Masters Preview, Research, Trends
and $$$ GIVEAWAYS!!!!!!!!
I’m giving away $600 in COLD HARD CASH (1st $300, 2nd $200, 3rd $100) along with two FREE annual memberships to Fantasy National (You need to be a member at Fantasy National already to win those tho. Here, have 20% OFF) Even if you done the reviews before, top it up and bump your name to the top of the list. ANDDDDDDDd if we get 200 new Apple Podcast Subs and reviews, I’ll chuck some more money in the pot to giveaway. He’s how you get your name in the draw:
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MASTRES PME SCHEDULE
TUESDAY — Best Bets
WEDNESDAY — Final Bets, Weather + DraftKings Picks (Tambo)
THURSDAY — Round One Recap
FRIDAY — CUT SWEAT LIVE
SUNDAY BONUS — LIVE Recap
MASTERS FIELD & INFO
Field: 89 Players
Cut: Top 50 and Ties after 36 Holes
First Tee: Thursday April 6
Defending Champion: Scottie Scheffler
Now that Jim Nantz is giving up March Madness, The Masters proves we were his true summer friends all along. The year’s first Major is currently at 89 players with one final invitation remaining for the winner of the Valero Texas Open Sunday afternoon in San Antonio.
With the birth of the “elevated events” in 2023, we’ve seen the PGA’s top players square off far more often than we’re used to by this time of year. It’s been great. But The Masters (and all the Majors for that matter) carries even more significance an usual this time around, now that we get the PGA’s best squaring off with their mirror universe counterparts — The LIV TOUR.
Although they no long accrue World Rankings points (aka how you qualify for Majors), it’s still early enough in the process that some LIV players remain qualified based on their performance pre defection, and some still carry over their eligibility from past Majors. All former Masters champs are in the Augusta field for life, other Major winners have a 5-year exemption, top finishes in Majors a year ago.
Reigning Open Champion golfer of the year Cameron Smith leads the convoy of 17 LIV troops with Dustin Johnson, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen, Mito Pereira, Abraham Ancer, Thomas Pieters, Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Harold Varner III, Charl Schwartzel, and of course, Phil Mickelson. Since you likely haven’t paid any attention, LIV has played three events in 2023, including the warm up this weekend in Orlando.
Now, adding these guys into the mix essentially makes The Masters exactly the same as every other year — it’s not like these guys are the Red Army from the 70s — the circumstances certainly do increase the intrigue, though. Imagine they paired Tiger with Phil. They neve (cowards), but this Tiger/Phil provision really should have been a part of the ESPN/Augusta negotiations since they’re airing the early rounds.
While many of the LIV have years of experience at the course, there are 15 players who have never played a competitive round at Augusta. The debutants — not just the worst name of a deep-south teen-girl group ever anymore: Tom Kim, Sahith Theegala, Taylor Moore, Mito Pereira, Kurt Kitayama, Ryan Fox, Adam Svensson, Adrian Meronk, and Kazuki Higa represent the rookie professionals in 2023. Matthew McClean, Alrich Potgieter, Ben Carr, Mateo Ferenandez de Oliveira, Gordon Sargent, and Harrison Crowe, comprise the amateur contingent.
This is where I’m required to tell you no debutants has donned sports’ highest sartorial honor since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Not to say all debutants will fail. We’ve witnessed some close calls in recent year, Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris, and Sungjae Im were all runners-up in their debuts.
It is well known experience is a massive edge in Augusta success however. It’s a unique course with its massive elevation changes, and there is generally a learning curve for first-time players who need to figure out the weird breaks and angles on the fly, and a lack of green books for the players and caddies makes that engrained knowledge a clear advantage.
To pile on with the lack of reps at the course, you need to beware of the poor recent Masters results too. Beyond the outlier that was Patrick Reed in 2018, the past 24 champions not only have played in the event the previous year but also made the cut. After Reed, a fresh-faced kid who looked like he was wearing his dad’s shirt named Tiger Woods was the last winner to miss the cut, then achieve immortality 12 months later. That was in 1997. And, that sweater actually did belong to Tiger, much like wearing an onion on your belt at one point in history, that was just the style at the time. One I lived through and hope never comes back in style.
Tiger was also an amateur the year he missed the cut.
Speaking of Tiger, he’s playing. No idea where his game is at, though. Tiger was last seen in competition at Riviera in February, where he made the cut, but there’s been rumors his hurt his back between now and then. Regardless, although the walk with the elevation chance may catch up to him, his experience at Augusta National should see him deliver a better performance. Will Zalatoris is will also be in the field. Zalatoris missed the end of 2022 with two herniated discs in his back, and most recently withdrew from the Match Play two weeks ago with an illness. Hideki Matsuyama and Tyrrell Hatton are the other two currently under the injury microscope. Both played this week in Texas, Hatton missed the cut, but seemed healthy enough while Hideki actually looked quite good, so the neck must be doing better at the moment.
As much as we want to invest in long shots, the Masters is almost always won by one of the elite players. Since 2012, Bubba Watson was the lowest ranked player to claim victory. Bubba was No. 18 in the world rankings when Charl Schwartzel helped slip him into the Green Jacket. Many think of Danny Willett as the ultimate long-shot since he wasn’t well-known at the time and cashed triple-digit outright win bets for a lot of bettors, but it’s worth noting the Brit was the 12th ranked player in the world before he hit his first drive in 2016. Willett didn’t come out of nowhere, he was just an unknown to the general public.
It’s important to spend a lot of time parsing through the top end of the 2023 Masters board as the winner is almost certainly going to come from that group. If you want to win your bets or a DraftKings tournament, spoiler, you’re going to need to pick the winner. Only immeasurable insights here.
As mentioned, the field of invitees is currently at 89 players and the Top 50 players will make the cut. COVID wiped out the “all players within 10 strokes of the lead” provision at the November Masters and they decided to stick with it. It’s just the Top 50 and ties after 36 holes now. So, over 55% of players are going to make the cut; just because you squeeze all six players in your DraftKings lineup through the cut line doesn’t really mean much if you don’t have a squad of golfers competing for a novelty check.
This is tell you the group of past champions and amateurs at the very bottom of the pricing are a trap. It shouldn’t take Admiral Ackbar to clue you into that information. But every year I see people jamming fun Fred Couples in order to construct a super team with their other five roster spots. Avoid the temptation of those salty savings. There’s a chance a few of the olds are going to play through Sunday. There’s an issue with them, though: There’s just not enough upside for them to lead your team to victory in one of the large field DraftKings contests. Specifically the million dollar top prize tournaments.
Every now and again a Bernhard Langer or Couples will play pretty well, but it’s not as often as you probably remember. And the results are certainly not as good as what exists in your mind movies. The reality would likely make your eyes rain. Langer lurking on the leaderboard was actually in 2016. I know that seems not long ago, but it was seven years in the past. AND he ended up finishing T24 that year. Langer was T29 in the 2020 Masters, but still finished outside of the Top 30 in DraftKings scoring. As the past champions are far less likely to generate the necessary birdie streaks and eagles to rise up the DraftKings leaderboard.
If you want to compete for the very top prizes on DraftKings this week you’ll likely need the winner, another two players in the Top 5, another two inside the Top 15 and an outlier player who outscores their finishing position.
FREE PROP CONTEST
If you’re looking for a less intensive Masters pool, and one that’s FREE (that still has $500 in the price pool) I suggest you check out MAYO MASTERS. It’s a simple “yes” or “no” pick’em game, open to everyone.
All i got so far is Min WOO Lee at 150/1
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
Strokes Gained: Short Game
Here’s the first run of my custom model from Fantasy National
Course: Augusta National
Par 3’s (4): Average distance (186.3 yards), but that is a bit deceiving due to Hole 4 (240 yards) … the other three check in below this number
None of them are easy (all posting a bogey or worse rate north of 20%), but Hole 4 is a different breed … the bogey or worse rate was nearly 5x the birdie rate a season ago
Par 4’s (10): Average distance (456 yards) and that tells a true story as 6 of them measure 440-465 yards
6 of the 7 toughest holes on this course are Par 4’s (with 2 of them starring you in the face when you start the Back-9)
Par 5’s (4): Average distance (551.3 yards), 3 of them are at least
550 yards. Hole 13 (510 yards) is shorter than the Par 4 11th (520 yards) and carries as 3.2% eagle rate
Hole 13 … yes, the eagle rate is enticing, but it also carries the highest bogey rate among the Par 5’s.
There have been changes to three of the holes over the past two years. The difficult No. 11 scraped most of the trees from the right hand side of the hole and just left three trees standings, and yes, as we saw a year ago, they’ll still prove to be a nuisance. The Par 5 15th was been lengthened by 20 yards which led to fewer players going for the green in two. This year, the easiest hole on the course has been lengthen by 35 yards. No. 13, the bead on the rosary of Amen Corner, will now have a far more difficult second shot. Most of the field, with a good drive (hell, even with a bad one), were able to attack the green in two, generating eagle opportunities. While we don’t know the in-competition impact yet, Bubba Watson mentioned he needed a 3 or 4-iron for his second shot. 13 should remain the easiest hole on the grounds, but seeing some of the eagle evaporate sounds like a good wager.
2022: Scottie Scheffler -9
2021: Hideki Matsuyama -10
2020: Dustin Johnson -20
2019: Tiger Woods -13
2018: Patrick Reed -15
2017: Sergio Garcia -9
2016: Danny Willett -5
2015: Jordan Spieth -18
2014: Bubba Watson -8
2013: Adam Scott -9
2012: Bubba Watson -10
2022: Scottie Scheffler (-10, 3 clear of Rory McIlroy)
He was 10 strokes better than Rory over the first two days (his 67 on Friday was the best round of the day)
April 2021: Hideki Matsuyama (-10, 1 clear of Will Zalatoris)
He was under 69 just once … but a 65 on moving day was plenty, especially considering that it was 6 shots better than Zalatoris
November 2020: Dustin Johnson (-20, 5 clear of Sungjae Im/Cam Smith)
Not once, but twice did DJ card the lowest round on the course, as his 65’s on both Thursday and Saturday allowed him to cruise
2019: Tiger Woods (-13, 1 clear of Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka/Xander Schauffele)
Woods saved his best round for moving day (67) and that proved to be enough as it was 2+ strokes better than the three guys that ended up a stroke behind him
2018: Patrick Reed (-15, 1 clear of Rickie Fowler)
A solid middle two days (66-67) gave Reed enough of a lead that his 71 on Sunday was good enough despite a 67 from Fowler and a 64 from Spieth (lost by two strokes)
2017: Sergio Garcia (-9, defeated Justin Rose in a playoff)
Sergio best round was “only” a 69, but he was the only player in the field to finish all 4 rounds under par and that consistency got him to the finish line … eventually.
FREE POOL GIVEAWAY
Yes, there’s another FREE POOL with a solid prize this week. This one, custosy of our friend at Betsperts.
Free to enter.
Anyone who beats Paige can win.
Prize is full expense paid roundtrip to play a round with Paige at liberty national.
Trends are more for fun talking points, but it’s worth noting nine straight Masters champions HAD at least two Top 15 finishes in their three tournaments leading into the event before Hideki blew that up two years. Still, ten of the last 11 ain’t bad, and based on that criteria, the winner will be either Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Sam Burns, Cameron Young, Kurt Kitayama, Patrick Cantlay, and JT Poston. It’s probably not going to be JT Poston. Obviously, this does not include LIV finishes, as I think they all come Top 15 every week.
Angel Cabrera (2009) was the last player to place outside the Top 35 in his final pre-Master’s tune up (MC at the Shell Houston Open. He actually MC’d the two tournaments prior).
In case you forgot, here’s a refresher on the DK scoring from last year…
DK Scoring over the years
2022: 5 golfers scored north of 85 DK points and 4 of them were among the 8 most expensive on the DK board.
April 2021: There were a bunch of ways to get home, but you basically needed your two golfers with a price sum around $17,500 to do the heavy lifting. Whether that was a top-end guy (Xander or Rahm) with a lower level option (Zalatoris, Conners, Rose, Leishman or Bobby Mac) or a pair of Tier 2-3 guys (Deki, Hovland, Finau, Cam Smith)
November 2020: If you went stars and scrubs, you had a chance at the nuts. Of the top-8 DK scorers, four cost at least $10,000 and the other four were $7,500 or cheaper.
2019: 8 of the top-9 priced golfers scored at least 84 DK points, so as long as you avoided the MC from Justin Rose, you generally were ok wherever you went at the top of the board. The trick was getting the $7,000’s right … three of them finished top-11 in DK scoring
2018: Four of the top-5 scorers cost at least $9,000 but four of the top-10 DK scorers were sub-$8,000.
2017: If you peppered the $7,200-$8,300 range, you printed money: 6 of the top-7 on the final DK leaderboard came from that range (Sergio being the high-end price wise and Martin Kaymer being the low-end)
How often do golfers in each price range finish in the top-5, top-10 and top-20? Over the past five tournaments, here are the rates in each finish spot that fell into each price bucket (ex. 28% of top-5 finishers were priced $10,000+)
MOREEEE coming soon