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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: The Masters (2024)


It’s finally here. ‘A Tradition Unlike Any Other.’ It’s Masters Week.


Spring is in the air and it seems like winter is behind us for those, like me, who live in the north. That can only mean one thing. The Masters has arrived.


We’ve endured the taunting Masters’ commercials for months now, drooling over the thought of plopping ourselves on our couches and watching the world’s best battle it out on one of the most pristine testaments of landscaping the world of golf has to offer. 


This year marks the 88th playing of The Masters at Augusta National.


The endless list of storylines await. Is this the year that Rory McIlroy completes the career grand slam? Will Scottie Scheffler claim his second Masters? Will Jon Rahm go back-to-back? The list goes on and on.


Is there much else to say about this week? Let’s just get into things!


The Field

As previously mentioned, this week’s field offers a plethora of storylines.


Jon Rahm comes in as the defending champion after besting Brooks Koepka and holding off a late Phil Mickelson push a season ago. He’s since joined the LIV Golf Tour and enters this week with an even bigger chip on his shoulder outside of being the defending champion.


Scottie Scheffler, the World No. 1, looks to claim his second Masters title. The hottest golfer in the world comes into this week on the back of back-to-back victories at THE PLAYERS Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.


World No. 2 Rory McIlroy enters this week a Masters’ victory shy of the career grand slam. A victory this week would put him in the exclusive list of golfers that include Gene Sarzen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.


On top of that, there is a list of the PGA Tour’s best looking to claim their first Major title including Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland and Tony Finau.


Another major storyline is the return of LIV Golf Tour players. Among them are Rahm, Koepka, Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and Dustin Johnson. Rahm and Johnson are former Masters’ champions.


Other former Masters’ winners that are part of the LIV Golf Tour playing this week include Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed.


Bryson DeChambeau, Koepka and Smith are former Major champions and part of LIV Golf Tour playing in this week’s field.


A guy named Tiger Woods, a five time Masters’ Champion, will also be teeing it up this week. He last won this event in 2019, 14 years after his fourth victory in 2005. 


In year’s past, there would be multiple spots reserved for full time DP World Tour members. With the new agreement between the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, Thorbjorn Olesen is the only full time DP World Tour member playing this week.


Here is a full breakdown of where each of the 88-member field are associated with:


  • PGA Tour: 66

  • LIV: 12

  • Amateurs: 5

  • Senior past champions: 4

  • DP World Tour: 1


The Course

Augusta National Golf Club is the definition of pristine golf courses. As previously mentioned, it is the most pristine and manicured golf property on the planet. There simply is nothing like Augusta National.


Augusta National was designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones in 1933 with re-designs in 2008. 


It plays as a traditional par-72 and lists its yardage at 7,545 yards.


Although the yardage on paper is listed at 7,545 yards, the course plays more to the tune of 7,900 yards. Pure yardage is way more important than creating the right angle into the flag.


Water is in play on five of the holes as well. Water is in play more so on the back nine with the three key holes, also known as Amen Corner, featuring water.


The greens are a Bentgrass that play both firm and past. The average square footage of the greens is 6,486 feet. These greens are crazy fast and undulating.


The greens are also very large and contoured in a way to be some of the toughest on all of the Tour. This is where course history comes into play as these greens have been known to bamboozle the inexperienced and poor putters alike. 


I know I’m going on-and-on about these greens but boy are they challenging. They rate up to 14-plus on the Stimpmeter if Mother Nature allows. These sub-air fueled greens are unlike anything that the world’s best golfers face across the rest of the season.


Birdie chances are reduced to the smallest of target areas. Many of these areas are only accessible by using the natural contours of the greens. The difficulty of these greens don’t stop there as they also offer Augusta’s infamous run-off areas which surround all green complexes. This makes around-the-green stats and scrambling that much more important.


The lack of rough around green complexes also creates indecision when greens are missed. Scrambling percentages take a hit due to this. When given too many options, golfers and caddies alike become confused. Again, this is where course experience comes into play. A patient outlook too is very important in this instance.


Augusta National is known for the topography of its fairways that forces uneven fairway lies.


To go along with the long list of defenses that this course features, swirling winds will cause fits to golfers all tournament long.


Augusta National annually yields the lowest penalty for missing fairways among major Tour venues. On seven of the 14 holes (par-fours and par-fives) there is a difference of less than 10-percent in birdie-or-better percentages depending on whether a player hits the fairways or not. 


Distance off the tee will be important this week but not necessarily hitting the fairway.


Any hopeful winner of the Green Jacket must be aggressive on the four par-fives this week. 


The par-five 15th and par-three 16th must be taken advantage of this week  as well as they offer scoring opportunities. These holes help offer an exciting finish as ground can be made up if leaders take an errant shot off the tee.


Golfers too will look to minimize bogeys across the rest of the holes. To minimize bogeys, golfers will have to seek greens-in-regulation, scramble and have a solid short-plus-distance-lag-putting.


Although the course hosts this event year-in-and-year-out, it does a bit of tinkering almost every year to change some aspect of the course. 


Augusta National did some major tinkering prior to the 2023 playing to one of its most iconic holes. The change was implemented to combat the insane distance of today’s Tour pros.


The par-five 13th, also known as Azalea, now plays significantly longer. Thirty-five yards were added to this hole. For the long bombers off the tee, the hole had become a driver and a seven, eight or nine iron, removing what was once a true risk-reward of going for a par-five in two.


Thirty-five yards may not sound like much, but it is. Prior to the 2023 event, McIlroy played a few practice rounds at Augusta and while he said the drive was easier than past years, the second shot was not. He was using an eight iron in recent years but in his practice rounds, was using a five-iron.


To make room for the additional 35-yards, trees were removed and a new tee box was installed. The 13th now plays at 545-yards. In Tour comparison, 545 yards is not a long par-five but the hole features a hard dogleg left and with Rae’s Creek guarding the green, the additional 35-yards will make the decision to go for the green in two more difficult.


In 2021 we saw more changes to the course that we saw in the 2021 edition of this event.


The par-five 15th, also known as Firethorn, was extended by 20 yards and led to more forced layups. The fairways too were re-contoured with usage of short grass replacing the first cut. 


The replacement of the first cut to short grass was implemented on holes nine and ten, also par-fours. 


The par-four 11th, also known as White Dogwood, was lengthened by 15 yards last year.


White Dogwood also received a new tee box, lengthening the par-four to 520 yards. The fairways were re-contoured and widened by up to 15-yards as trees to the right of the hole were removed. 


The first cut was removed on the right hand side as well and replaced by more fairway short grass. This caused errant drives to roll out into more disadvantageous positions due to the amazing topography of Augusta National.


New green surfaces were added to holes three, 13 and 17 in 2022 as well.


The only new change to this year’s playing is the lengthening of the second hole by ten yards. The added yardage won’t offer a significant difference but it was implemented to add a bit more bite to what is the easiest hole on the golf course.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, thunderstorms are predicted to hit the area on Thursday with a 100-percent chance of precipitation. Rainfall will begin early in the morning with the introduction of thunderstorms around 10 a.m. Storms will continue through 1 p.m. before reducing to rain and eventually tapering off into the night. Beyond Thursday, the rest of the week looks clear with a zero percent chance of precipitation. Winds will be a factor on Friday, set at 15 miles-per-hour. If golf is to happen on Thursday, winds are set at 16 miles-per-hour. The winds will taper down to eight-or-nine miles-per-hour on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures will be at the lowest on Friday at 72-degree before peaking at 83-degrees on Sunday.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Par Five Average Scoring

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Par Four Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Three-Putt Avoidance

  • Proximity to the Hole from 200-plus Yards


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

I don’t think we can do this article without talking about Scottie Scheffler ($12,100.) The only knock to Scottie this week is obviously his price tag and having to get creative with lower priced golfers to make it work. It’ll be tough, but not impossible. We know what we’re getting with Scheffler. A top five at least. It’s hard to suggest building a DFS lineup without that. He is currently first on Tour in all of SG: APP, par five average scoring, bogey avoidance, par four birdie or better percentage, SG: TTG and GIR%. That’s impressive. He is also fifth in SG: ATG, eighth in scrambling, 64th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 87th in average driving distance, 94th in three-putt avoidance and 97th in SG: PUTT. The putting is what keeps Scheffler human, we know this. However, he has proven recently he’s able to get hot with the putter. If he comes with a hot putter this week, there’s no chance for anyone else. In his four appearances here at The Masters, he placed T10 last year, won in 2022, T18th in 2021 and T19th in 2020. A top 20 at least in each of his four starts here. He also comes in with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship. In all, this is his tournament to lose. Also consider Brooks Koepka ($10,200.) The knock to Major Brooks is his ownership this week, especially being just $10,200 on DraftKings. However, he was the runner up a season ago and also placed T7th here in 2020 and T2nd in 2019. He does have missed cuts in both 2022 and 2021 but that was during his injury stretch. He hasn’t been playing the best golf on the LIV Tour, finishing 46th last week in Miami with a plus-seven but we can literally throw any of his LIV performances out the window. Koepka is coming to play and he likely will be there on Sunday with a chance of victory. I placed a future on him last fall at +1700 for two units. He currently sits at around +2000 but I project by Thursday, he’ll be down to about +1400 to +1200. If he’s still there at +1600 or up, play him. Also consider Wyndham Clark ($10,000.) The new villain of the PGA Tour comes into this week as arguably the second best golfer on the PGA Tour. Clark is currently third on Tour in par five average scoring, eighth in both par four birdie or better percentage and GIR%, tenth in average driving distance, 13th in SG: TTG, 15th in both bogey avoidance and SG: PUTT, 33rd in SG: APP, 38th in three-putt avoidance, 65th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 72nd in SG: ATG and 111th in scrambling. Now on the season he has a victory at a Signature Event at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and runner-up finishes to Scheffler at both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship. The biggest knock to Clark is that this will be his debut at The Masters. Yes, it is hard to believe that the defending US Open Champion has never teed it up at Augusta but that is a fact.


$9,000-$9,900

Buyers beware. My suggestions in this price range will likely all come with high ownerships but I can’t steer myself away. My overall favorite to win this week per my model is Xander Schauffele ($9,900.) I’m going all in on Schauffele winning his first major. Why do I say this? Well let us begin with his past results. If we throw out a missed cut in 2022, he’s placed at least T17th or better dating back to 2019 with three top tens and two top threes. He placed T10th here a season ago as well as T3rd in 2021 and T2nd in 2019. On top of that, he is currently first on Tour in three-putt avoidance, second in both SG: TTG and bogey avoidance, third in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, seventh in GIR%, eighth in SG: ATG, tenth in par five average scoring, 15th in scrambling, 17th in par four birdie or better percentage, 19th in SG: APP, 48th in average driving distance and 80th in SG: PUTT. On top of that, in eight events played this season, he has seven top 25’s and six top tens. He most recently placed T5th at the Valspar Championship. Prior to that he placed T2nd at THE PLAYERS Championship, T4th at the Genesis Invitational, T9th at the Farmers Insurance Open, T3rd at The American Express and T10th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. I’m playing three units on him at +1800 and would keep playing him down to +1400. This is his time. Also consider Ludvig Aberg ($9,100.) I know this is his debut this week but boy does his game line up perfectly. He’s currently 16th on Tour in par four birdie or better percentage, 17th in SG: TTG, 19th in bogey avoidance, 26th in SG: APP, 27th in GIR%, 29th in scrambling, 33rd in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 37th in par five average scoring, 77th in SG: PUTT, 109th in SG: ATG and 116th in three-putt avoidance. He hasn’t missed a cut in eight events played this season with six top 25’s and three top tens. Dating back to the Farmers Insurance Open in January, his worst finish in six events was a T25th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He placed second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and eighth at THE PLAYERS Championship. Also consider the 2021 Masters’ Champion Hideki Matsuyama ($9,000.) His ownership will likely be the highest of the bunch here but I simply could not allow myself to not include him in this article. In his last six appearances here his worst finish is T32nd back in 2019. Since then however, he’s placed T16th or better in four consecutive Masters events. He is also first on Tour in SG: ATG, third in SG: TTG, 17th in scrambling, 21st in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 22nd in GIR%, 24th in bogey avoidance, 26th in par five average scoring, 31st in SG: APP, 45th in par four birdie or better percentage, 89th in average driving distance, 114th in three-putt avoidance and 146th in SG: PUTT. We know the putter can go cold for Matsuyama, but his past results here at Augusta indicate that he knows his way around these greens. He has played nine events this season, placing top 25 in six of them and top ten in three. He won the Genesis Invitational, a Signature Event, in dramatic fashion, putting on an unmatched iron show on the back nine. He also has placed T7th at the Valero Texas Open, T6th at THE PLAYERS Championship and T12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his last three outings.


$8,000-$8,900

My top play in this price range is Tony Finau ($8,600.) Finau has not been in the best of form this season but does come into this week following a T2nd at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. He did miss the cut at the Valspar Championship but beyond that, has five top 25’s and two top tens in nine events played this season. Dating back to 2019, he hasn’t missed a cut at Augusta. His worst finish over those six events was a T38th in 2020. He placed T26th here a season ago but also placed T10th in 2022, T5th in 2019 and T10th in 2018. He is currently sixth on Tour in all of par five average scoring, SG: TTG and GIR%, seventh in SG: APP, 15th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 19th in par four birdie or better percentage, 32nd in SG: ATG, 36th in average driving distance, 67th in bogey avoidance, 131st in three-putt avoidance, 149th in scrambling and 163rd in SG: PUTT. We know it’s the putter that holds Finau back. However, history proves he knows his way around these greens. In his last three appearances here at Augusta he has lost strokes putting, although slightly. We’re not playing him outright here, but in DFS with what should be low ownership, he could be a gem. Also consider Sam Burns ($8,100.) I think a lot of people are burnt (see what I did there?) out on Burns. He’s been a popular play recently but again, has burnt a lot of people. His last three outings have not been great, including a missed cut in his last event at the Valspar Championship. However, earlier this season he had a stretch of performances that included a T6th at The American Express, tenth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, T3rd at the WM Phoenix Open and T10th at The Genesis Invitational. He’s played here just twice, missing the cut in his first appearance in 2022 but bounced back with a T29th last season. He is also currently sixth on Tour in par four birdie or better percentage, eighth in bogey avoidance, tenth in par five average scoring, 35th in both average driving distance and GIR%, 37th in scrambling, 38th in three-putt performance, 56th in SG: APP, 61st in SG: TTG and 62nd in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards. His red flag comes around the green where he ranks 142nd. Like Finau, we don’t need a victory out of Burns, but he’s a guy who can easily get a top 25 here for us with what should be low ownership. Also consider Collin Morikawa ($8,400.) Now this is not a model play by any means. Instead, it’s more of a gut play. Morikawa has not been good this season. He missed two cuts and finished darn near last place of those who made the cut in his last outing at the Valero Texas Open. Instead, what draws me to Morikawa is the combination of his past results here and the fact that he is a two time Major champion at both the PGA Championship and The Open Championship. He’s made the cut in each of the four years he’s played The Masters. He placed T10th a season ago as well as fifth in 2022 and T18th in 2021. His stats this season won’t tell us the story of how good of a golfer Morikawa is, especially in Major conditions, so I won’t bore you with them. Just know that Morikawa is a world class ball striker and is going to show up this week.


$7,000-$7,900

My first play here will likely hold some high ownership but boy do I love what Sahith Theegala ($7,700) brings to the table this week. Let’s begin with what Theegala did in his debut at Augusta last season. He placed ninth in his debut. A top ten in your debut at The Masters is nothing short of impressive. He is currently tenth on Tour in par five average scoring, 11th in GIR%, 13th in SG: PUTT, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 26th in SG: TTG, 31st in par four birdie or better percentage, 45th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 50th in SG: APP, 54th in three-putt avoidance, 60th in average driving distance, 68th in scrambling and 109th in SG: ATG. We can take Theegala’s SG: ATG number with a grain of salt because a lot of what he does can’t be put into a number. Much like Jordan Spieth, he brings a bit of a magic around the greens which was evident last season at The Masters with some of the shots he pulled off. He’s also been playing some great golf coming into this week as well. He hasn’t missed the cut in seven consecutive events which included a T9th at THE PLAYERS Championship, T6th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and fifth at the WM Phoenix Open. That is two top tens in Signature Events and a top five in a star-studded WM Phoenix Open field. I’m playing a unit on him at +6000 and would keep playing him down at +5000. Also consider Patrick Reed ($7,400.) My second and final LIV Golf play of this article. Simply put, Reed loves Augusta. Since his victory in 2018 he has posted three top tens in the five events following. He placed T4th here a season ago as well as T8th in 2021 and T10th in 2020. Like most, he hasn’t been playing the best of golf on the LIV Tour but did place 12th last week in Miami. I don’t have any statistics to follow this one up, except that he knows his way around this course better than almost everyone else. I’m also hoping his ownership is lower simply due to the fact that everyone can’t stand the guy. I’m also playing a unit on him at +8000. Also consider Si Woo Kim ($7,100.) Kim is currently fourth on Tour in SG: TTG, fifth in bogey avoidance, 11th in three-putt avoidance, 18th in SG: ATG, 20th in both par five average scoring and GIR%, 25th in scrambling, 27th in SG: APP, 35th in par four birdie or better percentage, 107th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 142nd in SG: PUTT and 156th in average driving distance. The concern about his putting and lack of distance is concerning but those concerns are a bit reduced when we look at his past results. In six consecutive events dating back to 2018, he has not missed the cut here. His best performance was a T12th in 2021 and beyond that has two other top 25 performances. If you can grab a top 25 guy here at $7,100, that’s a game changer. Kim’s game is consistency. He’s made the cut in each of his nine events he’s played this season. He has six top 25’s in those nine events as well as a T6th at THE PLAYERS Championship. He placed T17th in his last outing at the Texas Children’s Open.


$6,900-

We have no $5,000 price range this week so this price range serves as the bottom. To kick things off we have Matthieu Pavon ($6,900.) Pavon jump started his PGA Tour career with a victory at the Farmers Insurance Open back in January. Beyond that he placed third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T7th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He’s come back-to-earth slightly since, last playing at THE PLAYERS Championship where he missed the cut. However, his game fits Augusta and the stats are what we have to go off of as he will be making his Masters debut this week. He is currently sixth on Tour in SG: PUTT, 11th in par four birdie or better percentage, 18th in bogey avoidance, 19th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 25th in SG: APP, 28th in GIR%, 32nd in SG: TTG, 50th in three-putt avoidance, 71st in scrambling, 95th in average driving distance, 97th in par five average scoring and 145th in SG: ATG. We know the around the green work is where Pavon is lacking but we can hope his elite iron play and strong putter carries him though. Also consider Erik van Rooyen ($6,600.) The first round leader god has played this event just once, missing the cut in 2022 but we can argue he’s playing the best golf of his career now. He’s missed back-to-back cuts heading into this week but prior had made the cut in seven-of-eight events. His run of form was capped with a T8th at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, a T2nd at the Cognizant Classic and a T25th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is currently third on Tour in par five average scoring, 24th in GIR%, 26th in both bogey avoidance and par four birdie or better percentage, 34th in SG: PUTT, 47th in SG: TTG, 48th in three-putt avoidance, 49th in SG: APP, 55th in average driving distance, 101st in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 129th in scrambling and 139th in SG: ATG. Overall, not a bad resume for someone down in this price range. Also consider Jake Knapp ($6,600.) Like Pavon, Knapp burst onto the scene with a victory this season, winning the Mexico Open at Vidanta. He also has made the cut in seven-of-nine events, also placing T3rd at the Farmers Insurance Open and T4th at the Cognizant Classic. Also like Pavon, Knapp will be making his debut at Augusta this week. He is currently 18th on Tour in SG: APP, 30th in average driving distance, 32nd in three-putt avoidance, 42nd in SG: TTG, 46th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 52nd in GIR%, 58th in SG: ATG, 61st in SG: PUTT, 79th in scrambling, 83rd in par four birdie or better percentage, 85th in bogey avoidance and 109th in par five average scoring. That’s a very well rounded resume for a guy this low priced.


Betting Card

(Astrix are futures placed in the fall)

  • Brooks Koepka* (+1700) - 2u

  • Xander Schauffele (+1800) - 3u

  • Will Zalatoris* (+4400) - 1u

  • Sahith Theegala (+6000) - 1u

  • Brian Harman (+6600) - 1u

  • Patrick Reed (+8000) - 1u

  • Tom Kim (+12000) - 1u

  • Phil Micklenson* (+13500) - 1u


Will Zalatoris

Outside of a withdrawal last season prior to his back surgery, Zalatoris has proven he knows his way around this golf course. He placed solo second in his debut in 2021 and followed that up with a T6th in 2022. What Zalatoris brings to the table is elite iron play. He’s currently eighth on Tour in SG: APP. He’s also eighth in par five average scoring and 21st in SG: TTG. He had a run of form earlier this season where he placed T13th at the Farmers Insurance Open, T2nd at The Genesis Invitational and T4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It all boils down to his past results here. What he’s been able to do in his first two starts here has been essentially unmatched. I placed this future last fall and his number is now approaching 30/1.


Brian Harman

This one came after the latest Out of the Rough Breakfast Ball Podcast with Jake Friedman. Simply put, Augusta suits left handed golfers extremely well and we can argue that Harman is the best left handed golfer on Tour. He has missed the cut the last two seasons here, but placed T12th in 2021. He is also the defending The Open Champion and a recent Major winner priced this low can’t be ignored. He’s also one of the best putters on Tour, currently ranked 16th in SG: PUTT and fourth in three-putt avoidance.


Tom Kim

To be as transparent as possible, this is just a FOMO (fear of missing out) play. It is no secret that Tom Kim is my favorite golfer on Tour. I simply could not enter this week without him on my betting card. Beyond that, it’s not like he’s a nobody. He placed T16th here a season ago and is already a two-time winner on Tour. Like my Morikawa explanation earlier on, the stats this season don’t show how gifted of a golfer Kim is. He has superstar potential and what better way to cement that than winning the Masters.


Phil Mickelson

This was probably a dumb play when I placed it back in the fall but I assumed the name alone would drive his price down. You can find better prices than what I have him at. But, we know course history is super important here at Augusta and no one (outside of Tiger) has a better history than Phil. He’s a three time winner of The Masters (2004, 2006 and 2010.) It’s not like he hasn’t been relevant here as of late either. Heck, he placed T2nd here a season ago. He also placed T21st in 2021, T18th in 2019 and T36th in 2018. I’ve spent five dollars in worse ways.

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