The Bearded Talisman's Masters 2023 Picks
While there are 88 golfers in this year's Masters field, it is really only a field of 5. These are my 5 bets for this year's Masters - ALL of them are WIN bets.
1) Jon Rahm (8.5 to 1) - WIN: Rahm is the 3rd ranked golfer in the world and has displayed the most lethal short game of anyone on tour this year. His only weakness is the occasional wayward tee shot, but at Augusta, it's not often that punitive, as we saw with Tiger in 2019. Rahm has won three times already this year. They say when golfers get married and have kids their game gets worse, but in the case of Rahm it is the opposite. Gun to my head he's my top pick of the 5 golfers I'm betting.
2) Rory McIlroy (7.5 to 1) - WIN: He is a 4-time major winner, with the only major void being Augusta. Ranked 2nd in the world, he's not only immensely talented physically, he is mentally tough. Since the whole LIV tour started, he has been THE most outspoken critic of LIV Golf; and throughout the media war between the PGA Tour and LIV, Rory has never let it impact his play on the course. He won the FEDEX Cup to end last season and won in Dubai early this season with LIV golfers participating in the event alongside him. He finished tied-2nd at the Arnold Palmer and just finished 3rd in the Match Play tourney.
3) Patrick Cantlay (20 to 1) - WIN: Ranked 4th in the world, he has 3 top 10s in his last 4 events. He has 14 top 10s since the start of 2022. He won the 2021 FEDEX Cup and won back to back BMW Championships in 2021 and 2022. He is the best player in the world who has never won a major; and based on his social media posts and interviews this week he seems like one confident golfer. For a player of his ability, he seems very under the radar at 20-1.
4) Dustin Johnson (22 to 1) - WIN: Arguably the best golfer in the world over the last 25 years NOT named Tiger Woods. DJ won at Augusta in 2020 in dominant fashion, and he's earned more prize money than anyone in the world since the start of 2022. He's an intimidating figure and will not allow the PGA-LIV controversy to impact him. If anything, it will MOTIVATE him.
5) Jordan Spieth (18 to 1) - WIN: Spieth won the Masters in 2015, and has five Top 5 finishes overall at Augusta. His driving distance has improved over the last few years; in fact, the analytics tell you that every aspect of his game has improved over the last few years EXCEPT putting. His putting probably cost him two tournaments this year already (Arnold Palmer and Valspar). In spite of the question mark with the putter, I cannot overlook the improvements to the rest of his game nor his track record historically at this course.
Editor's note: The Bearded Talisman (BT) is one of the most successful golf gamblers in the world. He has won four majors pre-tourney, including the 2020 Masters with Dustin Johnson. He has won twice pre-tourney already this year with 35-1 longshots Justin Rose at Pebble Beach and Chris Kirk at The Honda Classic. BT is the only sports gambler known to have completed the COVID Slam, winning all 4 golf majors within a 12 month period.