THIS week’s US Masters is shaping up to be one of the most tightly contested majors for a long time. The mere sight of the lush fairways and the blooming azaleas, shrubs and trees is enough to get every golf fan excited, even before the battle for the Green Jacket gets underway.

But this year’s battle at the Augusta National threatens to serve up the sort of sporting battle such an iconic venue deserves for the first major of the year.

Such is the quality of the field, it is always difficult to predict who will be wearing Green Jacket on Sunday night and this year is even harder.

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are all showing signs that they are capable of heading the field, while Tiger Woods is in the best shape he has been for many a year – even if he has seen his odds length in the last couple of weeks because of others’ form.

But there are also strong claims for the likes of Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Jon Rahm having good week’s – not least because they all know the course and history suggests a regular will don Green. Not since Fuzzy Zoeller won in 1979 has there been a winning debutant in Georgia, while he was only one of three first-timers to win it.


Jordan Spieth

Best Masters: 1st in 2015

Odds: 10/1

The reigning Open champion had a winter slump by his own standards but a tied third finish at Houston has got his fans thinking he could be peaking at just the right time. He certainly knows the track, and can deliver there. As well as his triumph in 2015, he has also finished second and tied 11th so will be heading back confident – particularly after three top ten finishes in 2018. Will hope his putting problems don’t come back.


Tiger Woods

Best Masters: 1st in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005

Odds: 12/1

He might be 42 but the Tiger is on the charge again. Having shown signs of winning for the first time since 2013 this year, he has delivered two top tens and another top 25. There are real signs he has thrashed out the problems in his approach game, while he holds great memories of Augusta. As well as the four triumphs there, he still went close in 2015. He can still perform at a major, and he is back in form.


Ian Poulter

Best Masters: T6 in 2015

Odds: 60/1

If the 42-year-old can win this week and claim his long-awaited maiden major triumph then a movie could be made about it. Days after thinking he would not even be playing at Augusta, he will head there as the Houston Open champion.

That was his last chance to qualify for the Masters and he achieved his goal by winning a play-off he forced by holing a lengthy birdie putt at the 18th – using the same putter he has brought back to his bag that he used during the Ryder Cup’s Miracle of Medinah.

He will hope this is his lucky 13th appearance at the National, where he has never missed a cut.


Brian Harman

Best Masters: Missed cut in 2016

Odds: 80/1

He might not have the greatest experience of playing at The Masters but this Georgia-born talent has every chance of upsetting the big guns on home turf. He has already posted more top ten finishes than anyone else this season, including holding off Johnson to win a second Tour title and he beat McIlroy in the WGC-Match Play. He’s not the biggest of hitters but he will hope to fair better than he did two years ago.


Kevin Chappell

Best Masters: T7 in 2017

Odds: 110/1

Another heading to Augusta in good form. If he can get his putter moving in the right direction then a decent each-way bet on could well be worth a look, particularly after his decent finish 12 months ago.

Chappell is a fantastic driver of the ball and that has helped him to deliver three top-20 finishes in his last four starts. He was also seventh at the Arnold Palmer.