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The Masters Week: Mon

Imagine Golf Club's Tom Cates gives his verdict on the contenders for the Masters

Posted Apr 06, 2009 by Tom Cates

Masters 2

So it is here, maybe the most keenly anticipated golf major championship, ever.  Well in my lifetime anyway.  Anyone who has looked forward to one more then let me know and we'll have an argument about it.  This Thursday at Augusta National, the best players in the world will tee it up and weather permitting on Sunday night the most deserving will be slipping his arms into THAT green jacket.

Everywhere you look there are some outstanding stories.  Will Tiger' make it major number 15, will he and Phil be battling down the straight?  Can Padraig Harrington make it three majors in a row and keep his dreams of a "PADDY SLAM" alive.  Will Sergio finally win one of the big four?  What about the winners of the last two Masters, Trevor Immelman 12 months ago and in 2007, Zac Johnson? 

How about their contemporaries, the likes of Geoff Ogilvy, Henrik Stenson, and the Shell Houston Open winner, Paul Casey?  Can any of the older brigade launch a winning challenge - I'm talking Els, Singh, Goosen, Westwood, Furyk, Cink and a host of others?  Can Rory McIlroy cement his place in the pantheon of most prodigious sports talents ever by winning?  Let's not forget the other young guns; Antony Kim, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Camillo Villegas, Sean O'Hair or Andres Romero.

Tiger is quite understandably the bookies favourites - but at around 2/1 he's a bit short for me.  I wouldn't be shocked to see him slipping into that fine piece of menswear but at that kind of price he wont be carrying any of my money.  Nor will Phil at 6's - too skinny for me.  Rory McIlroy is a ridiculous price at 33 to 1.  However talented he is, history tells us that debutants don’t win.  His time will come but I would make him more like a 66/1 shot to land his first major this Sunday. 

Geoff Ogilvy is interesting at a best price of 20/1.  The Aussie is in great form, hits it long, and high, two important attributes around the rolling fairways.  Paul Casey is another each way bet worth considering. 

The Englishman, fresh off his first PGA Tour victory at the Houston Open has a solid record at Augusta and is obviously heading down Magnolia Lane in top form.  If his putter holds up I would expect a strong showing.  He's a top priced 33/1 but actually may offer better value in the top European market at 7's.  With each way terms of 1/5 of the odds the first four places, Casey will definitely carry some of my money.

Another person who I think might be worth a couple of quid is Retief Goosen in the Top Rest of The World Market - the South African will be priced at around the 6/1 mark and his record at Augusta is outstanding.  Having returned to form with a vengeance, this two time winner of the US Open has proved before that he can withstand the heat of battle on the back nine of a major on a Sunday. 

Whatever you own personal choices it promises to be a fantastic tournament, comprehensive coverage is on the BBC and the official Masters website at is also worth a check, it truly is an excellent site. 

Keep checking out Imagine Golf Club, we'll have lots more preview material throughout the week and keep an eye on the video section for mine and Rhodri’s podcasts.  Oh and if you want a real treat and have satellite television!  ESPN Classic on channel 442 on the Sky platform is showing "Masters Movies" throughout this week.  A must watch for all fans of the greatest tournament in the world, well in America anyway!

- Tom Cates

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