02 Apr 2019

2019 Masters Tournament form guide

With such a rich array of superstars currently competing at the highest level, picking a winner for an event like The Masters is a tough task. On any given day, anyone inside the top 50 in the world rankings is capable of stepping up and getting the job done – whatever the event.

What gives The Masters that extra zip of appeal is that the venue is the same each year, so there is some historical data that can be examined. Although, often it can have no bearing when a player like Patrick Reed – who had not broken 70 in 12 previous rounds at Augusta – bludgeoned his way to victory last year with a 15-under-par total. With that in mind, let’s assess the glorious cast of candidates for this year’s Masters and their chances of winning the famed Green Jacket.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy is enjoying his best season with the flatstick since 2014. He ended a 365-day winless drought with a solid victory at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass last month. McIlroy has been in impressive form in 2019, finishing inside the top six in six starts – but his lack of success on a Sunday prior to The Players was starting to raise questions about his ability to finish the job.

McIlroy has been in the final group nine times in the last 15 months and not won – including last year’s Masters where he was paired with winner Patrick Reed. Playing well, and now with the added confidence a victory brings, McIlroy will be one of the favourites to put on the Green Jacket and complete his career Grand Slam in the process.

“I feel like I’ve managed the first six tournaments of the year very well, even with some noise around me, whether it is, ‘he can’t close’ or ‘he can’t play on Sundays.’ I’ve just got to do my thing, and concentrate on me, control what I can do, play good golf with a good attitude, it takes care of the rest. If I go to Augusta with a similar golf game and the attitude I’ve shown, I think I’ll have a great chance.” – Rory McIlroy

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods’ season so far has been solid with three top-20s in his four starts. A neck strain forced him out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and he concluded an indifferent week at The Players with a 69 for a share of 32nd. Was going well at the WGC-Match Play but was defeated by Lucas Bjerregaard in their quarter final match.

Rickie Fowler

Also finding the winner’s circle this year is Augusta National nearly-man Rickie Fowler who won the Phoenix Open in February. The 30-year-old finished runner-up at last year’s Masters after making a late charge and has a superb record at Augusta with a T5 in 2015 and just one missed cut in eight starts. Has gone cold since a share of second place at The Honda Classic in March.

Phil Mickelson

Augusta specialist Phil Mickelson already has three Masters titles and earlier this year he won for the fifth time around Pebble Beach. If his short game is sharp he is sure to be a contender again.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson demonstrated his unerring ability to dominate elite fields with his ‘walkover’ victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship and if he gets into that kind of groove he is almost impossible to rein in.

Brooks Koepka

Double US Open winner Brooks Koepka has been in contrasting form this year, following a top-ten in Abu Dhabi with a truly ordinary performance in Saudi Arabia (T57). His runner-up finish at The Honda Classic in March got him back on the right track and he clearly has a thing for Majors, winning three of the last six.

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm bounced back from an opening 75 to post a fourth place finish last year but never really got into contention to win after being too far back after day one. Six top tens so far this year point to a man in form. Led going into the last day of The Players before falling to a 76.

Francesco Molinari

Francesco Molinari has only once cracked the top 20 at Augusta since his debut in 2010. However, the Italian is riding an impressive wave of confidence after his break-out year last season and he has already won – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month.

Bryson DeChambeau

Golf’s scientist Bryson DeChambeau is yet to crack the code at Augusta with a 21st place finish in 2016 and a T38 last year. This year’s Dubai Desert Classic winner won’t be short on confidence as he makes his third Masters appearance.

Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas’ results have improved at Augusta every year he’s played it (39th, 22nd, 17th) and he has been a consistent figure in the top five in the world ranking since his breakthrough Major win at the 2017 US PGA Championship.

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama has a clear fondness for Augusta with just one missed cut in seven appearances and two top tens, and is enjoying a consistent season so far, including an eighth place at The Players.

Past winners with a chance

Adam Scott

Adam Scott has had two chances to win at the Farmers Insurance Open (2) and Genesis Open (T7) this year, mixed in with missed cuts at the Sony Open and Honda Classic. Was solid at The Players finishing in a share of 12th. Played in the final group alongside Koepka in the PGA Championship last year and focusses his scheduling on the Majors every year.

Bubba Watson

Now 40, Bubba Watson is definitely a ‘horse for the course’ at Augusta with two wins (2012, 2014) and a share of fifth place last year. He’s missed only one cut so far this year and his best finish is a T4 in Phoenix and Tampa.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in Saudi Arabia earlier this year but the 39-year-old quickly put that incident behind him and posted back-to-back top tens on the PGA Tour in Mexico and at Bay Hill.

Patrick Reed

Last year’s champion Patrick Reed has been flying under the radar in the early stages of this season, making cuts and
finishing inside the top 25 in five of his seven outings so far – but he is yet to contend.

Past winners with no chance

Bernhard Langer (61) and Fred Couples (59) are both still competitive on the PGA TOUR Champions but will find Augusta too long, while the likes of Angel Cabrera, Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman haven’t demonstrated any sort of recent form at any level. Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Larry Mize and José Maria Olazàbal are also in the field to re-live their former glory with little chance of contending for another title.

Amateurs and special invitations

Each year the limited field at The Masters is peppered with the best amateur talent from around the world with reigning US Amateur champion (and runner-up), British Amateur Champion and Amateur Champions from the Asia-Pacific and Latin American tournaments all earning an invitation into the field.

The best result by an amateur in the last 20 years came courtesy of Ryan Moore, who finished T13 in 2005. At the 2013 Masters, China’s Guan Tianlang made history as the youngest ever player to make the cut in a men’s Major aged 14 years and five months, finishing 58th. Current US Amateur champion Viktor Hovland (above) hails from Norway and made the cut at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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