8 players to watch out for at the US Masters 2017

04-04-2017 - Rory McIlroy Golf Sportsfile Icon Sport
The Masters Tournament from Augusta returns later this week and Danny Willett will be hoping to retain his Green Jacket come Sunday afternoon (late at night in the UK).

No other golfing event comes close to the drama and the excitement that the Masters provides, so we’ve picked out eight players to keep an eye on ahead of the first tee-off on Thursday.

Hideki Matsuyama

Matsuyama had an incredible winning streak at the start of the year, winning three tournaments in a row. That run of form moved him up to No. 4 in the world rankings and he regained his Phoenix Open title in February.

He finished T7 at the Masters last year, having finished fifth the year before and he stands a very good chance of winning if he can bring his best to Augusta this week.

Tournament Odds:          18/1

Henrik Stenson

Stenson has had a poor 2017 so far, but things can easily change over four days of golf. Last year’s Open Champion, Olympic silver medallist and Race to Dubai champion has some unfinished business at Augusta.

He’s played in the Masters eleven times, but he’s never done better than his 14th place finish in 2014. He’s had a spate of injury problems as well this year, but has still managed three top 10 finishes in five starts this season, although he did miss the cut in Houston last week.

Tournament Odds:          28/1

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy has won all other Majors except Augusta as he looks to become just the sixth man in history to win all four. However, his luck in Major tournaments appears to have run out, as he’s winless since his 2014 Open Championship title.

He’s finished in the top 10 at Augusta for the last three years and he’s at short odds, but surely he’s worth a punt?

Tournament Odds:          15/2

Sergio Garcia

One of the longest-serving players on the tour is still yet to win a Major. However, he’s looked impressive as of late with a play-off victory over Brooks Koepka at the Byron Nelson Challenge giving him his first win in the USA in four years. In addition, just two months ago, he lifted the Dubai Desert Classic to end his drought on the European Tour.

He’s played at Augusta 15 times, but hasn’t achieved a higher finish than his T8 in 2013. Very few players over the age of 40 win at Augusta, meaning that at the age of 37, Garcia has to get a move on.

Tournament Odds:          35/1

Dustin Johnson

Johnson is the current No. 1 golfer in the world and won last year’s US Open. What’s more is that he’s won three tournaments in a row. The last player to win the Green Jacket as world No. 1 was Tiger Woods back in 2002 and no player has won four tournaments in a row since Tiger either.

He’s finished sixth and fourth in his last two visits to Augusta, meaning that he’s placed, but his odds are too short to be going each way here.

Tournament Odds:          11/2

Paul Casey

After a poor couple of years at Augusta, Casey bounced back to finish 6th in 2015 before finishing T4 last year and looks to be a good value each way bet.

He’s an experienced player at the Masters and is a good bet if you want a return.

Tournament Odds:          40/1

Tyrell Hatton

An unknown name, but the Englishman has been on fire in the USA in 2017, with two top 5s and a top 10 finish in his three stroke-play tournaments.

He won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the end of last year, while also finishing in the top 10 of last year’s PGA Championship and T5 in the Open Championship a month before.

It’s his Masters debut and no debutant has won at Augusta since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Tournament Odds:          50/1

Jon Rahm

The former world No. 1 in the amateur ranks has delivered since turning pro in 2016, particularly in the USA.

Rahm won the Famers Insurance Open back in January and followed it up with two top 5 finishes and a phenomenal performance when going down to Dustin Johnson by one shot (was five down) in the WGC Championship a fortnight ago.

Rahm is just 22 and has time on his side, but he’s shown some phenomenal form in the latter stages of competitions in recent weeks, finishing T10 in Houston last weekend.

Tournament Odds:          18/1

Words by @dominictrant