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Other SportsThe Masters 2024: Preview, odds, how to watch and prediction

The Masters 2024: Preview, odds, how to watch and prediction

Overview

Spring has arrived, the sun is out (well, not quite), and the first major of the golf season is upon us. And given the divisive times we are living in, it’s also the first opportunity since July 2023 that the game’s best players will all gather at one tournament.

The impact of LIV and its ability to lure players away from the PGA Tour with bucketloads of cash has resulted in a fractured sport which is currently killing itself in the TV ratings.

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There are plans aplenty with different groups looking to invest, while talks between the PGA and LIV over common ground appears no closer to fruition.

The off-field discourse will continue – there are even suggestions senior figures from LIV will be at Augusta this weekend – but when the ceremonial tee shot is hit shortly after sunrise on Thursday morning, all thoughts will turn to who will end up donning the green jacket come Sunday evening.

Scottie Scheffler is the world number one and the man to beat. The consensus that if the American putts well he wins has held true the past few weeks with victories at Bay Hill and the Players.

Jon Rahm is the defending champion and will be eager to prove his defection to LIV hasn’t dulled his competitive edge. See also, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau.

Traditionalists will hope for a PGA Tour player to come through and take the trophy. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama and Jordan Spieith appear the most likely behind Scheffler.

Tiger Woods is no longer a contender but cherish watching him play, there may not be many more opportunities.

Where is it being held?

Where it is very year, on the lush lawns of Augusta National, Georgia.

The annual tweaks have been relatively minor for 2024 with only the par-five second changed, with 10 yards added to make it play 585 yards.

Who is the favourite?

Bet365 have Scheffler as the favourite, followed by McIlroy and Rahm

Scottie Scheffler 4/1

Rory McIlroy 10/1

Jon Rahm 10/1

Xander Schauffele 14/1

Hideki Matsuyama 16/1

Brooks Koepka 18/1

Jordan Spieth 20/1

What they said

Scheffler on the conditions at Augusta
“People may not realise how difficult the golf course is, especially when the wind is blowing. We’re going to have another couple days where the winds are going to be pretty high and it swirls like crazy around this place. You have to stay so patient and trust in all aspects of your game. This is a place where it’s extremely important to have that trust in yourself.”

McIlroy on his approach to finally winning at Augusta and completing the career grand slam
“The plan is to bring a little bit of normalcy into what I try to do. I play 25 weeks a year, and there’s no point in doing anything different this week compared to other weeks.”

Rahm on how playing less on the LIV Tour may be an advantage
“If anything, if I had to go based on how I feel today, on a Tuesday, I feel physically better than I did last year. But then once competition starts, it doesn’t really matter. Once the gun goes off, whatever you feel is out the window. You’ve got to go out there and post a score. It wouldn’t be the first time we hear somebody not feeling their best and winning. So it’s not something that I have in mind [fewer competitive rounds], but I do feel fresh and ready for it.”

 

How to watch

Sky have the rights to show the Masters with their coverage of the tournament getting underway on Thursday at 2pm UK BST on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf.

Prediction

Scheffler goes in with the shortest odds of any player since Woods was in his pomp. However, 4/1 around Augusta does a disservice to the difficulty of the course and the standard of opposition.

There is merit in saying previous success here carries weight. And in that regard, perhaps look for Matsuyama, the 2021 champion to offer value.

Another man to watch is Will Zalatoris. The willowy American is fully fit once again after back surgery and has finished second and sixth in his two previous appearances. He’s available at 35/1.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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