Why The Masters Champ Will Be One Of These 10 Players
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Why The Masters Champ Will Be One Of These 10 Players

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Why The Masters Champ Will Be One Of These 10 Players

We’ve finally made it. The Masters is here.

For the first time since last July, we have the best players in the world convening in one place. And while ratings for both the PGA Tour and LIV have been struggling mightily, the Masters has long been immune to that kind of apathy.

People who watch only once or twice per year will tune in this week. The aura around Augusta National has only increased along with the growing importance of golf’s four majors.

We all want to know who will win. I’ve studied it from every angle and am confident the Masters winner will come out of these 10 players. Who isn’t on this list—Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and others—might be just as surprising as who is on it.

Will I be right? Please come back on Monday to mercilessly mock me if I’m not.

Scottie Scheffler

There isn’t much more to say about Scheffler, who is clearly the best player in the world by a sizable margin.

His results on the PGA Tour since February: T6-T3-T10-Win-Win-T2.

He’s won the Masters recently and is almost guaranteed to be in the hunt unless his putting falls off the face of the earth.

There are no sure bets in golf but Scheffler is about as close as you can get to one in modern professional golf.

Xander Schauffele

I picked Schauffele to win the Masters in my major predictions for 2024, and I’ll admit that it’s a gamble.

He hasn’t won a major. And while he is the No. 2 player in the world per Data Golf, Schauffele seems to shy away from the big moment on Sundays.

Having said that, his major record is consistently strong. He has 11 top-10 finishes in majors. His worst finish in the last seven majors is T17, meaning Schauffele is close to a sure thing to put himself in the mix.

He’s also one of the few stars playing great golf this season. Schauffele has six top-10 finishes in 2024, including a painful T2 at The Players Championship.

The opportunity to go out and win by a few shots is definitely there.

Brooks Koepka

Koepka has won five majors and could easily have added a few more along the way.

He’s been close in the Masters, including last year when he had a slim lead on Sunday, and 2019 when he narrowly missed birdie putts on the last two holes to apply pressure to eventual champion Tiger Woods.

It does feel like Koepka is destined to win at Augusta somewhere along the way. He has the necessary patience and looks stable on short putts. It’s the easiest major to win, by his math, given the limited field that includes amateurs and some pros who don’t have much of a shot.

If he gets in the mix, Koepka will be hard to beat.

Jon Rahm

We can’t forget about the reigning Masters winner.

Rahm has faded from professional golf’s focus after going to LIV but he has quietly been playing some great golf on that exhibition circuit. His finishes this year are T3-8-5-T8-T4. It would have been nice to see a win but he’s still in good form.

At a time when several of golf’s stars are not playing well, it’s another huge opportunity for Rahm to get his third major. He was T2 at last year’s Open Championship, although nobody was catching Brian Harman.

Even beyond his victory, Rahm loves the Masters. Since 2018, he has gone 4-T9-T7-T5-T27-Win.

Hideki Matsuyama

Matsuyama is quietly playing some outstanding golf coming into a tournament he won just three years ago.

The Japanese star won the Genesis Invitational in February and has been a fixture on the first page of leaderboards ever since, putting up top-15 finishes in his last three events.

A balky putter is always a valid concern with Matsuyama but he is trustworthy at Augusta. In the last nine Masters, Matsuyama has eight top-20 finishes and always seems to be hanging around.

Wyndham Clark

Is Wyndham Clark the second-best golfer in the world right now?

While his Data Golf ranking only has him at No. 11, Clark is quickly rising in star power after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am before close calls in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.

Clark has never played the Masters, and rookies don’t tend to win, but he is someone who consistently elevates his play in the biggest events.

Not putting him on here would be a mistake.

Will Zalatoris

Injuries have hampered Zalatoris but he’s rapidly finding the form he had prior to being sidelined in 2023. He had a T2 at the Genesis and a T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

More than that, the Texan’s major record is remarkable. In just 10 appearances, he has registered six top-10 finishes. Three of those have been runner-ups.

Zalatoris finished second in the 2021 Masters and then lost by a whisker at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open a year later. He is “Brooks Koepka lite” at this stage.

Don’t sleep on Willy Z.

Shane Lowry

Didn’t expect to see this, huh?

I have a feeling Lowry is due to contend in another major sometime in 2024. He played well during the Florida Swing, had a few nice major appearances last year and seems to be trending in the right direction at the Masters, where he finished T3 in 2022.

Joaquin Niemann

Beyond Koepka and Rahm, LIV’s best opportunity to win the Masters has to be Joaquin Niemann.

Niemann has been scorchingly hot in recent months, winning the Australian Open, LIV Mayakoba and LIV Jeddah to go along with four additional top-10 finishes.

You also have to like Niemann’s trend at Augusta: T40-T35-T16. It will be his fifth Masters start and the experience factor is slowly becoming a positive rather than a drawback.

Reasons for pessimism? Niemann has a horrid major record on the whole, never earning a top-10 finish in 19 starts.

Matt Fitzpatrick

After scuffling for a long stretch, Fitzpatrick seemed to find something at The Players Championship where he finished solo fifth. He followed that with a T10 at the Valero Texas Open.

Fitzpatrick has made the cut in his last seven Masters appearances and finished T10 last year.

I’m buying that he will be in the mix on the weekend.

Who do you like this week? Let me know below in the comments.

And while you’re here, check out more of my Masters coverage:

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Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean is a longtime golf journalist and underachieving 8 handicap who enjoys the game in all forms. If he didn't have an official career writing about golf, Sean would spend most of his free time writing about it anyway. When he isn't playing golf, you can find Sean watching his beloved Florida Panthers hockey team, traveling to a national park or listening to music on his record player. He lives in Nashville with his wife and dog (of course the dog's name is Hogan).

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm





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      Mike M

      1 month ago

      Maybe look at the top 6 finishers of the masters last year? They were LIV players. So continuing to try and diminish their “circuit” as exhibition golf looks a little silly. We get it, you don’t like LIV. But at least you could try and stick to writing about the masters and not trying to mislead people by disparaging the tour that actually performed the best.

      Reply

      ArchieBunker

      1 month ago

      Where’s Taylor Gooch? I read all about his invitation here back on April 1st. Greg Norman thinks he’s the best iron player of all time!

      Reply

      Chris Cole

      1 month ago

      Sean,
      I hope you are right. Would like to see Xander win this!

      Reply

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