Masters Key Fantasy Stats


April 6th – 9th, 2023

Augusta National G.C.

Augusta, GA

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,545

Purse: $18 million

with $3,240,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Scottie Scheffler

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

This is based on the most important stats for Augusta National, based on data from last April’s Masters, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2023. We take their rank for each stat and then add the four categories.
Last year’s Masters was played at its regular time in April for the second straight year. In April 2022, the course played to a 73.95 average and was the 3rd hardest course on the PGA Tour. This was back to normal. In April 2021, the course played easily to a 71.75 average, making it the 21st hardest course on Tour. The 2020 Masters was played in November 2020, postponed due to COVID. Now in the earlier 2020 Masters, the course played entirely differently in November, and its 71.75 made it the 21st hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2021 (despite it historically being called the 2020 Masters, it was played in the 2021 PGA Tour season, so far 30 courses have been played). Even more relevant, it was only the third Masters in which the scoring average was below par and the lowest scoring average beating out the 71.87 field average in 2019, ranking the course the 16th hardest on the PGA Tour. When it returned to its original date in April of 2021, the scoring average was 73.06, and it was the 7th hardest course on Tour for 2021.

Looking at the weather for Augusta

I can see another round of weather playing a part in the championship. The bad news,right now on Monday looking at the long range forecast, each day will have showers and rain. The good news is that over all four days, the top wind speed with be 11mph on Friday, and the other three days will be between 7 and 8 mph. So the green coats of Augusta, even with SubAir under all the greens, will still not be the speed officials want them. Also, with the rain, the prospect of Augusta National playing fast won’t happen, so look for scoring to be on the low side. So the course will lose much of its bite, something it is famous for.

Does Augusta favor the bomber?

One thing that we have to look at is the claim that Augusta is great for long-hitters. That is partly true. Hitting it long does have its advantage, especially on Augusta’s par 5s. Dustin Johnson proved this in 2020 when he was 6th in driving distance on the measured holes with a 306.7 average. Where Johnson was able to shine was on the par 5s, he was 11 under, and only one player was better than him. Johnson took advantage of his length as he hit 60 greens in regulation, the best in the field. The following year, 2021, went back to the norm as Hideki Matsuyama hit an average of 288.8 yards and ranked 47th of those that made the cut. Despite Matsuyama hitting it much shorter, he still played the Par 5s in 11 under, the same as Johnson. Last year Scottie Scheffler ranked 16th in driving distance, and he was 8 under on the Par 5s, showing that both Matsuyama and Scheffler didn’t win because of length.
Now showing players that aren’t as long as Johnson, in 2018 and 2017, both winners Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia showed their 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. The perfect example was in 2019. Tiger Woods ranked 44th in driving distance, the highest of champions since Jordan Spieth in 2015. Also, in 2016 and 2015. Danny Willett ranked 32nd in driving distance, while in 2015, Jordan Spieth ranked 52nd. But look at the top ten for the week in April of last year. Four of the top-11 were in driving distance. In 2021 five in the top-12 were in the top ten, in 2019, 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. They have been keeping stats at the Masters since 1980, and of the last 42 winners (Seve in 1980 had no stats), 19 winners were in the top 10, and only six were in the top-3. So we can say that hitting it long has advantages, but even short hitters win at Augusta. A perfect example is Zach Johnson winning in 2007 and ranked 57th in driving distance. On the par 5s, he didn’t hit any of them in two and still played the par 5s in 11 under, so length means very little.

We need to go back to the dark ages of stat keeping.

In 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. The same in putting. They don’t have stats for the number of putts made inside five feet or ten feet, so looking at putting stats available at the Masters, they don’t tell the story. 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.

So which stats are important?

In looking at Augusta National last year compared to other PGA Tour courses, Augusta ranked 5th in greens in regulation (57.36). This was the lowest since it ranked 1st in 2007, and for the last ten years, its average rank is 12.6 has been a very consistent number for the last decade. As for importance, last year’s winner Scottie Scheffler ranked 5th, and the 2021 winner Hideki Matsuyama was T-10th. Of the 42 winners that have stats, 27 of them were in the top ten, with nine of them leading that stat. Jack Nicklaus in 1986 was 1st in Greens hit, and since then, only seven of them weren’t in the top 20. Patrick Reed in 2018 ranked 21st, which is a dramatic withdrawal because it was the 3rd highest rank in the previous 23 Masters champions going back to 1997. So we can see the importance of not only hitting greens but placing the ball on the greens to have the best putt since the greens are very severe in slope and break.

Our next category is scrambling, and last year the course ranked 4th while Scottie Scheffler ranked T-2nd. In 2021 the stat was again influential as the course ranked 9th while Hideki Matsuyama was 2nd. We know that in November 2020, Dustin Johnson was 4th in Scrambling. Tiger was on the other end of the spectrum in 2019, ranking T-50th. In 2018 Augusta was 5th on Tour while Reed was T-16th. The point is Augusta is one of the hardest courses to make par on when you miss the greens, so the winner better be able to get it up and down.

Our third stat to look at is three-putt avoidance at Augusta. The course was 4th as Scottie Scheffler was T-23rd (he had two, three putts, and one four putt over the 72 holes). The previous year, 2021, the course was 3rd while Hideki Matsuyama was T-33rd (He had four, three putts). In 2020 Dustin Johnson was T-5th (he had one three-putt all week), and in 2019 the course was the 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. Oh, to show the importance of not three-putting, when Dustin Johnson defended his Masters title in 2021, he missed the cut by making six three-puts over just 36 holes. Oh, for those wondering who the last champion who went 72 holes without a three-putt, Jose Maria Olazabal accomplished that feat in 1999. Before that, Tiger Woods in 1997, Ben Crenshaw in 1995, and Olazabal had no three-putts for the week.

Our last category is par 5. The Par 5 average last year for the field ranked T-6th with a 4.78 average or 2.82 under for the week. Winner Scheffler was 8 under for the week, which ranked T-2nd (Cameron Smith was the best at 9 under). In 2021 Augusta ranked 4th with a 4.311 average. As for Matsuyama, he ranked T-2nd at 4.31 or 11 under for the week. In 2020 the course ranked 34th at 4.59 while Johnson played the par 5s in 11 under. In 2019 the course average was 4.58, and was T-33rd on Tour. In 2019, 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 five different players (Greg Norman in 1995, Tiger Woods in 2010, Ernie Els in 2013, Phil Mickelson in 2015, and Marc Leishman in 2020), 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 25 years, they average 8 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 eight champions became victorious.
Last year Scottie Scheffler was 5th in greens hit, T-2nd in scrambling, T-23rd in three-putt avoidance, and was 8 under on the par 5s. He dominated early and held on for the victory doing just about everything right.
In 2021 Hideki Matsuyama was T-7th in greens hit but 2nd in scrambling and had an average putting week, which is good for him. Matsuyama played the par 5s in 11 under, which was 4th best.
In 2020 Dustin Johnson did nothing wrong. It was probably the best overall display ever seen at the Masters. Of course, this claim does have an asterisk next to it since the tournament was played in November. That does make sense when you see the scores. What Augusta National prides itself on the course didn’t have the same bite it typically has. In November, 43 players were under par, and two of its biggest records fell. The first was the low 72-hole score. Dustin Johnson became the first player in history to break the 270 mark as he shot 20 under 268. Of course, records are meant to be broken, but the one record that probably stings the most is, for the first time in Masters history, someone shot four sub-60 rounds. What makes the record being broken even tougher to swallow is that the winner didn’t accomplish the record. Runner-up Cameron Smith will go into the record books with his rounds of 67-68-69-69. The Masters’ statistician was busy as 40 Masters records were broken and 14 were tied. So we can see that hopefully, the move back to April was well welcomed by those in charge of course setup.
Back to our roll call of recent winnings, in 2019, 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.
In 2018, Reed did it with his putter. He had the least amount of putts and 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 hits and T-2nd in greens hits. 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 essential item that won’t be on this list but you should have in the back of your mind is 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, 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 win.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is an excellent barometer of 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 areas around the greens are mowed short and are left with tough shots to get it close, scrambling is essential. You are not going to be perfect, so you have to make sure you can make pars from some challenging 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 face many ten-foot lag putts. So when you are 30 or 40 feet away, getting up and down in two putts is tough and essential.

*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 2023, with 50 of the 88 players having stats. One other thing, the Masters is not part of the PGA Tours shotlink program, so that 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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