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The Masters this season consists of 88 players. Corey Conners won last week in Texas but had already qualified, while Aaron Wise (personal) withdrew from the event last week.
This season will also be unique as it will mark the first time the Masters is played since the formation of the rival LIV golf league. Players from the new TOUR will be competing head-on against the heavyweights of the PGA TOUR for the first time in 2023. For DFS and betting purposes, knowing exactly what kind of form players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Cameron Smith are in will be tough to gauge, as there have only been a few LIV events played this season.
Injury-wise, there are not too many players to keep an eye on, but the most pertinent are Hideki Matsuyama (neck), Tyrrell Hatton (hand), and Louis Oosthuizen (elbow). Matsuyama played four rounds in Texas last week and finished T15, so he’s likely good to go. Hatton injured his hand at the Match Play and hasn’t looked good since, missing the cut last week in Texas. Oosthuizen is apparently playing with an injured tendon that could snap on any swing. Both Hatton and Oosthuizen carry some risk if deploying them for DFS, but they will likely be lower-owned in big GPPs as well.
Tiger Woods is playing and has officially put this event up on his website as his next start. Tiger finished T45 in his only other start this season at Riviera. He’s made it clear his goal this season is to at least play in all four majors.
One final note for DFS purposes: The cut line for this event is also unique. The cut still takes place after Friday, but only the top 50 and ties will play the weekend (the old 10-shot rule no longer applies). Getting all six of your golfers through the cut line will be especially crucial this week since over 50% of the actual field will get a chance to play the weekend.
Augusta National Golf Club—Augusta, Georgia
Par 72, 7,545 yards
Augusta National was built on the site of an old tree sanctuary, and every one of its holes has a name associated with its natural surrounding (usually a tree, bush or flower). At its most basic, Augusta is a standard par-72 course that has four par 5s, four par 3s, and 10 par 4s. However, there truly isn’t anything standard about the setup of the holes or the course. Augusta is one of the hilliest tracks on the PGA TOUR, and the elevation changes and slopes mean experience playing the course can really pay off. The slick bentgrass greens offer up their own challenge, and missing an approach here on the wrong side of the green can often bring big numbers into play.
Players at Augusta often struggle in their first few outings and it’s easy to see why. The Bentgrass greens are tough to get a read on and play faster than almost any track on the PGA. Additionally, the course has a lot of subtle and dramatic doglegs built in. Players who move the ball right to left have an advantage, and we’ve seen severe drawers of the golf ball like Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed net the biggest wins of their careers at this venue.
As far as the individual holes go, here’s a brief breakdown of what awaits the players this week:
Par 5s 550-600: 2; Par 5s 500-550: 2; Par 4s over 500: 1; Par 4s 450-500: 5; Par 4s 400-450: 3; Par 4s under 400: 1; Par 3s over 200: 1; Par 3s 150-200: 3
The course was redesigned back in 2002 to catch up with modern technology and now plays quite long, but it has still seen winning scores range all the way from +1 (Zach Johnson 2007) to -20 (Dustin Johnson in 2020).
The par-4 11th hole and par-5 15th hole were both lengthened a couple of seasons ago. The 11th has also had its fairway widened but been toughened in areas around the green to make bailing out a less viable option. It now stretches to 520 yards and is likely to play as the toughest hole for the week. The 15th was already a classic risk-reward hole with a huge moat surrounding a skinny green, but the added length to 550 yards has made the tee shot much more important.
The course played much tougher the last two seasons with Hideki Matsuyama and Scottie Scheffler winning at just 10-under par. A cool and windy forecast for the week will likely keep scores close or even under the 10-under-par mark once again.
Augusta has seen winning scores range from 5-under to 20-under over the past seven years, and tougher conditions have often led to more long-shot winners. Hideki Matsuyama went off at 40-1 in 2021, and in 2017 and 2016 — when the winning scores stayed well below 10-under-par — we saw long-shot winners of 40-1 or greater prevail.
A higher premium on bogey avoidance and around-the-green play could be something to consider again in 2023.
2023 Masters Weather Outlook: There is some messy weather in the forecast this season which will likely keep the winning score at 10 under or worse. Thursday looks decent with warmer temperatures but wind gusts in the morning could be troublesome, and there are potential thunderstorms in the afternoon. The real issue is Friday and Saturday, where gusts are expected to get up into the 20-25 mph range — on both days. Highs on Friday will only be 60-65 F, and it will be even cooler on Saturday, with temperatures likely to stay below 60 F all day. Rain is also expected on Saturday and could cause stoppages. If there are stoppages this week, then a softer, more attackable course could be had on Sunday or even Monday. For the most part, expect tougher scoring with high winds making iron play and around the green games more important than ever.
Last 10 winners
2022—Scottie Scheffler -10 (over Rory McIlroy -7)
2021—Hideki Matsuyama -10 (over Will Zalatoris -9)
*2020—Dustin Johnson -20 (Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith -15)
2019—Tiger Woods -13 (over Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson -12)
2018—Patrick Reed -15 (over Rickie Fowler -14)
2017—Sergio Garcia -9 (over Justin Rose playoff)
2016—Danny Willett -5 (over Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood -2)
2015 – Jordan Spieth -18 (over Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose -16)
2014 – Bubba Watson -7 (over Jordan Spieth -5)
2013 – Adam Scott -10 (over Angel Cabrera playoff)
*Played in November
- No player has won at Augusta in their first attempt since Fuzzy Zoeller back in 1979.
- Since 1996, only one player has won the Masters after missing the cut here in the previous year (Patrick Reed 2018).
- Ten of the last 13 winners of the Masters ranked 19th or better in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green in the year of their victory.
- Six of the past seven winners had recorded at least a T5 sometime in the four months prior to Augusta — six of the last eight had recorded a T2 or better — prior to winning the Masters.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Scottie Scheffler (2023 — 10-under-par)
Lead-in form (win-T55-win-T7-win)
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green — 2nd
- Strokes Gained: Approach — 6th
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee — 9th
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green — 2nd
- Strokes Gained: Putting — 13th
Par 5’ – 8-under-par; Par 4s – even; Par 3s – 2-under-par
- Scheffler held serve on the par 4s, shooting even on them for the week. That has been the formula for most Masters winners, especially when the event has been played in tougher conditions (which are expected this week)
- Excellent around the green play was again a hallmark of the winner. Scheffler ranked second in strokes gained around the greens, and only second-place finisher Rory McIlroy was better than him around the greens
- 2021 champion Hideki Matsuyama also excelled around the greens, ranking fourth in Strokes Gained: Around the Green in the year of his win
- Strong tee-to-green play is a necessity. Scheffler was second in that stat, and four of the last five winners have now gained +12.0 or more strokes tee to green for the week
- However, a nearly equal amount of success for top finishers at this venue in the last few years has been split between Approach and Around the Greens.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Jordan Spieth ($9,700; best finish: win-2015, T2-2016, 2014 T3-2018, 2021): Spieth has placed second here twice and won the event in 2015 by tying the then-scoring record set by Tiger Woods (-18). In 2018, he shot a brilliant 64 in the final round to vault him into third place. Among players with 30 or more rounds played at Augusta, he has the best scoring average at 70.71.
2. Dustin Johnson ($8,800; best finish: win-2020, T2-2019, T4-2016): Johnson absolutely tore apart a watered-down Augusta in November of 2020, missing just 12 greens in regulation for the week on his way to breaking the scoring record. He’s done well at Augusta in tougher conditions, as well, and was in contention late in 2016 when the winning score was just five-under-par.
3. Cameron Smith ($9,800; best finish: T2-2020, T5-2018, T3-2022): Smith has seemingly mastered Augusta over the last few seasons. Possessing a slick short game, he finished runner-up at this event in November of 2020 and was in the final pairing last season as well before fading to T3 for the week. The move to LIV has likely hampered his preparation, but there is no denying he profiles as a potential future winner of this event.
4. Corey Conners ($7,600; best finish: T6-2022, T8-2021): Conners has only played Augusta four times, but his ability to lock up three top 10 finishes — in wildly different conditions — is extremely impressive. Conners even turned a weakness into a strength last season, finishing 7th in strokes gained around the green stats for the week.
5. Rory McIlroy ($10,600; best finishes: T4-2015, T5-2018, 2nd-2022): McIlroy may not have a win at Augusta, but he’s been through the wringer here as far as experiences go. He was the leader going into the back nine in 2011 before he slid to T15, and he also went off in the final pairing in 2018 before losing out badly to Patrick Reed. He’s finished T10 or better at Augusta in seven of the last nine seasons.
1. Scottie Scheffler ($11,100; win-T4): Much like last season, Scheffler has had a dream start to 2023. He’s grabbed two wins and not finished worse than 12th on the season in seven starts. He is unequivocally the man to beat this week.
2. Jordan Spieth ($9,700; T4-T19): Leads the field in strokes gained total stats over the last six events. Has gained over 7.0 strokes tee to green in three of his last five events.
3. Corey Conners ($7,600; win-MC-T21): Peaking at exactly the right time. Won his pod at the Match Play and then dominated in windy conditions in Texas. Has a fantastic blend of course history and recent form.
4. Viktor Hovland ($8,500; 3rd-T10): Despite weaknesses in his short game, you can’t overlook what he did in Florida, with top finishes at two very difficult venues.
5. Max Homa ($9,200; T6-T14): Outside of Scheffler, has been the most consistent player on the PGA this season. A T6 at the PLAYERS and winning his pod at the match play gives him an excellent lead-in record to the 2023 Masters.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Finau and Day make sense as core plays
Tony Finau ($8,900) has been clocking solid finishes all season without really getting into contention. His upside on bentgrass greens — where he’s posted three of his five PGA TOUR wins — and at Augusta (T5 in 2019, T10 in 2018 and 2021) is well worth noting. Finau’s also an attraction for his $8,900 price, which makes him easy to fit in with either a stars and scrubs build or a more balanced lineup. If staying balanced, then adding Jason Day ($8,700) alongside Finau in lineups this week gives you a solid core. Day has missed the cut the last two seasons at Augusta, but that was when he could hardly play due to a swing that was putting too much pressure on his back. He’s played seven times in 2023 and hasn’t finished outside of the top 20. Other potential plays for this format include the likes of Jordan Spieth ($9,700), Corey Conners ($7,600), Brooks Koepka ($7,600) and Si Woo Kim ($7,400).
Tournaments: Chase the upside with Homa and Min Woo Lee
Outside of Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa ($9,200) has been the most consistently dominant player on the PGA this season. He was one round away from winning for the second time this season at Riviera, and his spotty Masters record (MC-MC-T48) shouldn’t be read into much. He’s in a busy range with other elite names, so expect his ownership to stay low this week. Another player who is grouped with other tantalizing names (in terms of value) is Min Woo Lee ($7,600). Lee is a player on the rise and, most recently, was the only one to push Scottie Scheffler ($11,100) on Sunday at the PLAYERS. He was T14 at this event last season and has the pedigree to make some noise if the draw works in his favor. Some other potential players for this format this week include: Danny Willett ($6,600), Russell Henley ($7,000), Sahith Theegala ($7,500) and Sam Burns ($8,300).
MY PICK: Tony Finau ($8,900)
While 2023 has yet to produce any top finishes or wins for Tony Finau, the kind of quiet week-to-week consistency he’s shown this season does speak to a player who has his eyes set on something bigger. Three of his last five starts on the PGA TOUR have seen him gain 5.5 strokes or more tee to green, and he’s also now gained 3.0 strokes or more on approach in each of his last six PGA starts. His recent history at Augusta and in windy conditions also suggest this may be the week where we again see him hit top gear.
The 33-year-old ranks out first in strokes gained total stats in heavy winds over the last 50 rounds of play, and saw his last win in Houston come in tough conditions on another longer course. Given the sheer power he possesses, the added length to Augusta National that occurred two seasons ago also only works to tip the scales more in his favor over the long term. When you add in his course experience (three top 10s in six starts) and the fact he’s seen three of his five career wins come on bentgrass greens, the Masters may just make for an ideal setting for him to strike for a career-defining win.
His sub $9,000 salary on DraftKings makes him an easy core play to build around in DFS and, as a player who has now grabbed wins in three of his last 14 PGA starts, you shouldn’t discount him in the outright market either at +2000 or better.
MID-RANGE VALUE: Tommy Fleetwood ($7,700)
Tommy Fleetwood started his season later than most other players, with his first start coming at the WM Phoenix Open. Since a missed cut there, Fleetwood has reeled off four made cuts, with his two best efforts coming in his final two events at the PLAYERS and the Valspar. He gained over 5.0 strokes tee to green at Sawgrass and followed that up with his best effort of the season at Copperhead, where he gained 8.1 strokes tee to green and 8.4 strokes Putting + Around the Greens.
His trends fall in line with past winners like Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama, who overcame slower starts to their season and used later starts in March to hone their game. Fleetwood’s also a perennial major contender, having now reeled off five top-five finishes in the big events — including a T4 in the last major championship at St. Andrews in July of 2022. Despite never finishing in the top 10 at Augusta, he’s posted three separate top 20 finishes in seven career starts and shot 66 on the course twice. Fleetwood looks undervalued in DFS, and as someone who peaks for majors better than most, makes sense at +400 as a top 10 target for this week.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.