Deep Rough - A Thriller in Augusta
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I don't know exactly what Brooks does to get up for these big events, but whatever he's doing is working for him. He's bagged the last two U. Open's and last year's PGA Championship. He's not just won them, he's won them in cold-blooded fashion. Koepka's ability to turn it on in majors really is remarkable and we have to feel like he wants to win this one. He missed last year's Masters and has made several comments to the media that missing it rekindled his love for the game.
If he contends this year, he will definitely need to find another gear than the one he's been in this year. He ranks outside the top in this field in EVERY major strokes gained statistic over his last 24 rounds.
Rostering Brooks for this tournament will require a leap of faith. You will have to strongly believe that he can flip some sort of switch and become a better player than his form indicates. It's scary to bet against him. He's improved in each of his three Masters starts. After finding the perfect formula and winning twice in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, again in the swing season, and kicking off with a victory on the Euro Tour, Bryson DeChambeau has cooled off a bit since the end of February. He looks at the game in a different way than most other pros. The results of this approach have been very effective, but also somewhat erratic.
Augusta National was actually the site of DeChambeau's coming-out party as an amateur in He turned pro shortly after his Masters outing, but his road to becoming the sixth-ranked player in the world has not been without some obstacles. He went through a brutal cold streak in that saw him miss eight consecutive cuts, before winning the John Deere that summer.
We've already seen both missed-cut streaks and winning binges in his brief career. Though it's not been long since he was on fire, it would be hard to describe DeChambeau as 'ON' right now. Bryson hasn't fared especially well in major championships yet, but Augusta National is the one he's played the best. Fun fact Who doesn't love Tommy Fleetwood? There's a lot to like about Fleetwood. We saw a glimpse of that ability in last year's Masters when the Englishman fired a third-round 66 on the way to a T It was a strong performance in his second trip to Augusta and proved that he's a fast learner after a missed cut in his debut.
It's not often that a golfer's straightest club is his driver, but that's the case with Fleetwood. He lives in the fairway off the tee and, while not being a bomber, is definitely 'long enough' to compete at Augusta National. There's starting to be some rumblings around the DFS industry that Fleetwood can't close. I'm not ready to agree with that assessment, but he does seem to consistently struggle with having one really bad round in each tournament.
As I mentioned, everybody loves Tommy. It's the perfect storm for the Masters I wouldn't be at all surprised if Fleetwood is the highest-owned player in the Milly Maker. His ability to go low is hard to ignore and he has a legitimate chance if he puts four rounds together. The Space Ranger! Am I the only one suffering from Jason Day fatigue? There's been a lot of words spoken and typed about the Aussie over the last month and it's unfortunately not all been about his play.
Day has been plagued with various injuries and ailments throughout his career. There's been some chatter about lingering issues with his back as we head into the Masters, but Day always seems ready to go when the majors roll around. Listen, I'm not going to yell at you for rostering Jason Day I get it, he's a very talented guy and he's performed very well at Augusta National throughout his career.
Day offers some leverage from a game-theory standpoint as lots of folks don't want the headache and stress that can come with rostering him. I always seem to find myself mentioning Paul Casey in the same breath as Justin Rose. Maybe it's because they're both English, but I think it's because they're both so great at Augusta National.
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Casey's T15 in last year's Masters snapped his three-year streak of top-six finishes at Augusta. Casey is a rock-solid ball striker and stands 10th in the Masters field in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds. Yes, that's definitely not ideal What happens if he actually makes some putts at Augusta? That will probably be the case for me again in the Milly Maker, even though I expect him to be popular. There's a lot to like.
He's a super-solid player that's in good form and has a great track record at Augusta National. I consider myself neutral when it comes to Jordan Spieth What a fun round that was to watch! It's a classic case of course history vs. You can't ask for a much better track record than Jordan Spieth has at Augusta National, but he's playing the absolute worst golf of his career in Things aren't pretty for the wonder boy right now. I write a weekly article for RotoBaller called 'Horse For The Course' that uses a players course history as a jumping off point when considering them for lineups.
A few weeks ago I said this about Henrik Stenson who was playing terribly at the time and Bay Hill a course where he'd been unbelievably successful :" Stenson logged a T17 at Bay Hill, his best outing of the year to that point. I don't think that being at Augusta National will magically make Spieth play great, but there is something at play with Spieth and this course. Listen, I'm all for stats, but I do think that some great players possess something inside of them that can't be measured in Strokes Gained or on a TrackMan Monitor.
I'm not sure what the 'it' is, but guys like Spieth and Tiger Woods have it. I wouldn't be surprised if he misses the cut, but I also wouldn't be shocked if plays well at Augusta. I was sure there was something good brewing with Bubba Watson as we headed towards the Masters. We know that Bubba is a very course-specific player and that Augusta National is one of his 'happy places'. We know that Augusta National is kind to left-handed players and Bubba is no exception, as the course fits his ball-flight preferences perfectly.
The two-time Masters champion has played well in and hasn't missed a cut since January. A change to a longer putter and new grip has his putting trending in the right direction. Watson recorded top-fives at the WMPO and the Valspar, a tournament where he's never been successful. I don't want to overreact to his bad Match Play disaster, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth and slightly concerns me about his mindset.
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If you want to throw out the Dell appearance, I really like the way Bubba has played this year and I'm always intrigued with his special affinity for Augusta National. This guy is dangerous! Hideki Matsuyama is striking the ball perhaps better than anyone in the world this season.
Yeah, it makes you a little queasy to roster a player who might three-putt from four feet, but I do love me some Matsuyama in this spot. He's a natural fit at Augusta National and hasn't finished outside the top at the Masters since This guy is literally a lukewarm putting week away from slipping on a green jacket. What a huge year for Francesco Molinari in !
The Italian broke through with a major championship victory at The Open and spent a portion of last season looking like the best player in the world. After hibernating over the winter and easing into the schedule, Moli caught lightning in a bottle on the greens at Bay Hill to take down the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
That victory, coupled with a very strong WGC-Dell Match Play outing, will put Molinari on a ton of radars, but he's historically struggled at Augusta National, with his best outing in seven Masters appearances being a T19 in However, Moli is evolving as a player, so it's definitely possible for him to play well here. When he gets the putter going he's a very dangerous player and he's rolling it better than he ever has at the moment. I like Moli and I'll keep a close eye on his ownership Xander Schauffele is a really impressive young player that I like a lot.
He's quickly showing that he can consistently get himself in the mix and win tournaments. I love Xander's game and think he will be in the major championship mix for years to come, but his lack of experience at Augusta National does concern me. We've historically seen that it takes most players two to three starts to get comfortable on this Augusta layout where course knowledge plays such an important role.
There's a lot to like about the X-Man, he's rock-solid across the board and ranks fifth in this elite field in Strokes Gained: Total over his last 24 rounds. I will definitely have a bit of exposure to him because I really do like his game, but he might need a couple more years of Augusta National seasoning to be a serious threat to win this tournament. The man with the perfect swing.
I have a six-year-old daughter and anytime I want to show her a golf swing I pull up Adam Scott. The Aussie used that perfect swing to win the Masters in and has racked up four additional top's at Augusta National. Scott has been consistently great here for a long time, missing just two cuts since his Masters debut. We all know the standard line about Adam Scott: 'Great ball striker, but can't putt. He hasn't been overly impressive with his ball striking since gaining a massive 7. It kind of puts us in an awkward position.
Is his ball striking suffering? Can he continue the solid putting? What if his ball striking comes around? No matter which side you come down on, it's pretty safe to assume that Scott will once again be solid at Augusta National. Mickelson has won three green jackets and we know that he loves the course. He came out firing in after fading badly down the stretch last season. After vowing to reduce his playing schedule this year to combat fatigue, the year-old has remained fairly active.
His recent form has been slightly concerning, as he's lost strokes on approach in two of his last three starts and lost strokes putting in all three of them. His recent struggles aside, Mickelson is driving the ball farther than he ever has and Augusta National won't punish him off the tee. He has more imagination than the young players in the field and we've seen older players pull off some magical runs in this tournament. He's a volatile, but intriguing GPP play.
If you didn't already like Tony Finau before last year's Masters, you probably became a fan by the time the tournament was over. It was an extremely impressive performance for a couple of reasons: 1.
First timers traditionally struggle at the Masters. After seemingly living in the top-five every week in , Finau has been under-the-radar this year. He has the ability to play well in this tournament, but after drastically improving his short game last season, he seems to have taken a step back this year and ranks 54th in the field in SG: Around the Green over his last 24 rounds.
After being hugely owned in every major last year, it will be interesting to see where ownership is trending on Finau after his relatively low-key performances this season. Oosthuizen is a perennial contender at Augusta National. After a crushing playoff loss to Bubba Watson in , 'Shrek' has logged two top's and two top's in this event.
Oosthuizen battled neck and back injuries for a good portion of , but flashed some form over the winter with a win at the South African Open and two top's on the Euro Tour. His PGA Tour outings had been mediocre this season, but he found his groove at the Valspar where his short game looked absolutely silky en route to a runner-up finish and he showed tons of fight in the WGC-Dell Match Play event. Louis appears to be rounding into form at just the right time. That combination of form and his history of success at Augusta National will put him on a lot of DFS radars.
His recent form will make him a player that will probably garner some buzz around the DFS industry in the lead up to the Masters. Slipped on the green jacket last year in what was probably one of the least popular Masters wins of all time Reed played spectacular golf with three sub rounds and a tough-as-nails final-round 71 to hang on for his first major championship. His performance showed that great course history at Augusta National isn't a requirement to win though I think it's important , as his best previous Masters finish was a T22 in Reed's game appears to be in shambles at the moment.
He made an iron change prior to The Players and lost strokes on approach. Then things got really ugly at the Valspar, when he lost a hard-to-fathom 7. I suppose you could make a game-theory argument for rostering Reed in the Milly Maker, as his ownership will be next to nothing, but I can't get there myself. Who knew that the most boring guy on the PGA Tour could ever be this controversial? Despite his WWE-like heel turn or maybe because of it?
After a years-long winning drought, the floodgates opened with the aforementioned win at Mayakoba. Kuchar quickly logged another victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii and notched a top-five at the Waste Management. He cooled a bit after Phoenix, but recently made a run to the finals in the match play event and now heads to an Augusta National course - where he has three career top-five's - in very sharp form. His price, Masters history, and current play will make him one of the most popular options in the field. The 'Big Aussie' was cooking in late and into early Leishman grabbed a victory in the swing-season's CIMB Classic and started the calendar year with three top-five's in his first four starts.
Things have been more of a grind lately, as Leishman has struggled to regain his early-season form over the past six weeks. He goes as far as his putter allows and he's been fighting the flatstick since a dreadful outing at the WGC-Mexico, where he lost a horrible 9. Leishman has been hard to peg at Augusta He played well in last year's edition, logging a T9, and he definitely brings some upside to the table at his DK price.
Leishman grades out in the middle-of-the pack in most tee-to-green statistical categories and will need a hot putting week to make any noise at Augusta. Patrick Cantlay is a player that has become a popular DFS go-to over the last year, and rightly so. He made 21 of 23 cuts in , with a win and six top's. That type of consistency goes a long way toward building a rather faithful DFS following. Cantlay has flashed similar upside this season, with a solo-second in the fall and two top's in However, he has also already matched his missed cut count of two and we're just a few months into Cantlay's Masters outing last year was very disappointing he shot to miss the cut , but not entirely surprising.
We've seen it take time for players to gain their bearings at Augusta National and it was Cantlay's first Masters appearance since playing as an amateur in His ball striking 10th in the field in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds is appealing, but his spotty short game 50th in SG: Short Game last 24 rounds is worrisome. I know a lot of people will jump on Cantlay at this price - and he has the tools to play well at Augusta - but I wonder if he's one of those players that needs to get three or four Masters starts under his belt before he seriously contends.
Sergio's Masters record reads about like what you would expect from a notorious head case: a win, three top's, and six missed cuts in 20 career Augusta National appearances. It's almost a microcosm of Garcia's career as a whole I loved the direction his game was trending as we inched closer to Augusta - fifth in the field in SG: Approach, sixth in SG: Ball Striking, and 17th in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds - but his recent match play outburst not to mention the incident earlier this year in Saudi Arabia has me wondering where his head will be for this year's Masters.
It really is easy to imagine any possible scenario for Sergio. He could win, seriously contend, miss the cut, or simply 'just show up' and log a forgettable T He's in excellent form physically and striking the ball tremendously, but we know what can happen if he's in a bad place mentally. I do love his reduced price tag and it definitely makes investing in Sergio more palatable. We go from one superb ball striker in Sergio Garcia to another in Henrik Stenson.
Stenson hasn't been bad at Augusta by any measure - he has seven top's in 12 career appearances - but before last year's T5, his best finish was a T14 in After battling an injury at the end of last season, Stenson got off to a really sluggish start in His irons finally woke up at Bay Hill, where he gained a massive 6.
His ball striking again looked very sharp at the Valspar, where he gained 7. Like Sergio, there are some questions about Stenson's mental outlook at Augusta, but the prospect of the rest of his game coming together around his superb iron play makes him an intriguing DFS option. Another Englishman with a sterling track record at Augusta National. A last-minute win at the Houston Open got him into this tournament last year, but Poulter ran out of juice and logged a T I expect more from him in this time around, as Poulter has played arguably the best golf of his career over the past year.
He ran off an impressive streak of three straight top-six finishes on the Euro Tour to kick off and kept it going when he crossed the pond by logging a T3 at the WGC-Mexico. Poulter is a player that doesn't do one thing great, but also doesn't do anything horribly. He's a solid option that's playing well and has some good Masters experience to draw from. He'll be popular, but is hard to ignore at this price. Over the last couple of years I've went through a few periods of thinking it was Gary Woodland's 'time', but things just haven't worked out that way.
After a monster swing season and having the Sentry TOC literally stolen from him by Xander Schauffele, Woodland appears to be yet again be entering a mid-season swoon, as he's been fighting to just make cuts over the past month The guy has all the talent in the world, but it's never translated to Augusta National. His best Masters outing was his first, a T24 back in Woodland has missed the cut in his last three Masters starts and it hasn't been close, as he's failed to break 75 in his last five rounds at Augusta National. He's a great player and his stats suggest he should play well on this course eighth in the field in SG: T2G his last 24 rounds , but his course history tells a different story.
After an impressive T17 in his Masters debut, Rafa's last two trips to Augusta have been rather underwhelming. With many of his fellow Spaniards having won green jackets, Cabrera-Bello seems almost destined to play well here at some point. He's a tremendous putter 12th in the field in SG: Putting last 24 rounds , but struggles terribly around the greens and ranks almost last in the field in SG: Around the Greens over his last 24 rounds.
Not exactly a recipe for success at Augusta National. Rafa has put together a nice season in , racking up a top-five and three top's against just one missed cut in his six North American starts. Cabrera-Bello seems like a steal at this price and his game log looks really tempting, but his spotty chipping and underwhelming tee-to-green stats 50th in field in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds raise enough concerns to take him out of the 'slam dunk' category for me.
Webb Simpson had a dream season in and one of his many highlights was logging a career-best finish at the Masters a T The Players Champion has been solid if unspectacular this year, logging a top and two top's in six starts. While I'm normally happen to roll with 'The Webber' in any tournament, his issues at Augusta National aren't easily fixable. He stands th on the PGA Tour in Driving Distance this season and his lack of length off the tee gives him no room for error in any other facet of the game on this long Augusta layout.
I like him as a player and can't argue with his price tag, but last year's T20 kind of feels like his Masters ceiling. I think a lot of us that watched last year's Masters put a mental asterisk by Cam Smith as a player to watch in future Masters. The Aussie logged a brilliant T5 at Augusta last season on the strength of his impeccable short game. He continues to be one of the best in the world in that area and heads to Georgia ranked third in the field in SG: Short Game and eighth in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds.
Smith was firing on all cylinders during the swing season and logged a win at the Australian PGA. He kept things going with some nice outings in early that included top's at the Farmers and WGC-Mexico. However, his form regressed during the month of March, when he missed the cut at the Honda and only mustered a T55 at The Players. He struggles badly off the tee 65th in the field in SG: OTT over his last 24 rounds , which puts tons of pressure on his short game.
I look for him to be popular due to his Masters performance last year, but his recent form might not warrant as much ownership as he will garner. The young Englishman is just years-old, but already has four Masters starts under his belt. Fitzpatrick has made three straight cuts at Augusta since a missed cut in his debut, including a T7 in He's already logged five wins on the Euro Tour and made some noise stateside earlier this year when he logged a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he gained 7.
His run at Bay Hill indicates some solid form and - despite coming up short in the Arnold Palmer - I like that he hung tough with Rory McIlroy in a final-group Sunday pairing. His competent Masters record makes him an interesting pivot option in this price range. Pepperell has been grinding away on the Euro Tour for a few years, but kicked his game into another gear in , winning the Qatar Masters and British Masters. Pepperell is known mostly in the U. While he's a fan favorite, his Masters prospects this year aren't great. Augusta National is notoriously tough on first timers and Pepperell has lost strokes Off the Tee in all three of his North American starts this year.
The Masters champion spent the better part of the past decade being one of the most reliable pros in the world, but over the last couple of years Schwartzel has been anything but reliable. I don't have any problem at all with PXG, but the South African as well as Zach Johnson has basically been in the tank since switching to the upstart equipment company. Schwartzel's last two Masters starts perfectly illustrate his inconsistency issues Schwartzel has some name recognition with casual golf fans and will probably find his way into a surprising number of novice lineups, but I don't have any interest myself.
Recorded an impressive T32 in his Masters debut last year. We've seen him play well in some big tournaments, with a final-round 63 to finish third in the Open Championship leaving a lasting impression. This might sound weird, but Li reminds me a little of Brooks Koepka, because he always seems to play his best golf on the biggest stages. Feels like an interesting player to get a little exposure to if you are mass entering lineups in the Milly Maker. Sneds punched his return ticket to Augusta with a win at the Wyndham Championship late last season. The Nashville native should be excited to earn his way back into the Masters after a one-year absence, as he's played extremely well here in his previous appearances.
Snedeker has made the cut in eight of his 10 Masters starts, scoring a T3 in and top's in and After a sluggish start to , Snedeker has demonstrated some sharp improvement after reuniting with his former swing coach in early March. Similar to Webb Simpson in that he lacks distance off the tee, but has found a way to overcome it in his previous Masters appearances.
The Englishman will be making his third Masters start. Improved from a missed cut in his debut to a T44 last year. Hatton is a nice player, but one I honestly have a difficult time putting my finger on. I never seem to get him right and his game can go from hot to cold and back again in the blink of an eye. He goes through lapses with his irons and is often bailed out by his superb play around the greens. Hatton missed the cut at The Players and went to miss the cut at the Valspar, though he did show some fight to advance out of the group stage at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Hatton would need a lot of things to go right to contend at Augusta National. Making his Masters debut. Matt Wallace is a new name for U. Made a splash with a T6 at the Arnold Palmer and has been exceptionally solid over his recent starts in the U. Wallace is a grinder in the Ian Poulter vein. He's really solid from tee to green and ranks 10th in the field in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds. I really like his game, however I'm always a little reluctant to go super-heavy on players making their Masters debut.
Despite it being his first go-round at Augusta National, I will definitely be sticking Wallace in some lineups.
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Grace always seems to pop up in majors and plays well on difficult courses and conditions. I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed when I reviewed his Masters history, as I honestly thought it was a bit stronger. Missed the Masters cut in three straight years from to , but has flirted with top's in last two starts at Augusta National.
Grace closed out on a cold streak and really hasn't been much better outside of a runner-up finish at the WMPO. Grace has failed to break 70 in his last two starts - The Players and the Valspar - but is a player that is difficult to totally count out in a major championship setting. A notoriously streaky player, Horschel has been riding an extremely hot putter in Horschel is averaging an unsustainable 4. He's a gamer and logged a T17 in the Masters, so it's possible that he guts out a solid performance, but his nice-looking game log masks a tee to green game that is pretty off right now.
The anti-Billy Horschel. We've seen Bradley make a couple of runs this year, only to unravel on the greens. He's lost strokes putting in eight of his nine starts. The elite ball striking makes him tempting, but we know how this movie ends. Has only cracked the top once in five Masters starts. Thunder Bear! Olesen is an uber-talented European that runs hot and cold.
He's in a cold stretch at the moment and hasn't shown much fight in outside of a T7 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in late January. He's a player that can make birdies in bunches when he finds his groove, as evidenced by a T6 in his Masters debut back in This will be Olesen's first trip to Augusta since a T44 in I would probably have some interest if he had shown any recent form, but he's simply a punt with his game in its current state. The Augusta native is making his long-awaited return to the Masters, his first appearance since CH3 picked up a swing-season win at the RSM Classic to earn his way back into the Masters field and he hasn't slowed down much in Howell hasn't missed a cut this year and has six top's.
Despite being a hometown boy, he hasn't found a ton of traction in previous Masters starts Howell will be a go-to for tons of people at this cheap price and rostering him isn't without merit. His ownership will offer some leverage for those willing to employ a calculated fade. He's struggling in every facet of the game right now and ranks near the bottom of this field in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds. His current form, mixed with the fact that he's not been close to making the cut in his two previous Masters starts, makes it easy for me to take Noren out of DFS consideration.
A former Masters champion that has been lost in the golf wilderness for the last couple of years, Willett appears to finally be heading back to civilization. After fighting through injuries and undergoing a swing change, the Englishman picked up a win at the end of at the DP World Championship in Dubai. Had a solid stretch in North America to start and has been powered by sharp iron play 12th in field in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds , but his results have declined recently as he's struggled both off the tee and on the greens. I think the idea that Zach Johnson 'always plays well at Augusta' is a pretty big misconception.
Yes, he of course won the tournament in , but outside of the win Johnson only has one top and one top in 14 career Masters starts. Normally a player that you can rely on week-in-and-week-out, ZJ's trademark consistency has been MIA over the past year. He has one top in seven starts, though it was in his most recent outing at the Valspar, so perhaps Johnson found something at Innisbrook? Mitchell has been on the radar of DFS regulars for awhile, but his Honda win and strong follow-up performance at the Arnold Palmer have made him a fairly known commodity. It's always an educated guess when considering how first-timers will handle Augusta National and that's the case with Mitchell.
He's a tremendous ball striker 13th in SG: Ball Striking that has plenty of length off the tee eight in SG: OTT , but we have no idea how the guy we only roster on Bermuda greens will react to the lightning Bentgrass of Augusta National. Zeee German! We know that Kaymer is a big-game hunter and has bagged some major wins in his career - including the PGA and U. Open - but he's never really found his groove at Augusta National.
Missed the cut in his first four Masters starts and logged a career-best finish of T16 in Kaymer can be a dominant player when he has everything clicking, but his play in has been very ho-hum and he doesn't rank inside the top in this field in any major Strokes Gained category.