Top 5 Picks To Win The Masters
It’s been a strange year for golf with the emergence of Covid 19 back in March. The Masters originally scheduled back in April, now pushed to this week in November poses a new challenge.
Golfer’s will have to contend with completely different conditions then previously faced with given the time of year. However, over the coming days in the build up the weather appears to be kind to the pros.
Wind speeds will be gentle up to 13km/h, temperatures will be between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is approximately 15 to 25 degrees Celsius in humidity, although there is lightening and heavy rain forecast.
With the marginally lowered temperatures, rain and lack of run, the top contenders will have definitely changed in the bookie’s eyes.
Let’s take a look at our top 5 contenders to win this week’s Masters.
1 Dustin Johnson – Winner
Number one on our list is America’s Dustin Johnson. A player whom is coming to Augusta playing arguably the best they’ve ever played. Fans have been treated to some magnificent ball striking and consistent performances week in week out.
Johnson has had a remarkable year with 2 wins, 8 top tens, a FedEx cup and a total 5.8 million dollars.
The American’s great form has seen him retake his thrown as World number 1. Johnson when addressing his form coming into this weeks Masters stated:
“I feel like I’m playing really, really well,”. “It’s probably the best I’ve played in my career, yeah, but it’s more consistent. “I feel like there’s still a lot of room for improvement, but it’s very consistent as far as day in and day out, my shot shape, my flight and controlling my distance. I’ve put in a lot of work on especially the wedges, being able to control my distance with wedges”.
Johnson suffered a set back recently in his preparation when contacting Covid 19 two weeks ago. The world number 1 was forced to isolate in his hotel room for 11 days and has since tested negative.
He followed his isolation up with a top 10 the week after in the Houston Open finishing second. Johnson will no doubt be a favorite this week having finished top 10 at his last four Augusta outings.
This including a second place finish last year losing out to current champion Tiger Woods. Coming into the Masters this week Johnsons stats make him an ideal contender to win. The American ranks in the top 10 on the PGA Tour for driving distance, eagles, birdies and scoring average.
Given the different conditions, this November Master’s is untrodden territory for everyone involved. There’s no doubt that Johnsons consistent long drives can wreak havoc on Augusta. I predict the 36 year old to be the Masters champion come Sunday afternoon.
Odds: 17-2 (To Win)
Thursday Tee Time: 19:10 local time
Last Year’s Finish: T2nd
2 Bryson DeChambeau – Runner Up
DeChambeau is an American golfer who has had the best year of his career to date. The 27 year old is this years current US Open champion after he bullied Winged Foot back in September.
He was the only player to finish under par on six under, winning by six shots. DeChambeau has become a recent point in discussion after announcing his intent to put on muscle and outdrive every course.
Most struggled at Winged Foot at the US Open because of its treacherously thick rough once fairway was missed. The 27 year old put on 50 pounds of muscle in an attempt to outdrive and overpower the golf course.
He did just that after hitting the ball as hard as he could out of the rough and emerging victorious. The American currently ranks at number one on the PGA Tour for driving distance at 344 yards on average.
He has since hit drives at a whopping distance of 403 yards. DeChambeau has made headlines this week claiming once again he can “make mincemeat of Augusta”. He said:
“I’m looking at it as a par-67 because I can reach all the par fives in two, no problem”.
Bryson also stated that he is testing out a 48 inch shafted driver, which is the longest permitted. This creates a bigger arc to one’s swing resulting in much further carry distance. Sitting at world number six DeChambeau has a massive advantage over the rest of the field.
His huge driving distance will be a big strength with lower temperatures and less run on the ball. DeChambeau however should not be criticised for his gun hoe approach to hitting it long. His confidence and approach is not too dissimilar to a young Tiger Woods bursting onto the scene in the early 2000s.
Given his current form and confidence DeChambeau has a great chance of winning the green jacket come Sunday.
Odds: 8-1 (To Win)
Thursday Tee Time: 14:33 local time
Last Years Finish: T29th
3 Tyrell Hatton – Mr Consistent
Third on our list is Tyrell Hatton. The Englishman has had the golfing year of his life and enters the Masters in the best form he’s ever been in. Hatton, now the current World number 9 has won twice this calendar year.
In March he won the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational by 1 shot to Australian Marc Leishman. He also won the European Tour’s flagship event in the BMW Championship at Wentworth. Hatton claimed victory by 4 shots over second place Victor Perez.
The 29 year old when addressing his form this year stated,
“I’ve never come into a major playing so well,”. “On the golf side, 2020 has been a special year for me”, “My two wins have come on what I would term ‘iconic courses’.
In both PGA and European tour Hatton’s stats speak for themselves. On the PGA Tour his standout stats are 61% fairways hit, 2nd in birdie average of at least 4.5. This accompanied with being 10th in scoring average of at least a three under or better a round.
His stats from his last European tour event at the BMW back in late October tell a similar story. The world number 9 ranked at 1st for average scoring, par 4 scoring and scrambling. Hatton will be playing Augusta for his third time this year and should have no fear going into it.
His best finish thus far in the major to date is in tied 44th position in 2018. Hatton jokingly addressed his best finish in the major in the build up when assessing his chances.
“What is it, a best finish of tied 44th in 2018? That’ll have all the big guns bricking themselves, won’t it?
Despite the Englishman playing down the idea of winning I predict him to be in with a chance.
His stats suggest he has the all round game to play Augusta and do extremely well.
Odds: 28-1 (To Win)
Thursday Tee Time: 18:48 local time
Last Year’s Finish : T56th
4 Collin Morikawa – The Rookie
Fourth on our list is Collin Morikawa nicknamed “The Can’t Miss Kid”. The young American has had a rapid rise to fame in the last year winning the PGA Championship. He also gained widespread attention in his first rookie season with 22 successive cuts made.
A record that it still held by Tiger woods to this day with 25 cuts made in a row. This week will be the 23 year olds first Master’s appearance. Morikawa described it as an odd feeling to be world number 4 but to have never played Augusta.
He along with fellow Master’s Rookie and rising star Matt Wolff will be going into Augusta blind. Morikawa stated in an interview earlier in the week that despite experience being key he won’t change his prep. Morikawa stated :
“Every course I’ve pretty much played over the past year and a half, I’ve never seen,”.
He devotes the same amount of time to each course and hasn’t done anything special for this week’s major. This meaning his first experience of the course has been on tournament week in the Monday practice round.
Despite it being Morikawa first Master’s I still peg him to do well this week. He is not the longest off the tee sitting at 297 yards average which is ranked 97th on the PGA Tour. Although he is ranked as the second most accurate player on the tour which is a lethal strength to have.
His accuracy and scoring consistency is something that will make him a strong contender this week. Especially given the winter conditions, accuracy is greatly rewarded around Augusta.
Despite being a newcomer Morikawa is a major champion, beating the world’s best which can’t be overlooked.
I predict he will be definitely in the conversation come the final round and would at worst finish top 10.
Odds: 30-1 (To Win)
Thursday Tee Time: 18:48 local time
Last Year’s Finish : DNP
5 Rickie Fowler – The Outside Shot
Last on our list is Rickie Fowler. The now 31 year old has been agonisingly close to winning majors in previous years but faltered. This due to either him being surpassed by a player on a run or wrong shots at the wrong time.
2014 was Fowlers best chance of major victory finishing in the top 5 in all 4 majors. However, despite the American being an outside shot Augusta appears to suit his eye. The 31 year old has had top 10s at the Masters the last two years running.
With 2020 not being Fowlers best year this could definitely be the time to springboard himself back into the spot light. Fowlers best major finish this year was tied 49th in the US Open. His usual top 15 in the world status has slipped to 49th this year.
However, this year could be different as Fowler wants to shake the stigma of him being a “nearly man”. Fowler commented by saying:
“I’ve done the top five’s, now it’s time to go out and win one”.
For such a difficult course Fowler will need to improve his usually steller iron play which has been below par. On the PGA Tour this year he is 213th in strokes gained from approaches to the green.
He is also 114th in greens in regulation which he will be looking to improve. Given Fowlers playing history of Augusta he should statistically play well this week. Rickie has also made it no secret that he loves playing in winter conditions and links style of play.
When asked earlier in the week about his chances and which major he sees himself winning he stated:
“I would say it’s probably a toss-up between the Open and the Masters,”. “I love Augusta, I’ve played well there, had some close calls, been in contention. So those would be the two that I would put at the top.”
With him enjoying the style of play, conditions and course, Fowler could be in with a shout this week. He will be looking to finally break his duck and win his first major.
If there is an outside shot that could win the Master’s this week its Rickie.
Odds: 60-1 (To Win)
Thursday Tee Time: 18:26 local time
Last Year’s Finish: T9th
Read our other articles on everything Golf ,keeping you up to date at Sports News Ireland.
Click here for more.