This week, the eyes of the golfing world will be on the first Major of the new season as the top players in the world head to Augusta National in Georgia to participate in The Masters.

It will be a busy week for defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, who will not only have organised the Champion’s Dinner on Tuesday, but he will also be speaking at the dinner and presenting the green jacket to the lucky winner on Sunday evening.

Much of the build-up to this year’s Masters tournament has centred on Tiger Woods and whether he would be fit enough to play. As things stand on the first day of practice, Woods remains in the 91-strong field of competitors.

However, his participation is likely to be a late decision depending on how his body stands up to the rigors of two days of practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Woods is still just 60/1 with bet365 Sport to win the tournament, odds that just exemplify how special a talent he is, given that he has not played since the 2020 Masters tournament and has had to recover from horrific injuries sustained in a car crash in February 2021.

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The Masters 2022 – Schedule

  • Monday 4th, Tuesday 5th April – Practice Rounds

While most professionals will likely have visited Augusta for a practice round or two prior to this week, there are two official days of practice for players on Monday and Tuesday. Fans are allowed to take camera’s into the venue on both days, allowing them to catch some photographs of their favourites in a more relaxed environment.

  • Tuesday 5th April PM – The Champion’s Dinner

Each year, tradition dictates that the previous year’s champion hosts the Champion’s Dinner on Tuesday night of tournament week.

The reigning champion decides the menu for the evening and gives a speech to those invited to attend – which is only players that have managed to win The Masters tournament in the past.

This year, Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama is the reigning champion and will host the dinner, selecting the menu for his fellow Masters winners to enjoy.

  • Wednesday 6th April – Par 3 Competition

Another tradition of Masters’ week is that on the eve of the tournament, on the specially designed Par-27, 9 hole course, a Par 3 tournament is held between competing players in the event.

This informal event often sees players invite their family, children, friends, colleagues or similar to caddy for the on the round and in recent years, this has been televised.

However, players are often wary of winning this event as in all the years it has been held, no player has ever won the Par 3 tournament and then gone on to win The Masters in the following days.

Groupings and tee times for the first day of the tournament are also announced today.

  • Thursday 7th April AM – Ceremonial Tee Shot To Open The Tournament

Every year, two or three esteemed professionals from golfing history are given the honour of hitting the first ceremonial tee shots of the new tournament.

This year, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who have been ceremonial starters for many years, will now be joined by Tom Watson to hit those first shots to start the tournament.

  • Thursday 7th April AM – Tournament Starts – First Round

Immediately after the first ceremonial tee shots are played, the tournament will begin with the first of the groups of three players teeing off in the tournament.

  • Friday 8th April AM – Second Round

After the first round, the groups of three players will be given different tee times for the second round of the tournament on Friday.

Once this round has been completed, the field will then be cut down to either the top 50 players in the tournament, or those that are 10 shots or fewer behind the leader, whichever is the greater number.

Additionally, the playing partners for Saturday’s Third Round will be decided with players grouped together based on their scores in the tournament, The players furthest down the leaderboard are given the earlier tee of times, with those leading the tournament given the latest tee times.

This process is also followed on Saturday after the completion of the Third Round.

  • Saturday 9th April – Third Round
  • Sunday 10th April – Fourth Round

The final round begins on Sunday with the leaders teeing off around 2pm to 3pm, depending on whether there has been any delays due to weather or similar. The winner of the tournament is usually known by around 7pm, although if a playoff is required, it may be later.

Once the winner has been decided, the trophy is presented to them, and they are also presented with the green jacket for the winner by last year’s champion.

Augusta National – Course Changes

Although Augusta National is usually resistant to major changes, there have been some modifications this year to the 11th and 15th holes.

At the 11th, White Dogwood, the length of the hole has been increased from 505 yards to 520 yards.

Similarly at the 15th, Firethorn, the length of this hole has increased from 530 yards to 550 yards.

The decision to increase the length at 15th is an interesting one as this green is protected by water, which players were often able to hit over with their second shot. By adding another 20 yards to this hole, many players may now not be able to reach the green in two, without taking a big risk.

Further development is expected after Augusta National purchased land in 2017 from another club in Augusta, meaning that in future the Par 5 13th hole, Azalea, could well be lengthened next.

Betting Tips For The Masters

A quick look at the markets for the Masters this week reveals that Jon Rahm is the 11/1 favourite to win the event. The Spaniard has been incredibly consistent over the last year, but his putting has let him down a little of late and if he can improve that, then he stands a good chance.

However, given how this year’s season has gone in golf, this looks like being the most open Masters tournament in many years and you can make a case for almost anybody from the 91-strong field to land the victory.

With a host of young and talented golfers coming through to establish the elite and winning events this season, this year’s Masters could well throw up some real surprises, such as it did last year with Will Zalatoris finishing second to Matsuyama.

With bet365 offering each way payouts on the top eight and equal finishers, that for me is the market to back here and I like the look of Justin Rose (80/1), Paul Casey (60/1), Jordan Spieth (22/1) amd Daniel Berger (40/1) as each way bets.

To win it though, I’d go for Brooks Koepka at 20/1, who I think is overdue a win.