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BlogWho will win the Masters on Sunday?

Masters

April 10 – 13, 2014

Augusta National G.C.

Augusta, Ga.

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $9 million

with $1,620,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Adam Scott

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know before Sunday’s final round:

Is Augusta National really this tough?

  • In some respects the course looks really tough because there aren’t that many birdies made, but the reality of things is that this event can’t be any closure because of the way the course is set up.
  • There are 51 players playing the weekend and the difference between the leaders Jordan Spieth/Bubba Watson and Joost Luiten/Larry Mize who are in last place is just 14 shots.
  • I can’t remember something like this before in any major I have seen. There are 12 players within 4 of the leaders. There are 22 players that are within 7 shots of Spieth and Watson which means Sunday could have a terrific finish.

So what does all of this mean?

That officials of Augusta National have done what they wanted to do, set up a perfect course for a major championship and they accomplished that.  Now Mother Nature has helped them. There was a terrible storm that drop two inches of rain on Monday, but since then it’s been bone dry.  Since Tuesday there has not been a better place in the country to be in than Augusta, Georgia.  The weather has been perfect.  With that great weather the course is playing firm and fast exactly the way officials want it to play.  You can tell in the scores, if it was over the top we would have scores much higher than we have, in a way this is as close to parity as you can get in a championship, the course is there for everyone to take advantage of but there aren’t many low scores.

So what about the leaders?

You can’t get a better mix of those in the top-13 of the tournament.  You have lots of experience in players like Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk.  Of the top-13 only three have won a total of three majors, one apiece for Bubba, Furyk and Fred Couples.  Talking about Couples, you have seniors close as Fred is just four back and Miguel Angel Jimenez is just 2 back.  You have youth, if Jordan Speith wins on Sunday at 20 years, 8 months and 17 days he would become the youngest winner of the Masters by 7 months over Tiger Woods and he would be the sixth youngest winner of a major behind these folks:

17 years, 5 months, 3 days           Young Tom Morris      1868 British Open

After 1900

19 years, 10 months, 14 days      John McDermott           1911 U.S. Open

20 years, 4 months, 11 day         Francis Ouimet               1913 U.S. Open

20 years, 4 months, 18 days       Gene Sarazen                  1922 U.S. Open

20 years, 5 months, 22 days        Gene Sarazen                 1922 PGA Championship

20 years, 7 months, 16 days         Tom Creavy                    1931 PGA Championship

20 years, 8 months, 16 days        Jordan Speith                 2014 Masters

Last you have a lot of diversity in the top-13.  You have seven Americans, two Englishman, one Swede, one Dane, one Spaniard and one Aussie.  So it’s pretty well match up.

So will one of the leaders Jordan Spieth or Bubba Watson win?

Your guess is as good as mine.  I like both of them for different reasons, Bubba because he has experience of winning at the Masters, Spieth for the lack of experience he really doesn’t know how hard the task is for him.  For Watson, his round of 74 was a better number than it showed.  He made some great putts for par at 17 and 18 to help him feel better about the day.  But frankly, the only way I see Bubba winning is to get off to a poor start and be out of it, then free wheel it on the back nine and make a miraculous finish.  As for Spieth the one thing on his side is how consistent he has been.  He has only made seven bogeys and has stayed away from trouble.  He has been great when close and it’s hard to believe that he only has one win.

So what could happen on Sunday?

I really feel strongly that the way the course is set up, anyone within seven of the lead could win.  That’s a total of 22 players.  I can also see what happened with Jack Nicklaus in 1986 when he went into the back nine seven back and won happen this year.  I see a lot of back nine carnage in with a lot of players will throw up on themselves.  It’s funny, someone that goes into the back nine four back could shot one or two under and win.  There are a lot of birdies out there but also lot’s of places to get into trouble.

Is there anyone that we can eliminated off the leaderboard?

First off is Miguel Angel Jimenez, I was sitting at a table having dinner on Monday night and his party was next to us.  He told folks that he wasn’t really playing well and was hoping to make it to the weekend.  Even with his experience, I just don’t see him winning.  The same with Jonas Blixt,  Yes he has won twice and is pretty impressive when close but I just can’t see him all of a sudden win a major.  But I have been wrong before so it’s any bodies guess.

So who to watch for?

Gosh if there ever was a time for Matt Kuchar it’s on Sunday.  The last two Sunday’s have been cruel to him so he has that experience to help him.  I also think the experience from winning the Players will help, so I think that Kuchar can do it.  Also like Lee Westwood and feel if he is three behind going into the back nine he could be tough.  The same with Jim Furyk, Thomas Bjorn and Justin Rose they could easily make a back nine run and steal it.

So is that what to look for, the thieve among the leaders?

Absolutely, I don’t see anyone going out early, grabbing the lead and holding on.  That isn’t the trend the last couple of months and the same of the other majors the last couple of years.  The pressure has gotten way too hard for players and the best way to win is when you are behind and give it a desperation try.  Still the last major was won by Jason Dufner, who took the lead and held on for dear life in the final round.  But the difference there, Dufner didn’t have 11 players just four back of him.

One last thing, does defending champion Adam Scott have a chance or Fred Couple have a chance?

Can’t see it for Couples who is only four back.  This is the fifth time as a senior that Freddie goes into the final round of the Masters with a chance.  Now many will say that Tom Watson almost won the 2009 British Open so why can’t Fred?  Think that Watson was in better shape, physically and mentally.  Both were great candidates for winning since Watson had a love affair with Turnberry as much as Couples has one for Augusta National.  But in the long run Augusta is a tough course, lot’s of hills to walk up and down on, I can’t see Couples doing it for a fourth day in a row.  In his last four Masters Couples has finished up 70 (2010), 73 (2011), 72 (2012) and 71 (2013).  Couples will need at least a 69 on Sunday to win, I don’t think it’s in him.  As for Adam Scott his chances went down the drain on the first nine on Sunday when he shot 40.  He fought hard on the second nine but it just wasn’t there.  Scott seems to always have that one round that takes him out of it and it happened on Saturday.  Now the good news is that he is at one over and just six back.  If Scott can do what Jimenez did one Saturday, post a early 66 he could watch carnage take place while sitting in the Butler Cabin and win like Nicklaus did in 1986.   Can it happen, damn right it can.

Below is a list of the top-23 players on the leader board going to two over which is 7  shots back of Spieth and Watson:

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Of the top-23 on the leaderboard, who is play the best: for the Masters

Player Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Dubai Desert
Matt Kuchar
(244.17 pts)
2
(100)
T4
(80)
DNP T38
(8)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(205.5 pts)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
Win
(44)
DNP T2
(33.33)
T23
(9)
DNP
Jimmy Walker
(152.17 pts)
T24
(26)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
T20
(10)
Win
(44)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(150.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
10
(40)
DNP T20
(20)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP T5
(35)
T12
(12.67)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Jim Furyk
(129 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T20
(20)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP T5
(35)
T23
(9)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(113.5 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
T8
(33.33)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
John Senden
(104.67 pts)
DNP T42
(8)
T52
(0)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(103 pts)
6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(6)
DNP T24
(8.67)
3
(45)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Jason Day
(99.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(97.67 pts)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Russell Henley
(85.33 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Justin Rose
(60.83 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(33.33)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(59.83 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T46
(1.33)
T33
(8.5)
T20
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T47
(1)
DNP
Kevin Stadler
(56.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T23
(9)
T45
(1.67)
Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Miguel A. Jimenez
(42.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-23 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the Masters

Player Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Dubai Desert
Fred Couples
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
Ian Poulter
(16.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T47
(1)
DNP
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(25.5 pts)
DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T24
(8.67)
T33
(8.5)
T35
(5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(31.17 pts)
T65
(0)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP T40
(10)
DNP T12
(12.67)
T33
(8.5)
DNP T61
(0)
76
(0)
DNP DNP
Steve Stricker
(34.5 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP 57
(0)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jonas Blixt
(35.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thomas Bjorn
(36.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(6)
DNP T46
(1.33)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
Kevin Streelman
(36.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
T25
(25)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T35
(5)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion

There is nothing cut and dry.  You have a better chance at flipping a coin or playing the lottery than picking Sunday’s winner.  I do think we will see a lot of pressure-induce poor shots and it will come down to who has the guts to suck it in and perform at the right time.  Can thing happen, highly unlikely.  Expect the unexpected.

So who will win on Sunday at Augusta?

Best Bets:

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

I really think that his inexperience will help him because he probably doesn’t know how tough the final round will really be. He has shown little resistance to pressure and I think the same will happen on Sunday. Remembering what happened in 1997 makes us want another young new face to look up to.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 T3 T27 T24 CUT

Two bad Sundays could spell a great Sunday at the Masters. I can see start slowly and start to light it up at Amen Corner. He has to be the favorite going into the final round.

Best of the rest:

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T50 Win T38 42 T20

Gosh he has two sides of him, one the nervous side that you know will be there on Sunday and then the brave one in which he hits the right shots at the right time, a lot like the wedge in the Masters playoff at the 10th hole to win that championship.

Lee Westwood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 T3 T11 2 43 T11 T30 CUT CUT 44

Gosh he has had so much grieve in the majors, he is due one.

Jim Furyk

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T25 11 T24 CUT T10 T33 T13 T22 28 4 CUT

He was close at the last major, the PGA Championship. He got the experience, but he also has the heres, he finished up bogey-par-par-bogey which really set him back.

Solid contenders:

Justin Rose

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T25 T8 T11 T20 T36 T5 T22 T39

This seems just like the U.S. Open, he stayed close for three rounds and made his move on the back nine at Merion. He is only four back, anything can happen.

Thomas Bjorn

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T46 T37 CUT T32 T25 CUT T18

Gosh he has been runner-up three times in a major without a victory. He is due and on this course with so many people close he could back up to a victory.

RIckie Fowler

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T38 T27 T38

Another explosive guy that doesn’t seem to back down under the pressure. His game is just right and he could back in, so watch him.

Sorry but not at the Masters:

Miguel A. Jimenez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
56 T27 T12 T46 T8 T44 T11 T31 CUT T9

He may be just two back, but I don’t think he has the power to do it. Also don’t think he has the nerve, he will have to back into the title to win

Fred Couples

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T13 T12 T15 6 CUT CUT T30 T3 T39 T6 T28 T36

As much as all of us will be rooting for him to win one in his sunset years, it just can’t happen. He is too old and not steady with the putter, yes he can win on the Champions Tour but I can’t see him winning on Sunday.

Ian Poulter

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT 7 T27 T10 T20 T25 T13 T33 T31

Just watch him come out blazing like he did at the PGA Championship in 2012. But I can’t see him play well enough to do it, sorry Ian.

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T8 T2 T18 CUT T25 T27 T27 T33 CUT T23 T9

It’s going to take a miracle, but just remember 1986 with Nicklaus so anything is possible.

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