Only five months have passed since Dustin Johnson enabled cruise-control and strode to a five-shot victory with a record-breaking 20-under-par score, yet this year’s Masters remains just as intriguing. Who will write their own story in Augusta National lore this year? In part one we break down the chances of the game’s elite players, while on the next link we cast our eye over those a little further down the pecking order. Though Jordan Spieth many argue should be on this list, not many win the week before the Masters and go on to take the green jacket seven days later.
DUSTIN JOHNSON / Augusta Record: 30-38-38-13-CUT-6-4-10-2-1
Defending champion has a great record at an April Masters (four previous top tens, including a share of second behind Tiger in 2019) and roared to victory in receptive conditions late last year with his stock baby-fade from the tee and towering wedge play. Johnson’s final round 68 marked his 11th consecutive under-par score in the event, becoming the first player to reach that mark in tournament history and his win marked the ninth time that a runner-up the previous edition had won the next. The World No.1 won in Saudi earlier this year but failed to break 70 at The Players and looked strangely out-of-sorts at the WGC at the Concession.
JUSTIN THOMAS / Augusta Record: 39-22-17-12-4
Overcame early season struggles with a sublime weekend to win The Players last month. He has the high ball flight to conquer Augusta’s firmness, so it is surely only a matter of time before he bags a Green Jacket. Results at The Masters have gotten continually better since his debut in 2016, which is ominous.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU / Augusta Record:21-38-29-34
Bossed it with driver, wedge and a putter at the US Open last year but failed to take that form to a soft Augusta in November. Lit it up on the Florida Swing last month with a win at Bay Hill and contending at The Players. The lack of green-reading books at The Masters has proved a hindrance so far for the sizable slugger as he’s yet to crack the top 20.
COLIN MORIKAWA / Augusta Record: 44
Breakout Californian is leading the new breed with a Major already under his belt. Back-to-back top tens in Hawaii in January were followed by a tepid outing in Dubai and a T43 at Riviera before he eased to victory at the WGC at the Concession. He followed that with a T41 at The Players, so his form is streaky to say the least, but when he’s on – he’s on.
PATRICK REED / Augusta Record: CUT-22-49-CUT-1-36-10
Victory at Torrey Pines in February sets him up well for a charge at a second Green Jacket. Led the Par-5 scoring when he won in 2018 and over-achieved with the flatstick – he arrived ranked 75th in strokes gained putting and was third in that stat as he closed out a one-stroke win over Rickie Fowler. One of the best in the business around the greens.
RORY MCILORY / Augusta Record: 20-CUT-15-40-25-8-4-10-7-5-21-5
It’s ten years since his infamous back nine collapse and six since he last won a Major. Recently admitted chasing more swing speed has undone his technique and it might be a while before he reins it in and gets back to his best. Needs the fabled trip to the Butler Cabin to achieve Career Grand Slam status.
XANDER SCHAUFELE/ Augusta Record: 50-2-17
It’s hard to think that this 27-year-old is going to go much longer before breaking his Major duck. Seven top-tens in the Majors since 2017 including runner-up behind Tiger two years ago. Fourth appearance and arrives with some early season form having finished runner-up at Torrey Pines and in Phoenix.
JOHN RAHM / Augusta Record: 27-4-9-7
Posted top tens in the last three Masters but each time was at least six shots off the lead after 54 holes. Sooner or later it’s going to click on all four days for this quick-swinging Spaniard, but his wife, Kelley, is due to give birth to their first child the week of the tournament, so whether he travels will likely be a last-minute decision.
BROOKS KOEPKA / Augusta Record:33-21-11-2-7
Question marks remain over his fitness. One of the most dominant forces of the Majors over the last five years and a win in Phoenix in February reminded everyone of his supreme talents. And who wouldn’t want to see DJ slip the Green Jacket onto Brooks’ shoulders?
WEBB SIMPSON / Augusta Record: 44-CUT-CUT-28-29-CUT-20-5-10
Has only posted four Major top tens since his US Open win of 2012 – but they’ve all come in the last three years including back-to-back at Augusta in 2019/20. Consistency has come to Simpson’s game late on in his career and this steady fairway-finder is one to keep an eye on if his putter heats up. Two wins last year and a former Players winner.
PATRICK CANTLAY / Augusta Record: 47-CUT-9-17
Steely competitor who is a perennial top-ten finisher on Tour. Won at a tough Memorial layout in 2019 and last year’s ZOZO Championship in his native California, finishing ahead of Rahm and Thomas. Posted his first career Major top ten at the 2019 Masters with a T9 finish. Seldom shows his emotions on course and the only colours in his wardrobe are black, white and grey.