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Fitting the green jacket: John Duggan's US Masters tips

We look after you don’t we? After he held your hand through Cheltenham, Today FM’s John Duggan returns with his picks for Augusta. You’re quite welcome.

Fitting the green jacket: John Duggan's US Masters tips
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  • Outright Betting: Paul Casey €20 each way at 35/1

    ‘A brittle mentality’ is what I accused Paul Casey of having in my book. So perhaps I am discarding my own advice, but I have a feeling about Casey this week. A gambler’s hunch. The Englishman undoubtedly has the tools to win The Masters. He hits it long, he’s got a high ball flight, he’s solid around the greens and is a decent putter. What has held Casey back in the past is his tendency to fritter away shots with silly mistakes, but what I am banking on is his sense of hurt. Colin Montgomerie’s controversial decision to leave him off the Ryder Cup team really rankled and maybe Casey can channel that in a positive way on the major stage. Casey started off this year with a win in Bahrain. He’s contended at Augusta twice, in 2004 and 2008, and has won the prestigious BMW Championship in a run of 12 victories on both sides of the Atlantic. A world number 3 not too long ago, he’s a very decent price at 35/1.
  • Outright Betting: Justin Rose €10 each way at 35/1

    Justin Rose is a gutsy competitor. He was tough to overcome a disastrous start to his professional career after finishing 4th in the Open as a teenage amateur. He was tough to cope with the loss of his father, who was a true mentor. He was tough to tell range guru Sean Foley he had no confidence in his swing. He was tough down the stretch at the Memorial Tournament on the US Tour last year. And he was very tough in winning the AT&T National weeks later after blowing the Travelers Championship the week before. Rose has led The Masters before; he nearly won the green jacket in 2007 and has never missed a cut at Augusta. Oh yeah, and he’s playing well.
  • Outright Betting: Geoff Ogilvy €10 each way at 66/1

    Useless fact time: An Australian has never won the Masters. My final outright selection for 2011 is Geoff Ogilvy, who maybe holds the best chance of bringing a green jacket down under. Ogilvy is a smart guy, a student of the history of the game. He was a bit of a hothead in his younger days, but it all came together in 2006 when he kept his nerve while others were losing theirs in the US Open. He has a graceful swing and a sharp short game; I especially like his mid range putting. He’s never missed a cut at Augusta, and led the field in birdies in 2007. His mind can go AWOL, which brings big numbers into play, but that is factored into the price. Forget about sexy, under priced options – Ogilvy is a value bet to contend.
  • Top American Market: Jonathan Byrd €5 each way at 66/1

    I had a bit of money on Jonathan Byrd when he won in Hawaii this year. Some players don’t get the credit they deserve, and Byrd is one of them. He has a solid all round game and has won 5 times on the US PGA Tour. He’s also been around a while and tied for eighth on his Masters debut in 2003. He’s carried his form into this week and he’s not the type to shirk a major examination. There is a lot of hype about certain Americans this week; take a bow Nick Watney, Bubba Watson & Hunter Mahan, but don’t be surprised to see Byrd’s name hovering around the business end of the leaderboard at the weekend.
  • First Round Leader Market: Vijay Singh €5 each way at 80/1

    I’ve seen it before. Tom Watson, Hale Irwin. Old timers who roll back the years for 18 holes, lead a major championship, and provide the scribblers with perfect copy. I am not going to recommend a first round leader bet on somebody who may also win, but Vijay Singh doesn’t fall into that bracket. The 48-year-old can still turn on the form tap, and excellent results in Phoenix and Los Angeles this year prove to me that there’s life in the old Fijian dog. Not for four rounds though, so let’s take a chance on the 2000 Masters champion storming out of the traps before fading.
  • Verdict

    To conclude my analysis, defending champion Phil Mickelson is a worthy favourite, but sport doesn’t always work out the way you expect it to. Tiger Woods? He’s in the middle of swing changes, and unlikely to put it together for all 72 holes. I wouldn’t lay him though. And what of the Irish trio? Padraig Harrington is making too many errors and letting his brilliant mind get in the way; Graeme McDowell is out of form and won’t find it here, while Rory McIlroy remains a young, raw talent, with a short game that will come under scrutiny in Georgia. So I don’t expect Irish Stew to be on the menu at the Champions’ Dinner in 2012.
  • The tipster

    John Duggan’s new book is published by Poolbeg Press and is available in bookshops €12.99. He has been sports editor of 100-102 Today FM since 2005.

Read John Duggan’s five rules for beating the bookies | Check out all out Masters coverage here>

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