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Who you got for the Masters?


The Masters, golf’s premiere major, is less than a month away. The inaugural major is always much anticipated and since I cannot wait until the second week of April, I’ve decided to make an educated guess on who would win, or at least who would contend this year.

The Masters, in my opinion, is the most prestigious among the four Majors. While the Open Championship is the oldest, the US Open the toughest, and the PGA Championship representative of the everyday, common golf professional, the Masters has always been revered and sits above the other three.

Among the four, only The Masters is held in the same course every year. Augusta National Golf Club is Bobby Jones’ club, and its immaculate condition, iconic layout, its traditions and exclusivity make it even more legendary. The Masters is also a product of marketing genius and its packaging a perfect fit for television. Perfectly green fairways, lightning-fast greens, tall pines, azaleas and dogwoods, Magnolia Lane, Butler Cabin — all these are part of the Masters magic.

So how do we break down and pick this year’s likely winner from around 100 (currently 102) invitees?

Who’s on a streak?

If it’s about recent winning streaks, World No.1 Scottie Scheffler is a top pick. He recently won Bay Hill and The Players Championship (back-to-back years). It’s hard to bet against Scheffler but could he have peaked too early?

Current US Open Champion Wyndham Clark has been hot on Scheffler’s heels. He finished second to Scheffler two weeks in a row and is obviously in form. Joaquin Niemann has also been playing well. He’s won twice on LIV and could be a surprise contender.

Who hits most greens week in and week out? And who gets up and down most?

Augusta National is a long course. But bombers are a dime a dozen nowadays. So average length is enough to win. What matters most is getting the ball on the dance floor most often. Who leads the tour in greens hit in regulation? Scottie Scheffler.

Augusta’s greens are also some of the most treacherous. While rolling the ball well is always a requirement to win, getting pars when you do miss greens are a must. Players who get up and down the most stand to place well at a course where avoiding bogeys is just as valuable as making birdies.

Hideki Matsuyama leads in strokes gained around the green this year. He’s also a previous Masters champ, so Hideki should contend come April.

Who leads Par-5 scoring?

Augusta may be difficult, but the Par 5s are gettable. Those who take advantage of the Par 5s traditionally do well. Who are among the leaders in Par 5 scoring? Tom Hoge leads scoring on Par 5s but on his heels are some notables including Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Scheffler and Clark.

Eagle leaders on tour should also be part of the conversation and this year, Clark is on top of that list.

Any past champions coming in hot?

Past champions always pose a threat at the Masters. Confidence is key when the pressure is on and having already done it is huge. Among past champions, those playing well this year are: Scheffler, Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.

Any golfers who have placed well in the Masters in recent years?

Jon Rahm is defending champion and it is no surprise that he leads scoring at the Masters among those in the field this year. Of course, he isn’t the only one who tends to score well at Augusta National. Among those in the field, these players have historically score better than most: Will Zalatoris, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Scheffler, Finau and Schauffele.

Any golfers constantly knocking and due a major?

Of those still without a major a few have come knocking. Zalatoris has been close a few times as has Schauffele. Finau’s length could be a factor, too. When he’s on, Viktor Hovland seems unbeatable. From Asia, Min Woo Lee could be a surprise, as could Tom Kim.

Of those who have won Majors but haven’t worn a green jacket, I’m guessing McIlroy will be a crowd favorite. Koepka seems due a green jacket, too. Cam Smith can be a factor but he can get streaky. Justin Thomas hasn’t been in top form but there are a few weeks left still.

The Masters is and will always be special. It ushers in the golfing year for fans, being the first major played. For us here in the Philippines, it means four sleepless nights in April that we look forward to every single year. So, who will win the Masters? We’ll find out in a few weeks. Hopefully the eventual winner was mentioned somewhere in this article.

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