2018 Masters Preview

Masters Preview

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the best week of the pro golf year! We’ll all be jealous watching the best in the world play one of the best golf courses in the world, but it should make for awesome viewing. Jim Nantz said this is his most anticipated Masters in 33 years of covering the tournament, and there’s good reason. If you haven’t picked submitted your Masters Champion for a chance to win some awesome prizes, click here. Read on to find out a little about the course and field, and of course, some incorrect predictions!

The Course

Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta Georgia

Par 72, 7,435 Yards

Bentgrass Greens

Ever hear of this place? One of the most famous golf courses in the world, Augusta National has hosted the Masters since 1934, and the tournament is the unofficial kick-off to the golf season. Augusta always plays significantly longer than 7,435, as wild undulations prevail around the course.

The greens are about average size for a PGA Tour course, but are some of the fastest and craziest these guys will play all year. You will be seeing some missed 2-footers. As difficult as the putting is, some notoriously bad (for them) putters have found a lot of success at Augusta. Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott, for example, are not known as the best putters on Tour, but both have won here.

Since there is no rough (only pine straw, which can be tricky, but not as bad as really thick rough), there will be very little clubbing down. Players generally hit driver on almost every non par-3 (13 out of 14 holes), so distance is usually a premium at Augusta.

The weather looks fairly good all week, with the exception of Saturday, where rain and 15mph winds are forecasted for late afternoon. Early-round leaders could struggle a bit as they play into the late hours Saturday.

The Field

Of course, it’s a decent field, and is more pronounced with the return of a certain player. There are only 87 golfers teeing it up this year, the smallest field since 1997, when said certain player won by 12 strokes. The top 50 and ties make the cut, along with anyone within 10 shots of the leader. Also, there are 4 amateur players (check this out) and past Masters Champions are invited back for life. You’ll have Olazabal, O’Meara, Woosnam, Weir, Immelman, etc, who can pretty much be counted out. Bernhard Langer, Angel Cabrera and Fred Couples are probably the only ones with a shot of making the cut.

The bigger story is the top-echelon. There are basically 20 guys you could pick out of a hat and have a good shot at winning. Mickelson, DJ, JT, Rory, J-Day, Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey have already won on the PGA Tour this year, and you also have Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, and many more. Oh yeah, and that certain player we mentioned before. Here are the odds as of Tuesday, April 3rd:

Jordan Spieth 10/1
Tiger Woods 10/1
Dustin Johnson 12/1
Justin Thomas 12/1
Rory McIlroy 13/1
Bubba Watson 15/1
Phil Mickelson 15/1
Justin Rose 16/1
Jason Day 22/1
Rickie Fowler 25/1
Paul Casey 28/1
Jon Rahm 30/1
Hideki Matsuyama 35/1
Sergio Garcia 35/1
Alex Noren 40/1
Henrik Stenson 45/1
Matt Kuchar 45/1
Patrick Reed 50/1
Tommy Fleetwood 50/1
Ian Poulter 60/1
Louis Oosthuizen 60/1
Adam Scott 66/1
Bryson DeChambeau 66/1
Marc Leishman 70/1

Predictions

I’ll be honest, this one is almost impossible to predict. As stated before, driving will be at a premium. With the weather being fairly nice all week, you’ll want to choose a bomber, even if they tend to spray it once in awhile. Some key stats to look at:

Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and Approach (Here’s a handy chart for the readers):

Strokes Gained: Par 5s

Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green

Driving Distance

Course History

Notice that we don’t have putting on here. While putting is definitely difficult at Augusta, it’s much more important to hit greens and be able to scramble when necessary. Look for players that strike the ball well, rather than putt well. I could go with a plethora of players here, but I’ll take Big Jon Rahm. He’s flying under the radar, but has all the goods to go the distance. Of course, we’ll all be rooting for Tiger to do well, but I see more of a top-10 to top-15 for him right now.

Losing Draftkings Lineup

Jason Day

Jon Rahm

Louis Oosthuizen

Bryson DeChambeau

Hideki Matsuyama

Tyrell Hatton

 

Have a great Masters week, good luck and happy golfing!