The first round of the 2020 Masters will begin on Thursday, April 9th with the final round being played that Sunday. Tiger Woods shocked the golf world last year when he won the 2019 Masters after a 14-year drought. Woods enters the tournament as one of the early favorites as he looks for a repeat of last year.
About The Masters
The Masters is the first golf major of the year and is held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. This year’s tournament will be the 84th edition of the Masters. The Masters is the only major that is held on the same course every year.
Since 1949, the winner of the Masters has received a green jacket. Every member of Augusta National also receives a green jacket but the player who wins the tournament does not receive a membership. The jacket is presented to the winner by the winner of the previous year’s tournament. If the previous winner is unavailable or is a consecutive winner, the current chairman of Augusta National presents the jacket.
Of the four major tournaments in golf, the Masters has the smallest field. While the Masters’ if officially an invitational event, golfers qualify for an invitation based on a number of different scenarios:
1. Past Masters Champions
2. Last five PGA Champions
3. Last five U.S. Open Champions
4. Last five Open Champions
5. Winners of The Players Championship in the last three years
6. Top two finishers in the 2019 U.S. Amateur
7. Winner of the 2019 Amateur Championship
8. Winner of the 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship
9. Winner of the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur
10. Winner of the 2020 Latin America Amateur Championship
11. The top 12 finishers and ties in the 2019 Masters Tournament
12. Top 4 finishers and ties in the 2019 PGA Championship
13. Top 4 finishers and ties in the 2019 U.S. Open
14. Top 4 finishers and ties in the 2019 Open Championship
15. Winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, between the 2019 Masters Tournament and the 2020 Masters Tournament
16. All players qualifying for the 2019 edition of The Tour Championship
17. Top 50 on the final 2019 Official World Golf Ranking list
18. Top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking list on March 30, 2020
19. International invitees
Augusta National Golf Club
The course the Masters is held on, Augusta National Golf Club, is a par 72 course that spans 7,475 yards. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in 1932. Augusta National began hosting the Masters’ tournament in 1934.
Hole 1: Tea Olive – 445 Yards – Par 4
Hole 2: Pink Dogwood – 575 Yards – Par 5
Hole 3: Flowering Peach – 350 Yards – Par 4
Hole 4: Flowering Crab Apple – 240 Yards – Par 3
Hole 5: Magnolia – 495 Yards – Par 4
Hole 6: Juniper – 180 Yards – Par 3
Hole 7: Pampas – 450 Yards – Par 4
Hole 8: Yellow Jasmine – 570 Yards – Par 5
Hole 9: Carolina Cherry – 460 Yards – Par 4
Hole 10: Camellia – 495 Yards – Par 4
Hole 11: White Dogwood – 505 Yards – Par 4
Hole 12: Golden Bell – 155 Yards – Par 3
Hole 13: Azalea – 510 Yards – Par 5
Hole 14: Chinese Fir – 440 Yards – Par 4
Hole 15: Firethorn – 530 Yards – Par 5
Hole 16: Redbud – 170 Yards – Par 3
Hole 17: Nandina – 440 Yards – Par 4
Hole 18: Holly – 465 Yards – Par 4
In 1940, the course length was just 6,800 yards. In 1950 it expanded to 6,900 yards. In 1980 the course cracked the 7,000-yard mark before dropping down to 6,905 in the 90s. In the 2000s the course began to expand again as it reached 6,985 yards. Now, the course is over 7,400 yards, the biggest jump from one decade to the next.
Best Bets to Win 2020 Masters
Rory McIlroy is the early favorite to win the 2020 Masters. McIlroy is currently #1 in the Official World Golf Rankings and has held that ranking for almost 100 weeks in his career. Last year’s Masters was the first one in which McIlroy didn’t finish inside the top 10. Although McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014, he enters the Masters as one of the hottest golfers in the world. McIlroy won last year’s FedExCup, the second of his career. He is off to a hot start in 2020 as well. Could this be the year McIlroy finally gets his green jacket despite never finishing in the top three at Augusta?
Brooks Koepka is also sitting near the top of the odds favorites to win this year’s Masters. As of mid-February, Koepka is #2 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Koepka had his best performance in the Masters last year when he ended up just one stroke behind champion Tiger Woods. Koepka has made the cut in all four Masters appearances with three of those resulting in top 25 finishes. Koepka has as big of a drive as any player on the Tour and while that is a huge asset, accuracy is more important than power on a course like Augusta National. His short game has improved over the years and if he can putt well, Koepka has a great chance to get his first green jacket.
The Value Picks
Jordan Spieth was thought to be the next big thing in golf after his 2014 Masters appearance saw him finish second. He followed that up with a win in the 2015 Masters, a year in which he won two majors, finished second in one and fourth in the other. In his six Masters’ appearances, Spieth has finished in the top 25 in all six and in the top 10 in four. While Spieth hasn’t put together the Tiger Woods-like career that some people over dramatically assumed he would have, he has consistently been one of the best golfers in the world. Spieth plays his best golf at the Masters. A win at Augusta National in 2020 could help get his career heading back in the right direction, much like it did for Woods last year.
Bryson DeChambeau exploded onto the golf map in 2018 when he won three PGA Tour events. His unorthodox playing style and club lengths quickly made DeChambeau one of the most popular golfers in the game. However, he hasn’t performed his best at major events (best finish T-15th at US Open in 2016). DeChambeau put together a solid 2019 as well as he got his fifth career PGA Tour title and finished 12th in the FedExCup Standings. DeChambeau is 0-6 in his career when having the lead or co-lead after 36 holes. Getting out to a hot start won’t be the biggest issue for DeChambeau, it will be sustaining that success for four days.
Francesco Molinari is a player who probably isn’t getting the respect he deserves in terms of odds. Molinari is coming off of his two best performances in his last two Masters. He finished 20th in 2018 and fifth in last year’s event, two strokes behind Woods. Molinari only missed the cut in two events since the start of 2019. He is a consistent golfer whose mid-range and short game plays well on a course like Augusta National. After his best performance of his career in the 2019 Masters, Molinari will be looking to continue his improvement at Augusta National and earn his first career green jacket. Don’t be surprised to see Molinari in the mix on Sunday afternoon and at his current odds, he is perhaps the best longshot.
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