2012 Masters Predictions

It’s time for golf’s first of four Majors this week, Thursday April 5th, as the 2012 Masters tees-off at the prestige Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta Georgia. Charl Schwartzel is the returning Champion. Golf oddsmakers have listed Tiger Woods as +325 moneyline favorite to win the 2012 Masters. Let’s take a look at who can challenge Tiger this week. Be sure to check the 2012 Masters Odds and make your Masters Predictions before the first shot is hit.

Rory McIlroy (+450) says he’s also swinging more consistently than a couple of years ago, and it has shown in the results. Since the PGA Championship win last August, McIlroy has finished outside the top 10 just once. In five starts this year, he has not finished outside the top five, which includes a win at last month’s Honda Classic. A big lesson McIlroy learned from his collapse last year was that his playing partner in the final round, Angel Cabrera, dictated the pace of play. It got too quick and McIlroy couldn’t hit the brakes and lost control of his round. That won’t happen this year at Augusta National.

Luke Donlad (+1150), despite being No. 1 in the world entering the week,  has a stellar resume that includes becoming the first player to finish first on the PGA TOUR and European Tour money lists in the same season. The Masters might present his best opportunity, at least judging by history. Donald tied Woods for fourth last year. Donald has three career top 10s in the tournament, more than he’s had in any other major. Last year, Donald was in contention on Sunday until hitting into the water on the par-3 12th hole. ”I think it goes back to thinking that I need to do more than I actually realize I do,” Donald said. “I’ve been able to win tournaments without playing my best golf, and I think majors is a similar deal. A lot of people put too much pressure on themselves, and you go out there and you press a little bit too hard, and suddenly you’re a few shots back and trying to play catch-up. Knowing that just playing my game is good enough is a good thought to have for me.”

Adam Scott (+2000) has only played nine tournament rounds this season, in part because he didn’t recover in time from having his tonsils removed to play in Hawaii. Hitting balls on the range at his new base, in the Bahamas, isn’t ideal preparation, but Scott said he had a similar lead-in last year. “My game is in great shape,” he said. “I haven’t played that much, but this will be a good week to start posting some results.” “I think I take a lot of confidence out of last year in how I played the golf course and how I played on Sunday on the back nine in particular.” After 10 years, Scott feels he is getting to know the place, which can’t hurt. He also has Tiger’s old caddie, which is a slew of course knowledge.

Hunter Mahan (+2500) is a hot pick this week as he is coming off a victory in last week’s Shell Houston Open at Redstone. The Shell Houston Open is tailored to emulate the greens of Augusta.

Keegan Bradly (+2750) is the game’s most recent major champion after winning the PGA Championship — and one of only a handful of players to make his Masters debut with one of golf’s crown jewels already on his resume. Phil Mickelson has become a mentor for Bradley, who has the same go-for-broke attitude on the course. Mickelson expects Bradley to compete “really strongly” in his Augusta National debut. He respects the way Bradley plays the game and was impressed with the way the 25-year-old answered a triple bogey at the 15th hole on Sunday at the PGA with consecutive birdies to force a playoff with Jason Dufner. “That type of mental focus is something that you can’t really teach,” Mickelson said. “He just kind of has it. He has that ability to perform under the clutch. He just knows how to do what he has to do to get a win or to get up there. I just have a lot of respect for his game.”

The Bottom Line: Tiger, Phil and Rory are of course the favorites this week, but a top 10 player hasn’t won it since Phil did in 2010. In fact, theirs been one top 10 player in the last five Majors. I like a Hunter, Bubba or an Adam Scott. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best PGA Picks experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get PGA Picks Free!

202 Masters Odds:
Tiger Woods +325
Rory McIlroy +450
Phil Mickelson +700
Lee Westwood +1000
Luke Donald +1150
Sergio Garcia +4250
Dustin Johnson
Jason Day +3500
Adam Scott +2000
Martin Kaymer +5000
Webb Simpson +4000
Nick Watney +5000
Matt Kuchar +5000
Steve Stricker +4500
Justin Rose +2050
Charl Schwartzel +3500
Rickie Fowler +5500
Anthony Kim +9500
Hunter Mahan +2500
Geoff Ogilvy +6500
KJ Choi +5500
Bubba Watson +4000

2012 Masters
When: Thursday, April 5th@5:00 AM EST
Pick: Tiger Woods +325

Point-Spreads recommends you check the 2012 Masters Odds before they tee-off.