Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's The Masters Tips 2023

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Congratulations if you were on-board Corey Conners at 20/1 last week. He was the 10th winner on the PGA Tour from 14 tournaments so far this year at 28/1 or shorter – that’s worthy of note.

The 2023 Masters Tournament has been eagerly awaited ever since the turn of the year. All freshly extended 7,545 yards of Augusta National will be in pristine condition for the very best professional golfers in the world this week, and as per usual there are plenty of sub-plots for us golf punters to wade through. Can Scottie Scheffler become the first player since Tiger Woods (who else) in 2001/2 to win back-to-back Green Jackets? Can Rory McIlroy finally complete his Major Championship Grand Slam? Can Jon Rahm become the 4th Spanish Green Jacket winner? Can Cameron Smith become the first LIV Tour member to win a Major? Or will the likes of Cantlay, Finau, Homa, Hovland, Im, Schauffele or Zalatoris win their first Major title?

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Masters Tournament, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System at this time of the year. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube, and our hugely popular, 6,200-strong private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: Augusta National is always a true test of every professional golfer’s mettle. Yes, the course is the most beautiful and manicured piece of golfing property in the world, but Alister Mackenzie’s creation is an extremely specialised test that stretches players to their maximum. But despite the governing board of Augusta National having total control over the golf course and the tournament, they still cannot control the elements and that can be seen across recent winning scores.

2015: -18/270 on a soft course – Spieth; 2016: -5/283 in high winds – Willett; 2017: -9/279 cold conditions with high winds – Sergio Garcia; 2018: -15/273 – little wind allied with soft Saturday conditions – Patrick Reed; 2019: -13/275 – soft course for 54 holes before 20-25 mph winds on Sunday – Tiger Woods; 2020: -20/268 on a soft course in November – Dustin Johnson; 2021: -10/278 in a gusty renewal – Matsuyama; 2022: -10/278 – on a lengthened course in windy conditions – Scheffler.

Now Augusta National with its increased length (see below), contours, nuances and extremely fast Bentgrass greens makes shooting low numbers here difficult in normal circumstances. But I’m expecting lower mid-teens type scoring this year, with lighter winds across 3 of the 4 days play.

Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia: Designer: Dr Alister MacKenzie & Bobby Jones 1933 with re-design 2008; Course Type: Technical, Classical, Long; Par: 72; Length: 7,545 yards; Holes with Water In-Play: 5; Fairways: Overseeded Perennial Ryegrass with Bermudagrass-base; First Cut: Overseeded Perennial Ryegrass, with Bermudagrass-base 1.375″; Greens: 6,486 sq.ft average featuring A1 Penn Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 13-14ft; Course Scoring Average 2013: 73.41 (+1.41), Difficulty Rank 4 of 43 PGA Tour courses. 2014: 73.95 (+1.95), Rank 2 of 48 courses. 2015: 72.54 (+0.54), Difficulty Rank 14 of 52 courses. 2016: 74.42 (+2.42), Difficulty Rank 3 of 50 courses. 2017: 73.89 (+1.89), Difficulty Rank 2 of 50. 2018: 72.93 (+0.93), Difficulty Rank of 7 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.87 (-0.13), Difficulty Rank 16 of 49 courses. 2020: 71.75 (-0.25). 2021: 73.06 (+1.06), Difficulty Rank 7 of 51 PGA Tour courses. 2022: 73.95 (+1.95), Difficulty Rank 3 of 50 courses.

Course Overview: The nuances of Augusta National are varied and unique. The whole Masters experience both on and off course is different from any other tournament in professional golf. Indeed a course rookie hasn’t won here since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. But of late debutants continually feature. Jordan Spieth and Jason Day have gone very close in recent years on their first visit. 2017 saw Thomas Pieters feature and land a full each-way payout at 80/1. The delayed 2020 renewal saw Sungjae Im feature as one of Dustin Johnson’s main challengers, as he finished joint runner-up with Cameron Smith at 80/1. 2021 saw 80/1 Will Zalatoris go ever so close. Fact is, talented course rookies this year such as Ryan Fox, Tom Kim, Kurt Kitayama, Mito Pereira and Sahith Theegala can contend, but don’t tend to win.

Course-wise, I’m sure you’ll have heard about the infamous Bentgrass greens that run at 14+ on the stimpmeter (if the organisers get their way with the weather) which are the fastest of any golfing season. Their sheer size and contours make good birdie chances only viable from the smallest of target areas. Mown run-off areas mean that errant shots don’t stop and even great approach shots can lead to bogey or worse. The lack of rough around the green complexes creates indecision both with approach shots and recovery chips. Too many options can confuse players, so course experience and a patient outlook pays. Knowing that 9 of the holes are birdie opportunities and that the other 9 are holes where you can only realistically make par due to pin positions is something that over-aggressive players struggle to deal with. Put simply, and we see this year after year, you can’t chase a score at Augusta National. Another interesting course feature is that all shots are hit into the grain, be that drives or chips, the former shortening the roll on drives and the latter making scrambling very difficult.

2022 saw significant changes to Augusta National with 2 critical holes on the back nine being lengthened and re-modelled. The par-4 11th hole, White Dogwood, now features a re-positioned tee with the hole lengthened by 15 yards. The fairway was also re-contoured and widened by up to 15 yards, as trees on the right of the hole were been removed. In a detailed change, the first cut was also been removed on the right hand side, replaced by more fairway short grass, which encourages errant drives to fall foul of Augusta National’s amazing topography and roll out into more disadvantageous positions. The pivotal par-5 15th, Firethorn, was also lengthened by 20 yards, with that fairway also being re-contoured. It made going for the green in 2 shots less prevalent.

The tinkering never stops at Augusta National and 2023 sees more fresh changes to the course and in particular the par-5 13th, Azalea. Trees have been removed and a new tee box installed adding 35 yards to the hole. At 545 yards, the 13th still isn’t a particularly long par-5. But as a hard dogleg left, the tributary of Rae’s Creek guarding the green, and with the ball pretty much always lying above a player’s feet on the second shot, the extra 35 yards will make the decision to go for the green in two more difficult.

This remodelling takes the course to a quoted 7,545 yard, Par 72 – but don’t believe that as all fairways are traditionally mown against the grain and the hole direction to minimise driving distance, effectively meaning it will now play closer to 7,900 yards. So pure yardage and the ability to hit towering approach shots is way more important than creating the right angle into the flag.

To succeed you must be aggressive on the 4 par-5s and minimise bogeys across the rest of the property. Eagles on the par-5s and birdies on the par-4s are worth their weight in gold around here. But eventually the contest comes down to top-class game management, around the green positivity, and the ability to hole plenty of short to medium putts on Augusta National’s famously difficult pure Bentgrass putting surfaces.

The Masters Tips

Masters Tournament Winners: 2022: Scottie Scheffler (-10); 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); 2011: Charl Schwartzel (-14); 2010: Phil Mickelson (-16).

  • 2022: Scottie Scheffler 69-67-71-71 -10/278
  • 2021: Hideki Matsuyama 69-71-65-73 -10/278
  • 2020: Dustin Johnson 65-70-65-68 -20/268
  • 2019: Tiger Woods 70-68-67-70 -13/275
  • 2018: Patrick Reed 69-66-67-71 -15/273

OWGR of Masters Tournament Winners: 2022: Scheffler 1; 2021: Matsuyama 25; 2020: D Johnson 1; 2019: Woods 12; 2017: Reed 24.

Cut Line: 2022: +3; 2021: +3; 2020: E; 2019: +3; 2018: +5.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2022: Round 1 -5; Round 2 -8; Round 3 -9; Round 4 -10.
  • 2021: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -7; Round 3 -11; Round 4 -10.
  • 2020: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -16; Round 4 -20.
  • 2019: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -7; Round 3 -13; Round 4 -13.
  • 2018: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -14; Round 4 -15.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Recent Majors Form | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Models: My published predictor is available here. Top 10 of my published predictor are: Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele.

Our brand new predictor model is also running alongside the traditional version, where you can build your own model live using the variables listed on the left hand side.

Masters Tournament Winners & Prices: 2022: Scheffler 16/1; 2021: Matsuyama 45/1; 2020: D Johnson 9/1; 2019: Woods 16/1; 2018: Reed 55/1; 2017: Garcia 45/1; 2016: Willett 66/1; 2015: Spieth 11/1; 2014: Watson 28/1; 2013: Scott 28/1; 2012: Watson 55/1; 2011: Schwartzel 90/1; 2010: Mickelson 10/1. Overall Average: 67/1. For a full summary of winner’s odds on the PGA Tour since 2010 click here.

Historical Weather:

  • 2022: Thursday: Mostly sunny with morning thunderstorms. High of 74. Wind W 10-15 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Due to thunderstorms, all starting times were delayed 30 minutes. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 66. Wind WSW 15-20, with gusts to 30 mph. Saturday: Cloudy. High of 56. Wind W 12-16, with gusts to 25 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 73. Wind W 6-12 mph.
  • 2021: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 80. Wind SSW 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 82. Wind SSW 8-14 mph. Saturday: Cloudy, with light showers late in the afternoon. High of 79. Wind SSE 10-15 mph, gusting to 25 mph. Play was suspended at 3:58 p.m. due to a dangerous weather situation. Play resumed at 5:15 p.m. for a delay of 77 minutes. Sunday: Mostly cloudy and breezy. High of 80. Wind W 10-15 mph, gusting to 23 mph.
  • 2020: Thursday: Mostly cloudy with morning thunderstorms. High of 78. Wind WNW 4-8 mph. Due to inclement weather and thunderstorms play was suspended at 7:35 a.m. ET and resumed at 10:20 a.m. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 79. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 74. Wind ENE 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 79. Wind SW 10-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 84. Wind SE at 10-15 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy, with scattered showers and a high of 84. Wind SSE at 5-10 mph. Play was suspended at 5:05 p.m. due to dangerous weather and resumed at 5:34 p.m., a delay of 29 minutes. Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 85. Wind SE at 5-10 mph. Sunday: Cloudy, with occasional showers. High of 80. Wind SSE at 15-20 mph, gusting to 25 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny and cool with a high of 69. ENE wind at 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny and cool in the morning. Partly cloudy in the afternoon with a high of 79. SSW wind at 10-15 mph. Saturday: Scattered showers and overcast with a high of 65. SW wind at 10-15 mph. Sunday: Cloudy and cool in the morning. Sunny in the afternoon with a high of 65. NE wind at 5-10 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Augusta, Georgia, is here.

Relatively cold, wet and windy is the best summary for The Masters in 2023. Augusta received 513mm (over 20 inches) of rain from the start of the year though to the close of March – that’s the highest since my records began in 2014. And with a storm fairly likely for tournament Monday, I’d expect something just a tad softer than ideal for Thursday’s play, where there will be little wind and warm 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit temperatures). Thursday will be a good scoring day.

From there the temperatures and the weather in general takes a turn for the worse. Cold, northern European temperatures between take over, with gusting 25mph north-easterly winds a feature. Throw rain into the picture, most likely for long periods on Friday and Saturday, and we may well see a different, colder, damper and bleaker Masters than we have seen for many years.

Player Strokes Gained 8-Week Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Waste Management Phoenix Open / Singapore Classic which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events, where recorded. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Viktor Hovland; 3) Patrick Cantlay; 4) Gary Woodland; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Tyrrell Hatton; 7) Sungjae Im; 8) Cameron Young; 9) Si Woo Kim; 10) Taylor Moore; 11) Hideki Matsuyama / Kevin Mitchell; 13) Corey Conners; 14) Adam Scott / Justin Thomas; 16) Sam Burns; 17) Ryan Fox / Russell Henley / Min Woo Lee; 20) Will Zalatoris; 21) Jason Day / Collin Morikawa; 23) Brian Harman / Adrian Meronk; 25) Tony Finau / Shane Lowry.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Tony Finau; 2) Scottie Scheffler; 3) Jordan Spieth; 4) Xander Schauffele; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Patrick Cantlay; 7) Viktor Hovland / Tiger Woods; 9) Max Homa; 10) Collin Morikawa / Jon Rahm; 12) Tom Hoge; 13) Cameron Young; 14) Tyrrell Hatton; 15) Jason Day / Danny Willett; 17) Will Zalatoris; 18) Keegan Bradley / Justin Thomas; 20) Adam Svensson; 21) Tommy Fleetwood; 22) Kurt Kitayama; 23) Sepp Straka / Gary Woodland; 25) Corey Conners / Taylor Moore.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Danny Willett; 2) Jason Day; 3) Jordan Spieth; 4) Adrian Meronk; 5) Chris Kirk / Jon Rahm; 7) Russell Henley; 8) Tommy Fleetwood; 9) Justin Thomas; 10) Scottie Scheffler; 11) Tom Hoge; 12) Sam Burns / Sungjae Im / Scott Stallings / Adam Svensson; 16) Rory McIlroy; 17) Billy Horschel / Alex Noren; 19) Max Homa; 20) Matt Fitzpatrick; 21) K.H. Lee; 22) Sahith Theegala; 23) Keith Mitchell; 24) Hideki Matsuyama; 25) Tom Kim.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Jason Day / Jordan Spieth; 4) Viktor Hovland; 5) Patrick Cantlay / Rory McIlroy / Justin Thomas; 8) Tyrrell Hatton; 9) Tony Finau; 10) Danny Willett / Cameron Young; 12) Sungjae Im; 13) Collin Morikawa / Gary Woodland; 15) Max Homa; 16) Xander Schauffele; 17) Tommy Fleetwood; 18) Jon Rahm / Will Zalatoris; 20)  Hideki Matsuyama; 21) Keith Mitchell; 22) Keegan Bradley; 23) Si Woo Kim; 24) Tom Hoge / Chris Kirk / Adam Svensson.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Taylor Moore; 2) Sam Burns / Jason Day; 4) Kurt Kitayama; 5) Xander Schauffele; 6) Jon Rahm; 7) Kazuki Higa; 8) Min Woo Lee; 9) Alex Noren; 10) Tony Finau / Matt Fitzpatrick / Max Homa; 13) Brian Harman; 14) Scottie Scheffler / Adam Svensson; 16) Chris Kirk; 17) Patrick Cantlay; 18) Keith Mitchell / Sepp Straka; 20) Mackenzie Hughes; 21) Sahith Theegala; 22) Tyrrell Hatton / Viktor Hovland; 24) Tommy Fleetwood; 25) Ryan Fox / Sungjae Im / Adrian Meronk / Jordan Spieth.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Jason Day; 3) Patrick Cantlay; 4) Tony Finau; 5) Max Homa; 6) Jordan Spieth; 7) Viktor Hovland / Xander Schauffele / Justin Thomas; 10) Tyrrell Hatton / Danny Willett; 12) Sungjae Im; 13) Taylor Moore / Jon Rahm; 15) Keith Mitchell; 16) Rory McIlroy; 17) Cameron Young; 18) Tommy Fleetwood / Kurt Kitayama / Adam Svensson; 21) Tom Hoge; 22) Chris Kirk; 23) Collin Morikawa; 24) Si Woo Kim; 25) Ryan Fox / Kazuki Higa / Hideki Matsuyama.

Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the Masters Tournament winners since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for Augusta National:

  • 2022, Scottie Scheffler (-10). 299 yards (16th), 76.8% fairways (10th), 68.1% greens in regulation (5th), 56.5 % scrambling (9th), 1.57 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2021, Hideki Matsuyama (-10). 288 yards (47th), 64.3% fairways (39th), 69.4% greens in regulation (7th) 59.1 % scrambling (8th), 1.68 putts per GIR (26th).
  • 2020, Dustin Johnson (-20). 307 yards (6th), 78.6% fairways (13th), 83.3% greens in regulation (1st) 66.7 % scrambling (5th), 1.63 putts per GIR (15th).
  • 2019, Tiger Woods (-13). 294 yards (44th), 62.5% fairways (47th), 80.6% greens in regulation (1st) 42.9 % scrambling (47th), 1.62 putts per GIR (14th).
  • 2018, Patrick Reed (-15). 299 yards (6th), 73.2% fairways (13th), 66.7% greens in regulation (21st) 62.5 % scrambling (16th), 1.56 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2017, Sergio Garcia (-9). 292 yards (6th), 80.4% fairways (2nd), 75.0% greens in regulation (2nd), 66.7 % scrambling (6th), 1.78 putts per GIR (12th).
  • 2016, Danny Willett (-5). 279 yards (32nd), 67.9% fairways (26th), 66.7% greens in regulation (6th), 70.8 % scrambling (1st), 1.81 putts per GIR (13th).
  • 2015, Jordan Spieth (-18). 285 yards (52nd), 69.6% fairways (21st), 75.0% greens in regulation (2nd), 66.7 % scrambling (10th), 1.59 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2014, Bubba Watson (-8). 305 yards (1st), 71.4% fairways (14th), 69.4% greens in regulation (6th), 63.6 % scrambling (5th), 1.78 putts per GIR (12th).
  • 2013, Adam Scott (-9). 294 yards (18th), 57.1% fairways (49th), 76.4% greens in regulation (1st), 70.6% scrambling (3rd), 1.80 putts per GIR (28th).
  • 2012, Bubba Watson (-10). 290 yards (4th), 66.1% fairways (48th), 73.6% greens in regulation (4th), 52.6% scrambling (15th), 1.64 putts per GIR (11th).
  • 2011, Charl Schwartzel (-14). 283 yards (40th), 66.1% fairways (31st), 68.1% greens in regulation (19th), 69.6% scrambling (1st), 1.61 putts per GIR (8th).
  • 2010, Phil Mickelson (-16). 297 yards (2nd), 60.7% fairways (45th), 75.0% greens in regulation (3rd), 77.8% scrambling (3rd), 1.76 putts per GIR (10th).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 17th, Driving Accuracy: 28th, Greens in Regulation: 6th, Scrambling: 10th, Putting Average 12th.

Let’s take a view from players as to how Augusta National sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Scottie Scheffler (2022): Thursday: “I would say judging the wind for the most part and staying in the right spots. When the wind gets gusty like this around this golf course, it can blow from a lot of different directions. So just kind of managing your game and hitting the appropriate shots. I got out of position a couple of times, and after that I got the ball back into play to somewhere where I could make a par. I had some really good par saves on the front nine that kept me going.”

“Yeah, I think Augusta National is really fun to play. Sometimes I have to watch myself around here because, for instance, on 15 today, I had an opportunity to hit a really cool shot that seemed like a lot of fun. Definitely wasn’t the right play, so I didn’t hit the shot. Sometimes you’ve got to watch yourself because there’s always something you can do. Especially a hole like 11, if you hit it over there on the right side, you can do something really cool, but you can get in trouble really quickly. Like I said, when I was out of position, I did a really good job of getting myself back in position and made some nice saves.”

Friday: “To be completely honest, the front nine was such a grind. The wind was crazy. There was some times where we saw the sand blowing up out of the bunkers out there. It was ridiculous. I think we were a little bit fortunate that it did die down a little bit towards the end of the day. It was still gusty, but you were able to find some spots where, for instance, on 16 I almost didn’t even play any wind. We were definitely fortunate in that sense, but we were also playing in some pretty aggressive winds at the beginning of the round.”

Sunday Round: “Then the chip shot on 15, we talked about a couple different things. The approach shot, I was walking up to or right when we got off the tee, I was like, Go for it, Teddy? He’s like, Let’s see where it is. I hammered that drive. And I didn’t expect it to be over there behind the trees, but with the way the lie was and I only had a 5-iron, so it’s kind of like, it’s a 5-iron, just trying to hit it in that right bunker. And if I push it, it goes in the crowd; and if I pull it, it will go on green. And to us it seemed like the safest play at the time, so that’s what we did. I had to start at right edge of the bunker. Those trees were probably in line with the middle of the bunker, the ones right in front of me. And then after that, just trying execute.”

“I feel like, once again, just trusted Teddy. And, you know, we’re walking down, seeing the lay-up, I just told him. I was like, Hey, man, thanks for that, I really don’t want to hit this wedge shot right now. The thing looks scary.”

Hideki Matsuyama (2021): Thursday: “The greens were firm and fast. It was very important to hit your second shot on the proper side of the pin, and I was able to do that. I felt very good about my round today. It’s my tenth year, but I’ve never seen the greens so firm and fast. So it was like a new course for me playing today, and I was fortunate to get it around well.”

Saturday: “During the rain delay, or right before the rain delay, I probably hit the worst shot I’ve hit this week. And during the rain delay, I just figured, I can’t hit anything worse than that. And so maybe it relieved some pressure, I don’t know, but I did hit it well coming in after the delay. At 15, I hit a 5-iron in. 16 was an 8-iron. 17 was a pitching wedge. But the 5-iron at 15, by far, probably the best shot I’ve hit this week.”

Sunday Round: “First hole hit a 3-wood off the tee into the right trees. Second shot, I laid up short of the green with a 5-iron, just punched it out. Third shot was a 60-degree wedge at 45 yards, and then 2-putted for bogey. Second hole, hit a driver. Had 253 left. Hit a 4-iron into the right bunker. Blasted out just a couple of feet. Made birdie. Third hole, teed off with a 4-iron. Had 120 yards. Hit a 52-degree wedge over the green. Chipped up close and made par.”

“4, I hit a 4-iron back edge of the green. Had about 38, probably 40 feet, and 2-putted from there. 5th hole, I hit a driver into the left bunker. Blasted out with a 52-degree wedge. Had a hundred yards left. Hit a 56-degree wedge to 20 feet and made that putt for par. No. 6, had 183 to the pin. Hit 8-iron 15 feet and 2-putted for par.”

“7, I hit a driver. Had 115 yards to the pin. Gap wedge to three feet. Missed the birdie putt and made par. On 8, hit a driver. Second shot was 280 yards. Hit a 3-wood over the green. Chipped back on. Chipped to two feet and made that for birdie. No. 9, hit a driver from a hundred yards and then hit a 56-degree wedge to two feet for birdie.”

“10, hit a 3-wood with my tee shot. 175 yards left. Hit a 7-iron to about 20 feet, 2-putted for par. 11, hit a driver. Had 196 yards in. 6-iron to the right edge of the green, the collar, and 2-putted from there. 12, I hit 157 yards. Hit a 9-iron to the back bunker. Hit it out short. Had 15 feet and 2-putted from there for a bogey.”

“13, I hit driver 215 yards in and hit a 5-iron left of the green. I chipped up to there to two feet and made a birdie. 14, hit a driver 127 yards. Hit a gap wedge 15 feet right of the pin. 2-putted for par. 15, hit a driver. Had 227 yards in, 4-iron over the green into the water. Had 40 yards back to the pin. 60-degree wedge just short of the green. 2-putted from there for bogey.”

“16, 183 yards, hit a 7-iron to the right part of the green 40 feet, three-putted from there for bogey. 17, hit a driver 140 yards in. Hit a pitching wedge to 20 feet. 2-putted for par. 18, hit a driver. Had 140 yards in. Hit a pitching wedge into the right bunker. Blasted out to five feet and 2-putted from there to be the Masters Champion.”

Dustin Johnson (2020): “Obviously this golf course it’s tough. They have made it a lot longer through the years. You know, it’s really playing long right now. But yeah, obviously you need to take advantage of the par 5s. I mean, if you look back through the past winners, they always play the par 5s well. That’s something if I want to shoot good scores out here, I need to play the par 5s well.

There was so much rain this morning. We were watching on TV, you could tell the course looked really soft. You kind of need to come out and take advantage of the conditions right now because there wasn’t really a whole lot of wind and really soft conditions, you can fire it at the flag. I mean, with the conditions being soft, you can be really aggressive no matter what club you have in your hand, as long as you feel comfortable with how far you’re going to fly it. I feel like the golf course is in really good condition just with all the rain, it’s just so soft. So you’ve got to be aggressive and you’ve got to attack the flags. The par3s here, you’ve just got to hit it the right distance. That’s the biggest key around here, especially on the par3s, because there’s a lot of slopes on the greens, and just seems like if you can hit it the right distance, you can play them pretty solid, and I think I’ve done a really good job of that so far.

For me, it took me a little bit of time to figure the course out. I mean, when I first came here, I love the golf course, but I just, playing my first few Masters, I just didn’t play the course very well. But I feel like every year, I kind of learned something. Kind of figured out a little bit more about the course, how to play it. You know, when can you attack the golf course and when do you just need to try to make an easy 4. But the more and more I play it, the more comfortable I get.”

Tiger Woods (2019): “Yeah, you know, especially with it as warm as it is, the ball’s going a long way so that we can get down there where we’re going to have irons into these par‑5s, excluding 8. Yeah, it helps having the wind down on 13 for me. I don’t quite carry it as far as some of these other guys who hit it 320 in the air. So that’s, that helps me a little bit. But it’s interesting that, how they moved the tee markers over so that we can’t hit that gap up the left. They do a lot of little things that make this golf course a little tricky.

No, you know, after looking at the pin locations and watching some of the early morning telecast, the greens were soft, obviously it rained this morning, so it’s going to be soft and the guys were taking advantage of it. It’s not the normal Augusta National where the balls repel, they’re holding. We were able to stop 6‑irons and 5‑irons, that’s something that you don’t normally see here and with it being so hot, the ball’s flying forever. So it’s nice to, we’re hitting short irons into a lot of the holes because of it, if it got cooler from the same distance it would be a totally different deal but it with it being so warm the ball’s flying forever.”

Patrick Reed (2018): “I just think it was a long time coming. I felt like throughout the past I’ve hit a lot of really good golf shots here, played really solid, but I always seem to leave myself just above every hole. With doing that you have to putt so defensive around here and going into today and real throughout the round I really felt like I managed that really well. I left myself below the hole on a lot of the holes or at worst pin high. But the only one I felt like I didn’t really learn from was on 16, because you know from that middle left flag you can’t go past it. And what do I do, I hit it 30 feet past the flag. I was luckily able to 2‑putt that by making a long come back putt, but all in all it was just kind of one of those steady days, just go out, just played normal golf, let the birdies come to you, because around this place pars are good. Even though you might have a pitching wedge or 9‑iron in your hand, depending where the flag is, depending on what kind of lie you have, what fairway, etcetera, pars are good with short clubs. And I was able just to kind of plot myself around and when I had opportunities, capitalize on it.

A lot of the other places we play, if you hit it to six feet or eight feet, whether it’s above the hole or below the hole, it’s not that big of a deal. But here you hit it, even if you hit it six feet above the hole, a lot of those, if you don’t see such a high line and just tap it, it misses the hole, you have eight feet coming back. And we don’t have that at other places we play. So it truly is a course knowledge golf course. You need to know where to put the ball on certain pins and if you miss you need to miss it in certain spots because there’s some areas around here that it’s literally impossible, unless you make a 15‑, 18‑footer.

Sergio Garcia (2017): “I mean, my relationship with Augusta has definitely improved. There’s no doubt about that. Nothing wrong with Augusta. I think that the main thing that has improved is the way I’m looking at it the last, probably, two or three years, and obviously this year. But, yeah, I mean, I think it’s the kind of place that if you are trying to fight against it, it’s going to beat you down. So you’ve just got to roll with it and realize that sometimes you’re going to get good breaks, like has happened to me a few times this week and sometimes you’re going to get not‑so‑good breaks. But at the end of the day, that’s part of the game.

Danny Willett (2016): “You look at the conditions, it’s not really American conditions, you know. You need the ball flight control. And the greens, a lot of them are obviously raised up, which is very tricky to putt. Holing out on 4, 5, 6 holes, they’ve already got a ball rolling off a break on greens that are probably at 12 or 13, and you tuck a bit of wind in there, and it’s just one of them that you hope you’re hitting it the right time and you don’t get a gust that can knock it off line, that’s how windy it can get on a few of them. The golf course is only going to get firmer and faster. But this golf course, even if you’re hitting it really well, you still got to make putts on these greens. Obviously crosswinds and fast greens, it’s never easy. So, the golf course has firmed up day by day so, hopefully, tomorrow if the wind does die, we can still keep the control of the ball flight and hopefully roll a few in.

Jordan Spieth: “Another part of me says, you know, let’s not overthink this place, keep it simple and make it like a regular event because that’s how I’ve had success in the last few tournaments is just trying to hit as many greens as possible, get into a rhythm with the putter. Once that happens, you know, see a couple go in, the hole gets bigger. You just really have to have an imagination on these greens, because putts that typically you play a ball out, even downhill putts, and you’re still going to take it easy; you have to play three, four times the amount of break on a lot of the putts out here, not only with the influence of Rae’s Creek, but also just the speed of these greens.

Phil Mickelson: “Yes, it’s playing very long and it’s playing soft. So I think that distance is going to be a huge element this week. And we’ve talk about it in the past, but the reason I think this week, especially, is that the greens are very soft and receptive, and so the longer hitters are going to be able to reach the par5s and get the ball stopped on the greens. When we have bad weather like we had in 2007, you might be able to get to the greens, but you can’t keep it on the green. That really didn’t help the longer hitters, and I think guys like Dustin and J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy, the usual suspects who really hit the ball long and far, have a distinct advantage coming into these greens. I think distance is going to be a factor and I’m going to be trying to swing as hard as I can. I won’t be able to keep up with them, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep it in the same zip code and have short irons into greens so I can have opportunities at lots of birdies.

Bubba Watson: “The condition of the course is better than any course we play all year. So you’re going to have great fairways, great greens, so you have the chance to score. You have the chance to play at a high level. Most of the holes, I got lucky with 11 the last two years with the ice storms, some of the tops of the trees are missing. So that shot is a little bit easier for me now off the tee, if there is such a thing on a 500 yard par 4. But it’s a little bit easier. So now, it’s 7, 1 and 18 are the holes that I look at that are difficult for me off the tee. When you think about all of the other holes look good to my eye, set up well for me, the trees outline the fairway pretty good, so it’s easy for me to envision the shot I want to hit. If you add it up, yes, Augusta sets up pretty nicely for me. And like I said, if I never win again, it’s a good place to win twice.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the winners of the Masters Tournament since 2010:

  • 2022 – Scottie Scheffler: Round 1: 3rd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2021 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2020 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2019 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2018 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 4th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Sergio Garcia: Round 1: 4th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2016 – Danny Willett: Round 1: 9th, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2014 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2013 – Adam Scott: Round 1: 10th, Round 2: 7th, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2012 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 4th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2011 – Charl Schwartzel: Round 1: 7th, Round 2: 12th, Round 3: 2nd
  • 2010 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2 3rd, Round 3: 2nd.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the Masters Tournament winners since 2010 and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2022 – Scottie Scheffler: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 5 ahead, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2021 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2020 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: level, Round 2: level, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2019 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2018 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2017 – Sergio Garcia: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: level.
  • 2016 – Danny Willett: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 3 ahead, Round 2: 5 ahead, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2014 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 ahead, Round 3: level.
  • 2013 – Adam Scott: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2012 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2011 – Charl Schwartzel: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2010 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 1 back.

Incoming Form of Masters Tournament winners since 2010:

  • Scottie Scheffler: 1st WMP/55th Players/1st Bay Hill/7th Riviera.
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 30th San Antonio/42nd WMP/MC Players/18th Bay Hill.
  • Dustin Johnson: 2nd Houston/6th US Open/1st Tour Champ/2nd BMW.
  • Tiger Woods: QF WMP/30th Players/10th WGC-Mexico/15th Riviera.
  • Patrick Reed: 9th WMP/7th Bay Hill/2nd Copperhead/37th WGC-Mexico.
  • Sergio Garcia: 30th WMP/12th WGC-Mexico/14th PGA National/49th Riviera/1st Dubai.
  • Danny Willett: 28th WMP/22nd Copperhead/3rd Doral/45th Malaysia/1st Dubai.
  • Jordan Spieth: 2nd Houston/2nd San Antonio/1st Copperhead/17th Doral/4th Riviera.
  • Bubba Watson: WD Bay Hill/2nd Doral/1st Riviera/2nd TPC Scottsdale/23rd Torrey.
  • Adam Scott: 30th Copperhead/3rd Doral/10th Riviera.
  • Bubba Watson: 4th Bay Hill/2nd Doral/13th Riviera/5th TPC Scottsdale/13th Torrey.
  • Charl Schwartzel: 30th Houston/47th Bay Hill/24th Doral/14th PGA National/8th Abu Dhabi.
  • Phil Mickelson: 35th Houston/30th Bay Hill/14th Doral/24th TPC Scottsdale.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2022 – Im – Group 25 12:57 -5/67 55/1.
  • 2021 – Rose – Group 24 12:48 -7/65 66/1.
  • 2020 – Casey / Frittelli / D Johnson – Group 10/28/27  -7/65 60/1, 18/1, 125/1.
  • 2019 – DeChambeau / Koepka – Group 27/29 13:38/14:00 -6/66 Both 33/1
  • 2018 – Spieth – Group 28 13:49 -6/66 18/1
  • 2017 – Hoffman – Group 27 13:08 -7/65 80/1
  • 2016 – Spieth – Group 9 09:48 -6/66.
  • 2015 – Spieth – Group 29 13:15 -8/64.
  • 2014 – Haas – Group 14 10:08 -4/68.
  • 2013 – Garcia / Leishman – Group 26/9 12:57/09:28 -6/66.
  • 2012 – Westwood – Group 27 12:58 -5/67.
  • 2011 – McIlroy / Quiros – Group 11/32 09:24/13:59 -7/65.
  • 2010 – Couples – Group 28 11:58 -6/66.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Bentgrass green PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 8 – Rory McIlroy.
  • 7 – Justin Rose.
  • 6 – Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods.
  • 5 – Patrick Cantlay, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Bubba Watson.
  • 3 – Keegan Bradley, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Adam Scott.
  • 2 – Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Jason Kokrak, K.H. Lee, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele.
  • 1 – Sam Burns, Cameron Champ, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, Kevin Kisner, K.H. Lee, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, J.T. Poston, Seamus Power, Scottie Scheffler, Charl Schwartzel, Vijay Singh, Scott Stallings, Danny Willett.

So what weather and course conditions can we expect for 2023? Well Augusta received 382mm (15 inches) of rain across January and February – that’s the highest since my records began in 2014. 131mm (just over 5 inches) of further rain in March won’t have helped either, with over half of that falling last week.

Softer than wanted fairways will make Augusta National play even longer. But there are other problems that the players will face. 20-25 mph north easterly westerly winds look a feature across Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a pleasant 27 degrees Celsius on Thursday becoming 14 degrees on Friday afternoon and only 10 degrees on Saturday. That’s unseasonal for The Masters, and you have to expect that the difficulty level will be pretty high across the closing 54 holes, especially with prolonged periods of rain forecast for parts of Friday and Saturday.

Augusta trends are plentiful, but here are the ones that have had any bearing over recent Masters history: Since the course was last significantly changed in 2008, all winners have averaged over 288 yards from the tee in the season they won the Green Jacket. And since 2010, Hideki Matsuyama has the lowest position in the PGA Tour Driving Distance charts arriving at Augusta prior to winning. His average of 297 yards saw him in 92nd place.

However a high ball flight is just as, if not even more, important around Augusta, with all winners going back to Trevor Immelman in 2008 ranking in the top 70 on the PGA Tour Distance to Apex statistic in the season they placed a Green Jacket on their shoulders. As already mentioned, course experience is key and there are undoubted form links to Riviera, Doral (WGC CA & Cadillac Championship 2007 through 2016), GC of Houston, Quail Hollow, Bethpage Black and even Sheshan, host course of the WGC Champions event in Shanghai, China.

You can also throw into the mix the fact that no defending champion since Tiger Woods in 2002 has captured the Green Jacket and, more tellingly for punters, only Tiger himself in 2003 and 2006 has finished in the each-way places when defending. Not exactly a huge endorsement for World Number 1 Scottie Scheffler – let’s face it, the omens aren’t good.

So this week I’m looking for longer hitters who can also handle weather-affected conditions and who can hit lots of greens in regulation to keep out of trouble on the par-3s and par-4s. We also need players who are long enough, aggressive enough, and subtle enough (Strokes Gained Around the Green-wise) to take advantage of the par-5s. With wind and soft course conditions in play across Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s rounds. check out our brand new predictor model and look at the “Soft Positive” and “Wind Positive” variables in the “Event Specific” stats section, for an indicator of players to look for. One other angle is that recent previous Major contending performances are also a huge positive this week.

My final US Masters tips for 2023 are as follows:

Jordan Spieth 3pts ew 16/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

Tough, windy and likely wet conditions scream Jordan Spieth to me, who has both a Masters and an Open Championship in his back pocket.

On a course where Approach and Around the Green are always important, bleaker playing conditions will only make them more important, so for me Jordan has the “magic” to hang around whilst others undoubtedly blow up. Even better, his fundamental play has been so much better in the build-up to 2023 than it was to 2022.

6th in Phoenix, 4th at Bay Hill and 3rd at Tampa, Spieth has been at the top of leaderboards throughout February and March and his numbers across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers highlight that. 3rd for Approach (ranked 12th prior to last year), 3rd for Around the Green (47th), 2nd for Tee to Green (28th) and 6th for Strokes Gained Current Form (55th last year), Jordan’s play is close to its peak as he arrives at a course where he has a record that reads: 2nd (2014), 1st (2015), 2nd (2016), 11th (2017), 3rd (2018) and 3rd (2021).

The putting has also improved of late, featuring positive Strokes Gained performances across the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players and the Valspar. This week now sees us hit Bentgrass greens for the first time in 2023, upon which Jordan has landed 5 of his 13 PGA Tour titles. All in all, 16/1 about Spieth this week just has to be backed. RESULT: T4

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Justin Thomas 2pts ew 20/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

It would be fair to say that Justin Thomas comes into the 2023 Masters just a little under the radar. The 14/1 second favourite 12 months ago, JT this time around is a mere 6th in the betting market behind both his best friend Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay. But where Cantlay lacks in Major Championships to date, you can’t say the same about the 2-time PGA Championship winner whose 71.54 Augusta National average score is over a shot better than Patrick’s.

Thomas fits in pretty much every way this week. Across my 8-week trackers in this field he ranks 14th for Off the Tee, 18th for Approach, 9th for Around the Green, 5th for Tee to Green and 8th for Current Form. That probably won’t surprise many, but a few outings ago his numbers were nowhere near as strong. The irons are undoubtedly firing again and he was 10th last time out at the Valspar Championship – cleverly deciding to practice at home in Jupiter (and at Augusta National) rather than playing the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. Also worthy of note is that Thomas’ last 6 PGA Tour victories have come off top-17 finishes the outing before – that expands out to 9 of his last 10.

12th (2019), 4th (2020), 21st and 8th (2022) across his past 4 renewals here at The Masters, the x-factor this week could well be his caddy Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay. Nobody knows Augusta National like Mackay who was Phil Mickelson’s caddy when he won here 3 times, with 8 additional top-5 finishes. If any caddy can navigate his player around Augusta this week in tough, cold, windy conditions, it’s undoubtedly Mackay, and I love Thomas’ chances to snare his 3rd Major title. RESULT: MC

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Cameron Young 1.5pts ew 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Whilst defending champion and World Number 1 Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy are well deserved joint favourites, I’m going for a player who mixed it and indeed beat McIlroy in the Semi Finals of the recent WGC Dell Technologies Match Play just over a week ago, Cameron Young.

An exceptional talent, the World Number 14 has plenty of game and in new caddy Paul Tesori he now has the detailed Augusta knowledge of the guy who steered Webb Simpson to 20th (2018), 5th (2019), 10th (2020) and 12th (2021) across 4 of his last 5 visits to The Masters. Now Simpson will never have the power game to pull on a Green Jacket, but the same certainly can’t be said for Young, who will be able to access scoring positions off the tee with his prodigious length and access green complexes with towering approach play.

Young’s play at the WGC Dell Match Play was astonishing. Wins over Davis Thompson (3&2), Corey Conners (1 up) and Sepp Straka (5&3) saw the New York State, 25 year-old rank 1st for Strokes Gained on Approach, 10th for Around the Green, 1st for Tee to Green and 1st for Total Strokes across the 64 player group matches. He then went on to beat Billy Horschel (5&4), Kurt Kitayama (1 up) and of course Rory McIlroy in their Semi Final on the 1st play off hole. His defeat to Sam Burns in the Final was disappointing, but Young has something in only his second year on the PGA Tour that Burns doesn’t have: guilt-edged top-3 finishes in Majors.

That’s right, Cameron finished 3rd at the wind-affected PGA Championship at Southern Hills and 2nd (beating Rory McIlroy) at the St Andrews hosted Open Championship in his rookie season. You can add to those 2nd at Riviera, 3rd at Harbour Town and 2nd at TPC Potomac where the final 36 holes were played in gusting 25-30 mph winds and only 10 degree Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) temperatures. He can undoubtedly handle classical, tough golf courses and now has the experience of Tesori to navigate him around Augusta National on his second visit. RESULT: T7

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Hideki Matsuyama 1.5pts ew 40/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Hideki Matsuyama is well worth covering off at that 40/1 to 66/1 price point which has generated 4 of the past 7 winners here at The Masters. Danny Willett (66/1), Sergio Garcia (45/1), Patrick Reed (55/1) and Hideki (45/1) himself have all won this at lovely each-way places, and despite mega rumours that Matsuyama has been struggling with a neck injury, the Japanese Number 1’s game is rounding into the kind of form we saw when he won this 2 years ago.

5th at the Players Championship and 15th at the Valero Texas Open last week, the World Number 21 ranked 11th and 10th for Tee to Green respectively across both events. 5th at the last United States located Major, the Brookline-hosted U.S. Open, Matsuyama can undoubtedly still mix it at the top level of world golf, and it’s worth noting that the 2021 Masters champion comes alive on Bentgrass greens. Indeed 7 of his 8 PGA Tour victories have been on pure Bentgrass or Bentgrass mix putting surfaces, so the greens here this week at Augusta National will be a real boost to the 31 year-old.

14th here when defending last year, with no pressure on his shoulders whatsoever I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matsuyama mirror Bubba Watson who won The Masters across 2012 and 2014. RESULT: T16

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Tommy Fleetwood 1pt ew 55/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

As a Major Championship campaigner you have to respect Tommy Fleetwood as well this week.

Yes I know he hasn’t won a Major Championship and I know he’s never won in the United States, nor on the PGA Tour, but with plenty of the elite in this field unlikely to get on with Augusta National in very unseasonal playing conditions if they materialise, that undoubtedly enhances the Englishman’s chances this week.

The only player to keep Shane Lowry honest at a windswept Royal Portrush in 2019, Tommy’s form across the Florida Swing on the PGA Tour highlights a player who can grind with the very best. Plus when you look at his Major results from 2022, they were excellent. 14th here at The Masters, 5th at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and 4th at the Open Championship at St Andrews. I would suggest that only Scottie Scheffler, Cam Smith, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris had a better, consistent body of work over the 4 biggest tournaments of the year. Tommy comes to the fore on hard courses and in tough conditions, so this week at Augusta National should be ideal for him.

17th (2018), 19th (2020) and 14th (2022) here across his 5 past drives down Magnolia Lane, Tommy has actually been 6th, 10th and 9th heading into Sunday. That conversion rate naturally needs to improve for us for this bet to generate a return, but a DP World Tour win on Bentgrass greens at the Nedbank in South Africa late in November, allied to a 3rd at the Valspar Championship just 3 weeks ago, may well give Tommy the confidence boost required to go really well this week in iffy conditions. RESULT: 33rd

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Danny Willett 1pt ew 125/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

My last 2023 Masters spot goes to 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett who has that habit of popping up at very big tournaments. Winner of the 2016 Dubai Desert Classic, the 2018 DP World Tour Championship, the 2019 BMW PGA Championship and the 2021 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the Sheffield man doesn’t tend to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic or the Jonsson Workwear Championship. Instead he pops up, sporadically I grant you, at big tournaments, and once he’s in the mix he tends to hang around.

6th at the 2015 and 2019 Open Championship, Danny tends to play very nicely here at Augusta National post his famous victory. 25th in the November 2020 edition, he was 12th here last year coming off very, very indifferent in-bound form. But the same can’t be said right now for the World Number 91.

5 straight made cuts on the PGA Tour which has included 18th at the Genesis Invitational (Riviera) and 27th at the Players Championship (TPC Sawgrass) in designated-level fields, is his best in the United States since 2019. Back then he went on to finish 8th at the Canadian Open, 12th at the U.S. Open (Pebble Beach) and 6th (Royal Portrush), before of course taking out the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at 66/1.

Now I’m not suggesting that Danny wins this at 125/1, but with cold, windy and potentially wet weather likely for the final 54 holes of this year’s Masters, I think Willett is good value. Especially as in this field across my 8-week Strokes Gained tracker he ranks 15th for Approach, 1st for Around the Green, 10th for Tee to Green and 10th (tied with Tyrrell Hatton) for Strokes Gained Current Form. RESULT: MC

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bet365 New Customer Offer: New Customers only. Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5 and £10 to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. Registration required. The bonus code SPORT30 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 14:40BST 3.4.23 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.