Community Q&A: Masters Edition

Q&A Covering Favorites, History, and Long Shots!

Thank you to FlushingIt, LudvigTracker, and Matt Vincenzi for taking the time to do this Q&A! Be sure to check out their pages, and let me know who you want included ahead of the PGA Championship!

Which player from the PGA Tour not named Scottie Scheffler has the best chance to win The Masters?

Matt Vincenzi: Hideki Matsuyama. In his past three starts, Hideki has won at Riviera, which has a proven leaderboard crossover with Augusta National, and then finished T12 at Bay Hill and T6 at TPC Sawgrass. With many of the top players on the PGA Tour struggling including Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland, Matsuyama has been the second-best player on the PGA Tour this season. History has shown that in order to win The Masters, a player must be in good form coming into the event, and the Japanese star has his game clicking on all cylinders.

FlushingIt: Xander Schauffele - Xander is probably the best player right now who’s in form but has not won a major. He runs it close in majors all the time and it’s about time he got it over the line. Immediate form is good too with a runner up at Sawgrass and he’s due. I like his chances.

LudvigTracker: Popular name.. Rory.. Playing the best leading into it in big events.. Hideki.. 2 Top 4's in the last 3 and plays well at Augusta?? Jordan.. Highest upside but has struggled.. Viktor.

TeeTimes: As Matt said, I really like Hideki here. He checks so many of the boxes that suggests he could win here. T2G strokes gained, strong finishes in recent majors, a recent win, and more. Seems like the clear “not Scottie Scheffler” pick to me.

Which player from LIV Golf not named Jon Rahm has the best chance to win The Masters?

FlushingIt: Joaco Niemann - his form speaks for itself really. Australian Open winner last year, LIV Standings leader and he looks super motivated this year. His ball striking has been on another level and he’s moving it both ways which helps around Augusta. He’s got a big point to prove after needing an invite and I think he’s ready to step up.

Matt Vincenzi: Joaquin Niemann. Niemann is my pick to win The Masters. He has been playing incredible golf this season and players who are hot to begin the season typically fare well at Augusta. In recent years, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Dustin Johnson all came into the event having won multiple times leading into the year’s first major. Niemann has won three times since December and has the perfect skill set to conquer Augusta.

LudvigTracker: Hot name.. Niemann. Game that fits Augusta? Cam Smith. Game coming into form? Dustin Johnson

TeeTimes: Niemann is the obvious pick here, but I’m going to go with Bryson DeChambeau. While he does meet some of the strokes gained criteria you’d like to see in a winner here, that’s not my primary reason. I’ve said this a few times in the past but he’s an obsessive guy, and when he obsesses over something, he tends to excel at it. He wanted to hit the ball further, he went on to finish 2nd in world long drive WHILE competing on LIV. He wanted to bulk up, he bulked up. He wanted to create content, he’s excelling at that. For the past year he’s talked about how much he wants to succeed at Augusta National. If he’s obsessing over that like his other passions, he’s not going to stop until he succeeds. Maybe it happens this year, maybe not, but he’s going to compete here.

What’s your favorite memory from The Masters?

LudvigTracker: Fred Couples in 1992 was the first Masters that I remember watching (even though I watched every year) being 11 at the time. Had lived in WA a couple years so he was the talk of sports that week. Hard to not remember Tiger in 1997. Bubbas shot from the rough.. Phil's shot from the rough.. Rory's implosion when leading in the final round. Spieth’s hot run. Dustin finally getting his. Couples making the cut in 2023. Replays of Jack in 86'.

FlushingIt: Tiger winning the slam in 2002 - I was a huge Tiger fan as a junior, as everyone was, and this was such a monumental moment for him and modern golf. The event was class too, with all the top players in the mix and Tiger managed to get the job done under immense pressure to win the Tiger slam and be the first man to hold all 4 modern majors at the same time. Iconic.

Matt Vincenzi: My favorite memory from The Masters is Tiger Woods winning in 2019. After everything Woods went through to get his game back after personal issues and multiple surgeries, it was one of the more unlikely wins in Masters history. I still think back to that week and ask myself if it really happened.

TeeTimes: I’m fully with Matt here. Tiger winning in 2019 felt like a dream. Given the entire story, there’s simply nothing like it. To me, it’s not only the greatest moment in the game’s history, but it should also be in the conversation for greatest sports moments in history.

The Masters is known for it's rich traditions and rituals. Which tradition do you find the most captivating or meaningful, and why?

MattVincenzi: The Masters theme song always gets me. The birds chirping in the background of the first Masters commercial of the year always stirs up some emotions. It’s a sign telling me to forget all the problems and struggles of life because The Masters is right around the corner.

FlushingIt: I love the amount of amateur invites and them all staying in the butler cabin. I’m a huge student of the game and love the history and this kind of thing make my hairs stand on end. I only wish I was good enough to have got there when I was younger!

LudvigTracker: I have zero problem with customs and traditions. I like that Augusta still has that early ages of golf feel. I like my rounds with music, cold beverages, but I still like that certain clothing is required at some courses. I play a handful that it isn't and that isn't an issue either but The Masters still has that "early golf feel" to it.

TeeTimes: For me it’s the no cameras, no cell phones. As someone who is criminally online (you should see my screen time), whenever I’m at a golf event I always make it a point to really take it in. Even when I’m taking videos, I won’t look at it through the camera. I’ll watch with my eyes and risk the video being ruined, because the experience is just so much better. Everyone at Augusta is doing that, fully focused on the golf and taking it in for themselves. Love it.

Which first timer do you think will have the best finish at The Masters and why?

FlushingIt: Wyndham Clark - it’s so difficult to win as a debutant at Augusta, but Wyndham is going in as a major champion, and a double PGA Tour winner in the last 12 months. He’s also come 2nd to Scottie twice this year and looks like a man who will take that personally and will want to turn the tables. It’s a tough ask to win in your first Masters appearance but he’s perfectly capable and has the resume to do it.

LudvigTracker: Ludvig Aberg - Putting will be key. Has the ability to go low and score on Par 5s.

Wyndham Clark - Length will be big as well as his ability to spin the ball. 

Eric Cole - Zach Johnson won here.. Cole has the wedge game to be in the thick of it if he drives it well.

Denny McCarthy - Putts it so well. If the score is lower, he will have a shot.

Matt Vincenzi: Ludvig Aberg. He’s simply the most talented player on this list by a mile. His skill set is perfect for Augusta and long and straight will serve him well at The Masters. I don’t think a first-timer can win this year but I expect a green jacket at some point in Aberg’s future.

TeeTimes: I’m with Flush on this one. Wyndham Clark meets a lot of the criteria we want to see. Over 23 strokes gained T2G in his last 20 rounds, 17 in putting, and more. He’s playing really well. He’d certainly be one of the favorites if course history wasn’t so important here.

Who's the long shot that no one’s talking about that you think could make a run this year at The Masters?

LudvigTracker: 50/1 odds is what I would call borderline "long shot".. If conditions stay where they are, iron play will be a big key to winning.. Fleetwood has a very good iron play just can't roll it consistently enough. Conners is another great iron player that Augusta should be one he can maneuver around. It all comes down to making putts which means McCarthy will have a long shot at staying in contention if he can keep it in play. Wouldn't be surprised to see Sergio post a great score the first two days and show some spark headed into the weekend as well..

Matt Vincenzi: Sergio Garcia. Garcia is quietly playing really good golf this season and obviously knows how to get it done around Augusta National. Outside of the win, Garcia’s history at The Masters is hit or miss, but he did finish T23 there in 2022 after his 2017 victory. He is striking the ball incredibly well and players who already have green jackets have shown they are able to repeat. Jose Maria Olazabal is another Spaniard who’s done so twice.

FlushingIt: Sergio Garcia - I called this before Miami and now he’s leading there making it look even better. I spent some time with Sergio in Macau and he was in a great headspace and flushing it. If he can get the putter hot he’s got a great chance of contending.

TeeTimes: First of all, let the record reflect that both Matt and FlushingIt did in fact send me that before Miami, Flush just expanded on it during the event.

For me, I like Patrick Reed here. His form hasn’t been spectacular, but a T4 last year shows just how important course knowledge is here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him mixing it up in the top 15 again this year.