A tradition unlike any other: The Masters. It’s finally here.
The world’s best golfers — both professional and amateur — along with several over-the-hill former Masters Champions make the journey down Magnolia Lane to the Augusta National Golf Club this week to take on Amen Corner in the hopes of winning a fancy green jacket. The players will cross the Hogan, Nelson, and Sarazen Bridges all while trying to stay out of Rae’s Creek in hopes of making it into Butler Cabin on Sunday.
Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score), Course Adjusted Round Score (Course Adj Rd Score), Driving Distance (DD), and Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament (Adj Bird Avg) are the metrics we will concentrate on this week.
All of the heavy favorites — Dustin Johsnon, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy — were written about this week in our Masters Scouting Reports:
PGA note: Dustin Johnson injures lower back after taking fall on stairs. Manager says DJ “hopes” to play tomorrow – per @AP
— FantasyLabs GOLF (@FantasyLabsGOLF) April 5, 2017
Green (Jacket) Day
Jason Day, getting back to work for the first time since his mother’s cancer surgery, has reportedly looked sharp in his practice rounds. Day currently has the fifth-highest odds to win the Masters (4.8 percent) and accordingly has the fourth-highest salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel this week. (Vegas odds and PGA salaries tend to be correlated.)
Day’s best performance this year is a fifth-place finish at the ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, but he’s had some solid recent finishes here at Augusta National including a 10th-place finish last year. Day’s 68.5 Course Adj Rd Score (accessible for Pro subscribers in our Player Models) is the seventh-best score among golfers who have made more than two starts at Augusta.
Day’s 67.8 LT Adj Rd Score ranks second in this field, his 304.1-yard LT DD is ninth, and his 14.9 LT Adj Bird Avg is 16th. For many reasons this week Day is an equally risky and delicious play in guaranteed prize pools. Playing him in the late rounds on FanDuel may be a viable contrarian strategy, as most owners will choose to load up on Spieth, Johnson, or McIlroy in the late rounds.
Oh Rickie, You’re So Fine
With recently increased odds to win, Rickie Fowler is seemingly trending in the right direction. Fowler missed the cut at last year’s Masters, but he had 12th- and fifth-place finishes in the two years prior. Rickie’s 69.2 Course Adj Rd Score ranks 22nd among golfers with more than one start at Augusta. Plus, Rickie is in stellar form: He has a win, two top-five finishes, and no finishes worse than 16th in his last five tournaments. Fowler’s 66.9 Recent Adj Rd Score ranks sixth in the field this week.
Fowler is coming in hot, and he’s played Augusta well previously. He’s likely too cheap on both DraftKings and FanDuel and could have double-digit ownership, which Pro subscribers can review in our DFS Ownership Dashboard shortly after the Masters starts.
First-timers almost never win the Masters — but debutantes aren’t supposed to win at Torrey Pines either. If anyone can make it to Butler Cabin for a green jacket as an Augusta rookie it’s Jon Rahm, who is currently tied with Hideki Matsuyama for the sixth-best odds to win.
Matsuyama: Masters Report
Rahm’s 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score is tied for sixth overall, his 305.1-yard LT DD is tied for seventh, and his 70.3 LT Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentage is 13th. He trails only McIlroy and has tied DJ with his incredible 17.2 LT Adj Bird Avg. Even if he doesn’t win, his birdie-making ability could give him a chance to compete.
The Bump and Run
Choke up and take a narrow stance.
Justin Thomas: Thomas has been erratic this season, but he opened 2017 with two wins in Hawaii before finishing fifth at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March. He was 39th in his Masters debut last year and — not that this means anything, but it’s notable — the two previous Masters champions have won in their second appearance. JT’s 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score ranks 25th, his 302.6-yard LT DD is 11th, and his 14.5 LT Adj Bird Avg is 23rd overall.
Adam Scott: Scott won his green jacket in 2013 and was runner-up in 2011, so he knows how to get around Augusta: His 68.0 Course Adj Rd Score is fifth among golfers with more than one start here. Scott has the sixth-highest salary on FanDuel but just the 10th-highest on DraftKings.
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson has three green jackets in his closet (2010, 2006, and 2004), and he has two finishes of third or better in the past five years. Phil’s 68.5 LT Adj Rd Score is tied for eighth, and his 14.8 LT Adj Bird Avg is tied for 18th. Mickelson’s 11th-ranked 61.6 LT Scrambling percentage and 23rd-ranked 8.1 Adj Bogeys Per Round make him an attractive play on FanDuel.
Sergio Garcia: Garcia has looked sharp this season: His 67.9 Recent Adj Rd Score ranks 13th in this field. He has four top-20 finishes (including a win) in just five stroke-play events this year. He finished eighth here in 2013.
Louis Oosthuizen: Louis has rattled off three-straight top-25 finishes at the Masters, and he forced a playoff on his way to a second-place finish in 2012. His 69.1 Course Adj Rd Score ranks 19th among golfers who have made more than two starts at Augusta National.
Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has quietly logged three top-10 finishes in his last five stroke-play events while accumulating a 10th-best 67.7 Recent Adj Rd Score. He finished 10th at Augusta last year and was sixth in 2013.
Emilano Grillo: Grillo’s 69.0 LT Adj Rd Score ranks 20th, and his 15.3 LT Adj Bird Avg is eighth overall. Relatively, he’s much cheaper on FanDuel. Grillo was 17th in his Masters debut last year.
Adam Levitan created a course history model, which I’ve modified slightly. Spieth is the model’s top golfer but it’s the second-rated Justin Rose who’s this week’s Levitanimal. Rose’s average finish here the past six years is 11.7, including a runner-up finish in 2015 and a 10th-place finish last year. Rose’s 67.7 Course Adj Rd Score is third among golfers who have made more than one start at Augusta National.
Rose’s 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score is tied for sixth, his 302.3-yard LT DD is tied for 12th, and his 15.1 LT Adj Bird Avg ranks 13th overall. Rose has accumulated five top-15 finishes in seven starts this year.
It’s not Rose but another Englishman, Lee Westwood, who has Hump excited this week. Westwood missed the cut at last week’s Shell Houston Open, but he has been an absolute stud at Augusta National. Lee was the runner-up last year and has five top-10 finishes here since 2010. His 67.8 Course Adj Rd Score ranks fourth among golfers with more than one start at the Masters. I’m willing to wager a few Coors Lights that Lee will be hovering around the top of the leaderboard this Sunday.
Good luck this week!