Right now the sports world is in the throes of March Madness, and college basketball is at the forefront of every fan’s mind. But April 8th is just around the corner, and it won’t be long until the Masters takes center stage as Tiger Woods looks to win his first major tournament since 2009. Woods is the odds-on favorite to walk away with his fifth green jacket this year, but if past experience has taught us anything, it is that the Masters is the one tournament where anything could happen. Anyone could come out on top. Other favorites for this year’s tournament include Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, and slight outsiders such as Adam Scott or recently Justin Rose. But who is the golfer who will really surprise us, come April? Here are a few of the underdogs for this year’s tournament who just might sneak away with it.
It seems strange to class a defending champion as an underdog, but times have been a little rough for Bubba Watson since he secured his first green jacket with that memorable shot from the rough in the 2012 playoff against Louis Oosthuizen. Still looking for his first win of the year,
Watson will have some work to do if he is to beat the mighty Tiger. However, if there is one player who is capable of pulling a surprise victory out of his bag, perhaps by making another one of those now-trademark gutsy shots, it is Bubba Watson. The latest odds have Watson at 33-1 to win, and that doesn’t seem like too bad a pick.
At 40-1 and without a major in his career, Ian Poulter is definitely an underdog going into the masters. However like Watson, Poulter has a slight flair for the theatrical, and it would only be fitting with his style to win that first major with a surprise victory at Augusta. Last year was a huge year for Poulter. He finished in the top 10 in three out of the four majors, and single-handedly dragged the Europeans back into the Ryder Cup, becoming perhaps the most important player in their shock victory.
When Oosthuizen landed that spectacular albatross on the second hole at the 2012 Masters, everyone thought that the South African already had one arm in the green jacket. However, Bubba Watson produced a spectacular performance, including that memorable hook to edge out Oosthuizen in a playoff. Oosthuizen hasn’t had the best year so far, but he is 30-1 to win, and we know that he is capable of coming up big in Augusta.
Of all the golfers who are currently playing, Lee Westwood is the one who is most likely to get labeled with the tag “best golfer never to have won a major.” He has been good enough and consistent enough throughout his career to win one, but it just hasn’t happened for him yet. Although the Masters is probably the least likely setting for that elusive first major, Westwood has the experience that might carry him , and he has done well there in the recent past, coming second in 2010.
Stricker has cut down his playing schedule significantly this year, and it has served him well. Combined with some putting time with Tiger Woods, the 50-1 American might just surprise us all come April.
Phil Oscarson is a freelance writer, you can find more information of what Phil does by going to golfzing.com. If Phil isn’t playing or talking about golf, he’s most likely soaking up the southern California sun.