Weekly PGA Preview: The Masters

Weekly PGA Preview: The Masters

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.

The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta, GA

The PGA Tour heads to Augusta as the first major of the season gets underway.

Usually I like to take a look back at what happened the previous week, and no disrespect to Akshay Bhatia, but it's Masters week and I started looking ahead long ago, so let's dig into the storylines. At the top of my list is how Scottie Scheffler responds after a tough loss in Houston. Beyond the potential putting issues, is his ball-striking okay? He was unusually sloppy on Sunday in Houston and he'll obviously need to get all aspects of his game in order if he's to win this week. Next up are the LIV guys and how they'll respond this week. We kind of got a feel for last year, but there's that one guy, you know, the one who won here this past year, Jon Rahm, how is he going to respond to playing against the best players in the world just four times this year? Brooks Koepka had no issues last year, but he was always a guy who got ready to go for the majors and pretty much phoned it in everywhere else. Rahm was never like that, he showed up quite often outside the majors, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to not playing much prior to the Masters, or at least not playing much against full fields wearing pants.

Those are just two of the storylines and there's a lot more to talk about, so let's get to it.

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 7:00 PM ET Tuesday.                   

LAST TIME

Jon Rahm shot a final round 68 on his way to a four-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (9-2)

Where are we at with Scheffler? Three weeks ago he was a lock to win all four majors and all the signature events, but now? Seriously though, we can't really gauge Scheffler's chances of winning this week without knowing the state of his putting. When we last saw him, it wasn't great, but he still managed to almost get into a playoff. He doesn't need a great putter to win this week, but he needs great ball-striking, something that was also absent on Sunday in Houston. With all that said, I still think he should be the favorite this week, but I would not touch him at this price.

Jon Rahm (11-1)

Speaking of unknowns, where is Rahm's game right now? We can't really know, even if he's played well on the LIV Tour, does it really translate? As mentioned earlier, Koepka had no problem upping his game at the Masters this past year, but Cameron Smith never found his game at any of the majors, so Rahm really is an unknown. I think he will be fine, but I wouldn't bet on him to win this time around.

Rory McIlroy (11-1)

McIlroy is consistently among the favorites at the majors, but is anyone really betting on him anymore? At this point, picking McIlroy to win a major is truly a contrarian play, which is odd considering he's the third favorite. McIlroy has all the tools to win here and his form is good enough, but can he get past the mental block of never winning here and failing to win a major for almost a decade? I wouldn't bet on it.                                         

THE NEXT TIER

Hideki Matsuyama (20-1)

I'll start by admitting Matsuyama's "body soreness" is a little concerning, but he will have a few days to recover before teeing it off here and he still managed a top-10 this past week even though he wasn't 100 percent. If he's near 100 percent this week, he should be a factor come Sunday, as he's one of a handful of elite players that's actually performing well this season. Matsuyama's track record here is very solid, with eight top-20s in 12 starts, including a win in 2021.         

Jordan Spieth (22-1)

I had Spieth in this spot last week in spite of his form because he usually plays well in Texas and although that didn't work out, I'm going back to him. I really don't like his form, but he almost always manages to play well here no matter his form and perhaps one good round is all he needs to get back into contention. I'd prefer a higher price on him, but this price is probably good enough for a guy that usually brings his best at Augusta.                                                        

Wyndham Clark (40-1) 

It's strange to think that this will be Clark's first trip to Augusta, but that's how fast his ascension has been. A year ago at this time he wasn't even a blip on the radar, but a handful of wins, including a major will really boost one's stock. He enters this week as perhaps the second-best player on the PGA Tour currently and he knows how to close out a major, so even though it's his first trip, I wouldn't exclude him from the group that could win this week.                                              

LONG SHOTS

Corey Conners (70-1)  

There are two ways to go with your sleepers at Augusta, those that have won the green jacket and might not have the form, see above or those that have the form and have played well at the Masters. Conners falls into the latter category as he's never won here, but he's played well here with three top-10s in his past four starts. His form is good entering this week, but not great, he's yet to miss a cut this year, but he's generally ended in the 10-30 range.

Patrick Reed (80-1)        

Another LIV guy where we have no idea about his form and if it will translate this week, but he was in a similar spot this past year at Augusta and he did just fine. In fact, since winning here in 2018, he's been more than fine, finishing in the top-10 in three of five starts and making the cut each time. It's not a fun bet, he's not a likable character, but this is a huge number for a guy that has already won a green jacket.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-Chosen Pick: Brooks Koepka - I didn't have a spot for Koepka above because he's not among the top three favorites and his odds are better than "mid-tier" so this is the first we are seeing of him. Koepka and Rahm are going to be very popular this week because OAD players only get four chances to use them during the season. They are both good picks here, but Rahm has more working against him like being the first time as a LIV golfer in a major and trying to repeat.                                                                                                               

Moderately-Chosen Pick: Hideki Matsuyama - I had Matsuyama in this spot last week and he fared pretty well. I found out after the pick that he wasn't feeling well, but he still managed a top-10. Matsuyama is a solid pick, but as mentioned earlier, a lot of OAD players will be focusing on LIV players, so you'll have a good chance of moving up the standings if you go this route and he plays well.                                                                                                       

Lightly-Chosen Pick: Patrick Reed - Combining the LIV theory with huge upside is Reed, who won't be used by many OAD players this week yet has a lot of upside as he proved this past year. Just like Rahm and Koepka, you only get four cracks at Reed this year and I can't imagine you'd want to use him anywhere besides this event.              

Buyer Beware: Collin Morikawa - Usually this is a tough one because there aren't enough good options, but this week it's tough because I couldn't figure out which was the best player to fade among Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, ect., but I landed on Morikawa because his best asset -- ball striking -- is just not there right now, and if he doesn't have that weapon he has no chance.                                                                                                           

This Week: Brooks Koepka - This was not an easy call. There are a lot of good options, but to eliminate some, I decided that I was going with a LIV golfer. From there it was down to Koepka, Reed and Rahm. Reed holds the least value going forward, but probably has the least value here. Rahm and Koepka's value the rest of the way is about equal, so it came down to who I felt would play better this week. The answer is Koepka.                                                       

Previous Results

TournamentGolferResultEarningsRunning Total
Valero Texas OpenCorey ConnersT25$67,735$6,213,449
Texas Children's Houston OpenJason DayMC$0$6,145,714
Valspar ChampionshipSam BurnsMC$0$6,145,714
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipScottie Scheffler1$4,500,000$6,145,714
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardWill ZalatorisT4$920,000$1,645,714
Cognizant Classic in The Palm BeachesEric ColeMC$0$725,714
Mexico Open at VidantaBrandon WuT13$145,125$725,714
The Genesis InvitationalMax HomaT16$329,000$580,589
WM Phoenix OpenWyndham ClarkT41$30,404$251,589
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJordan SpiethT39$70,125$221,185
Farmers Insurance OpenHarris EnglishT64$19,080$151,060
The American ExpressSungjae ImT25$63,980$131,980
Sony Open in HawaiiSahith TheegalaMC$0$68,000
The SentryTom KimT45$68,000$68,000

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Brooks Koepka ($11,600)
Middle Range: Patrick Reed ($9,100)
Lower Range: Sergio Garcia ($8,300)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

This Week: Jon Rahm - There are plenty of seemingly safe picks this week, but as is the case with the OAD pick, you might as well go with someone that you can only use in three other spots this season. Rahm has played this event seven times and has yet to miss the cut.    

Previous Results   

TournamentGolferStreak
Valero Texas OpenCorey Conners2
Texas Children's Houston OpenMackenzie Hughes1
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns0
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas0
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardCameron Young9
Cognizant Classic in The Palm BeachesShane Lowry8
Mexico Open at VidantaPatrick Rodgers7
The Genesis InvitationalSahith Theegala6
WM Phoenix OpenHideki Matsuyama5
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJordan Spieth4
Farmers Insurance OpenTony Finau3
The American ExpressSungjae Im2
Sony Open in HawaiiChris Kirk1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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