Overview: This page will take you through a variety of trends, stats and data that historically has been effective in predicting success at The Masters. Similar to last year, it’s difficult to assess the LIV players in this field as there is limited data on their performance this season. I’d mainly bank on past form for the LIV guys in this field more than anything.

Course Details

Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

Par 72

Length: 7,545 yards

Greens: Bentgrass

Where historical Masters champions have come from and where last year’s champion, Jon Rahm, fit:

  • Every winner since 2010 has entered the Masters ranked in the top 30 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). Top 25 in 12 straight Masters (Rahm 3rd).  Since 2017, among the non LIV players, only Dylan Fritelli (100th in 2020) and Lee Westwood (67th in 2016) finished inside the top 5 and entered the Masters outside of the top 45 in the OWGR.

  • 15 straight Masters winners had a top 20 finish in one of their five prior pre Masters events. (Rahm won Genesis 4 starts prior)

  • Every winner besides Danny Willet in 2016 has come into the event ranked in the top 100 in driving distance, which is essentially tour average. This is important because Augusta plays longer than its stated yardage distance (Rahm 5th). 

  • Because of the way Augusta is shaped and the location of the greens, the ability to hit high shots and land them safely on the green, while generating enough distance is of utmost importance. Each winner since 2010 has ranked inside the top 80 in the PGA’s distance to apex stat. (Rahm 32nd)

  • This is not a tournament to back a player making their debut as no debutant has won the Masters since 1979. Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 is still the only debutant to win the Masters and experience is typically key. Here are some of the more recent elite players and their finishes in their debut at Augusta- Rahm: 27th, Morikawa: 44th, Speith: 2nd, JT: 39th, Fitzpatrick: Cut, Cantlay: 47th, Scheffler: 19th, Hovland: 32nd, Schauffele: 50th, Zalatoris: 2nd. So Spieth and Zalatoris are the only debutants to even finish inside the top 15 among the elites since 2015. On average, first time winners have played the event ~six times. Last year, Sahith Theegala was the highest finisher among the debutants at 9th. 

  • Every winner since 2010 had finished in the top 40 at a prior Masters at least once. (Rahm 6 times prior). 

  • Every winner since 2010 came into the Masters ranked in the top 100 in strokes gained on approach and only three players (Willett, Sergio and Schwartzel) ranked outside of the top 44. (Rahm 4th). 

  • Putting is very difficult at Augusta and is difficult for most every player. That essentially neutralizes any advantage that a great putter would have over others that struggle. To put this in perspective, two recent winners- Hideki Matsuyama in 2021 and Sergio Garcia in 2017, are notorious for struggling in putting. Matsy ranked 166th in strokes gained putting heading into the Masters, and in fact, finished the weekend 23rd among the field in strokes gained putting and still won. Sergio was 193rd in putting heading into his winning Masters season of 2017. Will Zalatoris, Corey Conners and Cam Champ all finished top 10 here in 2021 and came into the event outside of the top 100 in SG putting . In 2022, Scheffler won while ranking 13th in SG putting and last year Rahm was just 22nd in SG putting en route to his victory. It’s hard to say just totally ignore putting stats but it’s hard to put much emphasis in trying to predict who will conquer those Augusta greens.

  • Being able to manage around the tricky greens of Augusta are always a key factor. 12 straight champions have a positive strokes gained around the green during the year of their Masters victory. (Rahm +0.367)  11 straight winners and 12 of the last 14 ranked top 55 in strokes gained around the green in the season of their victory (Rahm 13th). 

  • The key almost every year is playing well from Tee to Green. Recent winners like Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are excellent from tee to green.  In fact, 12 straight and 13 of the last 14 winners, have come into Masters week ranked inside the top 25 on tour in SG tee to green. *Note: Two winners (Willet in 2016 and Scott in 2013) only participated in two (Willet) and three (Scott) PGA events that season prior to the Masters and were not on the official stat rankings. But in their limited events, both ranked #1 in the field in T2G heading into the Masters. (Rahm 3rd). Each of last year’s top 6 finishers finished inside the top 13 for the week in strokes gained Tee to Green.

Based on just the above historical filters, I broke out how many categories each player matches. I grouped just the PGA only players first based on the category matches. I’d never blanket eliminate players just because they just miss a category or two but it’s a nice way for me to view the different buckets of players. I think any of the players in the 7-8 match categories are perfectly capable and guys in the 6 category bucket are also worth considering. Keegan Bradley (220/1) and Taylor Moore (300/1) absolutely catch my eye as the best of the long shots.
Since the LIV players don’t have PGA stats and their OWGR are out of whack, I really only care about how those players have done historically at Augusta, and beside Adrian Meronk, the rest fit that filter. Just based on the last three Masters T2G SG data, Bryson DeChambeau (43 out of 43 qualified players) and Adrian Meronk (worst T2G in only one start) I would not consider them real threats to win this week. I probably wouldn’t seriously consider the longer shot players like Mickelson (guess you never know), Schwartzel, Sergio or Bubba. Otherwise, I would consider each of these remaining LIV players as potential to win (Hatton, Rahm, Niemann, Koepka, Cam Smith, Reed, DJ).


Top 10 Candidates:

What are the traits/qualities that are best to evaluate when trying to find golfers to place in the top 10 at the Masters?

For the last few years, I have used a classification decision tree to help best predict the likeliest top 10 finishing candidates. The idea of a classification tree is to split golfers into groups where each group has similar traits. In this case, we are looking for the characteristics of past golfers who have finished in the top 10 at the Masters. Based on the available data that I have been able to track for a number of years, I was able to build a classification tree with all golfers who finished in the top 10 at the Masters since 2017 and characteristics that specific groups share.

Top 10 Recent History:

  • There have been 78 players who have finished in the top 10 (includes ties for 10th place), since 2017. 75 golfers who have been PGA members as three (Mickelson, Koepka, Reed) finished in the top 10 last year from LIV.
    All but five of the 75 PGA golfers who finished top 10 since 2017, were ranked inside the top 45 of the World Golf Rankings (OWGR). Dylan Fritelli (100th) in 2020, is the only PGA golfer since 2017, who has finished inside the top 5 (tied for 5th) when ranked outside of the top 45 in the OWGR. The LIV players last season make this a bit tricky as their OWGRs plummeted during the season prior to the Masters in reality were not indicative of their true ratings.
  • Six players in the last seven Masters have finished in the top 10 in their Augusta debuts. Besides CT Pan in 2020, the other five were ranked in the OWGR top 45 at the time. Last year Sahith Theegala finished 9th and was the 29th ranked golfer in the world.
  • Only Frittelli in 2020 and Cameron Young last year have made a top 10 without having made the cut at a prior Masters tournament (excludes those making their debuts) since 2017.
  • 49 of the 78 top 10 spots in the last seven Masters are represented by the same players. Last year 9 of the top 13 finishers had a prior top 10 at the Masters. There is a lot of redundancy among the top 10 and prior form at Augusta is extremely corelated to success.
  • Since 2017, 67 of 73 players (92%) with available stats, finished in the top 10 and also came into the Masters ranked in the top 95 in strokes gained Tee to Green. 52% of the top 10 came in ranked top 25 in T2G.

Using this data, my model identified 36 golfers in the field that had the highest likelihood of finishing inside the top 10 at last year’s Masters tournament. *Note: Because it was the first year where LIV golfers were going to play the Masters, and there were no season long stats for those players, I just decided to exclude them entirely. 29 of those 36 PGA golfers made the cut, and among just the 10 of the PGA golfers who finished inside the top 10 (13 total players finished inside the top 10 when LIV players are included), eight (80%) came from this group. Now you might think that these are likely the chalkiest golfers in the field but it also included Russell Henley who came in to the event 200/1 and finished 7th along with Gary Woodland at 250/1 who finished one stroke away from the top 10. 10 of the 12 PGA golfers who finished inside the top 15 last year at the Masters also came from this group. Highly ranked players like Sam Burns (10th in OWGR), Tom Kim (19th) and Billy Horschel (24th) did not meet my top 10 classification requirements. Not only did none of those players make the top 10, only Kim at 16th was inside the top 25. In the last two years that this top 10 list has been generated prior to the Masters, my model has correctly predicted 19 of the 21 top 10 finishers among the PGA participants, including four players listed 90/1 or worse in pre tournament odds to win the event. And among the seven top 25 players excluded from this list the last two years, none made the top 10 and only two even made the top 30.

Based on this classification tree, who are the most likely top 10 candidates this year? (Note: Because there is no PGA data for the LIV players playing in the Masters this week, I excluded them from this list. They are almost all veterans with lots of familiarity with Augusta and are certainly in play). I have been able to narrow it down to the 33 PGA players who are most likely to make the top 10 based on my model. 


Strokes Gained Consistency on PGA YTD






Masters Historical Results





Results in Majors Since 2021


Guys I like to win/contend/top 10:

  • Xander Schauffele
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Tony Finau
  • Cam Young
  • Corey Conners

Long shots for top 10/20 and cheaper DFS plays:

  • Taylor Moore– Moore surprised me when he popped up fairly high in most of the categories that have predicted success at Augusta in the past. He’s top 40 in SG tee to green, has made the cut in 14 straight PGA events including a T2 and T12 in his last two outings. I don’t think he can win but for the price he makes a lot of sense in DFS and long shot top 10s/20s.
  • Adam Hadwin- Another sub $7K player on DK and is sitting +400 to finish top 20. Hadwin is solid in most categories although isn’t an elite ball striker. But he is excellent around the greens which you need at Augusta and has finished top 6 three times on tour since January, including 4th at the Genesis which has been highly correlated to Augusta in the past.
  • Keegan Bradley- Keegan’s odds are through the roof this week but it’s purely because he has been awful putting this season. You typically don’t need to fret too much since everyone struggles on the greens of Augusta. His tee to green numbers are superb (16th best in the field) and has had prior success here (4 straight made cuts at the Masters).
  • Charl Schwartzel– If you are looking to jam Scottie and other high priced guys in your lineup, Schwartzel is an excellent cheapie to balance your lineup. Nobody ever drafts him but the veteran always makes the Masters cut. In fact, he has made the cut in each of the last four and includes three top 30s.