Augusta National Key Fantasy Stats

Masters

November 12th – 15th, 2020

Augusta National G.C.

Augusta, GA

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,475

Purse: $11.5 million (last year)

with $2,070,000 (Last Year) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Tiger Woods

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This is based on the most important stats for Augusta National, based on data from last year’s Masters, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2021. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Augusta National in 2019 was 71.87, as the course ranked as the 16th hardest on the PGA Tour. It was also the first time that Augusta played under par for a year since 1992. In 2018 the scoring average was 72.93, just about a shot over its 72 par. It was the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour. The reason for it playing almost a full shot harder in 2017 was because of the weather, lack of wind, and manageable rain on Saturday that softened the course up and made it play easier. In 2017 the scoring average was 73.89, making it the 2nd hardest course to score on that year. It’s also important to see why the weather played a factor in 2017, The weather was near perfect, but the winds did blow the first two days between 20 to 25 mph, then decreased to 4 to 8 mph for the weekend. The year before 2016, the scoring average was 74.42 again because winds were between 10 and 15 mph each of the four days. Now the year before that, in 2015 with good weather but very little wind, the course played a lot easier to a scoring average of 72.54, and is ranked the 14th hardest course that year. In looking at the weather for Augusta┬áI can see a scoring average coming down because of the rain they will get every day, including Thursday, which is suppose to be the wettest day. This will create soft conditions, balls will not roll in the rough off the tee, flags will be more obtainable with soft greens, which will allow the players to make more birdies. But the most important factor, lack of wind. Saturday and Sunday will have the most wind at only 8 mph, which makes for easier conditions at Augusta.

One thing that is drastically different is the time the Masters is being played. This is the first time that it has gone away from its usual April dates (did play a couple of Masters in the last week of March in the 1930s). With that, it’s important to guess how different the course will be this week? The course will be softer, and the fairways will have more grass on them, so look for the course to be a lot longer than it’s April dates. The greens will also be a bit different; yes they are controlled by the underground sub air pumps that could suck the moisture out of them, thus making them firmer. But this time of year, they have to be careful not to suck too much out of the greens, so yes, the greens will not be as firm. I think the speed of the greens will be the same, so the difference this week will be the course is longer, and the greens will not be as firm. Other than that, the course will be just about the same as in April.

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 an advantage, especially on Augusta’s par 5s. In 2018 and in 2017, both winners Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia showed there advantage as they both ranked 6th in driving distance and played the par 5s in 7 under for Garcia and 13 under for Reed. But in looking at the past champions, it’s mixed with long hitters and short. A perfect example was in 2019 Tiger Woods ranked 44th in driving distance, the highest of champions since Jordan Spieth in 2015. It also is 2016 and in 2015. Danny Willett ranked 32nd in driving distance while in 2015, Jordan Spieth ranked 52nd. But look at the top-ten for the week, last year only 3, while in 2018 only 4, while in 2017 only 3 out of 10 while in 2016, 5 out of 14 while in 2015 only one of the 11 were ranked in the top-ten in distance, showing that there is more to Augusta than people think.

One thing is looking at the stats, Augusta National doesn’t utilize stroke gain stats, which we have been using more of, so we have to go back to the old fashion stats. So in looking at the stats for Augusta National, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hit 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 19th in greens in regulation (61.45). This has been a very consistent number for the last decade. As for importance, last year’s winner Tiger Woods ranked 1st, one of 8 players to lead that category while winning the Masters. But the previous year, it was totally different as Patrick Reed ranked 21st, which is a dramatic withdrawal because it was the 3rd highest rank of the last 23 Masters champions going back to 1997. If you look at those winners, 16 of the 23 are in the top-five like 2017 champion Sergia Garcia who ranked T-2nd. So if only 6 of the 23 are outside the top-ten, you have to say that hitting greens is very important in winning the Masters.

Our next category is scrambling, and last year, the course ranked 11th while Tiger Woods was T-50th (because he hit so many greens). In 2018 Augusta was 5th on tour while Reed was T-16th. In three-putt avoidance Augusta, the course was 6th hardest on tour while Tiger was T-22nd (only had two three-putts). In 2018 it played 5th hardest on Tour while Reed only had two three-putts for the entire week and ranked T-13th. Our last category is par 5, now for the average field, the Par 5 average last year was 4.58 and was T-33rd on tour. For the week, Tiger was 8 under for the week, which ranked T-27th. In 2018, Augusta was 4.70, and it was T-17th on tour. Reed was 13 under for the week, which is the key to how he won. You look at the history of the Masters, the best is 15 under by four different players, and there were only five different players at 14 under, so you can see that 13 under by Reed was a milestone, so playing the par 5s was very important in Reed’s victory. Since 1997 every winner has been under par on the par 5s except for Danny Willett, who played them in even par in 2016. But if you average out the winners in the last 21 years, they average 9 under, so you can see the importance of playing the par 5s well for the week.

So let’s take a more careful look at how the last five champions became victorious. Last year Tiger did it with his ironwork, he hit 58 of 72 greens to lead the field. This helped him to make 22 birdies, which were 2nd best. Now in 2018, Reed did it with his putter, he not only had the least amount of putts but also was the best in one-putts with 38. But playing the par 5s in 13 under put him over the top.
In 2017 Sergio Garcia won it with his ball-striking, he was 2nd in fairways hit, and T-2nd in greens hit. This allowed him to miss the rare putt here and there, but still enough for the win.

In 2016 Danny Willett was T-6th in greens in regulation, he was 1st in scrambling, T-2nd in three-putt avoidance, and 54th in par 5 average.

How about 2015 for Jordan Spieth. 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 lots of birdies, in 2015 Spieth led that stat making 28 birdies for the week, while Willett was T-16th making just 13 for the week.

Again if a person can hit a lot of greens and scramble well on the ones he misses and make a good share of putts, especially in the 4 to 10-foot range, he is a can’t miss to not only contend but possibly winning.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is a great barometer on how good players manage their games around Augusta National. Every year the players that hit lots 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 areas 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 has 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 2020 Remember this is an international event with six amateurs and lot’s of players that do not play regularly on the PGA Tour, so only 79 of the field of 93 have PGA Tour stats for 2021. One other thing, the Masters is not part of the PGA Tours shotlink program, so you won’t see stats like Strokes Gained this week:

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

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