Tiger Woods returns to Augusta National as the defending champion having held onto his Green Jacket for 19 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused havoc with the 2020 tour calendar.
And if Tiger Woods does take the spoils on Sunday he will become the first golfer in history to win the Masters in back-to-back years twice having done so back in 2001 and 2002.
Originally scheduled for April, an impressive list of contenders will be looking to slip-on the famous Green Jacket, including reigning FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson and two-time FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy – who’s looking to complete the career Grand Slam.
The most recent major winners, Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa will also surely be in the mix with Morikawa making his Masters debut.
Twenty-six players will be playing the Masters for the first time, including world No. 4 Morikawa and reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Scottie Scheffler.
Course: Augusta National
Length: 7.435 yards (Par 72)
Architects: Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie
It’s finally April (eh mid-November) and the high point in all of sport for us golf fans are just a few days away as, for the 84th time, the best golfers in the world head to Augusta National for this year’s Masters.
Everyone has watched Augusta countless times on TV, but exactly what skills are required to be able to put on the green jacket come Sunday night?
Generally, I don’t put too much weight in course history at regular TOUR stops, but it can’t be overlooked that since 1937 a rookie has won just once and that the same guys can be seen high on the leader board year after year.
Augusta is known for huge elevation changes and uneven lies so we are looking for a top iron player that can play all the shots and especially control his distances in the swirling winds that the course is known for.
It does not hurt to be able to flight it high and land it softly on these treacherous green’s ether.
The only 4 holes that average under par are the four par 5s. So, the guys that rank high in par 5 scoring will have my eye.
The rough will be down this year as well. A tournament that Mickelson has won 3 times and Spieth contends every year is not a tournament where you need to be straight of the tee.
Almost to a man, every player claims that August’s greens are some of the most demanding when it comes to short game and putting and a tournament where Mickelson has won 3 times and Spieth……you get my point.
So what adjustments do I think will be needed with this unusual date for the Masters?
Well, the early footage out of Augusta looks like more of the same with a couple of caveats; the around the green areas has more Bermuda in them than normal so it should provide an even bigger task to get up and down from around these treacherous greens than normal.
More importantly, it will be a lot softer than in April so while it is always an advantage to be long here, I think this year it will be a necessity.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Driving distance
- Strokes gained around the green
- Par 5 scoring
- Bentgrass putting
Profit/Loss: +35.61 units , ROI: 121%
Wagered: 48 units
Won: 10,62 units
Result: -37,38 units
There are some athletes that have this inexplicable quality to show up in the biggest moments and perform at a level that is above what we expect from them.
Tiger had it, Spieth had it for a little while and in the last few years, Brooks Koepka has possessed it more than anyone on his road to four majors.
We saw it even at the PGA Championship earlier this year where he was hurt and not in as good a form as he is now that he was right in the thick of it until Sunday when his troublesome knee caught up to him and he faded.
Since then he took a timeout that saw him miss the U.S Open to get healthy, showed signs of life with a respectable T28 at the CJ Cup before he was right in contention with a T5 last week in Houston.
The course sets up perfectly for last year’s runner up here and if he is in fact as healthy as last week seems to insinuate, he is the man to beat in my opinion.
The case for Bubba is simple; he has won here two times and has a 5th and 12th in the last two editions.
He ranks inside the top 10 in approach, off the tee, par 5 scoring and driving distance plus the slick greens sets up perfectly for his defensive style putting.
Lastly, he comes into the tournament in excellent form after a T7 at the CJ Cup and a T4 at Zozo where he gained a combined 19 strokes from tee to green over the two tournaments.
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