HE’S golf’s hottest property in both Australia and around the world, but can world number one Jason Day finally win the US Masters?
Day, 28, has won six times in his last 13 tournaments and enters the Masters next week as the $7 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au. His win in the WGC Matchplay last week was his second in a row and he is now preparing for his sixth Masters at Augusta, where he has twice finished inside the top three.
Some players are preparing for Augusta (April 7-10) by playing in the Shell Houston Open this week, but Day is taking a much-deserved week off.
“I can’t get lazy, I can’t get comfortable with how I am playing because I have to understand that what I’m doing is working,” Day said.
“I have got to keep working on the things that have caused me to win over the last two weeks, stay focused and hopefully put on that green jacket.”
Day has come close in recent years with a second and third place finish from five attempts. Day was a perennial place-getter for most of his career, but he broke through for his first major win in the PGA Championship last year. With that win under his belt, Day got the confidence he needed to win tournaments like The Masters.
“The Masters is one tournament that I have always wanted to win,” Day said. “I wanted to put that jacket on and go back every year. So the motivation and the want? There is no problem. The biggest thing for me is rest and recovery between now and then.”
This will be the first time Day has entered a major as the favourite with both Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy both struggling for form so far this season. Dealing with the pressure of being the best golfer in the world isn’t easy and Day will try to not let the pressure get to him come Thursday week.
“I’ve got to understand there is going to be a lot of hype,” Day said.
“There is going to be a lot of hype around Jordan Spieth, there is going to be a lot of hype around Rory McIlroy because he could finish the career grand slam. Then there’s going to be a lot of hype around me as No. 1. Embrace it. Understand there is going to be some hype there.
Day paid tribute to fellow Australian golfer Adam Scott ($10 at CrownBet), the first Australian to win the tournament in 2013.
“Watching Scotty play the way he did in 2013, getting to No.1, was a big inspiration to me,” Day said.
“Watching him win got me working harder.
“Once you see an Aussie do it, then you want to do it and then it’s kind of like a chain reaction.
Jordan Spieth out to defend Masters title
In two showings in The Masters, Jordan Spieth has finished second in 2014 and was triumphant in 2015. The Texas native is now in the tough position of defending his title at Augusta and he is surprisingly not the favourite with bookmakers.
Spieth looks value on the second line of betting at $8.50 and he will play in the Shell Houston Open this week in Texas. Spieth has taken on advice from different athletes as he prepares for his title defense.
“I think that I’ve been able to learn by personally speaking to different athletes that are at the top of their sport. I think that’s really helped,” Spieth said.
“Around major championships, I just need to take that model into the rest of the PGA Tour now, which is just stay away from all the outside influences, whether it’s TV, where you see yourself, or it’s social media, whatever it may be.
“Just do less of it and find something else to do, whether it’s reading or whether it’s discovering a new place, going out in your car that week, instead of just sitting around. Because then you’re tempted.”
At only 22 years old, Jordan Spieth has won more than many golfers could imagine in their entire career. He won the Masters last year wire-to-wire and he equaled Tiger Woods’ tournament record.
Spieth suffered two critical losses in his career and both have made him the athlete he now is.
Finishing close in The Players Championship and The Masters – having had the opportunity to win – can make or break a player, for Jordan Spieth, it made him want the win even more.
“I spent nights in bed thinking about those two events, how great it would have been, what they would have done for me, and if I was going to get another chance like that,” Spieth said.
“You obviously assume so, but to have a chance to win the Masters and a Players Championship, you might have only a handful of those in a career, if you’re lucky. And that’s what I would really think about – did I really let a couple slip away when I should have been able to take advantage of them? And at the time it was very, very tough.”
Spieth was able to overcome those demons by winning in 2015 and the rest is history. He has now won nine professional tournaments, two majors and a host of awards. Overlooking Jordan Spieth for the upcoming Masters is a big mistake and the $8.50 is tremendous value.
2016 Masters tournament winner market
For a full market, visit Sportsbet.com.au
Jason Day – $7 @ Sportsbet.com.au
Jordan Spieth – $8.50
Rory McIlroy – $8.50
Adam Scott – $10
Bubba Watson – $11
Rickie Fowler – $17
Dustin Johnson – $21
Phil Mickelson – $21
Justin Rose – $23
Louis Oosthuizen – $29
Henrik Stenson – $34
Hideki Matsuyama – $34
Charl Schwartzel – $36
Patrick Reed – $41
Brooks Koepka – $51
Brandt Snedeker – $51
Paul Casey – $56
Marc Leishman – $56
Sergio Garcia – $56
Danny Willett – $56
Jimmy Walker – $56
Branden Grace – $56
Zach Johnson – $61
Tiger Woods – $67
Sportsbet is also offering a prop bet surrounding Tiger Woods. Punters can get $5 on Tiger playing in the 2016 Masters and $1.10 for him not to play.
We can’t see him playing after his injury and it would take away from what should be the centre of Masters week – good golf.
We will have a full Masters preview next week, which will include all the popular betting markets and the Par 3 challenge.
United States & Australian betting markets underpin Paddy Power growth
Aussie Joel Parkinson salutes at the Hawaiian Pro for second time
WSL: Hawaiian Pro day 2 highlighted by return of Payne and Ibelli
WSL: Triple Crown kicks off as Hawaiian Pro gets underway
Champion hoop Douglas Whyte closing in on magical mark
Surfing: Glatzer and Pinkerton take spoils at Pismo Beach Open
Surfing: Pismo Beach Open called on as youngster excels
Hong Kong racing still super competitive post Moreira