Rory McIlroy’s final event before the 2018 version of The Masters at Augusta came to a disappointing conclusion last week. The Irishman appeared weary in his 5&3 defeat at the WGC Dell Match Play by Brian Harman, confirming the 2015 champion’s exit in the early stages of the small yet highly covered golf betting event.
However, McIlroy sees a positive side to his lacklustre performance, as was reported by the Telegraph:
“It was tiring and obviously going from winning on Sunday to travelling on Monday, and getting an early practice round on Tuesday to playing in the first match on Wednesday, I didn’t have a lot of time to recharge the batteries. At least I’ll get the chance [to] rest up before Augusta.”
The major winner is not taking lightly the fact that he’s a strong favourite at top bookies. He’ll also be paying a lot of attention to his game when he plays practice rounds at Augusta on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. McIlroy’s bagman Harry Diamond, who has not caddied at Augusta before, has absolute confidence in the 28-year-old coming off his poor performance:
“Rory did not play his best but he is an intimidating guy. He is a freak, an absolute freak. No one hits it as far as that guy when he wants it.”
There’s no denying that McIlroy has some extremely stiff competition for the 2018 edition of the US Masters. The tournament is an important notch on a professional golfer’s belt but a crowded field of the very best will surely make it even more difficult. He’s not the only favourite for this years competition.
Tiger Woods has seen his odds drop dramatically over the past few weeks, due in equal part to impressive performances and positive notes from critics. The veteran golfer, who has been extremely inconsistent with his attempted comebacks due to rampant back problems, seems to have finally gotten back to the place where he wants to be.
Recent top-5 finishes have consolidated this fact, and fans have seen his worth swell at online bookmakers, where he averages 9/1 to bring his 5th title home. Dustin Johnson’s form as of late has remained incredible and as such, he is also among the upper echelons of betting options for The Masters.
The South Carolina native remains number the world number 1 and recently smashed a drive nearly 500 yards during matchplay in Austin. Johnson, like McIlroy, has never been on the receiving end of a green jacket at Augusta, making his drive for the win just as palpable. If he manages to win it will be his second major and his first since winning the U.S. Open in 2016.
McIlroy’s performance at the WGC Dell Match Play certainly hasn’t put off the likes of Ladbrokes' sportsbook, who have the four time major winner at odds of 8/1 at the time of writing. Paddy Power's bookmaker is a little less sure with their odds however - Woods, Johnson and McIlroy are all 9/1 with the Irish bookmakers.
While the odds are extremely close for the top three favourites for this years Masters, McIlroy seems to edge out Johnson and Woods on a number of different fronts - hence their difference in price at some newer bookmakers.
While a McIlroy win at the masters looks an enticing bet for punters it’s far from a sure thing. If he doesn’t manage to come home with a victory it will remain a frustration for McIlroy, as is evidenced by the passion he has previously shown for major wins:
“If somebody asks me whether I'd rather sink the winning putt in the Ryder Cup or win a major, it's the major every day. World championship or Ryder Cup? Win a world championship. At the end of the day you're going to be remembered for what you achieve in an individual sport.”