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BlogMasters Preview and Picks

Masters

April 7th – 10th, 2016

Augusta National G.C.

Augusta, Ga.

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $10 million

with $1.8 million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jordan Spieth

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 67 of the top-100 and 54 of the top 54 in the latest Official World Rankings.

The field includes 23 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.   Those players are #1 Adam Scott, #2 Jason Day, #3 Brandt Snedeker, #4 Kevin Kisner, #5 Russell Knox, #6 Justin Thomas, #7 Bubba Watson, #8 Kevin Na, #9 Smylie Kaufman, #10 Graeme McDowell, #11 Hideki Matsuyama, #12 Jason Dufner, #13 Jordan Spieth, #14 Charl Schwartzel, #15 Patrick Reed, #16 Rickie Fowler, #17 Fabian Gomez, #18 Jim Herman, #19 Phil Mickelson, #20 Emiliano Grillo, #21 Dustin Johnson, #24 Henrik Stenson and #25 Bill Haas

Those in the top-25 but not playing are #22 Kevin Chappell and #23 Charles Howell III.

The field includes 21 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Adam Scott, #2 Jason Day, #3 Bubba Watson, #4 Kevin Kisner, #5 Brandt Snedeker, #6 Russell Knox, #7 Justin Thomas, #8 Kevin Na, #9 Hideki Matsuyama, #10 Smylie Kaufman, #11 Graeme McDowell, #12 Jordan Spieth, #13 Patrick Reed, #14 Phil Mickelson, #15 Rickie Fowler, #16 Dustin Johnson, #17 Jim Herman, #18 Charl Schwartzel, #19 Jason Dufner, #20 Fabian Gomez, #21 Emiliano Grillo, #22 Henrik Stenson, #24 Louis Oosthuizen and #25 Ryan Moore.

Those in the top-25 but not playing are #23 Kevin Chappell

The field includes 17 past champions: Jordan Spieth (2015), Bubba Watson (2012 & ’14), Adam Scott (2013), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Phil Mickelson (2006, ’04 & ’10), Angel Cabrera (2009), Trevor Immelman (2008), Zach Johnson (2007), Mike Weir (2003), Vijay Singh (2000), Mark O’Meara (1998), 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 in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

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

24/7 GOLF

How would you like to have Total Golf Knowledge At Your Fingertips??

We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

It gives you everything that you need to know about golf, you have all the players results and every tournament result, again at your fingertips.  It’s very easy to use and you can take a good amout of GOLFstats with you everyplace.  No need to get home and check things out on your computer at home, you can answer any question with your Ipad.

So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.01.34 AM

 

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

Who’s Hot in the field for the Masters

Player Shell Houston WGC-Dell Match Play Puerto Rico Arnold Palmer Indian Open Valspar Thailand Classic WGC-Cadillac Honda Classic Handa Perth Northern Trust Maybank Malaysian AT&T Pebble
Jason Day
(370 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
Adam Scott
(324.33 pts)
DNP T28
(33)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
Win
(88)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(313.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Dustin Johnson
(260.67 pts)
3
(90)
T5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP T41
(3)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(258.67 pts)
4
(80)
3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(238 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(236.33 pts)
DNP 4
(120)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(207.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(197 pts)
T13
(37)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
Bubba Watson
(177 pts)
DNP T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T70
(0)
Ryan Moore
(175 pts)
DNP T5
(105)
DNP T74
(0)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(13.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jordan Spieth
(165.17 pts)
T13
(37)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Patrick Reed
(157.5 pts)
T10
(40)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Brooks Koepka
(154.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Sergio Garcia
(150.33 pts)
T72
(0)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Bill Haas
(148.5 pts)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
Rickie Fowler
(148 pts)
T10
(40)
T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(50)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(143.33 pts)
DNP T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
Justin Rose
(142.33 pts)
DNP T28
(33)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T6
(20)
Anirban Lahiri
(142 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(138.33 pts)
DNP T5
(105)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(133.83 pts)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP 5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(3)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(132.67 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(15)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(129.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
Jimmy Walker
(123.33 pts)
T19
(31)
T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(60)
T43
(4.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T11
(13)
Matt Kuchar
(122.17 pts)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Andy Sullivan
(120 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
T26
(16)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(110 pts)
T19
(31)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(15)
T26
(16)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP
Paul Casey
(108.33 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP 7
(55)
T43
(4.67)
DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(108 pts)
T5
(70)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T28
(22)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(105.33 pts)
T19
(31)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(99 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Justin Thomas
(96.33 pts)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T35
(15)
T3
(60)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(95.33 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
T46
(4)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Charley Hoffman
(94 pts)
T33
(17)
T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Masters

Player Shell Houston WGC-Dell Match Play Puerto Rico Arnold Palmer Indian Open Valspar Thailand Classic WGC-Cadillac Honda Classic Handa Perth Northern Trust Maybank Malaysian AT&T Pebble
Mike Weir
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Steven Bowditch
(-17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 65
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T41
(3)
Trevor Immelman
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(-15.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
Fabian Gomez
(-15 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 58
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP
Hunter Mahan
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T70
(0)
Webb Simpson
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(-12.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T36
(14)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Darren Clarke
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Angel Cabrera
(-10 pts)
79
(0)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Fred Couples
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
David Lingmerth
(-2.33 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(1)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Lee
(-2 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T30
(6.67)
Cheng Jin
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Davis Love III
(4.67 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)

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 are held in high esteem. Just like Baseball today, this is the opening day of the 2016 golfing season.  Yes there have been 21 events already played on the PGA Tour and 15 events on the European Tour, which means the season is 40% over but all of those are a prelude to this week.

The year has really been great, before Jim Herman’s shocking win in Houston, we had marquee winners just about every week.  To think that Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama have won since the start of January.  Going a step further, Day and Scott have won twice in the first three months of the year.  So going into the Masters the excitement is at fervor pitch.

With that you have lot’s of storylines from Rory going after a major slam, Jason going for two straight majors, Jordan going for his third major win in just five starts.  How about Bubba going for three Masters in five years or Phil breaking out of his two year slump to win his fourth Masters.  You also have the story of some talent guys like Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Patrick Reed looking to finally getting that one major victory.

The “Buzz” for the week is who will win.  There are 91 players in the field, seven yes than last year and the reason why was only three players, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Vaughn Taylor and Jim Herman being the only players to earn an invite after all the invitations went out on January 1st.  That’s a remarkable story in it’s own, that last year almost a dozen players got Masters berths after the first of the year and this year it’s down to just three.  So we may have one of the best fields in Masters history with 54 of the top-54 or 67 of the top-100 off the world ranking competing.  20 players have never competed before, but for the first time you never know as PGA Tour winners Fabian Gomez, Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Kevin Kisner, Russell Knox, Jim Herman, David Lingmerth and Justin Thomas could win this week.

We have read all of the stories over the years that say only a dozen or so could win the Masters, I put that number to about 50, yes one of 50 players I think will have a chance.  That’s what will make the Masters so interesting this year.

Not everyone is in top form as both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth has shown signs of stress.  First with McIlroy blowing his lead at Doral and Spieth just having problems getting started in tournaments.  Here is a really important stat that shows why Spieth isn’t playing well, he is 164th in greens in regulation, last year he was 49th.  Now many will discount that figure because Spieth is 17th in Strokes Gained putting and 12th in Strokes Gained tee-to-green but when you are 164th in greens in regulation and 130th in proximity to the hole you have some problems.  But both of these guys are incredible and could find some magic at any time so you can’t count them out.

As I write this in Augusta just as the sun is setting on Monday the weather is pleasant.  In looking at the long-range forecast it’s going to be nice on Tuesday and Wednesday, then rain all day on Thursday.  But it’s not going to be very warm, only in the low 70s so maybe they will be able to play through that.  After Thursday the last three days looks like picture perfect weather with winds blowing between 10 and 15 mph.  No matter what we all know that rain or shine Augusta National will look great and play tough, no matter what the weather is like.

No matter what this year will be very interesting.

Things you need to know about the Masters:

This will be the 80th 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 has been 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 played easy because of the conditions and was 13th toughest course with a 72.54 average. In 2014 it 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.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at the Augusta National:

This is based on the most important stats for Augusta National, based on data from last years Masters, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2016. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four catagories.
The scoring average of the field at Augusta National in 2015 was 72.54, so with par being 72 that means the average score was a half a shot over par, making Augusta National the 14th hardest course to score on in 2015. It’s also important to see how the weather played a factor, last year’s weather was near perfect but the winds did blow all four days between 10 and 15 mph. So with good weather, even with the wind the course played a full shot and a half easier than in 2014 when the scoring average was 73.95 and it ranked the 2nd hardest course in 2014. In looking at the weather for Augusta this week, Thursday is suppose to be rainy with morning Thundershowers and breezy conditions (20 mph). So scores will be high, but the rest of the week the weather will be perfect and winds will be manageable.

Now one thing that we have to look at is the claim that Augusta is great for long hitters. That is in part true hitting it long does have it’s advantage, especially on Augusta’s par 5s. But in looking at the past champions, it’s mixed with long hitters and short. Perfect example is last year, Jordan Spieth ranked 52nd in driving distance. But look at the top-ten for the week, only one of the 11 finishers were ranked in the top-ten in distance, showing that there is more to Augusta than people think.

In looking at the stats for Augusta National, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hits lots of greens, can scramble well, can avoid three putts and play well on the par 5s. So these are the four stats we pick for this week’s key course stats.

In looking at Augusta National last year, the course ranked T-16th in greens in regulation (62.98). As for scrambling it ranked 9th (53.85), in three putt avoidance it ranked 4th and in 39th, meaning only 13 other courses had easier par 5s than Augusta.

So how did last years winner Jordan Spieth become victorious last year? He ranked 2nd in Greens in Regulation, hitting 75% of his greens. He was T-10th in scrambling, T22nd in three putt avoidance and T-4th in Par 5 Scoring. One other important item that won’t be on this list but you should have in the back of your mind, making lot’s of birdies, last year Spieth led that stat making 28 birdies for the week.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is great barometer on how good players manage their games around Augusta National. Every year the players that hit lot’s of greens do well.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the area’s around the greens are mowed short and are left with really hard shots to get it close, scrambling is important. You are not going to be perfect so you have to make sure you can make pars from some tough places

*Three putt avoidance: Augusta have the toughest greens in the world to putt on. They only average 6,486 square feet so they aren’t big or small, but they are sloppy and you can be faced with a lot of ten foot lag putts. So when you are 30 or 40 feet away it’s really hard to get up and down in two putts and is important.

*Par 5 scoring: This is the one place long hitters due have an advantage on, the par 5s. Three of the four are within reach of the longest hitters and depending on how Augusta sets up the 8th hole, that could be easy or hard. But to win it’s important to do well on the Par 5s.

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2016:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

For the rest of the players, hit this link:

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.
  • 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.  Gosh look at Jordan Spieth last year, he ranked 52nd in driving distance at Augusta last year.  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 Jordan Spieth last year, Bubba Watson in 2014 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.  Last year Jordan Spieth was 4th going into the Masters.  In the 28 years of the world rankings, the average Masters champion has been ranked 13th.  We’ve seen four #1s win and overall 18 of the 28 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:

Jason Day

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T28 T20 3 WD T2

Easy to see why he would be the favorite after the way he played at the Palmer and Match Play. Also he came so close to winning it in 2011 and ’13, have to like him a lot this week.

Adam Scott

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 T14 Win T8 T2 T18 CUT T25 T27 T27 T33 CUT

His putter is now a secert weapon for him, he has a lot of confidence and playing a course that he has won on. He could easily win this week.

Rory McIlroy

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
4 T8 T25 T40 T15 CUT T20

He has to win this soon or have a mental block on the Masters like Sam Snead had at the U.S. Open and Arnold Palmer had at the PGA Championship. McIlroy knows what it will take and will do everything in his power to play well and win.

Best of the rest:

Dustin Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 CUT T13 T38 T38 T30

He is one that will fly under the radar screen this week and have a great chance at winning even though he only has one top-ten in six Masters starts. He can overpower Augusta National with his long and straight drives, he is so good on the par 5s he could be 10 or 12 under this week. He is the next player to finally win a major and it could happen this week.

Rickie Fowler

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T12 T5 T38 T27 T38

A bit Jekyll and Hyde, he has done well at Augusta the last two years and I think he can get even better.

Bubba Watson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 Win T50 Win T38 42 T20

Looking for a three-peat, he is perfect for this course and has a lot of confidence that he can beat anyone in this event.

Brandt Snedeker

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T37 T6 T19 T15 CUT T3 T41

Has been there in 2013 and 2008, he knows how to play well at Augusta National, maybe this is his year to shine.

Solid contenders

Jordan Spieth

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win T2

He is a fighter and never gives up. I know this is his third year on tour, but seems to be in a bit of a “Sophomore Slump.” He is a great putter and scrambles well, I am just worried that his iron play might not be ready for this week with him ranked 164th in greens in regulation this year on the PGA Tour.

Charl Schwartzel

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 CUT T25 T50 Win T30

Past champion that has found his form in 2016.

Justin Rose

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2 T14 T25 T8 T11 T20 T36 T5 T22

Yes he has had a tough year but he knows how to go low at Augusta and you never know if this could be his week to get it together.

Phil Mickelson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2 CUT T54 T3 T27 Win 5 T5 T24 Win 10 Win

You never can count him out, has played great this year and I still think he has some magic left.

Louis Oosthuizen

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T19 25 CUT 2 CUT CUT CUT

Another player in great form that can win at Augusta.

Long shots that could come through:

Ian Poulter

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 T20 CUT 7 T27 T10 T20 T25 T13 T33 T31

Played well in Puerto Rico and has done well in the Masters. He could really use a great finish to regain some of his pride after a tough year.

Justin Thomas

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Another rookie at the Masters, he also has the game and could surprise.

Bryson DeChambeau

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

First timer and an amateur, wouldn’t it be nice to see him shine and be in contention on Sunday? He has the game to pull it off.

Comments

  1. No love for Kevin Kisner this week?

  2. Would you give any love to Kisner after the way he has been playing??? Hasn’t played well since Hawaii, I have a feeling that starting next week he will do better

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