Brian Blessing (DonBest.com) was handed a mythical bankroll of $200 to bet the Masters futures board at the LVH.
The general philosophy for playing futures should be to go price hunting at the outset of tournaments, unless you have a strong opinion on one of the favorites. I played Jordan Spieth at 40-1 two months ago because there was value, but he is at 30-1, so he won’t make my cut here.
Watch out for the South Africans this week, and I’ll target four of them. I’m trying to beat Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and lefties Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Last year, I hit Scott for a $30 wager at 25-1 odds. In this format, I’ll select nine players who could return at least $1,000 by earning the green jacket:
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN $70 AT 60-1
Oosthuizen is my top choice. He lost in a memorable playoff here two years ago to Bubba Watson, with his tournament highlighted by a final-round double eagle on the par-5 second hole. Oosthuizen dominated the 2010 British Open, winning by seven shots at St. Andrews. Simply put, he has game. He has been battling a sore back but has a sweet swing and steady nerves. Oosthuizen won in January at the Volvo Golf Champions event and ranks fifth on the European Tour.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL $40 AT 40-1
The Masters champion in 2011, Schwartzel went through a down time after winning his first major, but his game is back. Repeat winners are a part of Masters history.
TIM CLARK $10 AT 150-1
Clark finished 11th last year and was the runner up in 2006. He won The Players Championship in 2010, so he can contend on the big stage.
BRANDEN GRACE $10 AT 200-1
At 25, Grace is the youngster in the South African army. Schwartzel and Oosthuizen have spent the past couple of years showing him the way around Augusta. His time may still be down the road, but I can’t risk him being a quick study. Grace is ranked ninth on the European Tour.
MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ $10 AT 200-1
This is more of a hunch play. “The Mechanic” occasionally surfaces on major leaderboards, and his cool demeanor is compelling. I’ve been chasing this big-ticket item for years and would kick myself if lightning struck this week in Georgia and I was on the sidelines. Jimenez has a strong track record at the Masters.
MARC LEISHMAN $10 AT 125-1
After Scott’s win last year, the flood gates might open for the Australians. Jason Day will be the most popular player this week, but I’ll consider another Aussie at a price. Leishman finished fourth in the Masters last year. This season, he recorded back-to-back top-five finishes at Hawaii and Torrey Pines.
K.J. CHOI $10 AT 100-1
Choi is a steady performer who can handle the pressure on Sunday if he’s in the hunt. He has three top-10 finishes on his Masters resume.
BILLY HORSCHEL $10 AT 125-1
This guy is a wild card. He is his own worst enemy, as emotions generally get the best of him. But he is capable of being a birdie machine.
ANGEL CABRERA $30 AT 40-1
It’s a major. Enough said. He shows up and means business. He lost to Scott in a dramatic playoff last year.