Teeing off once more simply 5 months after Dustin Johnson slipped on his first inexperienced jacket in November final 12 months, the 2021 Masters has come round within the blink of an eye fixed and provides golf followers one other great alternative to observe the world’s greatest gamers in motion round one of many world’s most iconic golf programs.
Dustin Johnson has the burden of historical past agains him this week, with solely three gamers ever having efficiently defended the inexperienced jacket
With such a brief house of time between renewals there hasn’t been a substantial amount of motion within the prime echelons of the sport, with DJ nonetheless being the world No.1 and the dominant drive within the sport, and fairly rightly put in as favorite to develop into the primary participant since Tiger Woods in 2000/2001 to retain the inexperienced jacket (Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo are the one different back-to-back winners).
Nevertheless, Johnson is unlikely to have the playing cards fall into place fairly the identical this time round, particularly given the type of different key contenders like Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith, and the completely different course circumstances he’s prone to face. Gamers in final week’s Augusta Nationwide Ladies’s Beginner described Augusta’s greens as ‘crispy’, that means that the goal strategy adopted by Johnson and another gamers final 12 months may not be really easy to tug off in chilly April.
That’s to not say that Johnson hasn’t obtained a good likelihood of pulling off a repeat win, however he isn’t coming into the match in fairly the identical wealthy vein as type as he was final 12 months, with an eighth place at Riviera being the spotlight, and at 8/1 is a thin value to develop into solely the fourth participant to win successive inexperienced jackets.
So, if not Johnson, who else must you be trying to place a guess on? Right here’s a fast information to a number of the key contenders on the head of the record of probably candidates.
Bryson Dechambeau (10-1)
There was loads of hype surrounding Dechambeau heading into final November’s Masters, nonetheless the 2020 US Open champion endured a disappointing 4 days on the Augusta greens. The pre-tournament favorite ended the occasion tied 34th though his efficiency was apparently hindered by dizzy spells and abdomen pains.
Because the longest driver on the PGA Tour, Augusta ought to swimsuit him, and with each winner of the final 12 renewals rating inside within the prime 35% by way of energy hitting, Dechambeau’s ‘hit and discover it’ strategy is prone to pay dividends. That mentioned, he additionally possesses a good contact with a wedge and his placing stats are proper up there among the many greatest, though the dearth of a inexperienced studying e book at Augusta might show a difficulty for man that spends a lot time finding out these cheat sheets. He’s a really brief value for what he has achieved at Augusta so far, however an each-way guess for a top-nine end ought to guarantee a return if he performs wherever close to his greatest.
Swashbuckling Spaniard Jon Rahm can be a preferred winner and he has the course to type to do it
Jon Rahm (12-1)
With six of the final ten Masters champions having beforehand posted a top-10 end, and 7 of the final ten having managed to complete inside the highest 20, it’s simple to see why Rahm is outstanding within the betting this week. He was tied seventh final 12 months and tied ninth in 2019. He additionally completed fourth three years in the past, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the 26-year-old Spaniard seize his first main success this week. The one slight concern is that having develop into a father for the primary time final week, JR’s thoughts not be completely on his sport. However, then once more, the ‘Nappy Issue’ has been effectively confirmed to spice up new dad’s possibilities of victory.
Justin Thomas (12-1)
2017 was a breakthrough 12 months for JT, nonetheless, the Louisville-born participant has but so as to add a second main to his assortment having triumphed within the PGA Championship 4 years in the past. He’s sometimes struggled at Augusta, nonetheless final season’s fourth place end was an enormous step ahead, and he will probably be trying to construct on that. With eight of the final ten winners having additionally loved latest success on US soil, Thomas’ triumph finally month’s Gamers Championship bodes effectively.
Jordan Spieth (11-1)
With final week’s win on the Texas Open ending an nearly four-year winless streak, Jordan Spieth is true again within the reckoning so as to add to his document of three main titles and seize a second inexperienced jacket. His win in San Antonio was no flash within the pan, as he has been within the combine on the PGA Tour all through the final three months, and his present odds of communicate of a person again within the type that noticed him dominate again in 2016/17.
Brooks Koepka (22-1)
Till 2019, the Masters had been Koepka’s Achilles Heel, and regardless of profitable three majors, he’s persistently struggled to carry out at Augusta. Nevertheless, his 2021 type has been strong sufficient and he’s posted 4 prime 10 finishes because the flip of the 12 months and was victorious within the Phoenix Open, however having simply had surgical procedure on his knee it’s exhausting to understand how match he will probably be to deal with Augusta’s difficult terrain over 4 days.
Paul Casey has loved a string of first rate finishes at Augusta during the last 15 years
Paul Casey (35-1)
After profitable the Dubai Desert Traditional initially of the 12 months, Casey has completed twelfth in Saudi Arabia, fifth at Pebble Seaside, tenth within the Arnold Palmer and fifth in The Gamers Championship. Ranked seventeenth on the PGA Tour for ‘strokes-gained strategy’ and having lengthy been top-of-the-line drivers round, we all know Casey has the best sport for Augusta and that’s mirrored in his outcomes. Ever since contending on his debut in 2004 he’s produced stacks of fine golf right here, with eight top-20 finishes in 14 appearances and three of his 4 top-sixes coming in his final six visits, proof that his expertise is paying off. He’s first rate odds for a top-nine end and will even sneak a win if every part falls into place.
Sung Jae-Im (35/1)
Eight of the final 10 winners have began the match at a value of 16/1 or larger, so it may be price taking an opportunity on Sung Jae-Im. He’s but to clinch a significant, however he completed tied second finally 12 months’s occasion after changing into the primary participant in Masters’ historical past to shoot all 4 rounds within the 60s. That have will vastly profit the Korean, and at 35-1 he supplies some first rate worth for each-way backers.
CAN PERFORMANCE STATS HELP FIND THE MASTERS’ WINNER?
If you happen to’re on the lookout for chilly, exhausting information to search out this 12 months’s Masters champion, then the tour efficiency statistics are the place to begin.
Though Augusta is tree-lined, Driving Accuracy is, considerably surprisingly, the least essential stat to contemplate.
The timber are well-established, and the branches are excessive, so errant drives aren’t all the time punished. Size off the tee is advantageous and traditionally far more essential than accuracy, nevertheless it hasn’t been an absolute crucial. Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett, Charl Schwartzel and Tiger Woods have all received right here within the final 10 years with Driving Distance rankings of 52nd, thirty second, fortieth and forty fourth respectively, however they’re the exceptions. Dustin Johnson, and the 2 winners earlier than Tiger, all ranked sixth for Driving Distance, whereas six of the final 12 winners have ranked inside the highest six.
The final two winners have each ranked primary for Greens in Regulation, and 9 of the final 12 winners have ranked sixth or higher, in order that’s clearly a key stat and so too is Scrambling. The 2019 winner, Woods, solely ranked forty seventh for getting up and down, however the final 12 winners have nonetheless averaged solely 9.8. The primary three house in November ranked fifth, fifth and third, however the gamers ranked one to eight for Scrambling in 2019 all completed inside the highest 12.
Patrick Reed topped the Placing Common stats when he received three years in the past, however solely one of many final 12 winners have ranked inside the highest 12 for that stat and among the many record of winners above are quite a few gamers which have had their justifiable share of woes on the greens.