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Masters 2024: Why one of the best ball-strikers are rewarded extra persistently at Augusta Nationwide

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The Masters, greater than any of the 4 main championships, will be calculated by means of traits. A few of that’s as a result of Augusta Nationwide is the one main that is held on the similar course yearly, which makes its previous historical past extra worthwhile than the opposite majors. Based on the statisticians who run Knowledge Golf, a participant’s previous outcomes there have a disproportionate bearing on his present efficiency in comparison with common PGA Tour occasions.

We now have not seen a first-time participant at Augusta Nationwide win the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, and given the significance of each expertise at Augusta and the truth that gamers who’re taking part in their second, third, fourth (and so forth) Masters are in all probability simply higher at golf than these taking part in their first, we’re unlikely to in 2024.

That is removed from the one development, although, and never crucial one because it pertains to making an attempt to determine a champion.

Watch all 4 rounds of the 2024 Masters beginning Thursday with Masters Dwell as we observe one of the best golfers on the earth by means of Augusta Nationwide with Featured Teams, verify in on the famed Amen Nook and see leaders around the activate holes 15 & 16. Watch stay on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports activities app and Paramount+.

One development that has been constant is the eventual champion of a given Masters being within the high 10 after the primary day of play. That has occurred now every of the final 18 years apart from Tiger Woods in 2019 (Woods was T11 that yr) and 2005 (effectively outdoors the highest 10). In different phrases, no person not named Tiger has received the Masters from outdoors the highest 10 after Spherical 1 since 2004. 

Different rising traits occur as a result of there’s a extra pure lead-in to this main than a few of the others. Golfers play continuously, so there’s a whole lot of information to parse by means of. That leads us to a different development that just lately caught my eye.

Of the final 12 Masters champions, 10 of them gained 1.7 strokes or higher from tee to inexperienced within the three months main into the occasion. The one ones who didn’t: Patrick Reed in 2018 and Hideki Matsuyama in 2021.

This is a take a look at the SG tee to inexperienced from Jan. 1 main into Masters week for the final 12 winners.

2023

Jon Rahm

1.67

2022

Scottie Scheffler

1.72

2021

Hideki Matsuyama

1.02

2020

Dustin Johnson

3.28

2019

Tiger Woods

1.75

2018

Patrick Reed

1.22

2017

Sergio Garcia

2.16

2016

Danny Willett

~2.00

2015

Jordan Spieth

1.86

2014

Bubba Watson

2.03

2013

Adam Scott

2.32

2012

Bubba Watson

2.58

~ Solely two measured occasions

This make sense. The gamers who had been hanging the ball greatest within the weeks main into the primary huge occasion of the yr continued to strike the ball effectively at that occasion. We all know the Masters is received (as all majors are received) with ball-striking. Historically, iron play has been crucial issue, and that’s actually accounted for in these tee to inexperienced numbers.

It is enjoyable to have the ability to slender down the listing of gamers who may win this yr’s Masters. It isn’t definitive, however like we stated earlier, the Masters appears to be extra trend-related than the opposite main championships. This yr, that listing of gamers gaining 1.7 SG tee to inexperienced or higher is just six gamers lengthy.

This is a take a look at all of the golfers who’re at 1.7 SG tee to inexperienced or higher since Jan. 1 getting into the 88th Masters.

Scottie Scheffler

8

3.21

Xander Schauffele

8

2.29

Hideki Matsuyama

9

1.93

Si Woo Kim

9

1.75

Rory McIlroy

8

1.70

Justin Thomas

7

1.67

This information doesn’t embody LIV Golf gamers. Though they’ve launched some shot-level information, Knowledge Golf doesn’t embody it but, and it appears essential to maintain this as clear and simple as attainable. We will presume that Rahm and Joaquin Niemann could be included on this listing, although, based mostly on how effectively they’ve been hitting the ball.

The highest isn’t a surprise. Scheffler, Schauffele and Matsuyama have all been wonderful thus far this yr, although solely Scheffler and Matsuyama have received. The subsequent three may be stunning. Kim is flying beneath the radar. The narrative round McIlroy is that he is just a little misplaced (he isn’t), and Thomas has been unhealthy of late. However the numbers are the numbers, and all six make the reduce right here. 

If you pair my stat above with this one about who has been gaining essentially the most strokes in the newest 4 tournaments, the listing will get even shorter. After all, all the information kind of factors to the identical factor: this match is Scheffler’s to lose. 

If he does lose it, although, keep in mind the names on this listing. One in every of them has an amazing likelihood to scrub up behind him and win a primary (or second) inexperienced jacket.

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