- Dustin Johnson has a slender lead at the top of the world rankings following another very consistent 12 months. He has won two PGA Tour titles - at the Northern Trust and Sentry Tournament of Champions - since having to withdraw from last year’s Masters after injuring his back in a fall.
- Justin Thomas is just behind his fellow American Johnson in the world standings following a blistering run of form. He claimed his first major title at the PGA Championship last August and has been victorious in three more tournaments since then. He will arrive at The Masters on the back of four straight top-ten finishes.
- Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth are next on the rankings list. Spanish 23-year-old Rahm enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017 to surge up to third, although he has not yet finished in the top 20 at a major. Spieth has proven his credentials at the highest level with three major wins, and showed signs of a return to his best with a third-placed finish at the recent Houston Open.
- Sergio Garcia finally claimed his first major title at the 2017 Masters and has started 2018 in some style, with a win at SMBC Singapore Open and a number of other solid performances. Justin Rose, runner-up to Garcia last year, has also shown he is in decent touch, with two top-five finishes in his last three events.
- Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood will be another player to watch, while Rory McIlroy only needs a Masters win to complete a career Grand Slam. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is surely a major winner in waiting, but it is the form of Tiger Woods which has captured most of the headlines in the run-up to this event. The 14-time major champion only returned from a fourth back operation late last year but has been quietly putting together a series of impressive results. He came second at the recent Valspar Championship to signal that he is coming to the boil at just the right time.
Anticipation is building for what promises to be one of the most exciting Masters tournaments in years, with most of the leading contenders in decent form and Woods’ comeback offering the tantalising prospect of a genuine golfing fairytale. Woods can be backed at 16/1 with Ladbrokes to slip on the green jacket for a fifth time and is sure to attract a lot of interest from punters, but it might just be a bit too soon for him to pull off what would be one of sport’s great stories.
Thomas has had the consistency in recent weeks to suggest that he could be worth a flutter, McIlroy’s putting has looked better than ever in recent weeks, while the hype surrounding Woods could ease the pressure on Spieth and help him to have a big week. However, the most interesting selection could be Rose. The Englishman has been in good form recently and also has an excellent record at Augusta. Including last year’s second-placed finish, Rose has five top-ten finishes at The Masters and has never missed the cut in 12 attempts. A 14/1 wager on an outright win looks appealing, while you can also back him at 3/1 to finish in the top five.
Sports.net’s Top Tip:
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*Please note, odds may fluctuate.