Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: The Masters
It's here. It's finally here.
Last year's Masters feels like a decade ago -- but also a month ago at the same time. This event just has that mystique about it, and we're only a handful of hours away from the 82nd edition of the Masters.
But you probably don't need me to linger on the past. So let's dig into Augusta National and see what edges we may be able to find when it comes to building our DFS lineups for the Masters.
Course and Tournament Info
The Masters is unique in many ways, the first of which includes a smaller field than we're used to -- even for the Masters. At most, the 82nd Masters will field 87 golfers, fewest since 1997. As for the cut, the top 50 golfers (plus ties) make it through, as well as any golfer within 10 shots of the lead after 36 holes.
This means that a higher percentage of golfers than usual will make it through the cut than normal (last year, 53 of 93 golfers played the weekend at Augusta, 57%). With 50 (plus ties) among 87 (at most), we're looking at close to 60% of the field making it through. You can't afford to have golfers miss the cut.
Of course, Augusta National is no pushover course.
|Year||Difficulty Rank||Course||Par||Yards||Avg Score||Avg O/U Par|
|2017||2||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||73.887||1.887|
|2016||3||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||74.421||2.421|
|2015||14||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||72.536||0.536|
|2014||2||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||73.946||1.946|
|2013||4||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||73.412||1.412|
|2012||8||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||73.500||1.500|
|2011||15||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||72.426||0.426|
|2010||3||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||73.293||1.293|
|2009||15||Augusta National GC||72||7,435||72.606||0.606|
|2008||11||Augusta National GC||72||7,445||73.773||1.773|
The par 72 runs 7,400-plus yards and generally plays longer, making it one of the longest courses on the PGA Tour each season. Not only that, but Augusta National is simply one of the toughest tests around, and putting on the super fast bentgrass greens means you need to be able to do everything well to contend.
Given all of that, what stats stand out when we're looking to find strong plays on FanDuel?
Frankly, you can't have any holes in your game if you're trying to contend for the green jacket, but these stats stand out as must-haves for your golfers at Augusta National.
|Key Stats for the Masters at Augusta National|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Greens in Regulation|
|Strokes Gained: Putting|
It's not really a secret that this is a second-shot course, meaning strokes gained: approach should be at or near the top of the list for our research this week.
According to FantasyGolfMetrics, golfers making the top 25 here since 2003 have had an average driving distance of 283.2 yards, shorter than the normal top-25 average of 290.2. However, those missing the cut have averaged a 273.7-yard distance off the tee since 2003 at Augusta, a 9.5-yard differential. The lack of rough (in favor of pine straw) favors distance over accuracy.
The only holes that play under par are the par 5s: the 572-yard 2nd, the 567-yard 8th, the 509-yard 13th, and the 528-yard 15th. Taking advantage of par 5s is vital to breaking par.
Greens in regulation and scrambling also come into play, given how difficult the greens are. Missing GIRs will only put golfers farther behind with the difficult greens.
Weekly putting is pretty much always going to correlate to success, and a golfer's putting can be highly variable week to week. Still, this isn't the week to neglect putting ability entirely.
Course history can be misleading -- as it doesn't account for then-current form among other variables -- but playing Augusta in the past is pretty important. There hasn't been a first-time winner since 1979.
Course History Studs
With such a storied event, a lot of golfers in this field have some history at Augusta. These players are qualified for the 2018 Masters and have a win here since 2000.
|Player||Year Winning Masters|
|Bubba Watson||2012 & 2014|
|Phil Mickelson||2004, 2006, & 2010|
|Tiger Woods||1997, 2001, 2002, & 2005|
If we narrow the scope a bit and look at the past 12 years, thanks to data from SmartGolfBets, these golfers have played Augusta at least half of those years (sorted by top-25 finish percentage and years competing).
|Masters History 2006-2017||Events||Best Finish||Made Cut%||Top 25s||Top 25%|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||10||3||40%||1||10%|
You can do with that what you will. If we narrow the scope to the past five iterations of the Masters, these golfers have played here at least four times (sorted the same way).
|Masters History 2013-2017||Events||Best Finish||Made Cut%||Top 25s||Top 25%|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||4||34||50%||0||0%|
A few standouts include a pair of Brits in Justin Rose (2nd, 10th, 2nd the past three years) and Paul Casey (6th, 4th, and 6th). Rory McIlroy has five straight top-25 finishes and four straight top 10s: (8th, 4th, 10th, 7th).
Jordan Spieth's form reads 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 11th at Augusta, and he trailed the lead by just two strokes after 54 holes a year ago.
Matt Kuchar has four top-eight finishes over the past six years and five top-25 finishes in that span. Dustin Johnson's past four finishes are 13th, cut, 6th, and 4th.
Hideki Matsuyama has finished 5th, 7th, and 11th since a missed cut four years ago.