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PHIL MICKELSON IS SEEKING HIS 4TH MASTERS GREEN JACKET.
Fri, 06 May 2011 01:58 PM EDT

The 75th edition of golf’s most famous tournament, The Masters, tees off on Thursday morning. Defending champion Phil Mickelson enters the week as the favorite to repeat. Here’s a look at Lefty’s chances, as well as the rest of the favorites in this year’s field. Speaking of Field, Sportsbook.com has the Field’s odds at +1500. The other odds from Sportsbook.com are below.

Phil Mickelson (+550): The defending champ is picking it up at the right time and is the clear-cut favorite in Augusta. Mickelson tore through Redstone last weekend with a 63 on Saturday and 65 on Sunday to win the Shell Houston Open. Lefty’s three  green jackets have all come in the last seven years, and he’s finished in the top five in each of the last three years at Augusta. Odds.

Nick Watney (+1500): The 29-year-old is having a career year. He’s the Tour’s most consistent player, and arguably best, player right now. Watney leads the PGA Tour in scoring average (68.92), birdie average (4.80) and is second in all-important putting average (1.687 per Greens In Regulation). He’s finished in the top 20 in each of his three starts at Augusta, including his first-ever Masters top 10 last April (seventh, including a 65 on Sunday).

Luke Donald (+2500): Donald has been tremendous over the past month and a half, winning the Accenture Match Play title then following it up with a T10 at The Honda Classic and a T6 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He’s missed the cut at Augusta two of the past three years, but he’s also playing his best golf leading up to The Masters since 2005, when he tied for third at Augusta.

Dustin Johnson (+2000): Always a wild card, Johnson’s length off the tee (3rd on the Tour in driving distance, 310.0) makes him a threat. He’s second on the Tour in par breakers (26.85%). He has three top 10s this season, but has also missed two cuts. His last two starts are a perfect illustration of his inconsistency: He was brilliant at the Cadillac Championship, breaking 70 three times in a second-place finish. He followed it up by missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scores.

Tiger Woods (+800): Woods will get love this week because of his wildly successful track record at Augusta (four wins overall as well as top 10s in each of the past six years). But we’ve seen this movie before in 2011. He had won seven times in 12 career starts at Torrey Pines, but finished T44 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He has six career wins at Bay Hill, but finished T24 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Certainly he’s capable of winning, but whether it’s because of injury, age, or off-the-course distractions, Tiger is not the Tiger of old right now.

Lee Westwood (+2000): Westwood came into last year’s Masters on a bit more of a roll, tying for the lead in birdies at the Shell Houston Open the week before Augusta, then coming in second at The Masters. Last week, he was up and down in a T30 finish in Houston. Before last year’s runner-up, he was 43rd in 2009, T11 in ’08, T30 in ’07 and missed the cut in ’05 and ’06.

Martin Kaymer (+2000): The World No. 1 has never gotten it done at Augusta. Kaymer has missed the cut in all three of his Masters starts, never shooting better than 71 in any of his six rounds. Aside from a win in Abu Dahbi in January and a runner-up at Accenture Match Play in February, it’s been an ordinary year for Kaymer.

Rory McIlroy (+2000): Is this the year the youngster breaks through? The 21-year-old has three top-10 finishes in 2011. He missed the cut at Augusta a year ago, but had a T20 as a 19-year-old in ’09. Las Vegas odds.

Hunter Mahan (+2500): Mahan has finished top 10 at Augusta each of the last two years, including a T8 last year. Mahan is having the best year of his career, with five top-10 finishes in nine starts. He’s fifth on the Tour in par breakers (25.52%).


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