We have made it. The Masters is finally upon us and it is arguably the most anticipated renewal since its inception in 1934, with an intriguing dynamic of PGA Tour and LIV Golf players. Take a look below at my long-shot selections for the Masters, but first…
The Masters 2023 preview
Venue: Augusta National, Georgia, USA
Date: April 6-9, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,545 yards
Course summary: The famous Augusta National needs no introduction. With the April promise of Azaleas in full bloom, Augusta will undoubtedly look pristine as the immaculate fairways weave towards the tricky Bentgrass greens. The ability to manipulate the ball, predominantly from right to left, is a real advantage here on this strategist’s paradise. Elevation changes, wind conditions, and the famous water around Amen Corner should all play a factor in deciding the eventual winner come Sunday.
Purse: $15 million
Defending champion: Scottie Scheffler (-10)
Click here for a full breakdown of the Masters coverage in the UK.
The Masters 2023 betting tips
The Long Shot: Hideki Matsuyama @ 40/1
This is a bit of a gamble because we are banking on Hideki Matsuyama playing pain-free this week, but if he can, the Japanese superstar can win this event for a second time after impressing on his title defense last year.
Matsuyama finished 14th last year despite facing all the pressures of a defending champion and he was placed even better at the halfway mark, as he was in 2nd place going into the weekend. He did ultimately fall away, and his form has been in and out ever since, but given he was also 4th in last year’s US Open, Matsuyama continues to impress on the biggest stages.
I can absolutely see him winning this event for a second time this week, especially with his 5th-place finish at the Players and a 15th at the Valero Texas Open suggesting he’s in good enough form once again.
Matsuyama has ranked 10th and 11th in SG Tee to Green in his past two strokeplay starts, and his wizardry around the greens makes him a likely candidate for this course every year. Last year’s top 20 was his 7th in his last 8 Masters starts, including his win in 2021, so he clearly enjoys Augusta National. You will spot a theme throughout my picks that show I like course form, but at one of the most predictive courses in terms of trends and course experience, I have no concerns leaning into it this week more than I typically would.
The Other Long Shot: Justin Rose @ 55/1
Will this be the last time I bet on Justin Rose to win at Augusta? Probably not, although if he does finally get the win I think he can this week, then maybe I will leave it there. We have seen over the years that Justin Rose can play Augusta as well as almost anyone, and he has been a shot here or there from winning on multiple occasions.
Rose came closest at this event in 2017 when losing out in a playoff to Sergio Garcia, but 10 years before that he went into the final round in 2nd place and just two shots back, before finishing the week in 5th place.
The Englishman was 2nd again in 2015 but never looked like winning such was Jordan Spieth’s dominance, but fast forward another six years and Rose threatened to win this event again. Our other pick Matsuyama won in 2021, but it was Rose who led by four strokes after round one and was still ahead by one going into the weekend. He failed to convert once again, but he’s in better form this time around, and if he is in the same position again, I think he can convert this time.
When 7th here in 2021, he was last seen withdrawing from Bay Hill and outside of a T2 at the Saudi International, he had generally struggled that year. Now though, he comes into the event with a win at Pebble under his belt, a T6 finish at the Players, where he struck the ball well and another solid effort at the Valspar. He took the Match Play off, and that may well pay dividends for a man that knows all too well how to prepare for Augusta.
Back Rose to be the first-round leader as well as he’s led the way on Thursday four times already in his career at Augusta, and he’s also been in the top 6 at the end of play Thursday a further four times on top of those leads!
We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!