THE MASTERS kicks off next week as the descends on Augusta and it’s time to start studying the history books, previous winners and trends to help you decide where your money is going.
It may sound lame but there’s a real reason to look back as it is the only major that stays on the same course every year.
This has worked for us in finding winners and places in the past few years and we have whittled it down to those players who tick all the right boxes.
We will be revealing our picks next week, so do check back then.
Every single winner since 1990 barring Trevor Immelman in 2008 had at least one top 10 in the year they won The Masters.
Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, Mike Weir, Danny Willett, Ian Woosnam, Martin Kaymer, Brooks Koepka, Jason Dufner, Russell Henley, Kim Si-Woo, Francesco Molinari, Louis Ooosthuizen, Daniel Berger, Wesley Bryan, Austin Cook, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman, Yuta Ikeda, Bernd Wiesberger.
In fact to cut this further, 6 out of the last 7 winners all recorded multiple top 10’s in the year they won The Masters
Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Pat Perez, Matt Kuchar, Patton Kizzire, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Thomas Pieters, Jhonattan Vegas, Kyle Stanley, Jimmy Walker, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Li Haotong, Ted Potter Jnr.
Since the end of the 2nd World War, only Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 has won on his first attempt at Augusta.
Tony Finau, Dylan Fritelli, Shubhankar Sharma
There have only been two first time PGA Tour winners since 1948 – Bernhard Langer in 85’ and Danny Willett in 16’.
Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
The past 10 winners were all averaging 290 yards in the season of their victory. Whilst Danny Willett didn’t tank it off the tee in 2016, distance definitely helps. Minimum 295 yards across the season.
Henrik Stenson, Brian Harman, Webb Simpson, Adam Hadwin, Chez Reavie, Ryan Moore
We feel focus on the often-discarded driving accuracy is crucial. As proven by Sergio last year, you can pepper the pins when you’re in the fairway. Therefore, every winner barring Adam Scott since 2010 has hit at least 60.7% of fairways. So we are going to look at top 125 on both PGA and European Tours.
Dustin Johnson, John Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman, Phil Mickelson, Patric Reed, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods
Changes to the layout were made in 2008 and since then every winner has hit at least 66% of greens. That would currently put you inside the top 95 of GIR stats on the PGA Tour and crazily top 150 in Europe.
Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen
12 of the last 15 were inside the top 30 for putting average across the week so we are looking at roughly top 100, as this makes it fair for all the various greens/grass types you get across the season.
Sergio Garcia, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau
Barring Bubba Watson’s first green jacket in 2012, every winner since 2010 has had at least a 63% scrambling success rate. That puts you in the top 30 on the PGA and top 50 in Europe. We will say that at least top 100 on either Tour is fair.
24 of the last 28 winners all had recorded a top 20 at Augusta at least once before their victory
ONLY THREE MADE IT THROUGH ALL THE TRENDS –
Jason Day may not be the man on everyone’s lips at the moment with all the attention on McIlroy, Woods, DJ, Mickelson, Thomas, Bubba etc but when you look at it; the Aussie has had a cracking season.
He’s one of those elite stars that’s actually gone slightly under the radar, but he’s bagged a win at the Farmers, a T2 at Pebble Beach and rounded off 2017 with a 5th at the Australian Open.
The main thing is he’s playing consistently tee to green, putting extremely well and with 3 top 10’s at Augusta including a T2 on debut in 2011, it’s no surprise he made it through all the above trends.
Mr. Consistent. Paul Casey has been in some of the most ridiculous form of his life. However he just couldn’t quite get over the line when contending until that stunning 65 at the Valspar a few weeks ago catapulted him through the leaderboard meaning none of the early leaders could catch him. The 9-year PGA Tour title wait was over.
It makes sense therefore that he ticks all the boxes for The Masters as he’s definitely the complete all-rounder and has recorded 3 top 10’s in a row at Augusta. His game clearly suits the track, he just has to push himself that extra bit further.
Good value a couple of weeks away and should be kept at the forefront of anyone’s mind.
There’s always a few surprise players who tick all but one box, but it’s been a while since one has made it all the way through… Yet Branden Grace at big odds for someone ranked 31st in the world has ticked every category.
Boil it down and it makes sense though, he is a classy tee to green player and is a consistent finisher who has so won 12 times on the pro Tours. His Augusta form isn’t actually that great with the T18 in 2013 being his highest finish, but he does have major pedigree.
5 top 6 finishes in his last 10 outings shows his caliber, but whether he can come through the stacked favourites is another matter.
A few ticked all but one box and deserve a quick mention. Hardly any surprise that Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are two of them, both are going to be heavily backed for all the right reasons.
After his impressive win a few weeks back Rory McIlroy has pushed into favourite and he only missed out because of his GIR, which is ridiculous as he’s one of the best. For us, he is the best in the world when on his game. If he plays well for even 3 days he will win.
Last years champ Sergio Garcia ticks everything barring putting (shock!) after a decent start to the year and Justin Rose only missed out because of his driving accuracy but that shouldn’t deter anyone from thinking he’ll go close. His Augusta form is phenomenal and he’s been very good this season so far.
Finally, one big outsider only missed out because of his putting and that’s Kevin Chappell. He is 37th in the world and a very good ball striker, so it makes sense. He finally got into the winners circle last year and recorded a T7 at Augusta so worth taking note of the American.