Three quarters of the way through the Masters and the competition is still wide open. Fingers are crossed for a finish of the same quality as last year’s, when Bubba Watson won at the expense of Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of sudden death. It seems there is no competition like the Masters for throwing up unexpected winners, and this year is no exception, with few of the biggest names at the top of the leaderboard – I won’t have anyone telling me they predicted that Jason Day and Marc Leishman would be in the top five on day 3 at the expense of McIlroy and Woods!
Where are all the Brits?
With Lee Westwood leading the way for the home nations on 2 under, you might be wondering what on earth has happened to Rory McIlroy? Well, to save you the effort of a lengthy scroll down the leaderboard, I can tell you that at 5 over, he is hardly living up to his world number 2 ranking. The last Briton to win at Augusta was Nick Faldo way back in 1996, and it looks like we’re going to have to wait some time before seeing that statistic change.
So, which countries are dominating the leaderboard this year? With six of the top thirteen scores at this stage hailing from American golfers, it seems that our friends from across the Atlantic are dominating proceedings at present. It does beg the question: how on earth did Europe manage to win the Ryder Cup? The so-called “Miracle at Medinah” looks to have deceived as to the true golfing powerhouse in 2013.
Snedeker to snatch victory?
American Brandt Snedeker is currently the favourite with the bookies, with odds of 2/1. Probably not worth a flutter at those odds, especially with it being such an open contest – however, it is easy to see why he is the favourite, after a scarily consistent third day at Augusta. With no bogeys on the penultimate day of the competition, he will be looking to carry his good form onto the final day to confirm American dominance of this year’s Masters.
That’s not to say that it will be an easy ride for Snedeker. He faces stiff competition from joint leader Cabrera, the only golfer in the top three to have won the green jacket before. And if you’re the sort of person who believes that experience is key, then you might not have forgotten about Woods, who, at 3 under, is not yet completely out of the running himself. That being said, it would take a lot to go his way in order for him to claim the fifth green jacket of his career.
What does it take to win the Masters?
Is it experience? Is it skill? Is it luck? Perhaps a mixture of the three would prove useful! Recent history suggests that experience is not a prerequisite; Bubba Watson’s victory at last year’s Masters made him the 8th consecutive first-time major champion, and the 14th different winner in as many majors. However, experience certainly doesn’t hurt, and if it does go all the way to sudden death, the odds may swing in favour of Argentinian Angel Cabrera, who himself won the Masters in 2009 on the second hole of sudden death.
I wouldn’t be so bold as to predict a winner myself – I know I’d only look back this time tomorrow and cringe and my lack of foresight. Besides, it is at this stage that I usually resort to zealous patriotism and back a Brit to win – as that would seem too unrealistic at this stage even for such a blind patriot as myself, I find myself tentatively cautious over who to back for victory. But rest assured we’re in for a thrilling final day at Augusta, and I for one don’t want to miss a second of it.