The Masters is famed for its familiarity and tradition so playing it in November last year due to the pandemic just seemed weird. But while 20-under was a freaky winning score, suggesting the course just didn’t have the same fire or jeopardy as April, the winner was an Augusta specialist – Dustin Johnson. Not only that, seven of the top 10 had previously posted a Masters top five. In short, don’t throw November’s results in the bin. Back to its position as the year’s first major and the only one played on the same course, the Masters was first contested in 1934. It was started by the legendary Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts and built on the site of a former plant nursery – hence the hole names such as White Dogwood (11th), Azalea (13th) and Rosebud (16th). The beautifully manicured 7,475-yard par 72 crafted by design legend Alister MacKenzie offers room off the tee and is often referred to as a “second-shot course”. Approach play is key but a razor-sharp and creative short game is required on and around the super-slick bentgrass greens. Undulating lies are common and, more so than any other major, the cream rises to the top.
Augusta National Golf Course
Augusta National is so familiar to golf fans that many can walk you through it. There’s the tough opening par 4 followed by birdie opportunities at the sweeping downhill par-5 2nd and short but tricky 3rd. Then it’s time to dig in at the testing par-3 4th and the lengthened par-4 5th. The pin placement is key as players hit down to the par-3 6th and everyone will happily take par at 7 before trying to pick up a birdie or even eagle on the par-5 8th. The par-4 9th needs a precise approach to the tiered green before players have to turn a big draw around the corner on the 10th. Then comes Amen Corner – the tough par-4 11th, the deceptive short par-3 12th and then, if all goes well, an eagle chance at the par-5 13th. After the par-4 14th, the 15th offers another birdie/eagle chance but, as with 13, water lurks and double bogey is in play. The par-3 16th offers the last realistic birdie chance and even scope for a hole-in-one with that Sunday placement at the bottom of the green. The 17th is a par hole and 18… well, it depends on the state of play. If birdie is needed, a long, straight drive through the chute of trees can set up that final chance for glory. Winning scores can be controlled by the ‘Green Jackets’ and the last six read: -20, -13, -15, -9, -5, -18. Note that they don’t like the course being taken apart. When Tiger shot -18 in 1997, Mark O’Meara won with 9-under the following year. Similarly, Jordan Spieth fired -18 in 2015 and the course was toughened up so much that Danny Willett shot -5 to win 12 months later. After DJ’s -20 last time, expect a reaction and possibly single digits under par.
The build-up has been glorious but those pesky t-storms form part of the weather forecast for all four tournament days at Augusta National. Friday and Saturday look the most likely days for the heavens to open while Sunday has the least threat. Temperatures are set to be in the high-80s for rounds one and four but will dip a little in the two middle days. Winds could pick up to 15mph or more on Saturday.
Past Champions at Augusta National
Dustin Johnson became the latest winner of the Green Jacket in November but he has to join some seriously elite company if wanting to keep it. Only three players have defended at Augusta National – Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo. That trio just happen to have 39 majors between them!
Americans have had 62 wins down the years while South Africa and Spain are joint-second on five. Europe has had spells of dominance although Patrick Reed (2018), Tiger (2019) and DJ (2020) have put the U.S. on a current streak of three.
Perhaps the other standout fact is the success of lefties at The Masters. Mike Weir set the ball rolling in 2003, Phil Mickelson won a trio of titles in 2004, 2006 and 2010 while Bubba Watson added to the southpaw success with victories in 2012 and 2014.
Here’s an entirely FREE lineup for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)
|Player #1||P. Cantlay||$9,800|
|Player #2||J. Spieth||$9,400|
|Player #3||W. Simpson||$9,000|
|Player #4||A. Scott||$7,600|
|Player #5||P. Casey||$7,700|
|Player #6||M. Wallace||$6,400|
Remaining cash $100
Patrick Cantlay ($9,800) Already trending towards ‘course horse’ status after T-9 and T-17 in the last two Masters. Cantlay has been getting some extra advice from Augusta specialist Fred Couples and his plan of attack this year looks well thought out. Loves fast putting surfaces (see previous win at Muirfield Village), is ranked 7th in Strokes Gained: Around The Green and does everything well. Has made the cut in his last 11 majors which adds another level of reassurance if any were still needed.
Jordan Spieth ($9,400) It’s not a question of why you would pick Spieth, it’s a question of why on earth wouldn’t you. Incredible course record (7-for-7 including a win and a trio of top threes) so the only doubt would be qualms about his reaction to getting his first ‘W’ in four years by landing the Texas Open. Forget that. Spieth said he felt less emotion than expected (he knows how good he is so it felt like normal service being resumed) and the history books show he has a habit of playing well the week before a major and then exceling in the main event itself.
Webb Simpson ($9,000) Not a big hitter so not a Masters ‘type’ in many eyes. But don’t let lazy perception trump reality. Simpson is absolutely an elite player and his Augusta record stands up with T-10 last year and T-5 in 2019. Rewind a little further and he has five finishes of T-29 or better in the last half-dozen Masters. The firmer course should help him and having won a US Open with 1-over he can certainly handle attritional conditions.
Adam Scott ($7,600) The 2013 Masters champion has seen Augusta National played in a variety of conditions and dealt with them all. Beyond his thunderclap moment eight years ago, Scott has T-2, T-8, T-9 (twice) and has made 17 of 19 cuts among the azaleas. He’s been steady if unspectacular for the last few months, but T-13 at the Honda last time was a positive step forwards and that tidy finish was built on his typical long game prowess: Scott ranked 4th for Stroked Gained: Tee to Green.
Paul Casey ($7,700) Scott, incidentally, said that he hasn’t seen the course so firm and fast since the 2007 edition won by Zach Johnson. Paul Casey was T-10 that year and it’s one of five top 10s owned by the Englishman at Augusta National. He’ll return for his 15th Masters showing his best form in years, highlights including a win in the Dubai Desert Classic and top fives at Pebble Beach and Sawgrass. Not outside the top 12 in his last six worldwide strokeplay starts, the double Valspar champion (both won in tough conditions) looks a steal at $7,700.
Matt Wallace ($6,400) Wallace won the Par-3 Contest in 2019 but then shot 75-77 in the real thing to crash out. But he’s since picked Bernhard Langer’s brains about how to play Augusta and it helped him shoot rounds of 69 and 70 last year to lie T26 with 18 to play. He dropped to T46 but it was money in the bank and Wallace arrives for his third try trending in the right direction. The Englishman made the top 10 at Bay Hill and then was in title contention in Texas last week, finishing third and ranking 1st for SG: Tee to Green after picking up a whopping 15.319 strokes on the field.
Now what do you get if you sign up now for $99?
- One week of our articles for free to test us out and then continued all-access to every sport that we do for a year after that!
- Check out another fully different line up for this Augusta National including two sneaky $6,500 picks.
- Different options to prepare for breaking news if and when it happens.
- A couple of good alternative picks to help you build out GPP options based around not one but two CORE lineups.
Here’s A Riskier High-Low Lineup For The Masters
|Player #1||J. Thomas||$10,600|
|Player #2||X. Schauffele||$10,000|
|Player #3||C. Morikawa||$9,600|
|Player #4||K. Na||$6,500|
|Player #5||C. Bezuidenhout||$6,700|
|Player #6||R. Palmer||$6,500|
$100 leftover salary
Justin Thomas ($10,600) JT at the Masters from 2016 to 2020: T-39, T-22, T17-T12-4. This is only going one way. A brilliant winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, Thomas showed he has different gears to most. And as for the predicted tough conditions, he’s won three PGA TOUR events with single digits under par, including his PGA Championship win at Quail Hollow – a course that correlates nicely with Augusta National – in 2017.
Xander Schauffele ($10,000) Already has a career’s worth of top 10s in majors if viewed through the lens of most PGA Tour golfers. His haul of seven from just 13 starts at this level includes T-2 in the 2019 Masters when he briefly threatened to wreck Tiger’s date with destiny. Schauffele added T-17 last year and comes in under the radar this time after a quiet Florida Swing. Rewind a little further though and you’ll find back-to-back second places at Torrey Pines and Phoenix.
Collin Morikawa ($9,600) This elite ball-striker wasn’t in the best shape ahead of his Masters debut in November but still banked four laps (two of 2-under 70) and will be much better for doing so. He’s a future Augusta superstar but let’s anticipate it rather than react to it by getting him on board before his annual Masters salary goes north of $10,000. Already a major champion and won the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida just three starts ago. He looks ready to take flight again.
Kevin Na ($6,500) Now we need to get creative and first up as a bargain option is a player with four (repeat, four!) PGA TOUR wins since July 2018. Na continues to be billed as the little guy who likes to get under the skin of the big guns and he played that role to perfection when tweaking Dustin Johnson’s nose in the WGC Match Play. Beyond the spiky attitude is a sneaky-good Masters record which shows three top 15s in his seven appearances, including T13 in November.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6,700) Like many of his countrymen, the quiet South African could soon emerge as a force in major championships at a relatively young age. A T-38 on his first look at Augusta in November bodes well and a stellar short game suggests Bezuidenhout is a great fit. His first European Tour win came between the trees at iconic Valderrama and he banked two more at the back end of 2020. T-7 at Bay Hill shows he’s starting to make further waves in America too.
Ryan Palmer ($6,500) A low-salary option with a bunch of good recent form and a Masters top 10. Sounds pretty good. Palmer closed 2020 with two top fours and banked second place at the Farmers Insurance in January. He’s sprinkled a pair of T-17s in his last two strokeplay starts, THE PLAYERS and the Texas Open. Sure, his T-10 at Augusta was back in 2011 but he posted T33 on his last visit in 2015 and his game is in strong enough shape to cash in on the glad-to-be-back vibes.
Other Player Options For The Masters
• Daniel Berger has taken his game to a new level in the last couple of seasons and logged a top-10 on his Masters debut in 2016 when scoring was high.
• Matthew Fitzpatrick has Billy Foster on the bag and was one of the star performers on the Florida Swing with three top 11s. Also T-5 at Riviera, he has the short-game magic to add to his 5-for-5 slate at Augusta since turning pro.
• Matt Kuchar has a bunch of good course form and is resurgent after reaching the semi-final of the WGC Dell Match Play and following it with T-12 at the Texas Open. Fatigue is a slight concern after those 11 rounds.
• Dustin Johnson has the pomp and ceremony of the Champions Dinner to contend with although DJ will surely just point to the food and mumble “let’s go eat” rather than twitch and overthink it like Bubba. Of more concern is a cold putter and form way short of what it was coming in last November.
• Bryson DeChambeau still hasn’t posted a top 20 at the course despite claiming 67 is the new par for him at Augusta. Course conditions don’t obviously appear to suit him.
• Patrick Reed has a more robust set of credentials. They include a Green Jacket, an ability to win on tough courses and an incredible imagination around the greens.
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup. Watch those stairs DJ.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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