Majors season has arrived in men’s golf, and the creme de la creme will be at Augusta National Golf Club this week for the Masters.
A field of 91 golfers will be on hand, aiming for a shot at glory and the sought-after green jacket, though one man in particular has returned to the center of the sport’s orbit.
Augusta, Ga., Thursday-Sunday
Course: Augusta National Golf Club (Par 72, 7,510 yards)
Purse: $11.5 million (Winner: $2.07 million)
Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama
FedExCup leader: Scottie Scheffler
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN); Saturday, 3-7 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
PGA Tour Live: Daily feeds on ESPN+
Social media: @TheMasters (Twitter); @themasters (Instagram)
— All eyes are on whether five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive golf less than 14 months after a single-car accident nearly required his leg to be amputated. Woods, 46, said Tuesday that “as of right now,” he believes he will be able to play — and that he can win. The 15-time major champ is happy with his swing, but he’s emphasized that walking the course is his main challenge.
— Hideki Matsuyama is planning to defend his title, but due to back and neck injuries he withdrew from The Players Championship before play began and dropped out during the second round of the Valero Texas Open last week.
— New world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler will be among the favorites after his trio of wins in February and March vaulted him to the top spot, the most recent being the WGC-Match Play.
— Australian Cameron Smith also will play for the first time since his victory at The Players, which lifted him to sixth in the world.
— Players making their Masters debut include Sam Burns (No. 11 in the OWGR), Talor Gooch (No. 34), Tom Hoge (No. 38), Ireland’s Seamus Power (No. 41) and Australia’s Lucas Herbert (No. 44). Fuzzy Zoeller was the last player to win the Masters in his first attempt, in 1979, though Will Zalatoris came close in 2021 and finished second.
–Jon Rahm (+1000 at DraftKings) is still the favorite even though he has relinquished his No. 1 ranking after a lengthy run. The 2021 U.S. Open champion will be searching for his second major title and his first victory of the new season. The Spaniard has earned four straight top-10 finishes at the Masters, including two top fives.
–Justin Thomas (+1200) owns the second-shortest odds. He’s gone quiet at the majors after earning his lone win at the 2017 PGA Championship. His best Masters finish was fourth place in 2020, but he did not land a single top-10 at the majors last season.
–Smith (+1400) is a popular pick following his triumph at The Players. He has commanded 5 percent of the handle and 5 percent of the total bets at DraftKings, along with 8 percent of the handle and 7 percent of the bets at FanDuel. While he’s yet to win a major, he has three top-10 finishes in his past four starts at Augusta, and he ranks second on the PGA Tour this year in Strokes Gained: Total.
–Rory McIlroy (+2000), for the eighth time, will try to complete his career Grand Slam by winning the elusive green jacket. He is not among the 10 most popular bets at DraftKings, perhaps because he last came through at a major in 2014.
–Brooks Koepka (+2000) is a more popular choice with the public, ranking third with 6 percent of the handle and 5 percent of the total bets at DraftKings. Koepka has had a quiet year but flips a switch when it’s major season, and he’d like to add a Masters win to his two U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships.
–Woods (+4000) has moved up the board after opening at +6600 at most sportsbooks. He is the most popular bet by handle and total tickets at DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers, among others. Woods’ most recent Masters win came in 2019.
–Bryson DeChambeau (+4500) will play against his doctors’ advice, saying he is at about 80 percent health this week after returning from a torn labrum and hand injury earlier this season.
–Corey Conners (+5500) is lurking ahead of some better-known names on the board for two reasons. He turned heads with his third-place finish at the WGC-Match Play last month, and his Augusta track record is solid, with two straight top-10 finishes at the Masters.
–Field Level Media