The biggest week in golf is here and The Masters is as exciting as it could ever be with a strong open field. We look at who we rate as the top 10 picks and why ….
Let’s start by stating the obvious, The Masters is unlike any other tournament. The field could be -5 after the first day and even par the next but a good start is certainly a great way to kick of your campaign. The course itself is an amazing layout, way more undulating than you can see on TV. Augusta is immaculate with every blade of grass in place, every azalea perfect and arguably the purest course on the planet.
The Masters boast arguably the greatest field of any event with greens like glass and undulating to create putts that would give most golfers nightmares. It is the ultimate test for golfers and requires four days of the best of the best golf to win the coveted prize.
With such a strong and open field, you could make a case for almost any golfer in the field, but we’ll pick our top 10 and tell you why we think they can get it done this week at Augusta.
First, lets look at the top 20 golfers in the world;
1 Justin Rose 2 Dustin Johnson
3 Rory McIlroy 4 Brooks Koepka
5 Justin Thomas 6 Bryson DeChambeau
7 Francesco Molinari 8 Jon Rahm
9 Rickie Fowler 10 Xander Schauffele
11 Paul Casey 12 Tiger Woods
13 Tommy Fleetwood 14 Jason Day
15 Tony Finau 16 Matt Kuchar
17 Bubba Watson 18 Patrick Reed
19 Louis Oosthuizen 20 Marc Leishman
So what does it take to win the Masters? Well, hitting fairways is certainly a must, but at the same time, you can’t just hit the fairways, you’ve got to hit the fairways in the right place. This means the right length not too far back to get a good look at the green and on the right side of the fairway as well. Being in the wrong place in the fairway, often leads to a whole lot of scrambling and few birdie opportunities. Remember how we mentioned the glass greens and course undulation? Well, this means if you don’t reach the green, you will often stay off the green and if you hit it too hard, you will roll off or to an area of the green which will require an amazing 2 putt to save par.
Hitting long doesn’t hurt either as there are great scoring opportunities on Par 5’s around Augusta but we would say that hitting long isn’t usually the pre requisite for winning The Masters, with short game usually the determining factor navigating around and on the greens.
With that said, here’s our top 10 picks and why….
10 – Adam Scott
Our own home grown Adam Scott has been in solid form this season with three top 10s and five top 20s from his eight PGA tour starts this season. Whilst putting has always been the question mark over Scotty’s career, he’s found form of late and knowing he has done it before will hold him in great stead as he takes on Augusta again this week.
9 – Francesco Molinari
If slow and steady wins the race, then Francesco is your man. Not that he is slow in play, but more so the quiet achiever that plods around the course without the whizz and bang of some of the other guys on tour. In March, Molinari entered 3 events, winning one and finishing third in the recent Dell Matchplay. He’s in form and has the game and temperament required to tame Augusta.
8 – Tiger Woods
Need we say more … The four time Masters Champion is a proven victor and now up to 12 on the World Golf Rankings. Let’s be clear, you don’t get back to that ranking by just entering events and having the name Tiger Woods, you’ve got to be playing great golf as well. Tiger has entered 7 events this year with T30 his worst result. He’s had three top 10s, and six top 20s. That’s some good golfing!! Consistency of the putter has probably been Tiger’s biggest let down but we all know what Tiger is capable of.
7 – Justin Thomas
It’s been a quiet year so far for Justin Thomas, when we say quiet, he is yet to record a victory this season thus far which we’re so accustomed to seeing from him. In saying that, he’s had five top ten finishes with four of them being top five. Getting a good start has been Justin’s struggle this season but he has the ability to go low and so often does. If he can hold it steady the first couple of days and then have one great round at Augusta on the weekend, we could easily be seeing Justin take home the green jacket.
6 – Tommy Fleetwood
in the World Golf Rankings and a star in the making, this English prodigy is certainly making his mark on the golf world. With all attributes required to win any golf event, Fleetwood is our sneaky punt to take a huge step forward this weekend. When he is on, he is on and Fleetwood has as good ability as any to go low and play steady through the weekend. He’s able to string rounds together, steady himself around the course and can make putts like anyone else. Only thing with Tommy, don’t allow mistakes to get the better of you ….. Don’t be surprised if this guys name is top of the board from start to finish.
5 – Brooks Koepka
Big time events need big time players and none more so then Books Koepka. Whilst Brooks only win this season came at the CJ Cup in October last year, he also finished 2nd
at the Honda Classic last month. But it’s not just about the form with Brooks. From his own admission, he plays majors differently with more patience and less risk calculating his path to a greater level then other weeks. The back to back US Open Major winner is powerfully long and straight, with touch around the greens to maximise the advantage. If scoring on Par 5’s is a requirement, then Books would be top of the chart.
4 – Dustin Johnson
The current number 2 in the world and former number 1 is the best golf athlete in the world according to most PGA Tour Professionals. With his unorthodox wrist hinge and swagger, D.J. is one of the biggest hitters on tour. With 20 PGA Tour wins and two international victories, D.J. knows how to get it done. Surprisingly, D.J. doesn’t convert eagle chances as much as he should, but being second in scoring average, top ten in sand saves, top twenty five greens in regulation and top thirty birdie average this season shows just how well and how consistently D.J. can score. From nine starts this season, Dustin has finished top ten, six times and has also finished top ten in the last three Masters. If you want to place a good bet, take D.J. to be top 10. We don’t think he’ll win this weekend, but he’ll be up there.
3 – Justin Rose
Can you ever really write off the number 1 player in the world? We think not. After all, he got there for a reason right? Rose has an extremely accomplished career with one of the most consistent games in the world. From seven PGA tour starts this year, Rose has won one, finished top 3 twice, and top 10 on two other occasions never missing a cut and shooting double digit under par all but once. Whilst he has only won one major, Rose has won on tour every year since 2010 and notched up over 22 career victories. Not the longest hitter on tour but still top 33 for driving distance, Rose has the ability to find the right places on the fairways and on the greens often stumping his approaches for easy looks at birdie or even better eagles. Rose is ranked 1st
in a number of putting categories as well as birdie conversions. All the makings you need to be a Masters Champion. Rose finished top 12 last year and 2nd
in 2017. Could this be the year our World Number 1 dons the Green Jacket?
2 – Rickie Fowler
Not many would have Rickie as their second pick, but we felt this kid is now a man. With that maturity comes a better ability to hold steady on the course. His erratic nature on course has often caused Rickie to lose leads and take himself out of contention. Risky shots, mistakes and missed opportunities has often haunted Fowlers ability. Rickie is top 12 in scoring average, top 11 in birdie average, and top 9 in eagle averages this season. He has a victory and five top fives to his name in the 2019 season and made every cut always finishing the week under par. Finishing second in the Masters last year and top ten on numerous occasions, Rickie has a proven ability to score well and hold his position at Augusta. In 2014 Rickie finished top 5 in every major but again has just not quite got it done. Known as one of the better putters on tour, Rickie can sink the longer putts and convert his opportunities, the question is, can he reduce the bad holes enough to make the good holes count.
1 – Rory McIlroy
Let’s just put it out there … when Rory is on, can anyone really stop him? The only thing stopping Rory, is Rory. Rory has had eight PGA tour starts this season. In his last seven, he’s finished top ten. Five of those events, McIlroy has finished top 5 with one of those being ‘The Fifth Major’, The Players Championship. Rory is 1st in money earnings this year and 2nd in the Fed Ex Cup race. He is 3rd in scoring average, 3rd in eagles, 12th in birdie average, 10th in greens in regulation average, 6th in driving distance BUT putting is certainly the concern with Mr McIlroy. With that said, Rory’s driving ability and approach ability makes him our number one pick to finally achieve his career Grand Slam. We know he’s been there abouts with his infamous brain fade in 2011. He was top 5 last year, Top 7 in 2017, Top 10 in 2016, 4th in 2015, top 8 in 2014 ….. well, you get the picture. Rory is proven at Augusta and finally in consistent form. The athletic Irishmen is ready to roll and is our top pick for the Green Jacket this weekend at Augusta leading all betting odds.
THE MASTERS TV COVERAGE IN AUSTRALIA
The Masters is being shown on Gem, Fox 505 and Kayo Sports.
Live round one
coverage from Augusta will begin on Foxtel and Gem at 5am on Friday, April 12.
Coverage will continue until 9:30am on Gem and 11:30am on Foxtel.
coverage tees off at 5am on Saturday morning on Gem and Foxtel, going through until 9:30 and 11:30 respectively.
coverage starts at 5am on Sunday morning, and round four
action gets underway from 4am on Monday, April 15.
ROUND 1 TEE TIMES (ALL TIMES ET) (Australian Eastern Standard Time is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time)
8:15 A.M. -
Gary Player (Honorary Starter), Jack Nicklaus (Honorary Starter)
8:30 A.M. -
Andrew Landry, Adam Long, Corey Conners (Canada)
8:41 A.M. -
Ian Woosnam (Wales), Keith Mitchell, Kevin Tway
8:52 A.M. -
Mike Weir (Canada), Shane Lowry (Ireland), *Kevin O'Connell
9:03 A.M. -
Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Aaron Wise, Justin Harding (South Africa)
9:14 A.M. -
Danny Willett (England), Brandt Snedeker, *Takumi Kanaya (Japan)
9:25 A.M. -
Fred Couples, Si Woo Kim (Korea), J. B. Holmes
9:36 A.M. -
Branden Grace (South Africa), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Lucas Bjerregaard (Denmark)
9:47 A.M. - C
harl Schwartzel (South Africa), Charles Howell III, Eddie Pepperell (England)
9:58 A.M. -
Sergio Garcia (Spain), Tony Finau, Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
10:09 A.M. -
Adam Scott (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Kyle Stanley
10:31 A.M. -
Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, *Viktor Hovland (Norway)
10:42 A.M. -
Charley Hoffman, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Marc Leishman (Australia)
10:53 A.M. -
Tommy Fleetwood (England), Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland
11:04 A.M. -
Tiger Woods, Haotong Li (China), Jon Rahm (Spain)
11:15 A.M. -
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Rickie Fowler, Cameron Smith (Australia)
11:26 A.M. -
Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Michael Kim, Patton Kizzire
11:37 A.M. -
Trevor Immelman (South Africa), Martin Kaymer (Germany), *Devon Bling
11:48 A.M. -
Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink
11:59 A.M. -
Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain), Kevin Na, Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark)
12:10 P.M. -
Bernhard Langer (Germany), Matt Wallace (England), *Alvaro Ortiz (Mexico)
12:32 P.M. -
Alex Noren (Sweden), Keegan Bradley, Matthew Fitzpatrick (England)
12:43 P.M. -
Vijay Singh (Fiji), Billy Horschel, *Jovan Rebula (South Africa)
12:54 P.M. -
Kevin Kisner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Shugo Imahira (Japan)
1:05 P.M. -
Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter (England), Matt Kuchar
1:16 P.M. -
Francesco Molinari (Italy), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spain), Tyrrell Hatton (England)
1:27 P.M. -
Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay, Satoshi Kodaira (Japan)
1:38 P.M. -
Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau. Jason Day (Australia)
1:49 P.M. -
Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose (England), Justin Thomas
2:00 P.M. -
Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey (England), Brooks Koepka
ROUND 2 TEE TIMES
- Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Michael Kim, Patton Kizzire
- Trevor Immelman (South Africa), Martin Kaymer (Germany), *Devon Bling
- Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink
- Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain), Kevin Na, Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark)
- Bernhard Langer (Germany), Matt Wallace (England), *Alvaro Ortiz (Mexico)
- Alex Noren (Sweden), Keegan Bradley, Matthew Fitzpatrick (England)
- Vijay Singh (Fiji), Billy Horschel, *Jovan Rebula (South Africa)
- Kevin Kisner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Shugo Imahira (Japan)
- Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter (England), Matt Kuchar
- Francesco Molinari (Italy), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spain), Tyrrell Hatton (England)
- Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay, Satoshi Kodaira (Japan)
- Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day (Australia)
- Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose (England), Justin Thomas
- Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey (England), Brooks Koepka
- Andrew Landry, Adam Long, Corey Conners (Canada)
- Ian Woosnam (Wales), Keith Mitchell, Kevin Tway
- Mike Weir (Canada), Shane Lowry (Ireland), *Kevin O'Connell
- Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Aaron Wise, Justin Harding (South Africa)
- Danny Willett (England), Brandt Snedeker, *Takumi Kanaya (Japan)
- Fred Couples, Si Woo Kim (Korea), J. B. Holmes
- Branden Grace (South Africa), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Lucas Bjerregaard (Denmark)
- Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Charles Howell III, Eddie Pepperell (England)
- Sergio Garcia (Spain), Tony Finau, Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
- Adam Scott (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Kyle Stanley
- Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, *Viktor Hovland (Norway)
- Charley Hoffman, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Marc Leishman (Australia)
- Tommy Fleetwood (England), Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland
- Tiger Woods, Haotong Li (China), Jon Rahm (Spain)
- Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Rickie Fowler, Cameron Smith (Australia)