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2024 Masters predictions: Nine trends from the last decade to help pick this year’s green jacket winner



2024 Masters predictions: Nine trends from the last decade to help pick this year's green jacket winner
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

It is right here and it is lovely. The 88th Masters has arrived with 89 gamers starting the week dreaming of slipping on the inexperienced jacket. These aspirations are nonetheless alive and properly earlier than the primary tee shot is hit at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, the annual host for the 12 months’s first main championship.

Not like the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open, the Masters returns to the identical venue annually. Whereas there are some small tweaks to the course right here and there, the core of Augusta Nationwide has stood the take a look at of time with those that have solved the riddle as soon as earlier than typically having the solutions 12 months after 12 months.

It is why Phil Mickelson, with no semblance of kind, completed runner-up to Jon Rahm in final 12 months’s match at 52 years outdated. It is why his final-round 65 was the perfect last spherical of his Masters profession in his … *checks notes* … thirtieth look. It is why old-timers like Fred {Couples} and Tom Watson have additionally made early prices of their 50s. It is why you’ll be able to by no means rule anybody out at first look.

Course data is required, nevertheless it is only one a part of this equation. Whereas the ghosts of previous Masters champions pop up on the leaderboard every so often, solely these actually snug with all sides of their sport can have the endurance to see it via till Sunday night. A participant would not simply fall into successful the inexperienced jacket (simply ask Dustin Johnson), he usually traits in direction of it and peaks on the exact proper time (it’s also possible to ask Johnson about this).

Watch all 4 rounds of the 2024 Masters beginning Thursday with Masters Reside as we comply with the perfect golfers on the planet via Augusta Nationwide with Featured Teams, verify in on the famed Amen Nook and see leaders around the activate holes 15 & 16. Watch dwell on, the CBS Sports activities App and Paramount+.

Let’s have a look again on the 10 most up-to-date winners of the Masters and establish what traits exist as we try to whittle down the sphere of 89 gamers to pinpoint this 12 months’s champion.

1. What’s your age once more?

It has been 38 years since a 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus donned his sixth inexperienced jacket and captured the final of his 18 main championships. Nicklaus grew to become the oldest winner in match historical past with the win. Over the past 10 years, the typical age of the winner has been a shade below 31 even with champions like Dustin Johnson (36), Sergio Garcia (37) and Tiger Woods (43). Since Johnson’s win in 2020, the final three winners have all been below the age of 30. Mickelson threatened final season together with his runner-up end, however it’s protected to imagine that if you happen to’re over the age of 46, you in all probability aren’t successful.

Eradicated: Fred {Couples}, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, José María Olazábal

2. Perhaps do not keep in mind your first time

Solely three gamers have ever gained the Masters of their first makes an attempt: Horton Smith within the first Masters, Gene Sarazen in 1935 and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Whereas a debutant has not gained in 45 years, there have been quite a few shut calls in latest reminiscence with Jordan Spieth (2014), Sungjae Im (2020) and Will Zalatoris (2021) threatening. With such a big class and names like Wyndham Clark and Ludvig Åberg trending, there’s a likelihood this streak involves and finish this 12 months. However, till then … 

Eradicated: Wyndham Clark, Ludvig Åberg, Akshay Bhatia, Nicolai Højgaard, Austin Eckroat, Eric Cole, Denny McCarthy, Stephan Jaeger, Jake Knapp, Nick Dunlap, Peter Malnati, Grayson Murray, Matthieu Pavon, Adam Schenk, Ryo Hisatsune, Lee Hodges, Santiago de la Fuente (a), Christo Lamprecht (a), Neal Shipley (a), Jasper Stubbs (a)

3. It is a regular climb

They are saying Augusta Nationwide is an acquired style. One could not perceive the nuances the primary or second time round, however as soon as there’s a sport plan, all that is left on the desk is execution. Seven of the final 10 Masters champions had a minimum of one top-five end of their Masters careers earlier than donning the inexperienced jacket with all 10 having beforehand collected a top-40 outcome. 

Eradicated: Max Homa, Cameron Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Adrian Meronk, Erik van Rooyen

4. What have you ever completed for me currently?

Every inexperienced jacket winner since 2014 has notched a top-15 end on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour in a stroke-play occasion over the calendar 12 months main as much as the Masters. Seven of these had already entered the winner’s circle on the 12 months — see Rahm in 2023, Scheffler in 2022, Johnson in 2020 and Spieth in 2015 — whereas eight had discovered a spot on the rostrum within the type of a top-three outcome. We’ll use that very same top-15 cutoff level for LIV Golf occasions as properly. 

Eradicated: Rickie Fowler, Stewart Hagestad (a), Viktor Hovland, Tom Kim, Camilo Villegas, Bubba Watson, Danny Willett, Gary Woodland

5. Main-championship pedigree

There have been quite a few first-time main winners who’ve damaged via at Augusta, however none have come with out some prior expertise on a comparable stage. Eight of the ten most up-to-date Masters champions had a minimum of a significant runner-up outcome already to their title with all 10 having a T6 end or higher. Within the 12 months previous to successful, 4 of the final 10 collected a runner-up end in a significant championship whereas 9 had a top-15 end. 

Eradicated: Byeong Hun An, Sam Burns, Ryan Fox, Adam Hadwin, Si Woo Kim, Taylor Moore, Joaquin Niemann, J.T. Poston, Nick Taylor, Sahith Theegala

And identical to that, we have now eradicated 50 gamers … 

6. Let’s get technical 

Strokes-gained knowledge generally is a lovely factor. Within the calendar 12 months main as much as their respective Masters coronations, all 10 champions had been averaging a minimum of +0.67 strokes gained per spherical with the imply of the group coming in at a whopping +2.17. Solely 4 gamers on the planet are at the moment averaging greater than +2.00. 

It was not Rahm (+2.75), Scheffler (+2.50) nor Spieth (+2.38) who boasted probably the most spectacular metrics forward of their victories, moderately it was Watson (+3.02) and Johnson (+3.91) who eclipsed the three-stroke hurdle. A pair previous Masters champions and one main title will sadly be leaving us right here.

Eradicated: Keegan Bradley, Thorbjørn Olesen, Luke Listing, Min Woo Lee, Sungjae Im, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka

7. Communicate softly and carry a giant stick

Off-the-tee numbers are probably the most predictive indicator of success on the planet of golf; the perfect golfers on the planet at the moment are the perfect drivers of the ball within the sport. The identical rings true at Augusta the place the final 10 winners had been averaging a minimum of +0.60 strokes gained off the tee per spherical within the calendar 12 months of their victory. Patrick Reed was the low man of this group with +0.14 strokes gained off the tee per spherical, which can permit a pair names to slide by. 

Eradicated: Lucas Glover, Brian Harman, Tyrrell Hatton, Cameron Smith

8. Iron it out

Augusta Nationwide caters to a number of the greatest iron gamers on the planet (like Woods). Over the past three months, Scheffler has been the perfect on this class (+1.57 strokes gained method per spherical), whereas quite a few large names have struggled with their scoring golf equipment. The previous 10 winners had been averaging a minimal of +0.40 strokes gained method per spherical — a bar some traditionally sturdy method gamers have not come near sniffing.

Eradicated: Collin Morikawa, Emiliano Grillo, Harris English, Matt Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau

9. There must be a Plan B

Stuff hits the fan throughout main championships, and the Masters is not any completely different. Extra instances than not, there will likely be some type of turbulence over the course of 72 holes, and a participant’s quick sport will likely be examined. Whether or not it was Scheffler’s chip-in on No. 3 within the last spherical of 2022 or Danny Willett’s up-and-down on the 71st gap in 2016, an around-the-green presence is required in some form or kind. That is the place some widespread names merely fall in need of the +0.20 strokes gained across the inexperienced clip from the prior 10 winners. 

Eradicated: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Younger, Corey Conners, Adam Scott

So the place does that go away us?

From a area of 89 golfers, solely seven — Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Chris Kirk and Sergio Garcia — stay. I will admit that I’m very stunned by just a few of those!

Scheffler, Schauffele and Matsuyama had been all the time going to be shoo-ins; you in all probability do not want me telling you that. Thomas is fascinating in that he can have a brand-new caddie on the bag and most of his good play got here earlier within the 12 months, just like Kirk successful at Kapalua within the PGA Tour’s season opener. Finau is discovering his groove and Garcia simply misplaced in his second playoff of the 12 months on LIV Golf, however neither has been tremendous dependable with the putter.

Let’s simply put it this manner: For those who gave me a good value on Scheffler, Schauffele and Matsuyama versus the sphere, you’d have my consideration.