Size isn’t everything, but in golf there can be much to gain from extra length off the tee and no course, it would seem, is more receptive to those rewards than Augusta National.
Since its 2008 remodelling, the 7,435-yard par 72 course plays more like a 7,800-yard layout thanks to some crafty mowing in the opposite direction to the holes so all the beautifully manicured fairways at the Masters induce minimal run through.
This is backed up by a startling stat. The last seven recipients of the Green Jacket averaged at least 291 yards in seasonal driving distance, while the last six after Trevor Immelman were all far closer to 300 or above.
We’ve already explained on these pages (link) why defending champ Bubba Watson (304 yds last season), isn’t getting the nod in 2015, but we have selected three others based around this theory.
Dustin Johnson @ 16/1 (317.3 yards to date)
Since beating his demons over the autumn the longest man on the PGA Tour has been in scintillating form since returning to the game.
Fourth in the FedEx Cup standings, DJ has posted three finishes inside the top four, the latest of which saw him conquer Doral’s Blue Monster to claim the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
The ball-crunching American missed the Masters cut during a troubled season last year, but came 13th prior to that.
Sergio Garcia @ 33/1 (299.5)
The Spaniard has endured mixed fortunes on Augusta’s glass greens in the past, but he had been getting closer with a 12th, then eighth-place posting before falling foul of the Friday cull last season.
With an all-round game to trouble any Majors scoreboard, Garcia has finished no worse than 31st in five PGA Tour starts this season where he ranks seventh in scoring average.
Ryan Palmer @ 150/1 (307.2)
At these odds, the Texas University graduate could be the each-way pick of the tournament.
Seventh in driving distance this season, his skills don’t stop once he has sent one crashing off the tee.
Palmer has seven finishes inside the top 25 this season, including a trio of top 10s, where he ranks fourth in scoring average and eighth all around on the stateside tour.
The icing on this cake; he also finished 10th at Augusta National in 2011.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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