Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2022 Masters Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Augusta National. Tim Andercust joins at 5:01 to reveals the most cursed and reversed golfers of the week, then at (20:07) Adam Schefter stops by to chat Tiger Woods, the broadcast coverage and sweating golf bets.
2022 Masters: Field
Field: 91 Players
Cut: Top 50 and Ties after 36 Holes
First Tee: Thursday April 7
Defending Champion: Hideki Matsuyama
The Azaleas are in bloom, or at least about to, and we no longer must sit through those CBS teaser commercials anymore — it’s time. The 2022 Masters has arrived. The field is currently at 91 players with J.J. Spaun earning the final invitation with his victory Sunday in San Antonio. And that number is the real story entering Augusta this year, at least as it pertains to the three separate DraftKings Million dollar top prize tournaments. I can’t remember any Masters so clouded with injuries.
Phil Mickelson is out indefinitely with an injured ego. Harris English will also be sidelined with a hip injury. This we know. Now here’s where things get tricky, there is a large grouping of players whose injury status is relatively vague in terms of how healthy they actually are. While this is an issue in the NFL, NBA and all other major sports, golfers aren’t required to disclose anything about themselves if they don’t feel like it.
Tiger Woods, you may have heard of him, appears to be doing all he can to make his first competitive start since the 2020 November Masters. Tiger has not committed to being in the field as of yet but is on the grounds at Augusta testing his leg, seeing if he has the stamina to make it through four rounds of pain-free, competitive golf. It does sound like Tiger is going to let us know whether he’s in or out before first tee on Thursday. Despite not playing in an event since 2020, I highly doubt Tiger is going to play and not be competitive, that’s just not Tiger. He’s never missed a Masters cut since turning pro, you really think he’s going to rush back to an event with no warm up just so he can compete with Sandy Lyle for dead last? Come on. If Tiger says he’s in, I have few worries he’ll be competitive.
Can’t say the same about the defending champ, Hideki Matsuyama. He withdrew with a neck injury after DraftKings lineups locked at THE PLAYERS championship in March. That didn’t make the 15% of people who rostered him very pleased knowing their money was lit on fire about 10 minutes into the tournament. He skipped Match Play and returned at last week’s Valero Texas Open. He at least got a round in before withdrawing from the event Friday morning before the start of the second round. He’s likely to tee off this week, and at $9,300 expect Hideki to be the lowest owned player above $8,000.
If you’re playing single entry or three-max entry tournaments or even just one lineup, there’s zero reason to consider him. And while I personally am not using him, there is a compelling case to be made if you’re maxing out the Millionaire Maker (playing 150 lineups) that using the Lou Bega method and having a little bit of Hideki in your life, is actually quite smart. But again, no one knows how injured he actually is. Chances are he’s 50/50 to withdraw or at least be terrible in playing through injury based on everything we’ve seen the past month. But we’re wrong about things all the time. Hideki could be fine, and if he is, and finishes in the Top 10, he’s likely to be on the winning DraftKings roster. Ben Rasa, who won $100,000+ at the 2018 Masters by being one of the few to roster Patrick Reed, talked me through the logic of using some Hideki in your lineups. Now, Ben is fine with every Hideki lineup being dead by 1pm Thursday. If you aren’t, then stay far away.
Paul Casey didn’t withdraw from the Match Play, he merely played two holes the first day, then conceded the remaining holes over the next three days. Casey said he was suffering from back spasms after yanking two into the hazard on that second hole and wasn’t seen in Austin again, outside of the trainers room, that is. As anyone who has suffered from back problems knows, unless this is a chronic issue, he may be completely fine. Probably is. Or he may bend down to tie his shoes and end up in a heap on the floor. Trust me, that’s a real thing.
Bryson DeChambeau ($9,100) has now played the past two weeks and Webb Simpson ($7,500) has played the three previous, both after sitting out over two months. While they may be healthy, there’s just been one problem: They haven’t been any good. Bryson didn’t win a match in Austin and missed the cut at the Valero. Webb MC’d in his first start at THE PLAYERS, finished T48 at Valspar and won only one match at the Match Play. It’s worth noting he won that match despite shooting over par.
Then there’s Abraham Ancer. He withdrew from his home event last week with the dreaded “undisclosed reason.” Broken hand, COVID, Hungover? We’ll never know.
As much as we want to invest in long shots, the Masters is almost always won by one of the elite players. Since 2012, Bubba Watson was the lowest ranked player to claim victory. Bubba was No. 18 in the world rankings when Charl Schwartzel helped him into the Green Jacket. Many think of Danny Willett as the ultimate long-shot since he wasn’t well-known at the time and cashed triple-digit outright win bets for a lot of bettors, but it’s worth noting the Brit was the 12th ranked player in the world before he hit his first drive in 2016. Willett didn’t come out of nowhere, it’s just only bettors knew who he was.
It’s important to spend a lot of time parsing through the top end of the 2022 Masters board as the winner is almost certainly going to come from that group. If you want to win your bets or a DraftKings tournament, spoiler, you’re going to have to pick the winner. Deep insights. This is why I get paid 1,000 per word to write this and you don’t. Now, it’s 1,000 Iranian Rial per word, but still.
As mentioned, the field of invitees is currently at 91 players and the Top 50 players will make the cut. COVID wiped out the “all players within 10 strokes of the lead” provision at the November Masters and they decided to stick with it. It’s just the Top 50 and ties after 36 holes now.
It’s well known experience is a massive edge in Augusta success. It’s a unique course with its massive elevation changes, and first-time players need to figure out the weird breaks and angles on the fly, and a lack of green books for the players and caddies makes that engrained knowledge is very certainly an advantage.
It’s not to say all debutants will fail. Obviously, Fuzzy Zoeller was the last first-timer to end up with a Green Jacket picking up dust in his closet. That was in 1979, though. But we’ve seen great runs by rookies in recent years. Sungjae Im tied for second in 2021, while Will Zalatoris was the silver medalist in his first Masters appearance last year. Robert MacIntyre, another first timer was T12. Considering there were only three first timers in the field last year, two Top 12s is pretty impressive. This year, there are 18 debutants at Augusta: Sam Burns, Talor Gooch, Seamus Power, Cameron Young, Tom Hoge, Harry Higgs, Sepp Starka, Harold Varner III, Min Woo Lee, Cameron Davis, Lucas Herbert, Garrick Higgo, Guido Migliozzi, KH Lee and J.J. Spaun from the professional ranks. Laird Shepherd, Austin Greaser, Aaron Jarvis, Keita Nakajima and James Piot are all first time amateurs. Stewart Hagestad is the other amateur in the field. He made a Masters appearance previously 2017 and finished T36.
Beware of the poor recent Masters results. Except for Patrick Reed in 2018, the past 23 champions not only have played in the event the previous year but also made the cut. After Reed, a fresh-faced kid who looked like he was wearing his dad’s shirt named Tiger Woods was the last winner to miss the cut, then achieve immortality 12 months later. That was in 1997. And, that sweater actually did belong to Tiger, that was just the style of the moment. One I lived through and hope never comes back in style. Tiger was also an amateur the year he missed the cut.
There’s also a bunch of past champions at the very bottom of the field. For DraftKings purposes avoid the temptation to take the salary savings by inserting Vijay Singh or Fred Couples into your lineup. There’s a chance a few of the olds are going to play through Sunday. There’s an issue with them, though: There’s just not enough upside for them to lead your team to victory in one of the large field DraftKings contests. Specifically the million dollar top prize tournaments.
Every now and again a Bernhard Langer or Fred Couples will play pretty well, but it’s not as often as maybe you remember. And the results are certainly not as good as what exists in your mind movies. People remember Langer lurking on the leaderboard during WIllett’s win in 2016. He actually finished T24 that year. He was T29 in the 2020 Masters, but still finished outside of the Top 30 in DraftKings scoring. As the past champions are far less likely to generate the necessary birdie streaks and eagles to rise up the DraftKings leaderboard.
If you want to compete for the very top prizes on DraftKings this week you’ll likely need the winner, another two players in the Top 10, another two inside the Top 10 and an outlier player who outscores their finishing position.
2022 Masters : Key Stats
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
Strokes Gained: Short Game
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2022 Masters: Course
Course: Augusta National
2022 Masters: Past Winners
2021: Hideki Matsuyama -10
2020: Dustin Johnson -20
2019: Tiger Woods -13
2018: Patrick Reed -15
2017: Sergio Garcia -9
2016: Danny Willett -5
2015: Jordan Spieth -18
2014: Bubba Watson -8
2013: Adam Scott -9
2012: Bubba Watson -10
2022 Masters: Notes
There’s no need for an in-depth breakdown of Augusta National. If you’d made the leap to search out an article on The Masters, the chances of you knowing the course and even the weird nooks and crannies, is above 99%.
In case you’re living the movie Blast From the Past, but in real life, Augusta National is a Par 72, which plays longer than its 7,435 yards due to the incredible amount of elevation shifts across the course. As there is essentially no penal rough on the grounds, it gives a lean to those who have extra distance on the field. It’s not essential to have have the ability to contend in a long drive contest, history has proven otherwise, but it certainly makes the path to eagles and birdies on the Par 5s less resistant.
Even someone like Patrick Reed, not especially known for his driving prowess, was well above his usual baseline at Augusta in 2018. Reed gained +3.35 strokes with his driver. He’d only gained more than that in two starts in the previous two years before the victory (2017 Travelers; 2017 Memorial). Tiger didn’t gain a ton the year he won (+1.51 SG:OTT), but that was enough of leverage on the field to make his +9.02 Strokes Gained: Approach number really matter. If you decide to back one of the non-elite drivers, their irons and short game better be electric all four days.
So far in 2022, the leaders in SG: OTT per round (from measured events) in the field are: Jon Rahm, Cameron Young, Luke List, Corey Conners, Rory McIlroy, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im, Sergio Garcia, Viktor Hovland and Si WOOOO Kim.
I don’t want to make it sound like Augusta is easy. It tends to vary every year based on the conditions. The impact of damp conditions has lessened over the years with the filtration system in place at Augusta. A lot of courses have a SubAir system under the greens to suck out the water and allow the grounds crew to make the putting surfaces as fast or slow as they want. Augusta has those on each green… and under every fairway, so even if it does rain, don’t expect a long period of time with receptive course conditions.
There have been changes to two of the holes this year. The difficult No. 11 has scraped most of the trees from the right hand side of the hole and just left three trees. Yes. Three trees. And the Par 5 15th has been lengthened by 20 yards.
There are 41 bunkers and six water hazards and a whole lotta pine straw scattered across the grounds. Unless there’s an untimely tree in the way, however, the pine straw isn’t the end of the world. The bentgrass greens are around Tour average in size; the major difference is the wild undulations. These are some of the most hilly and fastest putting surfaces the players will encounter all year. Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson and Matthew Fitzpatrick have the most Strokes Gained: Putting per round on Fast + Lighting fast greens since the beginning of the 2020 season.
If you keep those perimeters and isolate the putting surfaces solely to bentgrass greens, Mac Hughes, Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na, Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott come out on top.
The speed and bumps are one of the largest factors. Course history plays a more significant factor at Augusta than any other course. That’s not anecdotal either. Course history on a week-to-week basis holds very little predictive value at most events, despite the prevailing narrative, but The Masters is an outlier in that regard. How else do you explain the leaders in Par 5 scoring over the past three years: Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Viktor Hovland, Charl Schwartzel and Mac Hughes. Of that quintet, none rank inside the Top 25 in Par 5 scoring over the last 50 rounds entering play.
Also, look at some courses where there has been crossover success on leaderboards over the year, Quail Hollow appears to have some correlation, as does TPC Deere Run and Kapalua because of the angled fairways, but Riviera CC, with its similar shot shapes from the tee box, unique green complexes and elevation changes, sports a very similar course history crossover to Augusta.
For overall course history, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose have the most Total Strokes Gained of players in the field over the past five years. Of the non-olds, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Tyrrell Hatton, Hudson Swafford and Gary Woodland have lost the most strokes to the field over that same span.
Trends are more for fun talking points, but it’s worth noting nine straight Masters champions HAD at least two Top 15 finishes in their three tournaments leading into the event before Hideki blew that up a year ago. Still, nine of the last ten ain’t bad, and based on that criteria, the winner will be either Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Shane Lowry, Sam Burns, Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel or Kevin Kisner. Angel Cabrera (2009) was the last player to place outside the Top 35 in his final pre-Master’s tune up (MC at the Shell Houston Open. He actually MC the two tournaments prior).
If you are new to the Masters, there are a few terms you need to familiarize yourself with to speak the language with those who have been watching for five decades:
Amen Corner – First coined by Herbert Warren Wind in 1958, Amen Corner spans from the second shot at the 11th through the drive at 13. It’s the most famous stretch of holes on the course (in all of golf, really) and its risk/reward potential can create massive fluctuations atop the leaderboard.
Butler’s Cabin – The most noteworthy of the 10 cabins scattered across the grounds of Augusta National. Constructed in 1964, Butler’s Cabin is home to the Green Jacket presentation, where the year’s previous champion bestows the new champion with golf’s highest sartorial honor.
First Nine, Second Nine – At most courses, it’s acceptable to refer to the holes going out as the “front nine” and those coming in as the “back nine”, but at Augusta National it’s a faux pas. Why? Because they’re superior to us mortals.
Friends – All of us, to Jim Nantz.
Green Jacket – The ultimate prize. Winners are presented the Green Jacket on the 18th green after victory, then again in Butler’s Cabin in a separate presentation. It’s so nice, you get to wear it twice.
Magnolia Lane – After passing through the gates, you’ll find yourself heading toward the course, traveling down Magnolia Lane. It’s known for, DUH, a plethora of magnolia trees on both sides of the road that converge to create an exalted vista, producing an ambiance matched only by its wintertime companion: The drive up to the creepy house in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. However, that drive is only recommended for the achromatic enthusiasts among us.
Patrons – Don’t think of using the terms “crowd,” “gallery” or “fans” on the grounds at Augusta. They are patrons, and they shall be on their best behavior.
Tributary – A term usually exclusively reserved for seventh grade geography classes and maps of inland Scandinavia, there is a tributary that runs off Rae’s Creek by the green on 13.
2022 Masters: Picks
Collin Morikawa $10,300
Looking at the expected ownership in the larger DraftKings tournaments, Morikawa is the one no one wants. The guy who has won two of the eight Majors he’s played in. Frankly, the last time sentiment was this low on Morikawa, he won the Open Championship last July. After a middling debut in 2020, he picked up a Top 20 here last April. It’s all about upside with him. If he can get dialed into the greens and show up with his usual, consistent irons, he can most definitely win.
Adam Scott $8,300
The 2013 winner is compiling a statistical resume which is pointing to a lofty leaderboard appearance in 2022. Since the COVID restart in 2020, Scott has missed just three cuts, primarily on the back of a fantastic flat stick. Yes. Once in the Keegan Bradley, Luke List, Byeong-Hun An category that there is no such thing as a sure thing two-footer, Scott must have taken a few putting lessons between his surf sessions while the PGA Tour was on hiatus. He’s second in this field in SG: PUTT over the past 50 rounds, and even better on fast, bentgrass greens. The irons have been solid so far this year, it’s the driver that’s the hinge for him this week. Drive it well, try to break even chipping, and peaking with the irons and putter, that sounds like a recipe to win.
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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was a finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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