Rory’s Masters Outlook After Winning at Bay Hill

Rory’s Masters Outlook After Winning at Bay Hill article feature image

© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With the Masters just three weeks away, we’ve seen the resurgence of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson return to his winning ways.

We’ve also seen many of the game’s elite — including Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Jason Day — pick up victories in the past couple months.

So let’s add one more name to the looming Augusta drama: Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy had his best week ever on the PGA Tour with the putter, gaining 2.5 strokes per round, to pull out a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday.

McIlory is available now at +1200 to win the Masters behind on Woods (+900) and Johnson (+1000). I wouldn’t bet him at that number outright, at least not until the week of the tournament. But McIlroy is a guy I’ve targeted this year with a parlay, so that’s an option I’d look at. With March Madness going on, I’d advocate for sliding 10-20 percent of the money from your favorite college hoops bet and tack on McIlroy at Augusta, especially if he’s someone you’re looking to bet in a few weeks anyway.

McIlroy has been solid at Augusta in recent years, finishing in the top 10 in his past four starts. He’ll also be looking to finally cap off the career grand slam, so he’ll have that added bit of motivation or pressure depending how you look at it. It’s a course where he can take advantage of his length to pick up ground, especially on the par 5s.

We’ve had a lot of players take down both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Masters in their careers. Enough so that I think there’s so correlation between the two events. Obviously Tiger Woods has dominated both, winning at Bay Hill eight times and Augusta four. But outside of Woods’ reign of terror in the 2000s, Phil Mickelson won at both tracks, so did Fred Couples, Fuzzy Zoeller and Vijay Singh. On top of that, Jason Day, Chad Campbell, Ernie Els and Kenny Perry won at Bay Hill and finished second during their career at Augusta.

My theory on this is that the two courses have a similar basic strategy necessary to be successful. Both courses have pretty easy par 5s where players can do a lot of their damage. The rest of holes are relatively difficult and the players are just looking to grind out pars and pick up the rare birdie here and there. Players who can take advantage of those par 5s and avoid the big mistakes elsewhere tend have success at both places.