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2024 Masters predictions: Nine trends from the last decade to help pick this year’s green jacket winner



2024 Masters predictions: Nine trends from the last decade to help pick this year's green jacket winner

It is right here and it is lovely. The 88th Masters has arrived with 89 gamers starting the week dreaming of slipping on the inexperienced jacket. These aspirations are nonetheless alive and nicely earlier than the primary tee shot is hit at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, the annual host for the yr’s first main championship.

In contrast to the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open, the Masters returns to the identical venue annually. Whereas there are some small tweaks to the course right here and there, the core of Augusta Nationwide has stood the take a look at of time with those that have solved the riddle as soon as earlier than typically having the solutions yr after yr.

It is why Phil Mickelson, and not using a semblance of kind, completed runner-up to Jon Rahm in final yr’s match at 52 years outdated. It is why his final-round 65 was the perfect remaining spherical of his Masters profession in his … *checks notes* … thirtieth look. It is why old-timers like Fred {Couples} and Tom Watson have additionally made early expenses of their 50s. It is why you possibly can by no means rule anybody out at first look.

Course data is required, however it is only one a part of this equation. Whereas the ghosts of previous Masters champions pop up on the leaderboard now and again, solely these really snug with all sides of their sport may have the endurance to see it by way of till Sunday night. A participant does not simply fall into profitable the inexperienced jacket (simply ask Dustin Johnson), he typically tendencies in the direction of it and peaks on the exact proper time (you can too ask Johnson about this).

Watch all 4 rounds of the 2024 Masters beginning Thursday with Masters Stay as we observe the perfect golfers on this planet by way of Augusta Nationwide with Featured Teams, examine in on the famed Amen Nook and see leaders around the activate holes 15 & 16. Watch reside on, the CBS Sports activities App and Paramount+.

Let’s have a look again on the 10 most up-to-date winners of the Masters and establish what tendencies exist as we try and whittle down the sphere of 89 gamers to pinpoint this yr’s champion.

1. What’s your age once more?

It has been 38 years since a 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus donned his sixth inexperienced jacket and captured the final of his 18 main championships. Nicklaus turned the oldest winner in match historical past with the win. Over the past 10 years, the common age of the winner has been a shade beneath 31 even with champions like Dustin Johnson (36), Sergio Garcia (37) and Tiger Woods (43). Since Johnson’s win in 2020, the final three winners have all been beneath the age of 30. Mickelson threatened final season together with his runner-up end, however it’s protected to imagine that should you’re over the age of 46, you in all probability aren’t profitable.

Eradicated: Fred {Couples}, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, José María Olazábal

2. Possibly do not bear in mind your first time

Solely three gamers have ever received the Masters of their first makes an attempt: Horton Smith within the first Masters, Gene Sarazen in 1935 and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Whereas a debutant has not received in 45 years, there have been a lot of shut calls in latest reminiscence with Jordan Spieth (2014), Sungjae Im (2020) and Will Zalatoris (2021) threatening. With such a big class and names like Wyndham Clark and Ludvig Åberg trending, there’s a likelihood this streak involves and finish this yr. However, till then … 

Eradicated: Wyndham Clark, Ludvig Åberg, Akshay Bhatia, Nicolai Højgaard, Austin Eckroat, Eric Cole, Denny McCarthy, Stephan Jaeger, Jake Knapp, Nick Dunlap, Peter Malnati, Grayson Murray, Matthieu Pavon, Adam Schenk, Ryo Hisatsune, Lee Hodges, Santiago de la Fuente (a), Christo Lamprecht (a), Neal Shipley (a), Jasper Stubbs (a)

3. It is a regular climb

They are saying Augusta Nationwide is an acquired style. One could not perceive the nuances the primary or second time round, however as soon as there’s a sport plan, all that is left on the desk is execution. Seven of the final 10 Masters champions had no less than one top-five end of their Masters careers earlier than donning the inexperienced jacket with all 10 having beforehand collected a top-40 end result. 

Eradicated: Max Homa, Cameron Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Adrian Meronk, Erik van Rooyen

4. What have you ever finished for me these days?

Every inexperienced jacket winner since 2014 has notched a top-15 end on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour in a stroke-play occasion over the calendar yr main as much as the Masters. Seven of these had already entered the winner’s circle on the yr — see Rahm in 2023, Scheffler in 2022, Johnson in 2020 and Spieth in 2015 — whereas eight had discovered a spot on the rostrum within the type of a top-three end result. We’ll use that very same top-15 cutoff level for LIV Golf occasions as nicely. 

Eradicated: Rickie Fowler, Stewart Hagestad (a), Viktor Hovland, Tom Kim, Camilo Villegas, Bubba Watson, Danny Willett, Gary Woodland

5. Main-championship pedigree

There have been a lot of first-time main winners who’ve damaged by way of at Augusta, however none have come with out some prior expertise on a comparable stage. Eight of the ten most up-to-date Masters champions had no less than a serious runner-up end result already to their identify with all 10 having a T6 end or higher. Within the yr previous to profitable, 4 of the final 10 collected a runner-up end in a serious championship whereas 9 had a top-15 end. 

Eradicated: Byeong Hun An, Sam Burns, Ryan Fox, Adam Hadwin, Si Woo Kim, Taylor Moore, Joaquin Niemann, J.T. Poston, Nick Taylor, Sahith Theegala

And similar to that, we’ve eradicated 50 gamers … 

6. Let’s get technical 

Strokes-gained knowledge generally is a lovely factor. Within the calendar yr main as much as their respective Masters coronations, all 10 champions have been averaging no less than +0.67 strokes gained per spherical with the imply of the group coming in at a whopping +2.17. Solely 4 gamers on this planet are at present averaging greater than +2.00. 

It was not Rahm (+2.75), Scheffler (+2.50) nor Spieth (+2.38) who boasted probably the most spectacular metrics forward of their victories, slightly it was Watson (+3.02) and Johnson (+3.91) who eclipsed the three-stroke hurdle. A pair previous Masters champions and one main identify will sadly be leaving us right here.

Eradicated: Keegan Bradley, Thorbjørn Olesen, Luke Checklist, Min Woo Lee, Sungjae Im, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka

7. Converse softly and carry a giant stick

Off-the-tee numbers are probably the most predictive indicator of success on this planet of golf; the perfect golfers on this planet at present are the perfect drivers of the ball within the sport. The identical rings true at Augusta the place the final 10 winners have been averaging no less than +0.60 strokes gained off the tee per spherical within the calendar yr of their victory. Patrick Reed was the low man of this group with +0.14 strokes gained off the tee per spherical, which is able to enable a pair names to slide by. 

Eradicated: Lucas Glover, Brian Harman, Tyrrell Hatton, Cameron Smith

8. Iron it out

Augusta Nationwide caters to a few of the finest iron gamers on this planet (like Woods). Over the past three months, Scheffler has been the perfect on this class (+1.57 strokes gained method per spherical), whereas a lot of massive names have struggled with their scoring golf equipment. The previous 10 winners have been averaging a minimal of +0.40 strokes gained method per spherical — a bar some traditionally sturdy method gamers have not come near sniffing.

Eradicated: Collin Morikawa, Emiliano Grillo, Harris English, Matt Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau

Who will win the 2024 Masters, and which longshots will stun {the golfing} world? Go to SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard, all from the mannequin that is nailed 10 golf majors, together with final yr’s Masters and Open Championship.

9. There must be a Plan B

Stuff hits the fan throughout main championships, and the Masters is not any completely different. Extra instances than not, there might be some kind of turbulence over the course of 72 holes, and a participant’s quick sport might be examined. Whether or not it was Scheffler’s chip-in on No. 3 within the remaining spherical of 2022 or Danny Willett’s up-and-down on the 71st gap in 2016, an around-the-green presence is required in some form or kind. That is the place some standard names merely fall in need of the +0.20 strokes gained across the inexperienced clip from the prior 10 winners. 

Eradicated: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Younger, Corey Conners, Adam Scott

So the place does that depart us?

From a area of 89 golfers, solely seven — Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Chris Kirk and Sergio Garcia — stay. I will admit that I’m very stunned by just a few of those!

Scheffler, Schauffele and Matsuyama have been at all times going to be shoo-ins; you in all probability do not want me telling you that. Thomas is fascinating in that he may have a brand-new caddie on the bag and most of his good play got here earlier within the yr, just like Kirk profitable at Kapalua within the PGA Tour’s season opener. Finau is discovering his groove and Garcia simply misplaced in his second playoff of the yr on LIV Golf, however neither has been tremendous dependable with the putter.

Let’s simply put it this fashion: In the event you gave me a good value on Scheffler, Schauffele and Matsuyama versus the sphere, you’d have my consideration.

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