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BlogMasters Preview and Picks

Masters

April 9 – 12, 2015

Augusta National G.C.

Augusta, Ga.

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $9 million (2014 purse)

with $1,620,000 (2014 first place check) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Bubba Watson

 

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 49 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  The reason why, Marc Warren has been around the top-50 for weeks now and last week, the cutoff for the top-50 to get that coveted spot was then and Warren missed out by one.   With Danny Willett and Luke Donald dropping out of the top-50, Russell Henley and Warren replaced them.  But for Marc a week too late so the Masters will only have the top-49 of 50 in rankings.

The field includes 19 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2015.   Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #2 Jordan Spieth, #3 J.B. Holmes, #4 Patrick Reed, #5 Bubba Watson, #6 Dustin Johnson, #7 Charley Hoffman, #8 Robert Streb, #9 Jason Day, #10 Brandt Snedeker, #11 Ryan Moore, #12 Sangmoon Bae, #13 Ben Martin, #14 Hideki Matsuyama, #15 Brooks Koepka, #16 James Hahn, #18 Bill Haas, #23 Matt Every and #24 Matt Kuchar.

Those in the top-25 but not playing are #17 Shawn Stefani, #19 Daniel Berger, #20 Scott Piercy, #21 Brendon de Jonge, #22 Harris English and #25 Nick Watney.

The field includes 21 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #2 Jordan Spieth, #3 J.B. Holmes, #4 Bubba Watson, #5 Dustin Johnson, #6 Patrick Reed, #7 Brandt Snedeker, #8 Jason Day, #9 Ryan Moore, #10 Charley Hoffman, #11 Sangmoon Bae, #12 Robert Streb, #13 Hideki Matsuyama, #14 Brooks Koepka, #15 Ben Martin, #16 James Hahn, #17 Bill Haas, #18 Henrik Stenson, #20 Matt Every, #22 Kevin Na and #25 Paul Casey.

Those in the top-25 but not playing are #19 Daniel Berger,  #21 Nick Watney, #23 Shawn Stefani and #24 Scott Piercy.

The field includes 19 past champions: Bubba Watson (2012 & ’14), Adam Scott (2013), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Phil Mickelson (2006, ’04 & ’10), Angel Cabrera (2009), Trevor Immelman (2008), Zach Johnson (2007), Tiger Woods (2005, ’02, ’01 & 1997), Mike Weir (2003), Vijay Singh (2000), Jose Maria Olazabal (1999 & ’94), Mark O’Meara (1998), Ben Crenshaw (1995 & ’84), Bernhard Langer (1993 & ’85), Fred Couples (1992), Ian Woosnam (1991), Sandy Lyle (1988), Larry Mize (1997) and Tom Watson (1981 & ’77).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Masters field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Masters in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Masters.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker North America, Vovada.  They give winning odds plus top-five and first round leader odds.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

We have made a lot of changes in GOLFstats and one of the biggest is that every on-going event gets updated every hour.  It’s not real time scoring, but after each day you will see our database change.  This will help look at things like good scores in a row and how each player does after every round.

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

We are also offering special daily looks at the stats and who will be going on to win.  Just like our previews, this will not only preview the next day’s round but also look at players who shoud win.  All of these will enhance GOLFstats and encourage you to check our stuff over the weekend and during play.  That’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Another thing to look for is 24/7 GOLF which is coming to the Apple App Store this week.  This is a new app that you can get with your Iphone so that you can take a lot of GOLFstats with you when your away from your computer.  Try it out, you will love it.

So join us a couple of hours after play each night from the Masters for our what you will need to know for the next day’s play.

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

Who’s Hot in the field for the Masters

Player Shell Houston Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Valero Texas Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust AT&T Pebble
Jordan Spieth
(366 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
2
(100)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T7
(18.33)
Dustin Johnson
(245.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T2
(33.33)
T4
(26.67)
J.B. Holmes
(244.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T10
(13.33)
Henrik Stenson
(233.33 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(170.33 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T29
(7)
Jimmy Walker
(163.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
T21
(9.67)
Kevin Na
(158.33 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T10
(26.67)
T20
(30)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(140.67 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP
Paul Casey
(140.33 pts)
9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Cameron Tringale
(119 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
T40
(10)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T47
(1)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(114 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 74
(0)
Win
(44)
Morgan Hoffmann
(112.33 pts)
DNP DNP 4
(80)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP
Ryan Palmer
(111.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ian Poulter
(104 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(29)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Keegan Bradley
(103 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(102 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Ryan Moore
(101 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP 5
(46.67)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(96 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(7)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP T46
(4)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
Phil Mickelson
(94 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(20)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(90 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T11
(39)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP
Brendon Todd
(89.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
T30
(20)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
T10
(13.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(88.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T9
(45)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Adam Scott
(88.33 pts)
DNP DNP T35
(15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Russell Henley
(85 pts)
4
(80)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(82.67 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Masters

Player Shell Houston Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Valero Texas Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust AT&T Pebble
Trevor Immelman
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Robert Streb
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(-21.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Angel Cabrera
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brian Harman
(-14 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thomas Bjorn
(-11.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
John Senden
(-11 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gunn Yang
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Going through the gates of Augusta is always special.  The place is a Shangri-la, a permanently happy land that is isolated from the outside world.  The course is very special in being challenging but very fair, one that adds excitement and rewards for the best.  In the long run if one were to script the perfect place to hold a championship, Augusta National would be on top of the list for not only the course but the facilities and ability of handling spectators.

Because of this, the Masters is held in high esteem. Just like Baseball today, this is the opening day of the 2015 golfing season.  Yes there have been 21 events already played on the PGA Tour and 14 events on the European Tour, which means the season is half over but all of those are a prelude to this week.

The year has really been great, yes Tiger, Rory and Phil haven’t played well on the PGA Tour but how about a year in which Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and even Padraig Harrington have won.  Last year I was writing on how poor the winners were but this year the season has been really exciting, look at last week in Houston for a taste of what the year has been.

So all of this could rub off and we have a great Masters. Lot’s of storylines between Rory going after the major slam at 25.  You also have the question on Tiger Woods and if he can pull himself out of this slump.  Another person in a slump is Phil Mickelson, over the last three weeks he has shown some shines of good play, but the putter has been very inconsistent.  Talking about putting, Adam Scott in his first couple of events has gone back to conventional putting which has been spotty.  Wonder if he will go back to the broomstick for this week.

The “Buzz” for the week is who will win.  There are 98 players in the field, with 49 of the top-50 off the world ranking.  20 players have never competed before, and frankly I wouldn’t even take 500 to one odds on any of these 20 winning.  We are also seeing many injuries, guys like Brooks Koepka, Steve Stricker, Kevin Stadler, Graeme McDowell, and Justin Rose who haven’t been 100% and can’t be considered serious contenders.  So just like that in one paragraph I have put the kiss of death on a third of the field.

But the big question on everyone’s mind is if Tiger is really ready to go.  I was shocked to hear that he would play.  Yes we have heard Golf Channel report on greatness from Woods rounds at the Medalist in Jupiter the last couple of weeks.  Frankly, we don’t know whether these could be plants, news that “leaks out” to show that Tiger is playing better than he really is.  I put more faith in the fact that it leaked out that in Tiger’s first round at Augusta last week he shot 74 and his chipping was not sharp.  One thing to remember, Tiger may say he is playing but he can easily pull out as late as Thursday morning if things aren’t working out.  I just have to believe that Tiger better be ready to go, because if he isn’t 100% and does a pair of 74 he will really lose more credibility with fans who are starting to not believe what Tiger says.  If Woods misses the cut it really doesn’t shine on him “being ready” as he said back in February after Torrey Pines.  Tiger said he wouldn’t play until he is ready to compete and we all know what that is, being among the leaders.  Go back and ready the announcement from last week, it’s two sentences that say how important it is for Tiger to play in the Masters and how hard he has worked on his game.  Sorry Tiger I just don’t buy that you’re ready to go and compete.

One other person I am leary over is Rory McIlroy.  I know he really wants to play well and win, but I just think the odds will be against him.  He hasn’t played well since winning in Dubai back in January and I just don’t think he will be ready.  Rory is a complicated player, he has peaks and valleys and I think his game is coming out of a valley and I just don’t think he will peak in time.  Of course, I could be wrong, but I don’t plan on betting with him.

As I write this in Augusta just after lunch on Monday the weather is pleasant, but clouding up.  In looking at the long-range forecast it’s going to heat up and have possible thunderstorms on Tuesday and even more of a chance from them on Wednesday (60%).  In a way this is good news, have it rain and storm before the tournament, with perfect weather during the championship.  The forecast has great weather Thursday and Friday, but Saturday it’s supposed to be 70% chance of rain and 80% on Sunday.  So what are the ramifications of this?  Augusta can throw on the sub-terrain pumps and dry some of it, but when you have wet conditions it makes it harder for shorter hitters to win.  So guys like Jim Furyk and Luke Donald don’t like this kind of weather.

Guess we will just have to wait and see.

Things you need to know about the Masters

This will be the 79th edition of the Masters. It has been played ever year, except for between 1943 and 1945 when the war suspended the championship.  Ever year it is played at Augusta National, the only major played on the same course each year.

The Masters was conceived by Bobby Jones, who had always dreamed of having a U.S. Open played on Augusta National.  But with the hot summers in June, Jones approached the USGA with the idea of playing the Open at Augusta in April, but the USGA turned him down.  So Jones and Clifford Roberts decided to hold their own annual event beginning in 1934.  Roberts proposed that the event be called the Masters Tournament, but Jones objected thinking it was too presumptuous.  The name Augusta National Invitation Tournament was adopted and that title was used for five years until 1939 when Jones relented and the name was officially changed.

Course information:

August National Golf Club

  • August, S.C.
  • 7,435 yards     Par 36-36–72

 

While playing championship golf, Bobby Jones had always hoped that one day he would be able to build a championship golf course near his Atlanta home.  Upon his retirement after the 1930 U.S. Amateur, Jones set out to complete his dream.  In the 1920s he met New York banker Clifford Roberts who helped Jones with his dream. After looking at several places they both decided on Augusta, Ga. as the site because it provided the best weather in the winter months.  They scouted the area for a piece of land that according to Jones plans would utilize the natural shape and slope of the property to build the course.  Jones didn’t want a course that relied on severe rough as a hazard and hoped that he could find a piece of property that would have a stream running through so that he could build several holes around it for water hazards.  He also wanted to build a championship course that would be playable for the average golfer, one that would use mounds and slopes as hazards instead of sand bunkers.

Also helping Jones and Roberts on their search were Thomas Barrett Jr. He knew of a piece of land in Augusta that he thought would be perfect for Jones’ dream course.  He recommended a piece of property called Fruitlands Nursery.  The land consisted of 365 acres that was once an indigo plantation the family bought in 1857.  The man was Louis Mathieu Edouard Berckmans, who was a horticulturist by hobby.  Along with his son Julius Alphonse, an agronomist and horticulturist by profession, they formed a business in 1858 to import trees and plants from various countries.  It would be the first commercial nursery in the south and they called it, Fruitlands Nursery. Even though Berchmans died in 1883 the business flourished. A great variety of flowering plants and trees, including a long double row of magnolias, were planted before the Civil War, and today they serve as the club’s entrance were on the property.  But Prosper’s claim to fame was that he popularized a plant called the azalea.

Upon Prosper’s death in 1910 the business stop operation and the heirs looked for a buyer.  That buyer came around in late 1930 when Tom Barrett first showed Jones Berchman’s nursery.  Upon seeing the property from what is now the practice putting green, Jones knew he had the perfect land for a perfect golf course.  He told Roberts and Barrett that he thought the ground had been lying there all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course on it.

An option was taken on the property for $70,000 and it was decided to establish a national membership for the club and Jones proposed Augusta National would be an appropriate name. Jones also decided in the planning stage he wanted Dr. Alister Mackenzie of Scotland to serve as the course architect since the pair held similar views. Before coming to Augusta, Mackenzie had designed two courses in California – Pasatiempo and Cypress Point.  Jones played those courses after he failed in the first round of the 1929 U.S. Amateur and fell in love with the courses and MacKenzie’s design.  So that was the main reason he got MacKenzie to help him.

Jones and Mackenzie completed the plans and the construction started in July of 1931. Unfortunately, Mackenzie died after the construction work was completed, before Augusta National was fully covered with grass. The course was finished and opened in December 1932 with a limited amount of member play. A formal opening took place in January of 1933.

Since the course opened it has been changed several times in the 81 years.  In 1934 the tournament nines were different and was changed for the 1935 event.  Also the grasses have changed over the years between bent and bermuda grass, Today Augusta National’s tees and fairways are Bermuda grass, but they are overseeded each fall with rye grass.  The greens are bentgrass that gives them there wonderful speed and smoothness.

The average green size at Augusta is 6,150 square feet, which is about the average on the PGA Tour. Water  comes into play on five holes on the back side and there are only 43 bunkers.

Last year Augusta was second hardest course on the PGA Tour with a scoring average of 73.946, close to two shots over par a round. In 2013 Augusta National was the 4th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 73.412 average playing 1.412 stroke under par.  For a more comprehensive look at the course, look at this course overview done by Masters.Com.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Masters:

Key stat for the winner:

  • There are a few things that all winners at the Masters have in common.  First its precise ball striking, like a Ben Hogan, length and power like Tiger Woods, deft touch with a putter on the steeply contoured greens like a Ben Crenshaw and the mind and wisdom of a Jack Nicklaus.  All of these are what it takes to win the Masters.
  • Precise ball hitting is a must. With steeply contoured greens you have to position shots to the green in an area that you will set up an easy putt. That’s why players like Nick Faldo and Ben Hogan have five titles. If you look at the champions of the Masters, a poor putter usually doesn’t win.  Being able to avoid three putts is important.

Other things to think about:

  • Now, Zach Johnson having six three-putts in 2007 and Bubba Watson in 2012 with four put a dent in our theory about three putts.  In looking further back in history, both Vijay Singh in 2000 and Tiger Woods in 2001 had more in the year they won the Masters than the previous seven champions of the 1990s put together.  That doesn’t mean that we will have a new trend. I will still bet that the winner this year has the least number of three putts of anyone else in the field.
  • To show you how theories don’t work continually, look at the theory that says you have to hit it long to win at Augusta.  Yes, Tiger, Phil, and Vijay hit the ball long, but past champions like Mike Weir, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara and Ben Crenshaw could be the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour.  No matter what, length is very important, just look at Tiger Woods’ victory in 1997. Being able to reach par-5s with wedges is a big advantage over players hitting into the greens with long irons and woods.  But again, theories don’t work sometimes at the Masters. Just look at Zach Johnson in 2007. He lay up on all the par 5s and played them in 11 under par.  With dry, firm conditions this year brings in shorter hitters and gives them a chance.
  • Stats are great but in reality they really don’t mean much when it comes to picking a winner at the Masters.  Since 1993 the only true favorite to win the Masters was Tiger Woods who won it in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 and Phil Mickelson in 2004, 2006 and 2010.  Even Bubba Scott last year and Adam Scott winning in 2013 weren’t a big surprise. But nobody would have thought that Bubba Watson would win in 2012, it was a big surprise for Charl Schartzel in 2011, Angel Cabrera winning it in 2009, Trevor Immelman winning it in 2008 and Zach Johnson winning it in 2007.  Still in the folklore of Masters champions, some surprise champions include Mike Weir who won in 2003 and Vijay Singh in 2000.  Even bigger surprise winners have been Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Bernhard Langer and Ben Crenshaw, who came from out of the blue to win.  Still, one thing is certain; you need to have a track record to win at Augusta.  The last time a non-winner on the PGA or European Tour won was back in 1948 when Claude Harmon, father of Butch, won his first and only individual title on the PGA Tour at the Masters.  As the old saying goes, records are meant to be beaten and who knows, maybe a non-winner will surprise us all this week.
  • I can say this and that is look at the top 30 or 40 players off the world rankings.  We hear it always about how the best players seem to win majors.  If you go off the world rankings, Ben Curtis was 396 when he won the British Open in 2003 and Shaun Micheel was 169 when he won the 2003 PGA Championship.  At the Masters you won’t find that kind of a winner, since 1988 there have been only two Masters champions not in the top-50, #56 Zach Johnson in 2007 and #69 Angel Cabrera in 2009.  In the 27 years of the world rankings, the average Masters champion has been ranked 14th.  We’ve seen four #1s win and overall 17 of the 27 winners were in the top-ten the week before their victory.  So you can expect someone who is high up the world rankings to win this week.
  • Last experience and wisdom are important, that’s why Jack Nicklaus has six titles. The last player to win the Masters in his first start is Fuzzy Zoeller, who did it back in 1979.  As I said earlier there are 20 first timers this year and I can’t imagine any of those winning.  Experience is always important at the Masters so look for a winner being one of those.

Who to watch for at the Masters

Best Bets:

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2

His year reminds me so much of what Tiger was like in the months leading to the 1997 Masters. Spieth is showing a lot and that he is getting better every time he tees it up. Many will think that he could be getting tired, I think he is fresh and ready to go for this week.

Bubba Watson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win T50 Win T38 42 T20

Has played great all year and he has to be excited about the possibility of winning back to back Masters. If it rains it helps his cause even more.

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T20 3 WD T2

Feel that he has all the tools to play well at Augusta and will one day wear a green jacket. That day could be on Sunday, I think he will have a very good week.

Best of the rest:

Jimmy Walker

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8

Has had a great season and played well in the majors last year. Think it’s his time to shine, I can see him in contention again this week, I don’t know if he has the character to win the Masters. Still look for him to content.

Adam Scott

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T14 Win T8 T2 T18 CUT T25 T27 T27 T33 CUT T23

Ok it’s time for him to put it into overdrive. I am surprised at how he has gotten ready this year, I know he got married and had a child but still he has played four times in the last four months. Also be interested in seeing which way he putts, if the broom-putter returns this week. Still he is a great ball striker and his game is taylor made for Augusta so watch him.

Brandt Snedeker

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T37 T6 T19 T15 CUT T3 T41

I really think he will be the surprise of the week, has played great at Augusta and has been looking forward to this week since winning at Pebble.

Patrick Reed

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT

Time to see how this guy is built and if he can really play as well as he says he is. Rough first start last year we will just have to wait and see.

J.B. Holmes

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T25

Only has played once and finished T25th. Think the course is right up his alley, but I think the greens could overwhelm him.

European contenders:

Henrik Stenson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T14 T18 T40 CUT CUT T38 T17 T17 CUT

This guy should of won a bunch of majors, but the Masters hasn’t been kind to him. Does his game suit Augusta, probably not but he is a great player that will do his best to put on a green jacket on Sunday.

Lee Westwood

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
7 T8 T3 T11 2 43 T11 T30 CUT CUT

Think that of all the majors the Masters could be his best shot. He isn’t playing great and not playing bad, could be back there just getting ready to strike this week.

Sergio Garcia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T8 T12 T35 T45 T38 CUT CUT 46 CUT T4 T28

He misses more cuts than playing well at Augusta. I like Westwood here, but leary that the Masters could be the hardest major for Garcia to win. Still you never know if he could get on a roll, I just think it’s time for him to break out of his major slump.

Padraig Harrington

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T8 CUT CUT T35 T5 T7 T27 CUT T13 CUT

Just like Garcia, this guy is up and down, has played well in some Masters but has missed five of 14 cuts. Think he really wants to play great and get back into possibly winning another major.

Justin Rose

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T14 T25 T8 T11 T20 T36 T5 T22 T39

Has had some great rounds at Augusta and plays well on the course, I just fear that his isn’t 100% heathy and that is his problem this year.

Long shots that could come through:

Matt Kuchar

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 T8 T3 T27 T24

Many will say, geez your calling him a long shot? A guy that has finished three times in the top-ten at the Masters. He is a long shot because his game isn’t right but we know that a great player like him could turn it around in a matter of days. Has played good at Augusta, that gives me reason to think he will be ok.

Phil Mickelson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T54 T3 T27 Win 5 T5 T24 Win 10 Win 3

His game is still not right, or should we say his putter is not good. But we have seen this before from Phil and he has a way of digging deep and doing well. He showed some good signs at Houston and think he will do better this week.

Ian Poulter

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T20 CUT 7 T27 T10 T20 T25 T13 T33 T31

Could make a run, he played well at Honda and could find some magic this week.

Jonas Blixt

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2

A true longshot that played great last year.

Why I don’t like these guys this week:

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T25 T40 T15 CUT T20

Sorry just think too much will be on his plate, it’s hard to be talked about for six months and have to point to this week. We saw it last year at Pinehurst with Phil Mickelson, it’s hard to peak at just the right time.

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T13 T38 T38 T30

Just don’t think that Augusta National fits his game. Only shot two rounds in the 60s over 18 rounds this just doesn’t give us the confidence to pick him this week.

Rickie Fowler

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 T38 T27 T38

Didn’t play well at all last week in Houston, I can’t see him being in contention this week.

Tiger Woods

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T40 T4 T4 T6 2 T2 T3 Win T22 T15

I give him a one in three chance of withdrawing before Thursday. I don’t buy into all of this hype on him playing well at home, he needs to prove himself this week. Does he have the talent, yes. But I think he has lost the mojo.

Brooks Koepka

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

I liked his chances last month, but he has been hurt and don’t think he will have a good week.

Comments

  1. steven englebright says:

    aussie press confirmed scott is back to long putter..cheers sal..ps..dusty Johnson..forgetting last year, is coming in of a 13th here..has had plenty of time to scope out the joint and is smoking hot at the moment. if fairways are rain effected his length cannot hurt.is hungry and mentally rested and appeals with day and spieth as a classy trifecta…imho…….cheers health and luck sal…have a good one.

  2. Steve, call it a gut feeling on Johnson. Yes it’s suppose to rain giving long hitters an advantage but I just don’t think the course is good for Johnson.
    Guess we will see soon enough.

  3. Davis R says:

    This is what I paid $10 for? I’d like my money back. I was expecting you to crunch all the numbers for me in regards to the most relevant stats it takes to win at Augusta. For example, you eluded to the 3-putt theory and the driving distance theory, so why not go ahead and crunch all those stats plus par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, etc.. and let the numbers tell you whose stats say have the best chance. I didn’t need to pay $10 to be told to look at bookie websites for who’s got the highest odds. For a website built on “stats”, I’m discouraged to read about your “gut feeling” on Dustin Johnson. This is a stats site. Look at other fantasy guru sites and all they do is crunch numbers and give you informed help based on facts, not “gut feelings” and bookie links. I’d really like my money back. I am disappointed with this product.

  4. Michael B says:

    Davis: Can’t speak for the site but my thought was they are suggesting this tournament is one where stats don’t really do a whole lot in terms of “predicting” performance. What stats are going to help you find Angel Cabrera performing the way he did two years ago?

    It’s a unique tournament with a limited field. There’s no magic formula.

    I’m going with a team of Day/Walker/Snedeker/Tiger (I use golfchannel) And I came to that conclusion based on info/stats I found here plus my own analysis.

  5. Lane Deyoe says:

    I think the player analysis provided is excellent. That guy is complaining about a $10 purchase? He needs to get real.

  6. steven englebright says:

    blind freddy can crunch stats(sites a dime a dozen for free)…sals gut speaks for itself..always haters sal o’chum ,occupational hazard..keep up the good work your opinion and observations are always considered..cheers m8

  7. Michael B says:

    The one thing I’ll note here is that if you’re talking about fantasy golf, Tiger Woods is an extremely attractive choice because of his value right now. Do I think he’ll win? No. But he seems healthy and he lives for Augusta and don’t forget he couldn’t play last year. Death, Taxes, Tiger playing well at Augusta.

    We all know his chipping was his issue right? I personally don’t think Tiger Woods returns to Augusta to embarrass himself. If this was any other tournament I’d question if he was ready – but not Augusta.

  8. Michael you couldn’t of written that any better. I too am a big Tiger Woods fan and am pulled in two different directions on this. I want to see Tiger contend on Sunday but I just don’t think he has the mojo and I think his chipping, which is better, will not be prime-time ready.
    I am at Augusta and saw Tiger’s press conference yesterday, he has never seemed to care more than yesterday. He seemed happier and I think he has lost a bit of the killer instinct, who knows it’s just a weird feeling I had with him talking just 30 feet away from me.
    Something is different with Tiger and I just hope he doesn’t go out and shot a pair of 74s, but I think the odds on that happening are about the same as Tiger going out and shooting a pair of 69s, which would put him high up the leaderboard.

  9. Michael B says:

    Sal,

    That’s the tricky thing about a player who has always seemed so robotic. It’s almost as if we’re writing him off because he seems to be actually enjoying himself out there. On the flip side to your point, maybe – just maybe – this is the best place mentally Tiger has been in a long time.

    He’s a tricky guy to figure out. I am not a big Tiger fan or an anti-Tiger guy either, but I find his presence this week to be incredibly more interesting than any other “comeback” tour appearance.

    What it comes down to for me as a Fantasy golf player is, in Group 4 – he’s the only guy that could win where I wouldn’t be shocked. So that’s why I take him on golfchannel’s game.

    If there is one course where Tiger would be sure he was ready to play before committing to play – it’s Augusta. He’s not coming here to WD or shoot an 80+. He’s coming to compete. If he didn’t think he could, he’d stay home just like he did in 2014.

    So in some ways yeah, it seems like he’s more laid back and lost that “killer instinct” but maybe him being here right now is his way of showing he still has it.

    Will be really fun to watch him this week, either way!

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