Odds to win The Masters

Here are the odds to win the Masters title this year:

Adam Scott 10/1
Rory McIlroy 10/1
Phil Mickelson 12/1
Jason Day 14/1
Matt Kuchar 18/1
Sergio Garcia 20/1
Dustin Johnson 22/1
Bubba Watson 25/1
Henrik Stenson 25/1
Zach Johnson 28/1

I’m surprised Sergio made it that high as he’s always a lock to choke in big tournaments, but he still has talent.

The Masters won’t be the same without Tiger Woods this year, but let’s hope for a great tournament.

Putting key to Phil Mickelson victory at British Open

The importance of putting was driven home again at the 2013 British Open, as Phil Mickelson was on fire and Tiger Woods continued to struggle with his putter. For Mickelson, this victory gave him his first British Open championship and his fifth major. Mickelson may not be the most consistent golfer of his generation, but he’s certainly dominant at times when his game comes together. He birdied four of the last six holes for his come-from-behind victory as Lee Westwood faded as some predicted.

Meanwhile, Woods is naturally being scrutinized from every possible angle. Many writers are focusing on the fact that Woods has never come from behind on Sunday to win a major championship, but that hardly seems like the most important factor. No, his putter has been letting him down, and that’s keeping him from winning the big ones. When Woods was piling up wins, he was one of the best putters in history. And while he’s facing inuries and some of the same struggles golfers face as they get older, his biggest problem seems to be with his putter. He’s still good, but good is a long way from great.

This only highlights the mental aspect of the game, and we all know that Tiger has had more than his share of distractions. One that comes to mind is the drama with his old caddy Steve Williams. The two shook hands after the conclusion of the Open Championship on Sunday at Muirfield after Tiger was paired up with Adam Scott, and it looked like the beginning of the end of a silly feud, but you have to wonder if the unflappable Woods was flapped around a bit having to play with them on Sunday. We’ll never know of course, but we’re well beyond the point where a Woods victory was assumed by the handicappers setting the golf odds for majors.

Tiger has to deal with an adversary in Mickelson who refuses to fade away. Phil still can’t get over the hump at the US Open, but it’s tough to count him out these days, and he’s pushing himself into the conversation regarding golf’s all-time greats. There’s also a slew of younger golfers in the game who aren’t the least bit intimidated by Woods, who hasn’t won a major in five years!

So it’s great for golf that Tiger is in the mix, but the landscape has certainly changed.

Tiger turbocharges interest in the US Open

There’s nothing like Tiger Woods to get golf fans and the casual sports fan interested in major golf tournaments. Sure, Phil Mickelson gets a lot of attention, like his recent stunt where he quit the Memorial tournament after one lousy round because he was hung over. And you have Bubba Watson, who’s good ‘ol boy approach to the game has earned him a legion of fans, particularly in the South. But Tiger’s dramatic win at the Memorial has vaulted him back to the top of the heap again. Golf betting has been a lot less interesting with Tiger in his slump, so plenty of fans probably spent more time betting other sports or hanging out on Party Poker Television. But with Tiger back it’s safe to speculate that the sportsbooks will be getting plenty of action for the US Open.

With the US Open around the corner, the buzz is starting to get out of control as the experts start handicapping Tiger’s chances. You even have news stories about what Tiger might be wearing at the US Open! Then the news came out that Tiger would be in a group with Phil Michelson and Bubba Watson at the US Open and naturally that fueled even more interest. The powers that be in golf don’t want to waste this renewed interest and want to milk Tiger’s resurgence for all it’s worth.

But Tiger still hasn’t won a major in a long time. The Memorial is a very prestigious tournament since it’s hosted by Jack Nicklaus on his home course and is considered to be an unofficial major by many. But it’s still not the US Open, and Tiger needs to demonstrate that he can rise to the occasion again on the biggest stage. He has certainly changed his game, as he’s used his driver much less in order to improve his accuracy, but that also takes away a huge advantage he had over the field in the past. If a big hitter like Watson gets hot at the open, then Tiger will have an uphill battle.

For all of us golf fans, this will be very fun to watch!

Can Phil do it?

Phil Mickelson was on fire yesterday, and today he has a chance to win his fourth green jacket at The Masters, tying Tiger Woods. Should be a great day at Augusta National!

Woods & Mickelson Looking to The Masters

The two most popular golfers in the world today are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and it just so happens they are two of the favorites in golf betting lines to win The Masters. Mickelson is off to a hot start this season as he already has a win on the PGA Tour while Woods is playing better than he has in a long time. Could we get another Tiger-Phil duel in The Masters?

Earlier this month it was Mickelson beating Woods at Pebble Beach in a final round that got great ratings on CBS television. It was the best ratings for a final round of any non-major golf tournament since 2008. When Woods and Mickelson are both in contention to win a tournament, viewers are drawn to the drama. It could be that we get more excitement from the two of them in The Masters.

Tiger and Phil have combined to win 7 of the last 15 Masters. One of the two is almost always in contention to win the biggest prize in golf. Tiger is still trying to recover the great form he had a few years ago while Phil has already proven this year he has what it takes to win golf’s first major. Mickelson has now beaten Woods the last five times they have been paired together in the final round of a golf tournament. Woods still has won a lot more majors than Mickelson but recently it is Phil who is playing better and who has showed he can win. Mickelson has actually relished playing with Woods as he has won three of the last five tournaments he has been paired with Tiger in the final round. “Although I feel like he brings out the best in me, it’s only been the past five years,” Mickelson said. “Before, I got spanked pretty good. Let’s not forget the big picture here. I’ve been beat up.” Mickelson has won four majors in his career while Woods has won 14 majors.

Looking at the golf betting lines we find that Tiger is the favorite to win The Masters followed by Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Those three players are well clear of all of the other golfers in the field. The current World Golf rankings definitely don’t reflect the odds as world #1 Luke Donald is not considered a favorite nor is world #3 Lee Westwood. McIlroy is ranked #2 in the world so his place as a favorite is no surprise but the two golfers getting the most attention are Woods and Mickelson and neither is ranked in the top five in the world.

Callaway Golf teams up with Justin Timberlake

Well here’s some interesting news. Callaway Golf and Justin Timberlake are teaming up.

Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) today announced the establishment of an advanced, creative position for multiple Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor, musician and avid golfer Justin Timberlake. A Callaway Staff Professional since 2008, Timberlake will lend his versatile talents as a Creative Director for the Callaway portfolio of Brands. Timberlake will engage in the development and execution of high-level concepts within Callaway’s marketing activities and offer wide-ranging consultation on the visual representation of the Brand. The multi-year agreement was announced by Jeff Colton, Sr. Vice President of Global Brand and Product, Callaway Golf.

“We have worked with Justin for more than three years now and have been thoroughly impressed with the level of quality he brings to everything he is involved with,” said Colton. “Justin is an extremely gifted artist and an avid golfer with a deep passion for Callaway products, and his creative energy will serve us well as we connect with the next generation of golfers. The opportunity to bring someone with his multifaceted talents into our creative matrix is very rare, and his input has already made an impact.”

Timberlake’s initial work as a Creative Director for Callaway will support the Company’s 2012 RAZR line of premium golf equipment, including the recently introduced RAZR Fit™ Driver. Callaway’s 2012 product line will be launched in the first quarter of next year via the Company’s upcoming “Epic Demo” campaign being shot this week in Las Vegas across several iconic city landmarks, including the Bellagio Fountain. Timberlake’s contributions to Callaway’s Epic Demo campaign, which features Callaway staff professionals Phil Mickelson and Alvaro Quiros, includes collaboration with the creative teams and Director Joseph Kahn.

This is either a brilliant move or an act of desperation by Callaway. I tend to think it’s pretty smart. It adds to the brand’s lifestyle appeal and will generate a ton of PR.

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