Everyone has their favorite pick of the majors. For most, it's The Masters at Augusta National.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in that bucket. That's fine by me.
Even with no (or limited) ShotLink data to dig into at this course, we know a lot about what it takes to succeed here.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Augusta National Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,475 (long: ~100 yards longer than the average par 72)
Fairway Acres/Yard: 13.4 (as wide as it gets: PGA average is 4.1)
Average Green Size: 6,486 square feet (average: ~105% of the PGA average)
Green Type: Bentgrass
Stimpmeter: N/A (but real fast)
Past 5 Winning Scores: -10, -20*, -13, -15, -9
Past 5 Cut Lines: +3, Even*, +3, +5, +6
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Total Strokes Gained, Course History
Augusta National rewards driving distance and doesn't really care about driving accuracy at all. Over the past five Masters, distance leading in (over the past 50 rounds, via FantasyNational), explained 37% of in-tournament strokes gained. That number for fairways gained is 3%.
However, strokes gained: off the tee explains 38%, just besting distance. It's a better stat overall, and it won't exclude the accurate-but-not-super-long drivers.
Overall, strokes gained: tee-to-green leading into the event explained 47% of in-tournament strokes gained, and overall strokes gained average explained 52%. Basically, great players play well here.
Notably, putting (12%) is very weak relative to ball-striking (43%) in terms of predictability.
Keep it simple: target the best golfers at the moment, those who have some success here already, and those who are good off the tee.
*Scoring conditions were much different during the November event.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
I normally list past winners who are in the field, but that's sort of the Masters' whole thing.
That said, the most recent winners in the field are Hideki Matsuyama (2021), Dustin Johnson (2020 -- in November), Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019), Patrick Reed (2018), Sergio Garcia (2017), Danny Willett (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015), Bubba Watson (2012, 2014), Adam Scott (2013), and Charl Schwartzel (2011).
The following golfers have at least 8 rounds at Augusta National with an adjusted strokes gained average of at least 1.5, via DataGolf: Jordan Spieth (+2.94), Tiger Woods (+2.78), Jon Rahm (+2.77), Justin Rose (+2.28), Tony Finau (+2.18), Dustin Johnson (+2.07), Rory McIlroy (+19.6), Xander Schauffele (+1.93), Hideki Matsuyama (+1.93), Brooks Koepka (+1.88), Justin Thomas (+1.87), Lee Westwood (+1.84), Abraham Ancer (+1.77), Scottie Scheffler (+1.76), Cameron Smith (+1.71), and Cameron Champ (+1.52).
So, yeah, about overall pedigree at Augusta? You'll want to roster the best, and that means a balanced DFS build.
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their FanDuel Sportsbook win odds.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets
I'll update this closer to the tournament with where I ultimately settle, but those are the early names that jump off the page.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for The Masters
All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Jon Rahm (FanDuel Salary: $12,100 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +950) - The sportsbook odds are still best for Rahm compared to anyone else, and my win simulation model sees it the same way. It's really easy to have Rahm fatigue at this point, but let's not ignore what he's done at Augusta in the past (T5, T7, T9, 4th, T27). Rahm is the best long-term golfer in the field and also leads in my adjusted strokes gained: tee to green stat over the past year. If paying a premium for a golfer, I'm going with Rahm over Justin Thomas ($11,900).
Cameron Smith ($11,200 | +1400) - With a field like this, you have to nitpick everyone and everything. You can make the case for almost any golfer with a salary of $9,000 or above, and with the studs, you're picking them based on very little difference. For Smith, he almost got the axe for his off-the-tee play (22nd percentile), but he's got the best combined short game in the field. According to my putting regression data, he's expected to cool off a bit...while still having 96th-percentile putting. His 65th-percentile ball-striking is enough for him to be on the radar yet again. He has three straight top-10 finishes at Augusta.
Xander Schauffele ($11,000 | +1800) - I recommend Schauffele a lot but honestly not as often as I used to. I'm picking my spots with him more and more, and at this point, it's time to get back in. Schauffele ranks in the 90th percentile in expected putting, and his expected strokes gained: putting number is 0.48 per round (compared to an actual mark of 0.16). More putts should fall for him eventually. That's all combined with 78th-percentile ball-striking and great Augusta form that includes three straight top-17 finishes (with two inside the top three and a near win last year).
Brooks Koepka ($10,900 | +1800) - My stats-reliant model will never like Koepka because he's just so all-or-nothing (meaning all-in at big events and nothing usually at the low-equity ones), but in his past six starts, Koepka has finished T3 at the WM Phoenix Open, T16 at the Honda Classic, T12 at the Valspar Championship, and T5 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He has finished 33rd or better in his five made cuts here (he missed last year while far from 100% healthy) and has three top-12s, too.
Will Zalatoris ($10,300 | +3300) - If you want ball-striking, Zalatoris has it (92nd percentile), and even if you factor in his 41st-percentile around-the-green play, Zalatoris remains in the 90th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: tee to green. He's super long off the tee, and while his putting is bad no matter how we look at it, he's due for some putting regression and should be sitting at around a -0.15 per round. Putting over the past 50 rounds entering the Maters has explained just 3% of in-tournament scoring, so we can forgive it and go back to Zalatoris, who was runner-up here in his debut a year ago.
Daniel Berger ($10,100 | +4100) - Berger's Masters history is a bit strange. He debuted with a T10 in 2016 and has since finished T27 in 2017 and T32 in 2018 before not playing it again until a missed cut last year (with poor putting). Berger has, though, finished top-10 in each of the past two majors (T7 at the U.S. Open and T8 at the Open Championship). He's not long off the tee but still ultimately ranks in the 90th percentile in adjusted ball-striking over the past year.
Adam Scott ($9,700 | +4100) - Scott's a former winner at Augusta back in 2013 and still sets up well to attack this course. He's in the 74th percentile in distance gained and is in the 58th percentile in adjusted ball-striking. Where he's really standing out is in the putting department, as he is in the 92nd percentile in putting from within 15 feet, a great sign for that putting stability. Again, putting itself doesn't need to be there entering this week, but it's never bad to see great baseline putting. And with the rest of the stats being there, Scott's a mid-range standout.
Corey Conners ($9,300 | +6500) - Conners is in good form to say the least. He enters with a T11 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a T26 at THE PLAYERS, a 3rd at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (and a made cut at the Valero). Conners, despite the elite field, has 85th-percentile tee to green data over the past year. The Canadian has finished top-10 in each of the past two years at Augusta, too.
Sergio Garcia ($9,100 | +6500) - Garcia's still got good distance (81st percentile) despite his age and is using that to rank in the 97th percentile in adjusted off the tee play over the past year. The irons are pretty weak (28th percentile), yet he's still managing to rank well in recent greens in regulation gained (90th percentile). With baseline-level putting and great driving, Garcia's in a good position to snap his three-year streak of missed cuts at Augusta.
Gary Woodland ($8,600 | +8000) - There's a lot to like about Woodland recently. He's finishing well (three top-25s in his past four starts entering the Valero) and is hitting his irons well. With that, he has 88th-percentile distance for this field and is a good baseline putter. Augusta hasn't been that kind to him, though he does have two made cuts in his past three starts. Woodland is looking like the golfer we saw when he had three top-10 results over a four-major span (including the 2019 U.S. Open win).
Si Woo Kim ($8,500 | +10000) - Si Woo Kim famously stunted his own chances to contend last year when he broke his putter in the second round. Kim finished 12th, ultimately, for a fourth straight made cut and a third top-25 in that stretch at the Masters. Kim ranks in the 74th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: off the tee and in the 71st percentile in adjusted around-the-green play.
Cameron Champ ($7,900 | +13000) - We need to be a little cautious with our long-shots -- even for our DFS lineups. We want to make sure all six golfers have upside (i.e. a chance to win). While Champ's 96th-percentile distance doesn't play everywhere, it works at Augusta, where he has finished 19th and 26th in his two starts. Champ also ranks in the 73rd percentile in expected strokes gained: putting.
Russell Henley ($? | +6500) - Henley isn't yet in the field on FanDuel, but he should be discussed no matter what his salary is. He ranks in the 86th percentile in adjusted tee to green play in the past year, and that's buoyed by 97th-percentile irons. Henley has not played Augusta since 2018 but owns four top-31s and two top-15s in five tries.