Preview: 85th Masters Tournament

Hello, friends

85th Masters Tournament

Augusta National Golf Club

Augusta, Georgia

  
Yards (per official scorecard):7,475
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:A-1 Penn Bentgrass; 6,486 square feet.
Stimpmeter:Tournament speed (approximately 13 feet and better).
Second cut:Ryegrass at 1.375 inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards44/6 (in play on Nos. 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16).
Architects:Dr. Alistair MacKenzie and Bobby Jones (1932).
Course Record (last):63; Greg Norman, 1996. 63; Nick Price 1986.
Purse:$11.5 million; $2.07 million and 600 FedExCup points (winner).

Notes:

  • Field of 88.
  • Top 50 and ties play the weekend.
  • All 50 of the OWGR top 50 are in the field.
  • 18 past champions.
  • Only three professionals making their debut.
  • Only three amateurs in the field.

2020-2021 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen*
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners

(*Playoff)

YearWinnerScoreComment
2020Dustin Johnson-20First November Masters; Tournament scoring record beaten by two shots; first green jacket.
2019Tiger Woods-13Surely you remember all this…
2018Patrick Reed-15Fourth consecutive first-time major champion crowned at AGNC.
2017Sergio Garcia-9He was 0-73 in majors before this week.
2016Danny Willett-5Round of his life (67) on Sunday in blustery conditions; Joins Nick Faldo as the only Englishmen to win.
2015Jordan Spieth-18First player ever to get to 19-under par; only fourth wire-to-wire winner.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – 2019 Spring64; Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson (all Round 3).
Defending Modern Champion(s) Event:Only three players have defended in history: Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods.
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006 & 2010) Bubba Watson (2012, 2014).
First Time – TOUR:Danny Willett, 2016; Charl Schwartzel, 2011.
First Time – EventFuzzy Zoeller, 1979.
Oldest winner:Jack Nicklaus, 46, 1986.
Youngest winner:Tiger Woods, 21, 1997.
Odd Fact:Only six playoffs this century.
Odd Fact II:Hole No. 14 is the only one on the course without a bunker.

Quick Thoughts

Nobody will argue with two Masters within five months but the conditions of each event should be taken with a grain of salt.

November was soft and overseeded and the scores were LOW.

April, by all accounts as of Tuesday night, should be firmer and faster with ANGC setting up the course any way they shall choose.

I’m not leaning on November results as a guide. I know DJ plays well here without his 20-under win! But some in that field, I believe there were 20-some first timers, have no clue what it’s like to play here when it’s rolling out.

The last 35 major champions have been inside the OWGR top 50. #Trend.

The last 11 Masters champions have been 30th or better. #Trend.

Of the last six winners here, five had won in their previous five starts on TOUR. #Heat.

Last player to win before winning at Augusta: Phil Mickelson, 2006 Bell South Classic.

Last player to win before winning a major the following week: Rory McIlroy, 2014 WGC at Firestone then 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Big-time players aren’t afraid of history like superstitious fantasy/gamblers!

Please read Horses for Courses above for stats on career average and best finishes so I don’t have to rehash them here.

The Course

More hilly and undulating than people realize watching on TV.

Flat lies exist on tee boxes and that’s about it.

With 100 acres of fairway and not even two inches for the second cut, it’s obviously a second shot golf course.

Those who don’t hit tons of GIR better be able to scramble more than eggs.

Those who don’t hit tons of GIR better have learned WHERE to miss as well.

Experience pays here because there are pins and yardages that simply have to be PASSED on. Play to the middle and get out with par.

Experience pays here because there are more scoring chances than not over 18 holes, especially the back nine. Be patient. Make par. Eat up the Par-5 holes.

I’m not sure AGNC but I’m sure that the winning score will be NOWHERE near 20-under this time around. I’d sign for 13-under and take my chances.

GIR. GIR. GIR. Winners here take the trouble out of the equation.

I’ve written this for years and I’ll write it again: The Masters is my favorite tournament because it’s a scoring major. You must make birdies, and you must make them late on Sunday to win.

Enjoy the tournament and good luck!

Chalk – Betting favorites and my opinions on them

Dustin Johnson (+9000): “Defending” champ has racked up five straight in the top 10 so I’m heading there. Laying 9-1 against the top 50 OWGR isn’t the value that EYE am seeking. You seek you. Remember, only Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods have defended here. That’s SERIOUS honkin’ company. Top 10 and Top 20.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1100): For a guy whose best finish here is T16 as an amateur, this is the definition of a public number. The book has to set it here to protect their arse and I don’t blame them. I don’t think his robotic melds with the artistry needed here. Pass.

 Jordan Spieth (+1100): He playing a lot and he’s playing well. He loves it here and has the history to back up his affinity. As I wrote earlier in the week, he’s created enough history in his young career so adding to it won’t be an issue. His victory last week isn’t the finish line but a starting point for Act II. Win ticket. Top 10. Top 20.

Justin Thomas (+1100): Last time out when they counted every shot he claimed his first PLAYERS Championship. Match Play he was dumped out after group play so he’s had time to prep. Not having Tiger around this week won’t help but he’s gotten closer each time he’s teed it up. #Trending. Top 10.

Jon Rahm (+1200): Baby is born, concerns are out the window about how that is going to play out so it’s time for golf. Fantastic debut here in less-than-ideal conditions doesn’t hurt either. Neither does three top 10s from four starts. Add another.

Rory McIlroy (+1800): There was a time he would be the 9-1 choice so this number will shout value to some players. He hasn’t won a major since 2014 and has the career grand slam on the line every time he cruises down Magnolia Lane. Pete Cowen says the approach is going to be different this time. His last win on US soil was the 2019 TOUR Championship.

Patrick Cantlay (+2000): I’m the wrong guy to ask on Cantlay because I never catch him on the right week. I thought he’d be great at THE PLAYERS, wrongo, MC. I like his full bag but I’ve never been in love with his putter. Yep, we’re splitting major hairs so BEEF HAIR.

Xander Schauffele (+2200): The firmer, the faster, the better. History shows he can shine in these conditions and he should be excited if that’s the case this week. Led the field in birdies here in 2019 and had a chance to win. Only concern is his West Coast form didn’t follow him east. Top 20.

Brooks Koepka (+2800): Dude can barely walk and all we get is 28-1??? Hahahaha. Up and down the hills just 3 weeks after knee surgery? What am I missing here? I know he said he wouldn’t show up if he couldn’t win… I’m not reaching in a field of this magnitude.

Collin Morikawa (+3000): He showed us at TPC Harding Park that the moment isn’t too big for him. I also remember he had played that course more than enough times to understand it. That’s not the case here. Danny Willett, Charl Schwartzel and Jordan Spieth all won on their second visit so we’re not rewriting history here but I’m not diving in just yet. I’m not sure playing the first one in November will help anything compared to what he’ll see this week.

Others 33-1 or worse and My Long Shots

Patrick Reed (+3300): His best results have been his last few visits, included his win in 2018. Worst stroke play finish recently is T22 and he’s won at Torrey Pines. Premium short game and putters have my attention. Skinny win ticket, Top 10, Top 20.

Viktor Hovland (+3300): I like that he didn’t play in November and I like that. Low Am 2019 so life has come at him FAST. Of his last nine, five are top 10. His short game, HE HAS ADMITTED, is not great. This isn’t the week to figure that out.

Sungjae Im (+3500): Nothing seemed to bother him on his solo second debut in November. His worst finish in stroke play in the last two months is T32. I’m going to let him navigate a spring event without my money on line.

Cameron Smith (+3500): Top five here in the spring, T4 in February at Riviera. Plenty of boxes checked including being 30th in the OWGR, the worst ranking of the last 11 champions. Skinny win ticket, Top 10, Top 20

Tony Finau (+3500): His best two are in the spring and are both top 10s. His recent form scares me away. If he turns his ankle during the Par-3 contest, call me. Oh, wait…

Paul Casey (+3500): Mark O’Meara is the oldest first-time winner at 41 so it’s possible. His form is lit with six straight T12 or better in stroke play worldwide. Top 10 and Top 20.

Lee Westwood (+4000): Only time he didn’t fire was after back-to-back tough Sunday seconds and a trip to Augusta haha. He’s cashed 12 straight and 16 and of 20. Top 20.

Sergio Garcia (+5000): Flashed at another track he loves, TPC Sawgrass, and won his group at Match Play. Didn’t play November. Top 10. Top 20.

Jason Day (+5000): It’s no secret this is his holy grail. He’s quietly healthy, which is also a plus. Top 10. 11th start.

Matt Kuchar (+9000): If there’s a heater, we’re in it. I thought last week would be a clue and T12 after a grueling Match Play shows the fire is still burning. Top 20.

 Jason Kokrak (+10000): Last three stroke play, all top 10s. Won on Tom Fazio bentgrass at Shadow Creek. Top 10. Top 20.

Top 20 plays

Ian Poulter

Gary Woodland

Michael Thompson

Matt Jones

Victor Perez

Last Week’s Recap

Jordan Spieth (+1200): Added this to his schedule in 2019 after last appearing in 2015 suggests he likes what The Oaks Course has to offer. Top 10 should suffice. One ticket, one winner!

Scottie Scheffler (+1600): Fantastic Match Play but did it wear him out on the weekend grinding thru the wind? At 16-1 you better hope not! T20 on his last visit with MC at THE PLAYERS and T5 Concession before. I’ll wait for Augusta. T54 with a second round 78.

Tony Finau (+1600): Speaks more to the lack of top line depth in this field with a major next week. I prefer Finau on non-Bermuda so I’m out. MC

Hideki Matsuyama (+1800): New to the event, I like that he’s trying to get something brewing before Augusta but he’s been woefully inconsistent. T30 sounds just about right as he’s having trouble putting four rounds together.

Abraham Ancer (+2200): Local resident will have that pressure to deal with on top of trying to pick up his first TOUR win. He’s never MC in three tries and never cashed better than T42 either. Top 20. T23 hahahahahahaha. Best two were the weekend.

Corey Conners (+2200): I almost never endorse first time defending champions because, well, it’s their first time! The hassle of everything that goes with it takes away from the preparation for the week. Don’t forget, there are not any multiple winners or repeat champions in the 10 year history here. Conners can break that trend but he’ll do so on your dime. Top 20. BOOM. T14 and another ticket cashed. Nice rally after 74 on Friday.

Ryan Palmer (+2800): The windier the better! I can’t remember the last time he didn’t play the weekend so he’s in decent nick and has no problem with the length. Top 10. I don’t mind losing a few but T23 and T17 are tough ways to do it. Palmer’s T17 adds to Ancer T23. Rubbish.

Charley Hoffman (+3000): Fell off the radar with a bogey-quad close last week at Corales but has been in excellent form. My first win ticket of the week plus Top 10 and Top 20 as insurance. Charley Hoffman Open went ALMOST according to Hoyle! Cashing two out of three ain’t bad!

My Long Shots and Others 33-1 or worse

Cameron Tringale (+3500): Making cuts for fun. T20. Led there for a while, yeah? T9. Another winner.

Si Woo Kim (+3500): If my choices are him or Tringale, I’ll enjoy the volatility of the Korean who set the 36-hole record here last year and led after 54 holes before T4. Top 10. T23 and another torn up ticket.

Brendan Steele (+4000): No country for old men doesn’t apply this week. They know how to get it around plus he’s cashed eight straight on TOUR. His T3 at Honda came on the back of a big time Sunday in windy conditions at Palm Beach Gardens. Skinny win ticket, Top 10, Top 20. 3 losers! 77th of 78 and his Twitter got hacked on Sunday. Did you get any Ray-Ban sunglasses for SUPER CHEAP?

Cameron Davis (+4000): Fits the first timer angle and the AMEX contender angle (Landry x 2) and knows how to play in the wind. Top 20. T69 but no love.

Sam Burns (+5000): Went ice cold in Florida but the Louisiana native gets an almost home game this week. Top 20. MC, never close.

Branden Grace (+5500): A pair of top 10s here before and a win in the breeze in Puerto Rico doesn’t dissuade. Top 10. Sadly only had one decent round for the week on Sunday for T23.

Sepp Straka (+7000): Top 20, Top 10. T67.

Sam Ryder (+9000): Win ticket, Top 10, Top 20.  I FEEL LIKE I HAVE JUST GAVE IT ALL BACK.

Top 20 plays

Ryan Moore – 76th

Graeme McDowell – T54

Roger Sloan – MC

Rafael Campos – T34

Bronson Burgoon – MC

Michael Gligic – MC

To Make The Cut

Jimmy Walker – T59

DJ Trahan – T59

JJ Killeen – MC

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter (@mikeglasscott) or email me: mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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