Golf turns its attention to the biggest event of the year, The Masters, played at historic Augusta National. Augusta is a par 72 measuring about 7500 yards. The course is known for wide and easy to hit fairways, and extremely tricky and difficult greens to navigate. This course has elevated, hilly, and extremely fast greens. The greens are protected by deep bunkers and not much else to stop a ball from rolling off the hilly bentgrass. Control on and around the greens will be the difference in the end. Course history and experience are tremendously important to success at Augusta. Looking for players improving with each visit and players who have had success will go a long way to predict who will do well this year. There are about 90 players in the field including former champions and amateurs. This allows you to eliminate about 20 players off the top while still offering a cut line to the top 50 players.
A view of the 12th green at Augusta National from the tee box.
Two players stand out to me in the top tier. Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. Thomas has been trending well in recent months and improved his game at the Masters. He is an elite ball striker and has skill around the greens. I believe the X factor for JT is his caddy, Jim “Bones” Mckay. Bones won a couple of Masters on the bag of Phil Mickelson and brings so much knowledge of the course. Rahm has some of the best course history without ever winning a green jacket. His struggles the past few tournaments have come from his putter, however he seems to be getting better. His elite ball striking always has him in the mix, along with his comfort on the course. He recently lost his top spot in the world rankings, will this give him an extra edge to get it back?
In the mid tier, I want to look at players who have performed well at comp courses at Augusta, are in good form, and have improved their game at Augusta with some experience. A couple of standout names to me are Corey Conners and Joaquin Niemann. Niemann just won the Genesis at Riviera which is a very similar course and has the game to play well. He did miss the cut his first time out, but has gotten better each trip. Conners has performed better each year, and has been in great recent form. His skill set really fits the course with his iron play and is a great value to contend.
Long shots are very difficult to see win at Augusta, but can definitely be keys to winning daily fantasy contests. Couple of names with some good course history and big numbers I want to target are Kevin Na, Marc Leishman, and Robert Macyntire. Na, while being a shorter hitter, does have some good results at Augusta along with an ace short game to keep him in the mix. Leishman has really performed well at Augusta in the past and has played well in the 2022 season. He is very good out of bunkers and around the greens and is someone to target in your lineups. Bobby MAc, the young lefty from Scotland, has a big game that fits the course. He had success his first time out and is looking for a way to keep playing in the US.