Why you can rule out backing two-time champ for Masters joy

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There is a poetic irony that, however quirky and self-styled it is, Bubba Watson’s game seems to have a natural suitability to Augusta National, one of the toughest courses in the game of golf.

The 36-year-old two time Green Jacket winner bangs the ball long off the tee and allows the rest of his game to flow from there.

Talk that he is nothing more than a big-hitting one-trick pony is wide of the mark though, as the precise iron-play he has produced in Ryder Cups and the inventive recovery shot he hit at the 2012 tournament attest.

Arriving as the defending Masters champion at a price of 10/1, with two top-five finishes in his three appearances this season, Watson is sure to attract a few bets in the leadup to the season’s first major tournament.

But there is one very strong, very historic reason why he shouldn’t be sided with: defending champions rarely fare well on their return to Georgia.

Great golfers have won the Masters, even better ones have won it more than once. Since 1960 there have been 12 multiple winners of the famous jacket, but only three have been good enough to win consecutive titles. They are Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods (the last back-to-back winner in 2002).

A look at recent champions since 2003 and their results when defending their crown makes for deflating reading. Only two, Woods in 2006 and Phil Mickelson the year prior, have managed a top-10 finish.

Adam Scott’s 14th place last year is the next best effort, while Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson all registered credible efforts with a spot in the top 20.

Watson himself limped home in 50th after his first Masters success, a feat matched by Charl Schwartzel the year prior.

Only one champion has been humiliated by missing the cut, David Weir in 2004, but the trend is certainly damning enough for punters in the know to rule out the Florida native and find an alternative.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.