Masters 2022: Preview & Predictions
The 86th edition of the Masters gets underway on Thursday with plenty of players in with a genuine chance of winning the tournament.
The latest Betway Golf odds make Jon Rahm the favourite to come out on top, but he is unlikely to have things his own way in an extremely competitive field.
The headline-maker in the run-up to the event has undoubtedly been Tiger Woods, with the five-time winner set to participate after a long spell on the sidelines.
However, given the tough nature of the Masters, it would be a sporting miracle if Woods ends up on top of the leaderboard after four rounds.
Despite this, his mere presence in the field will ensure that the sports streaming sites will be inundated with viewers throughout the tournament.
Rahm’s position at the head of the betting is difficult to understand given his continued struggles with his putter.
At the current odds, former world number one Justin Thomas could the value bet to win the second major championship of his career.
He led at the halfway point in 2020, before falling away to finish fourth as Dustin Johnson powered clear of the chasing pack.
Thomas was in the mix again last year, recovering from an opening round of 73 to move into contention at four under par on the second day.
He moved just one off the lead on day three, but eventually slipped out of contention to finish in a tie for 21st position.
His form this season has been good, particularly his iron play, and that should stand him in good stead this week.
Thomas was the best iron player in this tournament from 2018-2020, leading the traditional greens-in-regulation statistics and the upgraded strokes-gained approach.
In each of Thomas’s last four Masters starts he has shot a round of 68 or lower, but has failed to piece together four rounds of the same ilk.
His putting has frequently let him down, but he now has enough experience of the course to be able to figure out where he has been going wrong.
With Jim ‘Bones’ MacKay now caddying for him full-time, Thomas has all the tools he needs to finally get another major golf title under his belt.
MacKay won this tournament three times with Phil Mickelson and he could have a significant influence on Thomas’ fortunes this week.
With doubts about many of the other fancied players in the betting, Viktor Hovland could give each-way punters a good run for their money.
Hovland is currently ranked fourth in the world after an impressive run over the last six months and could emerge as a big danger at Augusta.
The Norwegian has three wins and three additional top-five finishes in his last 11 tournaments – making him one of the form horses heading into the Masters.
He ranks third on the PGA Tour tour in strokes gained approaching the green and 11th in strokes gained off the tee.
Those skills are priceless at Augusta, and it would be no surprise to see Hovland significantly improve on his T21 finish in last year’s event.
New world number one Scottie Scheffler is also in great form, but he would not be the first player to buckle at the Masters under the weight of expectation.
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka may be dangerous, especially if he repeats the form he showed when finishing tied for second behind Woods in this event in 2019.
He probably would have won but for a double-bogey on the 12-hole on the final day, and will be keen to make amends this time around.