This year’s Masters is due to kick off on April 8th at Augusta National, and the bookies and experts already have their picks for who will be putting on that green jacket on Sunday. Some choices are predictable, while there are a few surprises.
Considering how the pandemic has affected sport globally, it is great that we get to watch one of the premier events of the season. As mentioned, maybe the winner is obvious already, but there have been bigger shocks before.
Across the board, Dustin Johnson is the favorite to win the trophy. He won the tournament last year, and if he stays in the form he has been in over the past 12 months, someone else is going to have to play the best 4 days of golf in their life to beat Johnson.
2020 was also the year Johnson played some of his best golf ever, and some of the best golf a Masters tournament has seen. He hit 60 greens in regulation and was easily the most dominant player from tee to green across all four days.
Many experts and former players believe that Johnson can easily become a back to back winner, barring a terrible round that puts him out of contention, there just isn’t any other player who looks capable of beating him right now.
Brooks Koepka possibly has something to prove at this year’s tournament. Last year saw him almost come to blows with longtime friend turned rival Dustin Johnson, and Koepka also made it clear that finishing 7th wasn’t close to good enough for him.
He is known for his swagger and bravado on the course, and finishing well behind his now rival last year could have very easily lit something within him that will drive him to stop DJ from going back-to-back at this year’s tournament.
Justin Thomas has seen his fair share of negative publicity over the past few weeks. The player used a homophobic slur during a tournament and received condemnation from across the board, as well as losing his Ralph Lauren sponsorship.
However, he is now heading into his fourth year since his last major win, and many believing that the time is fast approaching that he will finally win another, and there is no better place to do than at the Masters.
One of the biggest hitters on the tour, DeChambeau actually disappointed a lot of people last year, finishing tied 34th and playing like someone who just stepped foot on a tee for the first time the day before the tournament started.
He gave himself horrible lies and angles, and just wasn’t doing himself any favors. However, he is going into this year’s tournament as an odds-on favorite, much like last year, but obviously, there are a few differences.
The best way to improve in a tournament is to play badly in the previous one. DeChambeau learns from his mistakes, and if he can connect his power to his accuracy and calm demeanour, Dustin Johnson all of a sudden has some serious competition.
While there isn’t anything huge that would say Rahm is on his way to win the Masters, there is a lot of talk about how he is getting very close to winning his first Major, and how that win can very easily come this year.
He has recently changed equipment sponsors, and says he is feeling good about it, feeling strong and accurate, and as mentioned, while he hasn’t won a Major yet, he most definitely has the ability to do so.
A bit of an outsiders pick, but Tony Finau has been pipped at having a 14% chance at winning a Major this year. That probably doesn’t sound great to some, but he does have some fairly crazy stats that point to him finally winning.
He has collected over $19 million in prize money, while only winning one tournament since turning professional, and he also holds the title for most top 10 finishes without a title since 2017, 37.
While these are all just numbers, it is hard to believe that Finau can go much longer just being the “almost” player. Something has to break, and once again, doing it at Augusta is probably the best place to play your best round of golf.