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The 22 golfers who can actually win The Masters

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Editor’s Note: Rich Hunt is a statistician whose clients include PGA Tour players, their caddies and their instructors.

Each year, I create a filter to help predict the golfers who are most likely to win the Masters. I usually get the list down to roughly 23 or 24 players that meet the criterion. In last year’s event, I predicted Bubba Watson would win the event — which he did at 25/1 odds.

Before I discuss my picks of this year’s Masters, which this year includes 22 players, I want to go over what I call the “critical holes” for Augusta National. The critical holes in any tournament are the ones where the top finishers typically gain the most strokes on the field, as well as where the greatest deviation in scores exist. One of the interesting aspects about critical holes is that they often change over time due to changes in the course conditions, course design or a change in player strategy, and that creates a smaller deviation in scores.

Here's how No. 17 looks from the tee without the Eisenhower tree (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

How No. 17 looks from the tee without the Eisenhower tree (Photo Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images).

In 2013 for instance, the critical holes were Nos. 7, 12, 13, 17 and 18. But the removal of the Eisenhower Tree on No. 17 created a smaller deviation in scores, so No. 17 was no longer a critical hole for participants. The par-5 13th hole has also seen a trend in more similar scores, so it has been replaced by the par-5 15th hole as a critical hole. The critical holes to watch out for at the 2015 Masters are Nos. 7, 12, 15 and 18.

Moving on to the tournament, I filtered out the past champions who are well past their time being competitive and the amateurs. Those 18 players include:

  • Antonio Murdaca (1000/1)
  • Ben Crenshaw (2500/1)
  • Bernhard Langer (300/1)
  • Bradley Neil (1000/1)
  • Byron Meth (2000/1)
  • Corey Conners (1000/1)
  • Fred Couples (150/1)
  • Gunn Yang (1000/1)
  • Ian Woosnam (2500/1)
  • Jose Maria Olazabal (1000/1)
  • Larry Mize (2500/1)
  • Mark O’Meara (2500/1)
  • Matias Dominguez (1000/1)
  • Mike Weir (1000/1)
  • Sandy Lyle (2500/1)
  • Scott Harvey (750/1)
  • Tom Watson (1000/1)
  • Trevor Immelman (500/1)

I also eliminated any first-time invitees, as the only first time invitee to ever win at Augusta was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Those 13 players include:

  • Anirban Lahiri (300/1)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (250/1)
  • Brendon Todd (250/1)
  • Brian Harman (500/1)
  • Brooks Koepka (80/1)
  • Cameron Tringale (300/1)
  • Danny Willett (150/1)
  • Erik Compton (500/1)
  • James Hahn (200/1)
  • Morgan Hoffmann (250/1)
  • Robert Streb (300/1)
  • Seung-Yul Noh (300/1)
  • Shane Lowry (150/1)

Out of the group of first-time invitees, I would pay close attention to Shane Lowry, as he has a game that is a very good fit for Augusta because of the strong Red Zone Play (shots from 175-225 yards) that he has shown off this season. And of course, if Brooks Koepka is healthy, I expect him to have a good showing, as Augusta fits his game as well.

Unfortunately, I have to eliminate five international players because I do not have enough statistical information on their playing performance in the past four months. Last year, I eliminated five international players that I had insufficient data on as well. Only one of them made a minor run at winning — Thomas Bjorn, who finished T8.

The four players include:

  • Thomas Bjorn (300/1)
  • Darren Clarke (1000/1)
  • Stephen Gallacher (300/1)
  • Braden Grace (200/1)
  • Mikko Ilonen (500/1)

I will also eliminate these four American players, who have not played a sufficient amount of tournaments this season for me to statistically measure their key performance metrics:

  • Kevin Stadler (500/1)
  • Steve Stricker (200/1)
  • Tiger Woods (20/1)
  • Ben Crane (500/1)

Moving on with the list, I eliminated players who I think are too short to play well at Augusta National. They include:

  • Jim Furyk (70/1)
  • Zach Johnson (60/1)

Last year I had five players in the “too short to win at Augusta” list, and the 3 of the 5 made the cut with a best finish going to Jim Furyk, who tied for 14th.

Even more damning is the players who hit the ball too low. This is based on the Apex Height measurement, determined with Trackman on the PGA Tour. Last year, I had 10 players in the “too low of a trajectory to win at Augusta,” and 9 of the 10 players missed the cut. The only player who did make the cut was “The Mechanic,” Miguel Jimenez, who finished in 4th place. But if you don’t hit it high at Augusta, your odds of winning are not very good. That’s why I’ve eliminated these six players:

  • Camilo Villegas (250/1)
  • Graeme McDowell (150/1)
  • Jason Dufner (125/1)
  • Kevin Na (100/1)
  • Patrick Reed (25/1)
  • Thongchai Jaidee (500/1)

The player who stands out in this group is Patrick Reed. He’s currently 183rd in Apex Height. Typically, he has been better than the average in Apex Height, but for whatever reason he is hitting the ball quite low this season. I think, like Jimenez, Reed has the ability to alter his ball flight. But given how critical Apex Height is to success at Augusta, the numbers suggest that his odds are not that great this season.

Furthermore, since the inauguration of the event, there have only been two winners of the Masters who had never previously made the cut: Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, and Gene Sarazen in 1936. Reed has never made the cut at the Masters and neither have the three players below. Let’s rule them out as well. They are:

  • Victor Dubuisson (100/1)
  • Ben Martin (300/1)
  • Sang-Moon Bae (250/1)

I will say that if anybody could break that mold it would be Reed, whose fiery behavior and competitiveness reminds me of John McEnroe. But for now, I’ll stick with the numbers and the odds.

I also eliminated the players who missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open this week, because historically the odds of a player missing the cut the previous week and winning the next week are extremely slim. Furthermore, the Golf Club of Houston plays similarly to Augusta. Last year there were nine players who were not previously filtered out that missed the cut at Houston. Of those nine players, only five of them made the cut and the best finish was a T20 by Ian Poulter.

If a player did not play well at Houston, the odds are that they will not play well at a similar style of course like Augusta National. Those five players include:

  • Angel Cabrera (80/1)
  • Joost Luiten (205/1)
  • Lee Westwood (45/1)
  • Louis Oosthuizen (50/1)
  • Martin Kaymer (65/1)

Another key metric at Augusta is long approach shots, which I call “Red Zone” play. The Red Zone are approach shots from 175-225 yards. Last year, there were nine players on my list of weak Red Zone performers. The best finish came from John Huh, who finished T11. Let’s rule out these 15 players because of their poor Red Zone play, which again, is critical at Augusta:

  • Bill Haas (80/1)
  • Charl Schwartzel (80/1)
  • Charley Hoffman (250/1)
  • Geoff Ogilvy (300/1)
  • Hunter Mahan (100/1)
  • Ian Poulter (80/1)
  • Jamie Donaldson (125/1)
  • John Senden (250/1)
  • Jonas Blixt (150/1)
  • Luke Donald (100/1)
  • Marc Leishman (200/1)
  • Matt Every (250/1)
  • Phil Mickelson (20/1)
  • Russell Henley (125/1)
  • Sergio Garcia (40/1)

There are some big surprises involved with that list of players. This includes former winners Charl Schwartzel and Phil Mickelson, who currently rank 194th and 134th (out of 206 players) respectively from the Red Zone. Typically good approach shot player Luke Donald ranks 198th, and Sergio Garcia currently ranks 205th out of 206 from the Red Zone. While those rankings can change dramatically when the season is finished, it is clear that these players are currently having major issues on those long approach shots.

Lastly, I have started a new metric this season, as I have noticed that there is some correlation between performance on straight-away par-4’s and the Masters performance. Essentially, I have measured a scoring average for players on the straight-away par-4’s and adjusted that scoring average based on the hole’s difficulty. The five players left on the list who have struggled on straight-away par-4’s this season are:

  • Ernie Els (150/1)
  • Padraig Harrington (150/1)
  • Justin Rose (40/1)
  • Webb Simpson (150/1)
  • Gary Woodland (125/1)

Finally, we are down to the 22 players that the numbers show can win at Augusta. They include:

  • Adam Scott (20/1)
  • Bill Horschel (70/1)
  • Brandt Snedeker (40/1)
  • Bubba Watson (10/1)
  • Chris Kirk (150/1)
  • Dustin Johnson (12/1)
  • Henrik Stenson (20/1)
  • Hideki Matsuyama (60/1)
  • Jason Day (12/1)
  • J.B. Holmes (35/1)
  • Jimmy Walker (18/1)
  • Jordan Spieth (8/1)
  • Keegan Bradley (60/1)
  • Kevin Streelman (150/1)
  • Matt Kuchar (30/1)
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez (150/1)
  • Paul Casey (70/1)
  • Rickie Fowler (30/1)
  • Rory McIlroy (8/1)
  • Ryan Moore (60/1)
  • Ryan Palmer (80/1)
  • Vijay Singh (125/1)

Of those 22 players, here are my top-10 picks to win the Masters:

  • Rory McIlroy (8/1)
  • Jordan Spieth (8/1)
  • Bubba Watson (10/1)
  • Jason Day (12/1)
  • Dustin Johnson (12/1)
  • Adam Scott (20/1)
  • Jimmy Walker (18/1)
  • J.B. Holmes (35/1)
  • Hideki Matsuyama (60/1)
  • Paul Casey (70/1)

*Odds from VegasInsider.com. For a list of updated Masters Odds, click here

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Richie Hunt is a statistician whose clients include PGA Tour players, their caddies and instructors in order to more accurately assess their games. He is also the author of the recently published e-book, 2018 Pro Golf Synopsis; the Moneyball Approach to the Game of Golf. He can be reached at ProGolfSynopsis@yahoo.com or on Twitter @Richie3Jack. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: March 2014 Purchase 2017 Pro Golf Synopsis E-book for $10

67 Comments

67 Comments

  1. Jimmy W

    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    When do you plan on releasing the 2016 version of this? Always love your write up.

  2. Brian

    Apr 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Well, thank you sir. With your information I won my masters pool at work. Brilliant! Please do this again next year!

  3. John

    Apr 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Which two do you like over the weekend out of this group: Woods, Haas, Moore, Matsuyama, Blixt, Sergio?

  4. Stormy

    Apr 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks much for the article Rich, very interesting and compelling. Do you have any clue how nagging Hideki Matsuyama’s wrist injury is?

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Not sure. His ballstriking is still really great. I have him ranked 2nd in Driving Effectiveness right now and 7th in Red Zone play. Last year his biggest woes was his Short Game play around the green, but this year he’s 34th. I don’t know when the wrist injury occurred, but it doesn’t appear to be bothering him too much. Phenomenal talent.

  5. Jordan

    Apr 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Rich that was one of the best articles I’ve ever read and great insight behind the numbers, I understand your top 10, Casey being your dark horse, and Rory your pick to win. But who’s the other 3 that make your top 5?

  6. Andrew

    Apr 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Richie- What do you think of Lee Westwood this week. He’s been a top-10 machine at ANGC. I know he missed the cut last week but -2 in tough conditions (close to the cut) but that doesn’t seem to indicate he really struggled. If you hadn’t cut him for missing the cut, how would he have performed in the other metrics you use to predict this week?

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I really liked Westwood, although his data is limited this year. He performed well from the Red Zone and straight-away par-4’s. But, he missed the cut at Houston which is too problematic to overcome. Wouldn’t be surprised if he records a top-10 finish, but winning isn’t very likely.

  7. gpo613

    Apr 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I love the analysis. I am a huge math guy myself. One interesting stat I found this week is that only 2 players have finished in the Top 20 in the last 5 Masters. Adam Scott and Fred Couples.

    Doesn’t mean much but interesting.

    Even though it goes against the stats the guy I don’t believe in this week is Holmes.

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 9, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Holmes has played this year in interesting style. His Red Zone performance is poor 146th, but he’s rarely in the Red Zone except on the par-3’s. He just hits it too far to be in the Red Zone on the par-4’s. I was going to filter him out, but his performance at Houston changed that. Still, I think he could have issues on the par-3’s and #13 and #15 if his drive ends up with 175-225 yards to the hole. But, I’ve talked to some of the Vegas odds makers and in golf, the hot hand is very important.

  8. Kevin

    Apr 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

    If you have watched much golf on TV this season, the players in the final list of favorites are the ones who would have passed the eye ball test for having a great chance this week as well. Barring some anomaly, whoever putts the best of the favorites will probably win.

  9. Martin

    Apr 8, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I think the analysis is pretty good, I picked Day in my pool.

  10. Ian

    Apr 8, 2015 at 6:05 am

    PSA: the year Zach Johnson won was windy and cold (eliminating the distance advantage of the bombers). Or you can waste your time and read all 50+ posts below saying the same thing.

  11. T

    Apr 7, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    It’s cute when you guys point to Zach or Weir as a way to disprove logic. The article is based on statistics and trends, not the anomalies. Those of you trolling should write your own article with your top 20, based on the seat of your pants then narrow it to a top 10 picks based on past winners and long shots, I’m sure you will get lucky once every 5-10 years.

    I’ll stick to statistics which have worked 2 years in a row and have something more than an opinion to back them up.

    Thanks for the well written article Rich.

    • devlin

      Apr 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

      This is really good statistical research. However these statistics do not take into account other variables such as weather, player emotional and physical state, players preparation, tee off selection, player partner selection.
      I will state I am not surprised at how the list was achieved.
      With the exception of Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson not being part of the top 22.
      I am surprised at some of the people on that list though; Jimmy Walker, and Henrik Stenson don’t appear to have the belief that they can win at Augusta, from the sound bites and interviews that i’ve heard. Miguel and Vijay do not have the finishing ability or conditioning to win. Kevin Streelman, Ryan Moore and Ryan Palmer shouldn’t even be on the top 22 list, regardless of the stats., in my opinion. Hedeki is injured and he’s too new to the Masters he might need a few more years but should not be on this list this year.
      But that’s the interesting thing about statistics, they can be used to prove or disprove anything.
      Good Read though!

  12. Jeff

    Apr 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Zach Johnson definitely too short to finish well at Augusta.

  13. Pulley

    Apr 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Excellent article Rich! However Victor Dubuisson will finish in the top 5 and probably win it all.

  14. Kevin

    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:50 am

    really fun article, well-written, and the stat approach was interesting! you mention you picked Bubba last year, so who is your top pick this year based on all information you have gathered?

  15. jedidiahs mom

    Apr 7, 2015 at 8:54 am

    richie what are the odds of you looking your cutest on Thursday?

  16. James

    Apr 7, 2015 at 7:50 am

    A great read with some interesting points. In my humble opinion, I’m surprised there was no metric mentioned regarding chipping or putting, particularly as we’re talking about Augusta, but nevertheless an enjoyable read!

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 7, 2015 at 9:19 am

      James – ANGC is a course about hitting GIR. 9 of the last 10 winners hit at least 50 GIR’s and the one that didn’t, Charl Schwartzel, hit 49 GIR in his victory. This is not typical of a lot of courses where there may be a wide range of GIR by the winners over the years. Usually the courses where hitting a lot of GIR’s is needed is usually low scoring events like Las Vegas or Palm Springs. But the Masters is not a low scoring event and since you have to hit a ton of GIR’s to win, it shows that putting has far less effect than people think. That’s how guys that are typically below average putters like Bubba, Adam Scott, Cabrera, etc play well at ANGC.

      The numbers suggest that inside 20-feet at ANGC there are a lot of putts to be made. The issue is outside 20-feet as there are likely a lot of 3-putts to be made. So the better ballstrikers tend to win here and if you’re missing greens, it’s likely going to be a difficult up-and-down from any position due to it being difficult to get close to the hole.

      I think the greens have a large impact on 1st time invitees given Zoeller is the only person to win there and that was nearly 35 years ago. But for the rest of the field that gets to experience the greens there probably is not a great deviation in putting performance and the greater deviation results from getting the approach shot close to the hole.

  17. Ev

    Apr 7, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Love the article, I don’t like to pick winners in the Masters. I’ve gone for Jimmy Walker finishing in top 20 at evens

  18. Simz

    Apr 7, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Brilliant! Thanks for this. I feel this is a well structured and articulated piece, and although most of your final picks fall into the “common” pool, the stats justify it. But a question Rich
    1) Given the weather forecast (rainy, storms predicted for Thurs – Sat) – How does this affect the picks? Maybe a chance for the shorter hitters / good scramblers
    2) No putting metric to help with more filtering?

    Thanks again

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

      a) Wind tends to help the shorter players with good wedge games in general. Zach Johnson won at ANGC in a terribly cold and windy 4-days. I have done research on players that perform better (with regards to where they rank in an event) when the wind is up and typically good wedge players with slightly downward attack angles with the driver and a little more conservative off the tee tend to do better. As far as rain goes, I have yet to do research on that. I would think that would favor the long hitter (think Daly at Crooked Stick) and the short hitter that is excellent from the Red Zone (i.e. Weir when he won). So screwy weather conditions may favor a player more like Chris Kirk or Ryan Moore.

      b)

  19. Gary Gutful

    Apr 7, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Bet large and bet often.

    I’m going to put a shyteload on Day.

  20. Jake Anderson

    Apr 7, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Very interesting – great article! Just one question out of curiosity: How did you determine that Vijay Singh was not well past his competitive prime so that you did not rule him out initially? Is this due to his stats on the PGA-Tour this season? For example approach play from the Red Zone?

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 7, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Yes. Vijay is 6th in Red Zone play so far this year. He also played well at Riviera (t-12th) which has a moderate correlation to performance at ANGC. I believe the Red Zone shots at Riviera are similar to the type of Red Zone shots at ANGC and that’s why there is a correlation between performance there earlier in the year and performance at the Masters.

  21. AC930

    Apr 7, 2015 at 1:51 am

    Great article and insight….. but I’m not going to write off Tiger like so many are doing right now. Does anyone remember the 14 majors? He may have looked like he was trying to play left handed a few months ago, but he will wake up and intimidate again.

    • Rich

      Apr 7, 2015 at 9:20 am

      I think you need to wake up dude…………

  22. RG

    Apr 6, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    To all the mouth breathers-It’s called math. Yes Rich used numbers and, OMG, formulas to give what is called a “statistical analysis.” Now I know many of you don’t “believe” in scientific mumbo jumbo, so this article is not for you.
    To Rich,
    Don’t worry about comments you see in this forum. People on here are convinced that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and there’s no scientific gobbly goop that can change it.

  23. JHM

    Apr 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    great article – hope you are right – I got 3 of your top 21 and 2 of your top 10 with pretty good odds from Ceasars

  24. marcel

    Apr 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    if Bubba does not win then the other guy can be whoever!

  25. michael

    Apr 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Before reading the article i had Keegan and Kuchar penciled in as my picks. I think at 60 to 1 Bradley is good odds for a wager.

  26. KT

    Apr 6, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Rich – so who’s your pick to win it?

  27. Gubment Cheez

    Apr 6, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    It’s a limited field with a bunch of over the hill former winners and a lot of amateurs that couldn’t shoot in the 60s at the John Deere.
    Augusta thinks it’s too good for golf
    It’s a cool looking course but by far it’s the worst tournament of the year
    Why anyone really cares about this is beyond me.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Gubment — Have you ever been to Augusta?

      • Gubment Cheez

        Apr 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm

        Yea once when I first got into golf

  28. Joey.

    Apr 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Richie also thinks that the greens at Augusta are easier to putt than other courses on tour. I’d say that’s enough to discredit any of his opinions/ “statistical analyses”

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      What can be discredited is you have completely misrepresented what I’ve said in a desperate move to make yourself sound correct. The data shows that the make percentages inside 20-feet at ANGC are fairly high and that the 3-putt %’s are also high. Faster greens on Tour by and large have the highest make %’s and depending on the size of the greens…have the highest 3-putt %’s. I was told that this could not possibly be true and I showed example after example of this where the slower greens (i.e. Pebble, Riviera, Torrey Pines, etc) had low make %’s while the faster greens like Congressional, TPC Boston, and Valhalla had some of the higher make %’s. Until you provide any actual evidence suggesting otherwise, it’s hard to take your claims with more than a grain of salt.

  29. Joakim

    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Henrik Stenson should be in top 10

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 7, 2015 at 9:29 am

      I thought about it, but Stenson’s game is really about driving (typically). Last season he was excellent from the Red Zone (5th), this year he’s been very good. The issue I see for him is that ANGC isn’t a course where you’re going to gain a lot of strokes on the field by hitting 300 yard drives down the middle. It won’t hurt, but you have to worry about guys like Bubba, DJ, Holmes, etc. that can simply bomb it out there as far as they can and still end up with a shot at the green from a closer distance. I wouldn’t scoff at anybody picking Stenson, I just think that there are players that fit into ANGC better than he does.

  30. Jadon

    Apr 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Yes Mike Weir has a green jacket but his play on tour has been less than stellar for the past 3 years.

  31. Matt

    Apr 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Haha sorry but I laughed when I saw Paul Casey…dude’s driving accuracy is 110th.

    All things considered Bubba’s in the 140’s but we’ve all seen the filthy shots he can hit from the rough!

  32. Sam

    Apr 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    In reply to Ed,
    When Zach won in ’07 the weather was less than ideal. The course was playing soft and so the longer hitters couldn’t take advantage of the par 5s. So a great wedge player like Zach had no disadvantage laying up on par 5s. Unless the course plays soft it’s unlikely for a short player to prevail

  33. Ross

    Apr 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    This is a Par 5 championship, the golfer with the least stokes taken on the 16 par 5s will be triumphant.

  34. Jafar

    Apr 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Sorry but your stats are a horrible way to pick the winner. Just because you said Bubba Watson would win doesn’t mean your formula worked.

    Brooks Koepka, Zach Johnson,Angel Cabrera, Jonas Blixt, are all very capable of winning.

    The only pick I like of yours is JB Holmes, but the rest is just a list of the Top 10 in the world, nothing too bold there, any of those guys can win any tournament.

    The questions is can you pick someone that no one expects?

    If I had to pick 4 people that not many would expect, they’d be: Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson , Patrick Reed, Cameron Tringale.

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      My list in the previous year (I’ve only done it for the past 2 years) had Adam Scott who won it that year as well. Correlation does not imply causation, but we are trying to determine the *likelihood* of winning an event based on past data. There has only been one 1st time invitee to win at ANGC which shows a relationship between experience of playing Augusta and winning. The odds of winning at ANGC despite missing the cut the week before are extremely unlikely which eliminates Cabrera. I don’t believe Blixt is a good fit for ANGC given his weak ballstriking. And as far as one ‘nobody expects’, I did list Paul Casey who would be in my top-5 picks. The numbers really like Casey this year.

      • Jafar

        Apr 8, 2015 at 10:52 am

        Yah I saw your Paul Casey pick as being someone who know ones expects to win.

        I will keep my eye out for his name on the leaderboard.

  35. AllBOdoesisgolf

    Apr 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    the fact that Tiger is 20/1 is laughable

  36. Dan

    Apr 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I wonder what odds the bookies would give to take the field against your 21 players?
    I personally like your list but you’d have to agree that the stats don’t show everything!

    • Rich Hunt

      Apr 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      I agree, statistics do not show everything. But, statisticians do not create statistics with the goal in mind of showing everything because they know that more often than not it is impossible to do so. So their goal is to use historical data, trends, correlations, variances, etc. to help provide a more accurate understanding instead of a *perfect* understanding.

      For ANGC, unless the weather conditions change dramatically, hitting it high, hitting it long, hitting it well from 175-225 yards and having experience playing ANGC fall right in line with the players most likely to play well.

  37. Matt

    Apr 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    too short to play well at Augusta?? Zach Johnson won the event?? Very confused

    • Ed

      Apr 6, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      I kind of thought the same thing when I read that as Zach J was going to be one of my picks

      • Jm

        Apr 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        The year z johnson won was a year when weather and conditions played a big factor and eliminated some of the advantages that players who hit it long and high typically have at Augusta National

      • Matt

        Apr 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

        If I recall correctly, ZJ won in ’07 during a very windy weekend. Plus he can’t putt for sheeeeeit.

        • Rich Hunt

          Apr 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

          It was not only a windy weekend, it was record low temps. At the time I was living in Atlanta and the temps were in the 40’s with the wind. This made it extremely difficult to reach #13 and #15 in two shots and thus players had to lay-up on those holes and get into a wedge contest with Zach.

          • Keith

            Apr 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

            That was my one and only Masters. I did not pack appropriately and had to buy a long sleeve pullover so I didn’t freeze to death! Ian Poulter wore really pink pants and patent leather pink shoes on Sunday…not sure why I remember that.

    • Jason

      Apr 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      He did win it once but overall his average finish is 37, with 5 missed cuts in 11 starts I can see how he missed the top 21.

    • Guantanemo

      Apr 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      The thing you have to realize is, the year Zach Johnson won, temperatures at Augusta were at historic lows, so the longer hitters weren’t able to take advantage of their length to reach the greens in two in par 5s. That’s why Zach, who was so deadly accurate with his wedges, was able to take advantage of the longer hitters’ disadvantage and score low on those holes. You have to realize that Augusta is a course that absolutely favors longer hitters under normal conditions, so the “too short to play well” is in fact a crucial metric.

    • SJ

      Apr 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Pretty sure Mike Weir is even shorter than Zach, and misses more fairways. Last time I checked I he has a green jacket in his closet as well.

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Podcasts

TG2: Knudson’s new driver and boutique vs. big manufacturer clubs

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New SIM Max driver is finally here and Knudson tosses an old faithful shaft in it. New irons should show up this week and talk about how clubs from “boutique” companies stack up against the big manufacturers.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: TrackMan’s Tour Operations Manager Lance Vinson Part 1 of 2

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with TrackMans Lance Vinson on an all things TrackMan and its presence on Tour. It’s such a deep dive that they needed two shows to cover it all.

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An open letter to golf

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Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

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