The Masters: Preview and Picks to win at Augusta National

Apr 12, 2019; Augusta, GA, USA; Jon Rahm (right) and Tiger Woods walk to the 7th tee during the second round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2019; Augusta, GA, USA; Jon Rahm (right) and Tiger Woods walk to the 7th tee during the second round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

Augusta National hosts an Autumn Masters for the first time this week as the iconic event in golf finally takes center stage.

The Masters is finally upon us this week as golf’s premier event for the first time will be played under autumn colors after shifting from its original spring date on the calendar.  The last time we saw Augusta National was at the conclusion of one of the most inspirational and memorable Masters in history that saw golfing legend Tiger Woods triumph on his way to a fifth green jacket.

The 94 man field will usher in the 84th edition of this marquee event on Thursday with the victorious golfer going down in the history books as the man who won the November Masters.

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The Course

The iconic Augusta National was officially opened in 1933 after its completion by Bobby Jones and Alistair McKenzie.  The Par 72 7,475 yard design was established on the grounds of a former arboretum and each of the 18 holes along the course is named after a plant or flower. The course first hosted an event in 1934 and it has been home to this legendary tournament ever since.

The tree-lined course slopes throughout and includes some of the most iconic holes in all of golf including the beautiful par 3 12th that makes up part of the historic Amen Corner, a stretch of three holes that are situated alongside Rae’s creek.

The greens are bentgrass and are traditionally lightening quick often grading out between thirteen and fifteen on the stimpmeter.  The majority of the par 4’s often play as the most difficult on the course with the four par 5’s producing the vast amount of scoring opportunities.

Traditionally the golfers that have found success at the Masters have been long off the tee and that figures to play an important part of the event again this week with early weather reports forecasting wet weather throughout, early comments from golfers has backed this thought process as well indicating that the course will play very long with little to no runoff along the fairways.

With past Masters champions having excelled hitting greens in regulation, approach play will also be of key importance this week, as will scrambling and around the green performance with the ability to get up and down.  There has only ever been one debutant winner at the Masters with Fuzzy Zoeller winning on his debut back in 1979 so course history comes into play even more so this week than at other events.  In addition, winners of this event traditionally come into it having shown great form in the lead-up.

 The 2020 Masters

I mentioned previously some of the key stats I’ll be focusing on in my model for the week and I would encourage you to check out Matthew Vincenzi’s detailed breakdown of key statistics for this week’s Masters also for a more in-depth overview of the stats that matter this week.

For a more detailed look at golfers exhibiting excellent form coming into this week make sure you check out The 2020 Masters: Who’s Coming in hot as well.

Betting Favorites at The Masters

The Odd’s in this article can be found online at popular betting sites, for more information on Golf betting and where to find books available to you check out The Action Network

Anticipation is high this week with many curious to find out if Bryson DeChambeau +900 can dominate Augusta National with his supreme length off the tee and for bookmakers it’s no different as he opens up as the Masters betting favorite this week.  The in-form Jon Rahm +1000 is a close second and he is followed by world number one Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas both at +1200 respectively.

Rory Mcllroy +1400 is next up as he looks to complete his career grand slam this week and is followed by major contender Xander Schauffele +1600 and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka +2000 to complete the top of the betting board.

It’s hard to argue with any of the favorites in this range but it’s Jon Rahm +1000 who I’ll start the card with.  The Spaniard comes in at a very short price for somebody who has never won a major but I believe he is in a prime position to win his first this week.  Rahm is at the top of every statistical category I’m looking at this week and rates out second overall in my model for the week. Jon comes into the Masters in excellent form producing a 2nd,17th,23rd,4th, and 1st in his last five starts.  In his three previous starts at the Masters he has finished, 27th,4th, and 9th.

The world number two finished third at the WGC-Mexico earlier in the year on what could be considered a similar type of course Club de Golf Chapultepec and overall he has placed highly at comparable tracks including a second last time out at Sherwood Country Club on a course that players commented bore some similarities to Augusta National.

Rahm is second to only Bryson DeChambeau in strokes gained off the tee over his past 24 rounds and he rates out highly in all of strokes gained ball striking, par 5 scoring, scrambling, and putting, combine this with his blend of excellent recent form, course history, and success on similar courses and I believe he can win his first major at the Masters this week.

I’ll add the 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed +2800 next on the card.  Augusta National sets up well for Reed and he leads the field in par 5 scoring coming into the final major of 2020, Patrick also is one of the best in the world with his short game both on and around the greens.  Overall the winner of two years ago ranks 4th in my model this week and his form coming in has been good as well producing a 14th,13th, and 8th in his last three starts.  Reed also won the aforementioned WGC Mexico earlier in the year and his history at the Masters speaks for itself.

Tony Finau +3200 will be the third addition to the Master’s card, Tony has a reputation for coming up just short and not being able to win.  I like his blend of history at the Masters finishing 10th and 5th in his previous two starts and his recent form coming in with a 24th,11th,8th,17th, and 5th in his last five events. Finau is number one in my model this week and he rates out highly in par 5 scoring, strokes gained off the tee, scrambling and strokes gained approach in my stats model for the week.  In addition, Tony has a 2nd and a 15th on another comparable track at Riviera Country Club and he was 11th at the aforementioned ZOZO Championship after contending for a while a few weeks ago.

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I don’t really believe that we see a longshot winner this week but I’ll make one final addition to the card in Cameron Smith +8000 with many books offering extended each-way places this week.  The Aussie was fourth at the ZOZO a few weeks ago and has shown nice form coming into this week with a 4th, 11th, and 24th in his last three starts.  In 2018 Cameron finished 5th at Augusta National and he has also shown some nice results at comparable courses with a 6th at Club de Golf Chapultepec in 2019 and a 6th the year before at Riviera Country Club.  Overall he is 14th in my model this week, which includes showing up  8th in Par 5 Scoring, 14th in Approach, and 21st from around the green over his last three months.

Masters Card

Jon Rahm +1000

Patrick Reed +2800

Tony Finau +3200

Cameron Smith +8000