Rory McIlroy a firm favourite in the countdown to the 2015 US Masters

With the Aussie summer holidays done and dusted it’s time to get serious about golf in 2015 – and that means turning attention to the first Major of the year. The 2015 US Masters should be a fascinating edition of the hallowed event. Special writer David Jenkins reports.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy will be gunning for his first US Masters title at Augusta National in April

THE first Major of the 2015 golf season will be the US Masters, and it looks set to be one of the most exciting tournaments in recent years.

World number one Rory McIlroy will be strongly fancied to land his first Masters title, with the Augusta showpiece the only Major now missing from the young Irishman’s resume.

Rory’s best finish thus far at Augusta was his T8 last year; and in 2011 he had the tournament at his mercy before blowing up badly in the final round.

McIlroy was quickly able to put that disappointment behind him, and captured the US Open title later that year.

Bookmaker Betfair make McIlroy their clear 7/2 favourite to win the 2015 Masters, and he is sure to be a popular choice with punters even at such skinny odds.

Australia’s Adam Scott is another player towards the head of the betting market for the Masters, the 2013 champion the 14/1 joint second favourite alongside Tiger Woods in the Betfair market. One of the very best golfers in the world, Scott has an enviable Masters record, with three top ten finishes in the last four seasons, including a T2 in 2011 and his victory in 2013. Australia’s finest golfer is always there or thereabouts when it comes to the Major championships, and looks to hold decent each way claims at the Augusta National come April.

US Masters a rich golfing history

First played in 1934, The US Masters is arguably the most prestigious title in golf.  Some of the biggest names in golf have won this tournament down the years including the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods to name but a few.

Jack Nicklaus won a record six times, while his old rival Arnold Palmer has four green jackets in his wardrobe.

It will be interesting to see whether Tiger Woods can rediscover his best form this year and make a serious bid for the 2015 Masters crown. The former world number one has been dogged by injury in recent times, and has found it tough going at the Majors for a number of years. I don’t feel that the bookies are being particularly generous with their 14/1 quote, but they never do take any chance where Tiger is concerned.

Another player to watch out for at Augusta in 2015 is big hitter Bubba Watson, a man who has won the Masters for two of the last three years. Bubba won his first green jacket in 2012, but was unable to prevent Adam Scott’s famous victory the following year. However, Watson showed his staying power last year, playing some indifferent golf at times, but ultimately saw off a sustained challenge from close friend  Jordan Spieth to win a second Masters title. One of the great characters of the game, Bubba Watson can certainly never be called boring, and he is sure to be there or thereabouts once again this year. The odds compilers at Betfair have priced Watson up at odds of 16/1, and that appears decent value when you consider his recent exploits here.

Of course there are a number of possible contenders we haven’t mentioned here, particularly the likes of Australia’s Jason Day who is also prominent in betting markets.

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