The 2022 US Masters
Augusta National Golf Club
All four days live on Sky Sports
While Steve Rawlings recharges the batteries, I've been given the task this year of looking into the crystal ball in search of some early bets for the Majors.
I'll be leaning on my trends pieces and let's start with the one where they seem to work best - the US Masters.
Last year's winner, Hideki Matsuyama, wasn't the actual pick for 2021 (he had been previously) but he did tick an awful lot of trends boxes.
In fact, the last 12 winners at Augusta National have all been ranked inside the top world's top 30 so that seems an obvious place to start.
The front end of the market could easily provide the winner and at the time of writing the Sportsbook prices show: 9/1 Jon Rahm, 11/1 Jordan Spieth, 12/1 Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, 14/1 Rory McIlroy, 16/1 Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele.
It's almost a case of pick your favourite player because they're all valid contenders although, in terms of price movements, there's a fair chance Rory McIlroy could go second favourite with some strong pre-Augusta showings.
I'll explore the idea of players winning Majors in bunches in the other previews but if using that angle here, Morikawa would come sharply into focus. He's finished tied 44th (2020) and tied 18th (2021) in his two Masters so far.
Johnson can win a second Green Jacket
If we jump to the Exchange there's a must bet for me - Dustin Johnson at 21.020/1.
The Green Jacket has only ever been defended by the very, very elite: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. We've not seen it done since Tiger in 2001 but winning again two years down the line hasn't been as unusual.
Arnold Palmer's victories came in 1960, 1962 and 1964. More recently, Phil Mickelson's first two Masters wins were 2004 and 2006 while Bubba Watson took glory in 2012 and 2014.
It's obviously difficult to defend any title when expectations are raised but it can be even harder at Augusta with all the pomp and ceremony. Bubba clearly got in a flap about having to host the Champions' Dinner, finishing tied 50th and tied 38th when defending.
DJ made a mess of his defence when missing the cut in 2021 and, in fact, became the third Masters champ in five years to bomb out at halfway after Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia also lasted just 36 holes when trying to win the title again.
But let's remind ourselves what a great performer Johnson is at Augusta National. Before his 2020 win he was runner-up in 2019 and in five Masters starts from 2015 he made the top 10 every time.
The current price probably reflects his lack of strokeplay form in the new 2021/22 wraparound season. The American has played just once and was a modest tied 45th in the CJ Cup.
But lest we forget his awesome displays in September's Ryder Cup. Johnson played out of his skin and became the first American golfer to win all five matches since 1979.
That 5-0-0 display came at Whistling Straits where he'd had notable success before. The moral of the story: look out for him at courses on which he's thrived previously. Obviously, Augusta National is one of those.
Ancer offers each-way value
Having your irons dialled in is a huge deal at this course and was an obvious reason for Tiger's successes. It's why I definitely see Morikawa as a future Masters winner too.
But if you want some each-way value on another player who strikes his irons incredibly well, look to Abraham Ancer.
Proximity to the hole is a strong measure of iron play and hence a great stat for Augusta. Unsurprisingly, Morikawa tops that category right now but looking at the season-long figures of the previous campaign shows Ancer in 20th.
It's a good starting point but I'm also keen to see how many trends Ancer fits. Let's take a look at some of them.
Under 40? Yes, he'll be 31 when teeing it up at Augusta in 2022.
In world's top 30? Yes, he's currently 17th and will hopefully have moved up ever further if starting 2022 well.
Had top 25 at Masters? On debut in 2020 he was the halfway leader and second after 54 holes before sliding to tied 13th at the finish. Last year he posted tied 26th. Four of his eight laps of Augusta National have been in the 60s.
Won in US in last two years? He has, and it was a big one. The Mexican captured the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in August after beating current Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and American Sam Burns in a playoff.
Another Masters trend focuses on playing well in Florida (also a southern State) in the build-up and Ancer has the credentials to do so again. His latest start there produced a fifth place in the Valspar Championship and he also has a 12th and a 22nd in the last two editions of the Players Championship.
Since that breakthrough win at St Jude, four of his subsequent six starts have been top 15s so we're looking at a player really starting to come into his prime.
There's a trade-off between price and each-way terms (they'll be bigger in Masters week but his odds could have shrunk by then). But the here and now of 66/1 with six each-way places looks good business on a player very much on the up.