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09 Apr 2019 by Sam Vickers

The 2019 Masters Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is the 2019 Masters? Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th of April 2019

Where is the 2019 Masters? Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia, U.S.

What is the total prize fund of the 2019 Masters? $11,000,000

What television channel can I watch the 2019 Masters on in the UK? Sky Sports Golf

Where can I stream the 2019 Masters in the UK? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the tournament online via Sky Go

Where can I get tickets for the 2019 Masters? https://tickets.masters.com/en_US/ticket_info.html

What is the course yardage at Augusta National? 7,475 yards

What is the par at Augusta National? 72

What is the predicted weather for the 2019 Masters? Low winds and consistently warm temperatures of 23 degrees centigrade all week. After ideal conditions expected during the opening rounds play, showers are predicted Friday morning and Saturday afternoon which could dramatically soften the course. There are scattered thunderstorms expected on Sunday which could affect play and cause some delays.

THE HISTORY

The season’s first and arguably most anticipated major is upon us as the world’s best players head to Augusta National and down Magnolia Lane to compete for The Masters title and the famous Green Jacket. The 1933 course was originally co-designed by the great Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie and is renowned as one of the most unique and beautiful courses in the world. Over the years, the course has been modified in subtle ways with the reshaping of its greens, new bunkering and added length to make it one of the more demanding tee-to-green courses within the game.

The Masters is always scheduled during the first full week of April which can often result in cooler and windy spring conditions, making the golf course play extremely long. As a result it tends to see much higher scoring, as was the case in 2016 and 2017 as well as throughout the championship’s history. With this in mind, the winning score can vary dramatically depending on conditions, and that can play a significant role in whichever player will be triumphant come the end of the week.

Augusta National is a ball-striker's paradise as it now favours the bigger hitters and almost promotes driver from the tee due to a much lower penalty for missing the fairways than most courses. Furthermore, the need to shape the ball into the greens to hit certain slopes that feed the ball closer to the hole, or leaves better chances to save par, is something that all who have contended have managed to do well. This is evidenced in the past 10 winners, all of whom are renowned for their abilities tee-to-green, shot-shaping, and course management skills. This makes The Masters arguably the one major that the biggest names consistently succeed in.

THE FAVOURITES

Rory McIlroy

As the hottest player in the world right now, the Northern Irishman heads to Augusta in perhaps his best shape ever, both mentally and technically, aiming to become just the fifth player in the history of the game to complete the career grand slam. With a win to his name already this season and nothing lower than a T9 finish, McIlroy will know this is his most realistic chance of making history so far. He leads the tour in SG: driving and tee-to-green, meaning if he putts even just above average, he will be a very difficult man to beat this week.

Dustin Johnson

The world number two looks as sharp as he ever has and will be determined to add to just his one major title thus far. He has put himself in contention around here without really bringing his A-game, suggesting this course is made for his skill set, and an average finishing position of 12th from his previous five starts this season suggests he will be heading to Georgia with something very close to his best. His overall game is in a great position, ranking second in SG: total and 13th in putting, meaning if he doesn’t try to force the win everything is in place to claim another major title.

Justin Rose

The world number one has not really found his best game so far this season and yet still has a victory to his name alongside two additional top 10s from his previous five starts. Augusta is a course that Rose has performed well around over the years, and he was very unlucky not to collect his second major title in 2017, losing a playoff to Sergio Garcia having finished T2 just two years previous. As a player who is in the prime of his career and is looking and expecting to add majors to his name, an average finish here of eight since 2014 suggests this will be one of his best opportunities. Ranked 60th in SG: driving - a statistic he normally ranks very highly in - suggests if he drives the ball well this week, he could finally claim the Green Jacket.

THE OUTSIDERS

Paul Casey

The 41-year-old Englishman is another player in the peak of his career and heads to Augusta with as much confidence in his game as he ever has. Having earned his third PGA Tour title just two starts ago in clinical fashion, following up with some strong play to finish T9 the subsequent week, Casey will know he has a great chance to claim his first major. With an average finish of eight here since 2014, and with three straight finishes inside the top six between 2015 and 2017, this is clearly a course that matches his game. Ranked 12th in SG: driving, a key area that even he has stated is important for him to maintain if he is to contend this week, will be vital to his chances. However, being ranked 181st in SG: putting will be a concern and is an area he must be solid in to contend.

Tiger Woods

The four-time champion can never be overlooked around a golf course that he knows better than any other player in the field. Although he has teed it up just twice in the previous five years here, he must still be regarded as a favourite due to his experience and the form he has shown since returning to full-time golf at the start of last year. With an average finish of 16th from his previous five starts this season, his form is nothing to get overly excited about. However, his overall game and results have steadily progressed over the weeks and he simply looks like the Tiger of old, somewhat, slowly peaking towards the first major of the season. All facets of his game are in solid shape, ranking sixth in SG: total, and if he finds some form on the greens this truly could be one of the great storys the game has ever seen.

BETTING MARKETS

TSZ has identified the main betting markets heading into Masters week, courtesy of Sky Bet at time of publication.


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