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Power Rankings: Masters Tournament

3 Min Read

Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Masters Tournament

    As the last wraparound season on the PGA TOUR continues to generate compelling achievements, it’s fitting that the first tournament of the second half is the first stop in the season of the majors. It’s time for the 87th edition of the Masters.

    Perfectly matching a full set of keys on a piano, a field of 88 is rehearsing to play the latest arrangement of the major on the masterpiece that is Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, and it’s expected to be momentous. Beneath the expanded ranking of projected contenders is a review of what’s new, objectives required to perform well and more.

    Matt Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry and five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.

    The launch of a season within the season also serves as the end of another season within the season – Scottie Scheffler’s parade of four title defenses. He successfully defended the first at the WM Phoenix Open, and then fell short in the next two, but he added a convincing victory at THE PLAYERS Championship. So, he’s still the man to beat at the Masters that he won by three in 2022.

    Scheffler’s 10-under 278 a year ago matched Hideki Matsuyama’s own major breakthrough the year prior, but Augusta National averaged over two strokes higher. The 2022 clip of 73.951 was a six-year high on a course for which a scoring average of even-par 72 typically isn’t a reasonable target.

    Augusta National is equipped with the full slate of four par 3s and four par 5s, but the most attention will be directed at the par-5 13th hole. With a new back tee that has added 35 yards, it can play as long as 545 yards, which still isn’t super long by today’s standards, but length off the tee isn’t a prerequisite to prevail on what very much is a second-shot track, even as it’s poised to tip at a record 7,545 yards.

    Placement in fairways for proper angles on approach is more important than shaving a few yards to wield a shorter iron. Not that the latter is neutralized – if it didn’t matter at all, the 13th wouldn’t have been considered to be modified – but experience in where to leave it off the tee can be as valuable as knowing where to miss it on approach.

    To that end, experience on the course not only is an achievement of personal pride as a golfer, but it matters when it comes to winning the Masters. If it didn’t, Fuzzy Zoeller still wouldn’t be the most recent to slip on the green jacket in his debut. That was in 1979. The only other two debutants to win were Horton Smith (1934) and Gene Sarazen (1935) in the first two editions.

    Even for the most experienced, the weather can upset the best-laid intentions. That’s in play as inclement conditions are forecast especially for the final three rounds. After a high in the upper 80s on Thursday, a massive cooling will occur, potentially resulting in a daytime high in the upper 50s by Saturday. Not surprisingly, the wind will kick up with the arrival of the energy, so last year’s scoring average is a fair expectation again this week.

    The Masters has a unique 36-hole cut of low 50 and ties. All who survive are guaranteed another 36 holes. The champion will earn 600 FedExCup points, a PGA TOUR membership exemption through 2028, a lifetime exemption into the Masters and exemptions into the other three majors through 2027.

    NOTE: ShotLink is not utilized for this tournament.

    ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.

    MONDAY: Power Rankings

    TUESDAY*: Sleepers

    WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider

    SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle

    * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

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