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The 23 Players Who Can Win The Masters



Last year, I created a filter to help predict the golfers that were most likely to win the Masters. I got the list down to 23 players. In the end, eight of the top-10 finishers were on that list of 23 players that included the eventual winner Adam Scott and runner-up Angel Cabrera.

Before I discuss my picks of this year’s Masters, 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 versus the field, as well as where the greatest deviation in score exists. Going into last year, the critical holes were Nos. 7, 12, 15, 17 and 18. However, after last year, the data is trending differently and now the critical holes are Nos. 7, 12, 13 and 18. With the Eisenhower Tree and some other trees down after the winter storms this year, I would suspect that No. 17 will be easier and it may be a long time before the 17th is a critical hole at the Masters again. Either way, I would watch out for this new set of critical holes as the tournament goes along.

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

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick (amateur)
  • Oliver Goss (amateur)
  • Chang-Woo Lee (amateur)
  • Michael McCoy (amateur)
  • Jordan Niebrugge (amateur)
  • Garrick Porteous (amateur)
  • Fred Couples (past champion)
  • Ben Crenshaw (past champion)
  • Bernhard Langer (past champion)
  • Sandy Lyle (past champion)
  • Mark O’Meara (past champion)
  • Larry Mize (past champion)
  • Jose Maria Olazabal (past champion)
  • Craig Stadler (past champion)
  • Tom Watson (past champion)
  • Mike Weir (past champion)
  • Ian Woosnam (past champion)

I also eliminated any first time invitees, as the only first time invitee to ever win at Augusta was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

  • Jonas Blixt
  • Steven Bowditch
  • Roberto Castro
  • Brendon de Jonge
  • Graham DeLaet
  • Victor Dubuisson
  • Harris English
  • Derek Ernst
  • Matt Every
  • Steven Gallacher
  • Billy Horschel
  • Matt Jones
  • Chris Kirk
  • Joost Luiten
  • Patrick Reed
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Kevin Stadler
  • Jimmy Walker

I will say that this group of 1st time invitees is one of the strongest in recent memory with golfers like Bowditch, DeLaet, English, Ernst, Every, Horschel, Jones, Kirk, Reed, Spieth, Stadler and Walker all appearing to be good fits for Augusta National. So, if there is ever a year where somebody may break the first time invitee curse, this is it.

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. Those players include:

  • Darren Clarke
  • Peter Hanson
  • Trevor Immelman
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Martin Kaymer
  • Louis Oosthuizen
  • Ian Poulter
  • Scott Stallings
  • Kevin Streelman

I also eliminated John Senden, as he has only made the cut once in three tries Augusta and the odds of winning go way down for golfers that have struggled to make the cut at the course.

I also filtered out the European and Asian players on which I do not have substantial data:

  • Francesco Molinari
  • Thongchai Jaidee
  • Thomas Bjorn
  • Jamie Donaldson
  • Thorbjorn Olesen

Over the past 10 years, Augusta National has heavily favored longer hitters that hit the ball high and well from what I call ‘”The Danger Zone.” The Danger Zone is all approach shots from 175-to-225 yards, and it is biggest key to Augusta National, because without quality Danger Zone play at the Masters the golfer will not be successful.

While Augusta National is known for its greens, the make percentage on putts is fairly high from inside 15 feet; likely due to the excellent putting surfaces. The real difficulty on the greens at Augusta is from longer than 20 feet away. Between the undulations and the super-fast green speed, it becomes a task to not three-putt the long ones at Augusta. The big reason why long hitters do so well at Augusta now is that the course plays like a par 68 for them, and that allows them to get away with putting worse. So, if a player is not long, they had better bring good putting and Danger Zone play with them.

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

  • Tim Clark
  • Jim Furyk
  • Zach Johnson
  • David Lynn
  • KJ Choi

While Zach Johnson is a previous champion, he also won in a year where there were record low temperatures. This helped Johnson because the longer hitters could not play the par-5’s like a par-4 and that shifted the advantage toward him and his excellent wedge play. Unless there are either cold or wet conditions, I highly doubt the players I just listed stand much of a chance of winning.

I’ve also taken out the low-ball hitters off my list of potential winners. They include:

  • Sang-Moon Bae
  • Jason Dufner
  • Ken Duke
  • Branden Grace
  • Miguel Jimenez
  • Matteo Manassero
  • Graeme McDowell
  • D.A. Points
  • Boo Weekley
  • Y.E. Yang

That leads me to filtering out the last group of players who have struggled from the Danger Zone this year. They are:

  • Lucas Glover
  • Ernie Els
  • Rickie Fowler
  • Bill Haas
  • Russell Henley
  • John Huh
  • Ryan Moore
  • Webb Simpson
  • Lee Westwood

That leaves me with the 23 players who can win the Masters. They are listed alphabetically.

  1. Keegan Bradley
  2. Angel Cabrera
  3. Stewart Cink
  4. Jason Day
  5. Luke Donald
  6. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
  7. Sergio Garcia
  8. Matt Kuchar
  9. Marc Leishman
  10. Hunter Mahan
  11. Hideki Matsuyama
  12. Rory McIlroy
  13. Phil Mickelson
  14. Justin Rose
  15. Charl Schwartzel
  16. Adam Scott
  17. Vijay Singh
  18. Brandt Snedeker
  19. Henrik Stenson
  20. Steve Stricker
  21. Nick Watney
  22. Bubba Watson
  23. Gary Woodland

Of those 23 players, here are my top-10 picks to win The Masters:

  • Rory McIlroy (9/1)*
  • Adam Scott (9/1)
  • Phil Mickelson (11/1)
  • Jason Day (14/1)
  • Matt Kuchar (20/1)
  • Bubba Watson (25/1)
  • Justin Rose (28/1)
  • Brandt Snedeker (33/1)
  • Keegan Bradley (33/1)
  • Marc Leishman (100/1)

*Odds from Bovada accurate as of 4/7/14 at 11 a.m.

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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 [email protected] or on Twitter @Richie3Jack. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: March 2014 Purchase 2017 Pro Golf Synopsis E-book for $10



  1. In Ly Nhua Nap Cau

    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Very informative and interesting article. Well done.

    Love Leishman as a surprise pick.

  2. mua c?n h? safira khang ?i?n

    Aug 25, 2018 at 4:13 am

    Very informative and interesting article. Well done.
    Love Leishman as a surprise pick.

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    • c?n h? sapphire

      Jul 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      thought this was a great read and the more i read it the more i liked it . this week its so falling to place that rory ,phil and adam scott are the three to watch but if you want a hint of form –bradley ,scott and big phil are the three that you should take a dart and stick the wage packet on one of them

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  6. Bubba W., Orlando

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Great performances by Spieth, Blixt, Kuchar and Langer

    • Bubba W., Orlando

      Apr 14, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      btw, isnt it amazing to see Langer and Couples still doing so well against the young guns?

  7. DavePelz4

    Apr 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Technically, there have been 3 first time winners. Horton Smith won the very first Invitational tournament held at ANGC. Gene Sarazen also was a winner in his first tournament.

  8. cole

    Apr 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Nice Top tens. Picking three of ten seems good to me!

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks. The winner was more important to me. The editor, Zak, asked me who I had and I picked Bubba.

      I also stated that I thought this was the best group of 1st time invitees we had since I can remember. I think the 1st time invitee curse is mostly due to the hoopla and hysteria of going to the Masters for the first time. Even if you’ve played the course before, the actual tournament is a different story. I think the other part behind the curse is that there is a lot of pressure of winning the Masters for the first time combined with the likelihood of it being your first major championship victory.

  9. bigbadbullfrog

    Apr 11, 2014 at 11:38 am

    “Keegan Bradley has a major under his belt. I think he has more than the stomach for it. In fact, I think he screams ‘GET IN MY BELLY!’” SMH. He’s saying ‘get in my belly’ to the weekend breakfast special at Waffle House because he certainly isn’t making the cut.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      And Zach Johnson doesn’t appear to be making the cut either. The main point is that saying Keegan doesn’t have the stomach to win a major…..and he’s already won a major doesn’t make much sense.

  10. Dennis

    Apr 9, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Very solid list. Sure the winner is in.
    I will follow the frenchie Dubuisson, he was just amazing at the WGC Matchplay Championship.

  11. Kevin McGarrahan

    Apr 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I would not count out Patrick Reed. Although it is his first time at the Masters, it is not his first time playing Augusta National. He attended Augusta State University and played some of his collegiate golf at Augusta. That gives him a large advantage over all the other first timers.

    • Rich

      Apr 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Yes it certainly seemed to help him…………………….

    • brad

      May 1, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Honestly I don’t see him as a fixture. I think he’ll play well every few years, but then remain in that 60-70 bracket in the world ranks. Attitude is everything, and he lacks it. He did play well for a few weeks though.

  12. Denis Larkin

    Apr 9, 2014 at 6:33 am

    thought this was a great read and the more i read it the more i liked it . this week its so falling to place that rory ,phil and adam scott are the three to watch but if you want a hint of form –bradley ,scott and big phil are the three that you should take a dart and stick the wage packet on one of them .

  13. Tony Peace

    Apr 9, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Well,you’ve eliminated my 4 picks of Zach,Ricky,Ernie & Trev Immelmann. Interesting to see how you fare. Good luck.

  14. baljit

    Apr 9, 2014 at 12:52 am

    The guy condemning Rory clearly has not seen him hit balls in person.

    Striking out the first timers based on tournament history sounds logical. but looking at the qualities of the first timers in field, Im not surprised if one of them wins

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

      I do think that this is the best 1-time invitee group of golfers we have had in a long time. It wouldn’t shock me if a player won, but it’s historically been difficult to win the first time playing any event on Tour. Particularly the Masters.

      • baljit

        Apr 30, 2014 at 9:45 am

        and two newbies nearly won it…i rest my case

  15. LMB

    Apr 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I get the way you did this list, but you have Vijay Singh on there with a chance to win but not Bernhard Langer? IMHO Bernhard is a much more solid/consistant player and would probably wipe the floor with Vijay if they were competing in matchplay.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 9, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Vijay hits it higher and longer. He is also striking the ball quite well this year, particularly from 175-225 yards.

      • LMB

        Apr 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        Langer T-8…..Vijay???? No where to be seen. I rest my case.

  16. Nagar

    Apr 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Good article. I feel Jason Day has a huge chance in winning. He has been near or near a bouts for 3 years now and is due for a major win.

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  18. Rob

    Apr 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    No love for Dufner? He may not win, but I’d bet on a top 10 finish for the Dufman.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

      2nd lowest trajectory on Tour. Also plays a fade. Love him as a player, but Augusta is a tough fit for him.

  19. PBGS

    Apr 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Luke Donald is considered long enough?

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 9, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Not just based off distance, but club head speed. Luke is generating about 111 to 112 mph of club head speed. Trajectory is so important at ANGC and Luke has enough speed and hits it high. He’s borderline, but since he’s played very well in the past, I gave him the nod.

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  21. Mathieu

    Apr 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    very interesting, thanks,
    any thoughts on Dubuisson, even if he’s never played Augusta?

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 9, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Good driver of the ball that excels from 125-175 yard shots (ranked #1 on Tour). But poor from the Danger Zone (142nd) mainly because he has struggled to keep those shots in the fairway. He could stand a good chance here because he’s 8th in shots from the fairway and the rough at ANGC is negligible. Has putted terribly this year (174th in Putts Gained)

      • Mathieu

        Apr 11, 2014 at 2:00 am

        I guess he’s learning how to play in the USA. I think stats don’t count for him this year he’s improving every week, espacially on putting (slower greens in europe), we’ll see then. thanks

  22. Javier

    Apr 8, 2014 at 6:10 am

    A very reasonable list, I like it.
    Agree with you; Rory, Mickelson and Scott are the favorites, but I’d love that any of the Spaniards win the tournament, specially Sergio or Jimenez.

  23. Kyle

    Apr 8, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Not sure how the weathers going to be but i seen on the news yesterdays practice rounds were cancelled due to storms, Would you say the wetter weather will play into other players hands vs certain others?

    Anyone any idea about if Jason Days hand is ok? Nick Faldo mentioned he had injured it yesterday

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 8, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Depends on how wet it gets. If it makes for the greens to be softer, then the shorter hitters that strike their long approach shots well (i.e. Zach) have more of a chance. If it is soaked and the ball is not rolling off the tee, then it could start to favor their longer hitters because they can carry it further.

  24. Joel

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    In my humble opinion, I believe at ANGC, the “danger zone” should be differentiated between 175-200 and 200-225. A player could be pretty average from 200-225(Bubba Watson) but solid from 175ish and win. The same goes for Lee Westwood, and even though he’s not as long as Bubba, I think he plays to his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to 200+ approaches. Also, for what it’s worth, Zach Johnson is ahead of both Kuchar and Snedeker in regards to distance in 2014. I like him over both of those guys. That being said, 8 out of 10 on this list is flat out amazing.

    • Joel

      Apr 7, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Sorry for the duplicate entries there. For some reason my 1st comment didnt show up for several hours. I suppose I’m REALLY pushing for Zach Johnson.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 8, 2014 at 9:01 am

      When I examine courses and what approach shots have the most strokes gained/lost from I actually look at it in 25-yard increments instead of 50-yard increments. Both 175-200 yards and 200-225 yards are where a lot of strokes are lost and gained. Not only on the par-4’s and par-3’s, but on the par-5’s. So if a long hitter like Bubba bombs one on a par-5 and has 215 yards into the hole, it doesn’t do him much good if he can’t execute from 215 yards.

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  26. Sky

    Apr 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I think it’s a very solid list. I would call Kuchar a shorter hitter and a low ball hitter though.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Thanks, Sky. I base short hitting not only on distance, but club head speed. I base low ball hitting based on what the Max Height averages reported from ShotLink. Kuchar is not terribly short nor does he hit it terribly low. I will say like Luke Donald, he’s on the borderline (Donald actually hits it high). But given his success here in the past in good weather conditions and his recent play I put him on the list.

  27. Nick Boyd

    Apr 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Fred Couples seems to be in the mix every year on sunday, thats the one that sticks out to me as a booboo. Interesting process of elimination and good read overall!

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 8, 2014 at 1:21 am

      My issue with Freddie is I don’t think his back would hold up.

      • Nick Boyd

        Apr 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm

        Its Augusta – Freddy lives for Augusta

    • Jack Michaels

      Apr 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      I agree. Couples’ history at Augusta is so stella in recent years, plus his form on the Champions Tour has been great. At the 175/1 I got I think that Freddy is a solid each way bet.

  28. leftright

    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I’ll give you your 10 and take the rest for $100. Please email me if you want the bet and anyone else who wants the bet I’ll take it. You take Rich’s 10 and I’ll take the rest.

    • leftright

      Apr 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      I only made this comment to be sort of in your face because it is going to be real wet this year it seems. Brings many others into play. Personally I hop Phil wins…ABT.

    • Jason

      Apr 9, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Ill take the bet of his top 23 Vs Field. 10 vs 80 is a little lopsided.

  29. Joel

    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Maybe I’m a dork but I love this stuff, and 8 out of 10 is incredible. If I can play devils advocate, it seems to me that there are players where “Danger Zone” avoidance is more important than danger zone play. Westwood and Watson are two that come to mind. Is it possible the sample size is smaller for them because they’re aware of this weakness? Both struggle from 200-225 but neither often leave themselves that far out(on 4’s or 5’s at Augusta.) It seems obvious but I wonder if Bubba had the fewest “danger zone” attempts two years ago. You have Zach Johnson listed as “too short” but he actually leads Snedeker and Kuchar in driving distance in 2014-I think he’s got a legitimate shot. For a longshot, and I know his putting can be sketchy, but I like Woodland. I have no statistics to back it up either:)

  30. Kevin

    Apr 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I really liked this article, a great way to look at this topic.

    My one question is, why didn’t Luke Donald fall into your “too short” category? I don’t feel he’s any longer than the others you mentioned. His average finish in driving distance is in the high 160s or low 170s, so there’s only like 10 guys on the PGA Tour each year who, on average, hit their drives shorter than him.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I measure ‘too short’ not only on distance, but based on club head speed. Donald also hits the ball much higher. He’s really on the borderline, but since he has played well at ANGC in the past, I kept him in the top-23

  31. west

    Apr 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Whaaaaat?!?! Making predictions like this are “speculative” at best. Sports, especially golf, has soooo many factors you couldn’t possibly factor or weigh them all in a way that might contribute to making an accurate prediction. Can’t wait to see how things turn out this week. You’re playing the lotto here, and my only prediction is that someone will win that is not on your top ten list…

    • west

      Apr 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Did the Final Four teach you nothing this year? 😉

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      There are many common trends that and statistical probabilities that favor certain types of players on each course on Tour. Your odds of seeing somebody like Tim Clark win here are very slim. Yet, a course like Sawgrass will play much more into his favor and is why he has won there. Last year, 8 of the top-10 finishers were in my final 23. The only players that were not were Jason Day (bad Danger Zone play) and Thorbjorn Olesen (a European player I have no data on).

      • Keith

        Apr 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

        Day is 16th on the Fed Ex Cup and Won the World Cup and the World Matchplay? How is that in the Danger Zone.

  32. John

    Apr 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Very informative and interesting article. Well done.

    Love Leishman as a surprise pick.

    • Mx

      Apr 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Not really a surprise as he has already played extremely well at augusta. Can’t remember what year it was though. I would never rule out DJ, Poulter and, after last years performance, Thorbjorn Olesen.

      • John

        Apr 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        his odds are 100/1 to win. I’d call that a surprise if he did.

  33. Dude McDude

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

    “They are, in no particular order”

    Except they are in alphabetical order…

  34. Jamie Kennedy

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

    FYI – Senden has made the cut. He finished T35th last year.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      You know what? You’re right. When I was looking at his past history on Wikipedia, I got the columns screwed up. I think he stands a chance since he is a good Danger Zone player (shots from 150+ yards), but his record at ANGC has not been good.

  35. nikkyd

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Rory mcilroy has got to be the most over rated young player on tour. And a whiner at best.

    • T

      Apr 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

      do you have any stats to back that up??? Seeing as this is an article about statistics…not ridiculous intangibles…regardless how is a two time major winner before the age of 24 overrated?

      • Pudo

        Apr 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

        Word! Rors is Top Notch material! If he was a Yankee he’d be your man all day long.! Wake the f**k up Nikkyd!

    • Jacob

      Apr 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

      2 Majors championships is over-rated? You have very high standards sir.

    • Sean Edwards

      Apr 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Overrated? Two majors, and three wins in 4 weeks? Overrated?? He has more talent in his pinky than half of the tour players. Quit making ignorant statements with no evidence to back it up. Go Rory!!!

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      He’s won 2 majors including a blow-out victory at the US Open and won the PGA decisively. He was leading the Masters in decisive fashion until blowing up on the final day. And then he did the interview afterward despite being heartbroken (he had yet to have won a major at that time) and handled the interview as professionally and as maturely as anybody I have ever seen. And he’s only 24 years old. He hasn’t been perfect in his behavior, but he has acted very maturely, kindly and in general I find him to be a terrific representative of the game of golf.

    • Craig Peckham

      Apr 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

      I have said this for a while about Rory McIlroy; he has only won primarily in ‘soft’ conditions. As Tiger once said about Rory, he will win more when he learns the nuances of the game. If it rains before or during the Masters week and the wind stays down, look for Rory to be in contention (Top 5), otherwise I don’t think he will be in the Top 10. He simply doesn’t have the variety of shots, or doesn’t have the confidence yet to use when called for. As for Mr. Richie Hunt, I am surprised that in your statistical analysis you didn’t factor in age. Aren’t most Masters winners over 30 and primarily under 35 (with some exceptions of course). The age factor presumably would mean enough PGA Tour and competitive experience combined with athletic ability.

      • Björn

        Apr 9, 2014 at 2:43 am

        Rory grew up playing Royal County Down. One of the best golf courses in the workd and without a doubt one of the windiest. It also has very firm greens and requires a reportoir of shots that no course in the US requires. I think he has it all.

  36. T

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Love the article and the in depth statistical analysis. I do have a question or two about where you get your stats. Let’s take Ryan Moore for instance. He is currently ranked #2 in GIR from 175-200 yds & #11 in Approaches from the same distance as of the SHO so should he really be eliminated because of the “danger zone” stat? He may not be a solid contender but his current form and history at Augusta make him an intriguing pick just below the favorites.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Danger Zone is based on proximity to the cup. It is also based on shots from 175-225 yards. What is interesting is that I created a formula that took proximity to the cup and the % of greens *missed*. The lowest combination of the two would be the ‘best.’ I’ve found that from 125-175 yards being the best at these two (prox 2 cup + greens missed %), this was statistically very important. But from 175+ yards, not so much. From 175+ yards it is more about getting the ball closer to the hole.

      I don’t have this off the top of my head, but Moore was ranked in the bottom half in Danger Zone play this year. So I think you’re likely over-valueing GIR % from that distance and not counting in shots from 200-225 yards.

  37. Nick

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Zach Johnson is too short to play Augusta? Really? He’s as long as he was in 2007… when he won at Augusta.

    • Matt

      Apr 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

      I think Rich explained why he said ZJ was too short and gave a brief explanation to why he believes he was able to compete in 07.

      • leftright

        Apr 7, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        The most important stat is “who has got the head for it.” That pretty much eliminates 5 of the 10 off the bat. You have to fail before you succeed and Snedeker, Leishman, Day, Bradley and Kuchar have to fail first, despite the PGA wins. None of those guys have to stomach for it yet.

        • kent

          Apr 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

          leftright….while I do agree with you that many of those do not likely have the stomach, Watson disproved that theory with his win a couple years ago. As much fun as he is to watch, I can’t remember a more shaky looking player in contention (not sure if you caught his skulled chip earlier this year). And yet, he hit one great shot from the trees to earn his jacket. I’d certainly put my money on all those you listed over Bubba a couple years ago.

          • leftright

            Apr 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

            I sort of agree but if Bubba had Tiger or Jack’s “stomach” he would have won 15 majors by now. They talk about Tiger’s talent but Bubba may have the most talent ever. Essentially, and this is from personal experience and speaking with many real good players, 99% of golfers really don’t have the stomach for it. The mind is the most underrated part of golf and most underrated skill. I personally would like to see more psychiatric articles because my mind is beating me to death most of the time and probably many of you. Do the hibijeebees control you or do you control them? Tiger and Jack controlled them best if they even had them.

        • Richie Hunt

          Apr 8, 2014 at 1:23 am

          Keegan Bradley has a major under his belt. I think he has more than the stomach for it. In fact, I think he screams ‘GET IN MY BELLY!’

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Is lighter always longer?



One of the continuing trends in golf clubs – particularly drivers – is the pursuit of increasingly lighter shafts; this obsessive goal has given us the premise that the lighter the club, the faster you can swing it. And that idea is driven by the relentless pursuit of distance at all levels, and for all golfers.

But as long as he is, for example, Dustin Johnson ran away with the Masters because he was exactly that – a “master” at ball control and precision. DJ outperformed almost everyone in the field in terms of fairways and greens. That gave him more birdie putts, better looks because of his precise approach shots, and many fewer tough par saves.

But my topic today is to pose the question: “Is lighter really the key to being longer for all of us “recreational” golfers?”
Let me begin by saying that “recreational” doesn’t mean any lack of seriousness or dedication to the game. Hitting better shots and shooting lower scores is the goal for all of us who care about our golf games, right? What I mean is that we do not make our living playing the game. We do not practice incessantly. We do not spend hours at the gym every day specifically preparing our bodies to optimize our golf skills.

Today I’m going to put on my “contrarian” cap and challenge this assumption of “lighter is longer” on a couple of bases.
First, if you watch every accomplished player, you will see that the body core rotation is fast enough to “beat” the hands and clubhead to the ball. All instructors agree that the big muscles of the legs and body core are the key to power and repeatability in the golf swing. The faster you can rotate your body through impact, the more power you generate, which flows down the arms, through the hands and shaft and to the clubhead. This is a basic law of “golf swing physics”.

The simple fact is, the speed at which you can fire these big muscles is not going to be measurably impacted by removing another half ounce or less of weight from your driver. But what that removal of weight can do is to possibly allow for your hands to be faster, which would aggravate the problem I see in most mid- to high-handicap players. That problem is that their body core is not leading the swing, but rather it is following the arms and hands through impact.

Secondly, speed without precision is essentially worthless to you, and likely even counter-productive to your goal of playing better golf. Even with the big 460cc drivers, a miss of the sweet spot by just a half inch can cost you 8-12% of your optimum distance. You could never remove enough weight from the driver to increase your club speed by that amount. So, the key to consistently longer drives is to figure out how to make consistently more precise impact with the ball.

No golf adage is always true, but my experience and observation of thousands of golfers indicates to me that the fastest route to better driver distance is to get more precise with your impact and swing path, and not necessarily increasing your clubhead speed. And that may well be served by moving to a slightly heavier driver, not a lighter one.

I’ll end this by offering that this is not an experiment to conduct in a hitting bay with a launch monitor, but rather by playing a few rounds with a driver that is heavier than your current “gamer”.

Continuing with my “contrarian” outlook on many aspects of golf equipment, the typical driver “fitting” is built around an intense session on a launch monitor, where you might hit 30-40 or more drives in an hour or so. But the reality of golf is that your typical round of golf involves only 12-13 drives hit over a four-hour period, each one affected by a number of outside influences. But that’s an article for another time.

For this week, think about pulling an older, heavier driver from your closet or garage and giving it a go for a round or two and see what happens.

I would like to end today’s post by wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s been a helluva year for all of us, so let’s take some time this week to count our individual and collective blessings.

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TG2: Reviewing the first major OEM (Cobra) 3D-printed putter!



The first major OEM with a 3D printed putter is Cobra Golf! I took the new Limited Edition King Supersport-35 putter out on the course and found it to be a great performer. Cobra partnered with HP and SIK Putters to create a 3D printed body mated to an aluminum face that features SIK’s Descending Loft technology.


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Opinion & Analysis

You went to play, now you want to stay: Homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs



At some point, we’ve all had that moment during a vacation where we look around and think to ourselves, “Instead of visiting, why don’t we just move here?” It always sounds a little crazy in the moment, but really, what’s stopping you?

Like many, I have done this myself, and it leads me down a rabbit hole of golf destination real estate to places all over North America where you get world-class golf minutes from home.

So whether you’re a big spender or looking to downsize and find a cozy hideaway, these homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs have it all.

Homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs

Inverness, Nova Scotia

Steps away

$1,495,000 – 12 Mine Road Inverness MLS Number: 202011562

Location, location, location!

This is currently the most expensive house in Inverness NS, and for good reason. It’s steps away from Cabot Links and overlooks the resort. It’s over 2,600 square feet of beautiful open concept living, and with a local address, you get a discount on tee times at the course, although with its growing popularity, you aren’t guaranteed times like if you stay on the actual property.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this view every day? Listing: 12 Mine Road – Realtor

Just up the road

$980,000 – 30 Broad Cove Road Inverness, MLS Number: 202010717

If the first one seems a bit crazy, this next one might be right up your alley.

This 4,000 square foot home, is only minutes from Cabot Link and Cliffs and has amazing views that overlook the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It has everything you could want including a large chef’s kitchen and enough room to host friends and family.

Listing: 30 Broad Cove Road – Realtor

Just you and the ocean

$394,000 – 6 Bayberry Road, Port Hood, MLS Number: 202015994

If you like golf but want a little more separation from the Cabot golf resort, less than 20 miles down the road is Port Hood, another quiet seaside town filled with quaint shops and endless views of the ocean.

You can wake up every morning to the sounds of the ocean and the smell of sea air, and when you want to play golf at a top 50 course in the world, you just need to make a relaxing drive along the water to get there—heck, if you are so inclined, and happen to have a boat, you can go almost door to door that way too!

Listing: 6 Bayberry Road – Realtor

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