Out of the Rough: The Masters
We’re on a bit of a roll. We finished in the money for the third straight week. If it wasn’t for a Hideki Matsuyama withdrawal after the first round, we would have won even more money. We can’t complain with the mild success we’re having as of late. I’ve gone on to develop a formula that is specific to each tournament and that has proven successful. We enter one of the best weeks of the year now, with it being The Masters’ Week. We’ll continue to use this formula from here on out and see what type of success it’ll bring us in the future. Let’s talk about The Masters!
The Valero Texas Open
Hideki Matsuyama - WD
Si Woo Kim (-8) - T13th
Luke List (-2) - T53rd
Martin Laird (-6) - T29th
James Hahn (+3) - T69th
Jordan Spieth (-5) - T35th
Chris Kirk (-5) - T35th
Jhonattan Vegas (-7) - T18th
Matt Jones (-11) - T2nd
Hudson Swafford (-1) - T58th
It’s finally here. The biggest tournament in all of golf; The Masters.
Since February, we’ve been teased week-in-and-week out with those infamous Masters’ commercials coming across our screens while trying to casually enjoy our television viewings. Now, we finally get the real thing!
The field is as good as we will see, despite the liter of injuries we currently have across the tour. Names such as Phil Mickelson and Harris English are definitely out. Defending champion Matsuyama withdrew after the first round of last week’s Valero Texas Open.
Tiger Woods stated he is a “game time decision,” but if we know Tiger, he’s going to play. I don’t think he makes an announcement that he is in Augusta with anticipation to play if he is not ready. He also has never missed a cut at The Masters since turning pro. I don’t see a world where he plans to play without feeling absolutely ready.
There’s no greater or memorable view in all of golf than the roadway lined with Magnolia trees. Boy does that image alone get me excited.
Now, we all know what Augusta National brings you. If you’re playing DFS for golf or seeking articles like this one for assistance, you know what you’re getting.
Those who are longer off the tee do get a bit of a boost. This is necessarily not a course where driving is the most important statistic to consider, but it is one to keep a note on, as history has proven.
Names such as Patrick Reed in 2018 and Tiger Woods who won in 2019 were better off the tee than their averages. This goes to show the importance it is to get off the tee and down the fairways. It helps make those Par 5’s achievable under par.
Weather is not necessarily a factor as much as it used to be. Being the most famous course in all of golf, they have the best in place for filtration. Each green features a sub-air system that can withdraw wetness from the greens. So in case of rain, the greens should remain the same.
Some changes to note for this year are the removal of all but three trees on Hole 11 on the right side of the hole. Hole 15 has been lengthened by 15 yards as well.
There are just six water hazards in play, but those six play like sixty. There are 41 bunkers and a world’s worth of pine straw that will cause every golfer some kind of fit throughout the tournament.
Augusta National is also known for the elevation changes across its Bentgrass greens. These will be some of the hilliest and fastest greens golfers will encounter on tour.
Statistics to consider this week include Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT,) Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP,) Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance, Strokes Gained: Short Game (SG: SG,) and course history.
Trends to keep note on include the fact that prior to last year, nine straight champions had two top 15 finishes in three of the tournaments leading into The Masters. Those that fall into that category this year would include Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Shane Lowry, Sam Burns, Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel and Kevin Kisner.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m excited. There’s just something about this week in sports that gets me going. As a big sports fan all together, Opening Day of baseball clashes with the first round of The Masters. Beyond that, it’s time to talk about favorites. My favorite this week is Justin Thomas ($10,300.) He’s the fourth most expensive golfer on the list and that is for good reason. In my formula I have produced for this week, Thomas is my top guy, by a large margin. When it comes to important statistics, Thomas is near the top in all of them. He’s fifth in SG: APP, sixth in greens in regulation, 14th in SG: OTT, 16th in driving distance and 43rd in SG: SG. He also has the history here to boot. He finished T21st last year and 4th in the “2020” installment of the event. He’s played in the tournament consecutively since 2016 and has never missed a cut in that span. He has an average finish of 19th in those six years and if we exclude the 39th placement in his first Masters in 2016, he has an average finish of 15th. Thomas’ game fits the course and he’s playing great golf as of late. He has yet to miss a cut this season and if we exclude the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, he has placed in the top 15 twice in his previous three stroke play tournaments. This could be his year. Also consider Jon Rahm ($10,800.) If you exclude his SG: SG placement from consideration, he’s top 12 in every statistic we take into consideration. He’s best on tour in both SG: OTT and greens in regulation. He’s eighth in driving distance and 12th in SG: APP. Rahm has played in The Masters since 2017 where he placed 27th in his first tournament. Since then he’s gone on to have an average finish of sixth. I think it’s safe to put your money on Rahm, but beware of his ownership level, which is going to be high. You know what, with it being the week of The Masters and I’m riding a high, let’s go with three golfers per price range this week. I’ll be playing a boat-load of lineups so why not? Also consider Viktor Hovland ($10,000.) The second cheapest of this price range, Hovland has played just twice at The Masters. He finished 32nd in 2019 and 21st in 2021. As a much matured golfer over the years, the World #4 is looking to cement his name in the history books. Hovland is top 59 in each of the five statistical categories and has shown already that he can improve at Augusta from year-to-year. He didn’t play in the 2020 installment but being from Norway, Covid traveling restrictions helped limit that possibility.
With the big dogs under wraps, let’s move onto arguably the most important tier of DFS golf play and that’s the $9,000’s. I’m leading off with Xander Schauffele ($9,600.) Schauffele is a guy who’s had a ton of recent success at The Masters. Excluding the out-of-ordinary “2020” version of The Masters, he placed third last year and second in 2019. He’s already been so close to the coveted green jacket. This season he’s playing some extremely well rounded golf and that’s what keeps him in contention at Augusta. He’s top 38 in each of the five statistics that we’re taking into consideration this week. On just a straight average placement consideration, he’s second to just Thomas. Could this be the year that he finally breaks through and sets his name in golf history? Let’s hope so. Also consider last year’s champion, Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300.) There is a very short list of golfers to ever repeat as winners of The Masters and that list includes names such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Matsuyama is dealing with a neck injury that kept him out of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and saw him withdraw after one round at The Valero Texas Open. Him getting a full round in is promising however and he has been practicing at Augusta this week. Due to this, his ownership will be down and I’m all for it. Matsuyama is currently tenth on tour in SG: APP and Greens in Regulation. He’s also 40th in driving distance and top 60 in the other statistics we’ve been tracking thus far in this article. Of course, the history is there with a victory a year ago. Dating back to 2015, including a win and a 39th place finish in 2019, Matsuyama has an average finish of 13th at Augusta. If you want to exclude his victory and his 39th place finish (the two outliers) he has an average finish of 11th in five tournaments. He knows his way around the course and event. Also consider Will Zalatoris ($9,200.) Zalatoris really burst onto the scene a year ago at The Masters where he placed second in just his first appearance. Ball striking is the name of Zalatoris’ game as he’s been one of the best on tour since coming onto the scene. He currently ranks second in SG: APP, eighth in SG: OTT, ninth in greens in regulation and 17th in driving distance. His SG: SG is what’s bringing him down but he’s a guy I’m a big fan of and if you’ve listened to the former Out of the Rough Podcast or read any of these articles, you know this.
Let’s keep the golf talk going because I’m loving every second of it. In this price range I’m going to go with Tony Finau ($8,100,) who has one of the best values on DraftKings in my opinion this week. Let’s start off with his course history. He’s finished in the top ten in three of the last four years, highlighted by a fifth place finish in 2019. His outlying finish was in the displaced “2020” year of the event. So in three consecutive years with The Masters being held on the first weekend in April, he’s placed tenth, fifth and tenth. You’re getting a guy with this type of track record for just over $8,000. He’s the type of guy to score you big points and help you budget to go big on some names at the top. Heck, he could even win the whole thing. Finau is top 81 in each of the five statistics I keep hounding you about and top 50 in three of them, highlighted by a 17th place ranking in SG: APP. Love this play this week. Also consider Shane Lowry ($8,800.) Lowry has finished 21st and 25th respectively over the last two Masters and has a few missed cuts at the end under his belt as well. Lowry is a much improved golfer since those missed cut days and has proven that with two top 25 finishes at Augusta. He’s currently 11th in tour in SG: APP, top 30 in Greens in Regulation and SG: SG. He’s 50th in SG: OTT and top 100 in driving distance. Heck, he’s one of the names listed above when talking about the trend of nine consecutive winners finishing in the top 15 in two of the past three events leading into The Masters. Everything is there for Lowry to have a good week. Also consider Joaquin Niemann ($8,200.) Niemann has just one round of The Masters, a year ago where he placed 40th. The history may not be there, but the play is. He’s top 60 in each of the five statistical categories we’re taking into consideration this week. Consistency is key at Augusta and if you can do everything well, even without having one massive bright spot or one massive hole in your game, you’ll be in for some success.
With just two price ranges to go, I’m going to lead off here with Corey Conners ($7,600.) I love this play and value here as well as Conners has placed eighth and tenth respectively over the last two Masters. When it comes to Greens in Regulation few are better than Conners has been this season as he currently ranks third. He’s also sixth on tour in SG: OTT. He’s top 50 in SG: APP and top 75 in Driving Distance. A good combination of statistics with two previous top tens at the same event, all at a price of just $7,600. That’s what I call a win in my book. The Canadian is also playing some great golf as of late. He placed third at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks back and placed 11th at The Arnold Palmer Invitational a month back. Also consider Russell Henley ($7,800.) Henley hasn’t played at The Masters since 2018, but did have a run of success a few years back at Augusta. He placed 15th in 2018 and 10th in 2017. He also placed 21st in 2015 and 31st in 2014. I know it’s been a few years since his success, but his game as of late has been great. He hasn’t missed a cut this season and has back-to-back 13th place finishes a few weeks ago at The Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players, two top tier non-majors. He’s currently tops on tour in SG: APP and 13th in Greens in Regulation. Also consider Luke List ($7,000.) List, an Augusta native, hasn’t played The Masters as a professional. He last played the tournament in 2005 as an ammeter. The now 37-year-old is having a career year, qualifying himself for The Masters. If you’ve clicked on any of these articles before, you know my love for List this season. When it comes to getting off the tee, there are few better than List. He’s currently seventh on tour in SG: OTT and eighth in driving distance. This is going to give him a leg up this week. He’s also eighth in Greens in Regulation and 24th in SG: APP. List won The Farmers' Insurance Open to qualify for the Masters in late January. He’s had a few rough outings but finally playing near home in one of the best years of his career, I think he can make some noise.
As the 2019 U.S. Open Champion, Gary Woodland ($6,900) received an invite to The Masters. Woodland is currently 14th on tour in Driving Distance and 29th in SG: APP. He’s also top 60 in SG: SG and top 100 in SG: OTT and Greens in Regulation. Woodland is fresh off an eighth place finish at The Valero Texas Open. He also had back-to-back fifth place finishes at The Honda Classic and The Arnold Palmer Invitational about a month ago. He’s playing good golf as of late and is a previous major winner. Also consider Tom Hoge ($6,700.) Hoge will be making his Masters’ debut this year. He’s currently seventh on tour in SG: APP. He’s top 50 in SG:SG and top 75 in SG: OTT and Greens in Regulation. Hoge did win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year. Also consider Hudson Swafford ($6,300.) Swafford has played at The Masters twice previously but missed the cut both times. As the saying goes, third times the charm, right? Swafford is currently in the top 35 on tour in Driving Distance and SG: APP. He’s top 55 in Greens in Regulation and top 75 in SG: OTT. He’s near the lowest price on DraftKings which will allow you to spend up on other golfers.
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, we will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week it was Adam Long who actually didn’t do half bad. He finished tied for 35th at minus-five.
This week it's Augusta State University's own Patrick Reed.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choses for the rest of the season below.
This week for my one and done, I'm going to go with Shane Lowry. I'm all in on the Irishman this week. I have several bets pertaining to his success and as stated above, he will be featured in several of my lineups.