It’s Masters Week! In this year’s tournament edition, we’ll see the PGA roster mixed with players on the LIV roster for the first time since last year’s Open Championship. There’s sure to be a lot of drama, as there always is at Augusta, but something about this year feels a little different so far. That said, many familiar names will be in the mix Sunday afternoon as they push for one of golf’s most prestigious honours. Who exactly might be on the leaderboard by then? Let’s take a look.
One Inside the Top 5 (Betting Odds)
Rory McIlroy (+750)
It may just be Rory’s time. As he makes yet another attempt at the career grand slam, McIlroy is coming off a 2nd place finish in last year’s tournament, where he fired a 64 in the final round. He’s talked about how much that round meant for him mentally at Augusta, and it seems like he’s in a great state of mind for this year’s Masters. McIlroy has had his share of tough moments at Augusta, but Rory is always a tough player to beat if he gets the putter hot and drives the ball as he can. With the course probably playing wet and long for at least a part of the week, that power off the tee should give him an advantage over the field. Plus, it’s so hard NOT to cheer for him to finally get it done here.
One Inside the Top 20
Jason Day (+2000)
He may not be back to number one in the world, but Jason Day is finding his game again. In 2023, the Australian has played in six tournaments and has finished in the Top 20 every time. In three of those tournaments, he placed in the Top 10. When it comes to the Masters, Day has played twice in the last three years and missed the cut both times. However, from 2011 to 2019, he finished in the top 5 three times and never missed a cut. Clearly, Day knows how to get the ball around Augusta National.
One Outside the Top 20
Corey Connors (+5000)
Only two golfers have finished in the Top 10 of each of the last three Masters tournaments. One is Open Champion Cam Smith, and the other is Corey Connors. Connors may not have a great resume in the other majors, but Augusta is certainly a comfortable place for him. With his elite ball-striking ability, the week will most likely come down to putting for Connors. Consistency on the greens has never been his strong suit, but Corey must be sharp on Augusta’s rolling and sloping putting surfaces to have a real chance on Sunday. Thankfully, confidence has to be there for him at the moment, as just last week, he won the Valero Texas Open for the second time in four years.
One LIV Player
Brooks Koepka (+4000)
When looking at the LIV players that could seriously contend this week, the list isn’t a terribly long one. Cam Smith and Dustin Johnson stick out with their previous successes, but Brooks Koepka should also be on the radar. Koepka became the first two-time winner on the LIV Tour last week, and after the round, he talked about how excited he was to finally be 100% healthy again. Like Jason Day, his last two efforts at Augusta have resulted in missed cuts, but the years before show how well he can play this golf course. In a four-year span from 2017 to 2020, Brooks played three times with finishes of T11, T2 and T7. If the injury is in the past, it would not be a surprise to see Brooks contending for majors once again.
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(Odds via DraftKings)