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From 94 Down to 1 – Picking the Winner at the 2020 Masters

| November 10, 2020 7:41 am PDT
How to Pick a Winner for the 2020 Masters - Elimination Method

Following the news of Sergio Garcia’s withdrawal on Monday, the field at the 2020 Masters is down to 94. In this blog, I’m going to use a variety of metrics to start whittling that number down until we get to one.

This “last man standing format” for picking a winner at a major isn’t something I invented – that credit goes to Andy North. With the two-time US Open champ no longer delivering the good, I’m here to fill in.

It’s super straight forward – check it out.

An Amateur Will Not Win the Masters

Yuxin Lin is a budding talent. John Augenstein has a bright future. However, an amateur has never won the Masters before, and it’s not going to happen in 2020.

Go ahead and remove anyone who is sleeping in the Crow’s Nest from even your boldest Masters predictions.

Just like that we’re down to 88 possible winners. See how easy this is?

The Golden Bear’s Record from ’86 Remains Intact

As has been well documented, Jack Nicklaus’s victory at the 1986 Masters at age 46 makes him the oldest winner ever at Augusta. As long as you don’t think someone breaks that record this week (I sure as heck don’t), here’s who we can eliminate from contention.

  • Angel Cabrera
  • Fred Couples
  • Bernhard Langer
  • Sandy Lyle
  • Larry Mize
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Jose Maria Olazábal
  • Vijay Singh
  • Lee Westwood

Unless you are expecting some magic from Phil and his 47.5-inch driver, we can safely cross these “elders” off the list.

Down to 79.

Forget About Players With 0 PGA Tour Wins

Carlos Ortiz broke through in Houston to win his first PGA Tour title. Carlos isn’t in the field this week, although there are several players teeing it up at Augusta who have never won on the PGA Tour.

Don’t expect any of them to make the 2020 Masters their first PGA Tour victory. That means axing studs like Scottie Scheffler and Tommy Fleetwood, among others. Even one of my Masters sleepers, Abraham Ancer, has to go.

  • Byeong Hun An
  • Abraham Ancer
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout
  • Rafael Cabrera Bello
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Justin Harding
  • Sungjae Im
  • Shugo Imahira
  • Jazz Janewattananond
  • Victor Perez
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Erik van Rooyen
  • Matt Wallace
  • Bernd Wiesberger

We’ve now shaved the number of possible Masters picks down from 94 to 64.

Shabby Iron Play Won’t Get It Done

If you are looking for a specific statistic to zero in on to help you gauge who could win the Masters, look no further than SG: Approach.

In order for us to get down to the nitty-gritty and lock in a Masters pick to win, I’m eradicating any golfer who didn’t rank inside the top-40 last season in SG: Approach. Believe it or not, that includes waving goodbye to the likes of Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Matthew Wolff.

For what’s it’s worth, Bryson DeChambeau’s ranking in the SG: Approach was admittingly skewed due to him driving it so close to the green on so many par-4s. With that being said, I’ll leave the Mad Scientist in the mix for now.

Let’s take stock of where we are at and see who’s still in the pool.

  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Paul Casey
  • Corey Conners
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Tony Finau
  • Lucas Glover
  • Tyrell Hatton
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Marc Leishman
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Chez Reavie
  • Webb Simpson
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Justin Thomas
  • Jimmy Walker
  • Gary Woodland
  • Tiger Woods

From 64 to 19 in a flash.

Show Me Some Recent Form

The goal is to peak at Augusta, but it’s hard to reach a climax at the Masters without showing some significant “signs of life” in the tournaments leading in. If a golfer hasn’t cracked the top-10 in any of his last five starts, don’t expect him to suddenly put it all together this week.

  • Paul Casey
  • Lucas Glover
  • Marc Leishman
  • Jimmy Walker>
  • Gary Woodland
  • Tiger Woods

Sadly, Tiger Woods won’t win the 2020 Masters. Our list of 19 shrinks to 13.

Who Excels Off the Tee?

Soft conditions play right into the hands of the guys who hit it long and straight off the tee. By “deleting” the golfers who didn’t clock in 40th or better in SG: Off-the-Tee last season, we are swiftly down to 10 names.

However, all signs are pointing toward Augusta playing “extra-long” this week so I’d also like to reject anyone who didn’t rank inside the top-40 in driving distance in 2019-20.

That takes us from 10 down to 8.

  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Tony Finau
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Justin Thomas

Still some pretty good choices eh?

Who Will Win the 2020 Masters?

There many ways you can bet on the 2020 Masters. My method might be a bit unusual. Then again, it’s hard to argue with this “elite eight.”

While it’s hard to nitpick any of the remaining contenders, there is one guy who sticks out among the rest.

Not just because he shot 64 in 20+ mph winds recently at The Grove XXIII (Michael Jordan’s ultra-exclusive club in Hobe Sound, FL). Not just because he’s coming off a runner-up finish and four straight top-12s. That simply confirms JT’s tip-top form coming in.

Once you throw in Justin’s history at this venue, things get mighty intriguing.

Thomas led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at the 2019 Masters, on top of the fact that Justin leads this field in SG: Approach since the PGA Tour resumed in June.

Searching for his breakthrough performance at Augusta, I’m pegging Justin Thomas to slip on a Green Jacket on Sunday.

And just like that, we’ve narrowed the field from 94 down to 1.

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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