gift.

Steve Stricker 80-1

This is the saddest bet on the board. The fact that Stricker has never won a major feels like a crime. He deserves it more than any majorless golfer on the planet because he is good enough to have a handful of major championship trophies.

KJ Choi 100-1

He might not necessarily fit here, but he always seems to hang around in the big events. 100-1 just feels like far too long of odds to pass by.

My Pick

Phil Mickelson 10-1

Why the hell wouldn’t I be picking Phil? The only issue with betting Phil is that you aren’t getting the same value as if Tiger were playing. Yes Phil’s body isn’t 100% either but he is absolutely electric at Augusta. No matter how far back he is entering the weekend he has a chance to make a run and get back into things. He knows this course better than anyone playing this week and despite the fact that it is the first time in what feels like forever that he is heading to the Masters without a win, he is my pick to win this thing.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Please help us out click the ads tell a friend and/or click through our Amazon banner before you buy something. Mission Statement

Bookmark and Share