A golfer's paradise full of history
It's the week that marks the beginning of the golf season for many Finns. While snow covers the ground all over Finland, this week can be spent virtually in the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings of Augusta thanks to TV and smart devices.
The Masters has the longest history of all the golf tournaments ever broadcasted in Finland. The first major tournament of the year (one of four), was enjoyed in the early 2000s with expert commentary from Lassi Tilander and Asko Arkkola.
This year marks the 87th edition of the competition, always played on the same course, which makes even the world's best golfers appear fallible at times. Many consider the Masters to be the greatest major tournament, partly because of its unique characteristics and timing. It marks the beginning of the major season and it is always played on the same beautiful course in Augusta, a small town in the state of Georgia.
In addition to its renowned winners, the Masters is known for the green jacket, caddies wearing white overalls, and the magnificent fauna surrounding the course. The course has famous sections, such as Amen Corner, holes named after the vegetation. Nature is more strongly present in The Masters as in any other sporting events.
A course where history matters
Augusta National Golf Club is quite typical in its design - par 72 and 7,475 yards - but that's where that ends. It is known for its difficulty and beauty. The narrow fairways are lined with fine trees, the fast greens are full of interesting shapes, and hazards wait on numerous holes with the added difficulty of "micro" climate that makes winds swirl.
Experience and optimal playing strategy have proved their importance year after year. First-timers haven't won the tournament in over 50 years, and the winner usually has several good visits to Augusta behind them before their victory. As with so many tournament courses, Augusta has been extended even further. The changes to the 13th hole (par 5) have received attention this year, as the hole will play considerably more difficult than before.
The wet course and cool weather this year will also add to the distance, as the forecast predicts temperatures not exceeding 20 degrees from Friday onwards, with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees on Saturday. The changing weather also means gusty winds and big differences between players playing at different times. This also means that surprises are more likely.
You can get to know each hole of the course through this amazing video from Golf.com:
Favorites and LIV Tour stars in the spotlight
The media has created a strong divide between the top players of the PGA Tour and the LIV Tour around the Masters. LIV Tour stars are under a lot of scrutiny, and Phil Mickelson, in particular, carries a heavy burden with him due to his poor form. In the Masters media room, Cameron Smith had a familiar and pleasant conversation, and the questions presented to him were very appropriate. In addition, Masters made its own preview video of him, which reflects their positive attitude towards the Australian who mentions Augusta as his "favorite place in the world."
In the betting market, two superstars stand out from the rest. Defending champion Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, who is seeking the missing green jacket, currently account for 25-30% of the winner market. As of Tuesday, the week's biggest movers on the betting exchange have been Bryson DeChambeau (odds increased by 50%), Corey Conners (up 36.36%), and Phil Mickelson (up 30%). Players whose odds have decreased the most on the exchange are Adrian Meronk (22%), Seamus Power (19%), and Mito Pereira (17%). These movements often predict tournament success, so it's worth keeping these names in mind when considering betting on the event.
According to tradition, the top 25 performers based on data for this week are as follows:
You can access the entire table from this link. With the help of the table, you can also see the players' latest positions in this tournament and their ranking positions in the field's history.
Betting card and thoughts
We face quite effective market this week on the exchange. Some profitable early lines were available on Monday and Tuesday, but now it feels really hard to find valuable ways from main markets.
Our main strategy focuses on the top players with some course history specialists that play on the second wave (afternoon-morning) and should have edge because of changing weather on Friday afternoon.
Cut plays are big part of the card but unfortunately most of these lines disappeared quite quickly. Plays can be accessed from this link and picture tells the story 3 hours before the start. Live plays will be added to this post.
Good luck for the week!