AUGUSTA — The Masters is again! Time for one more golf roundtable, that includes Yahoo Sports senior golf author Jay Busbee and Yahoo Sports fantasy impresario Scott Pianowski. Topics at present: Jordan Spieth’s return, Bryson DeChambeau’s wizardry, and what it takes to win at Augusta in April.
BUSBEE: Scott, my buddy, nature is therapeutic. And by “nature,” I imply the azaleas that after once more bloom alongside Augusta’s fairways. The autumn Masters was good, however this match belongs within the springtime. Your preliminary ideas, my buddy, on the primary April Masters in two (!) years?
There are two juggernaut cycles within the sporting calendar — one among them is in September, and one among them is true now. The school basketball tournaments, the return of baseball, and the yearly journey to Augusta, all tucked collectively like Amen Corner. If this does not make the hair stand on the again of your neck, you are already useless.
The 2021 golf season is off to a powerful begin, a pleasant mixture of relatable tales and star energy. Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas have already bagged wins; Koepka on the yearly Super Bowl celebration, Morikawa at a WGC, Bryson at Arnie’s place, and Thomas on the TPC. One of the little secrets and techniques of golf is that followers love Cinderella on Thursday, however they need the celebrities to elevate the trophy on Sunday. We’ve seen loads of that.
Of course, Augusta is a troublesome ticket for everybody — execs included. It’s the smallest main yearly, essentially the most unique. Lots of instances you may hear “what a great leaderboard at the Masters” nevertheless it virtually needs to be; merely qualifying is an honor. There aren’t many slippers to be discovered, until you want one of many previous champions to shock. Nobody ever calls it this, however the Masters actually is golf’s All-Star Game.
It’s been the longest winter; it virtually looks like a yr, when you think about every part that is occurred. So yeah, amigo, I want this.
BUSBEE: Then let’s get it on. Tiger’s clearly out, Rickie Fowler’s out, however everyone else is rolling again in, and with various levels of success and type. DJ’s at all times a risk, Rory looks like a large number, Spieth may simply have what it takes … which approach can we go?
You’re first off the tee, sir. Give me your finest guess, and your participant you are to observe (whether or not or not you assume they will win).
PIANOWSKI: This is the toughest main to get cute with a winner. As acknowledged, you do not have that many selections, the sector is so small. But the shorter hitters have virtually no probability right here. If you are approaching with lengthy irons or hybrids whereas the bombers have brief irons and even wedges of their fingers, you are already out of the match.
Of course this may by no means be a senseless driving vary. The greens are so delicate; it is a match about energy, certain, nevertheless it’s additionally about playable misses, nerves and creativity across the greens, and being affected person. It looks like you’ll be able to assault about 40 p.c of the course, and also you wind up enjoying protection all over the place else.
I’m going to observe each Jordan Spieth shot Thursday. It’s pretty to see his confidence again. He has the putter to win right here — I’m beginning to assume Rory’s putter will at all times block him on the Masters — and he usually performs inside himself. Patience will not be an issue. He simply want just a little momentum.
Dustin Johnson is the deserved favourite, now that he is found out this place. Hits it eternally and hits it sky excessive, which works right here. He did not simply win in November, he has a run of 5 straight Top 10s right here. He was T2 in Tiger’s superb comeback yr; I am unable to bear in mind a T2 end that noticed much less Sunday airtime, by the best way. But how can we generate profits on DJ at 9-1?
So Xander Schauffele at 20-1 is my first punch. His stat profile is angelic; he is solely nice at every part. Most importantly, he is an outstanding putter and he has the fitting temperament for majors. His four-year resume within the huge occasions is a yellow-brick street, Top 10s all over the place (he tied DJ again in 2019).
The finest X props is likely to be pushed to Top 5s or 10s, which I do not see posted but. But let’s get this celebration began with $20 on Xander to win, 20-1.
BUSBEE: I do love the X-Man, however he’s not my choose. We’ll get to that in a second.
In Augusta, April flowers convey, uh, April showers, and regardless of an earlier forecast that known as for a dry Masters, it seems we could have just a little moisture headed this fashion someday round Friday afternoon-Saturday morning. (Rain at all times makes the reduce, sadly.) Between the hotter temps and Augusta’s SubAir system across the greens, rain received’t decelerate the course to November ranges, when DJ picked the place aside. But it’s nonetheless prone to gradual some rolls off the tee and provides dart-throwers a greater probability of sticking the inexperienced. A faint prayer slightly than no hope in any respect, let’s say.
Bryson DeChambeau is speaking like an auto mechanic who is aware of precisely what’s incorrect together with your automotive and he’ll be capable of repair it for you pronto, however Augusta isn’t fairly really easy to grasp. It’s extra like attempting to do a Rubik’s Cube at the hours of darkness, and DeChambeau will not be fairly as shut as he’s telling the world he’s. He’s enjoying higher than anybody on the planet proper now, however enjoying properly past Washington Road solely goes up to now contained in the gates of Augusta National.
Feelgood story of the yr can be Jon Rahm profitable the Masters simply days after his spouse gave delivery to their first baby. Can he do it along with his coronary heart in two locations, or will the enjoyment and reduction of latest fatherhood lighten his non secular load?
I’m liking Justin Thomas this week. He has a giant current win on his resume in The Players (sorry, THE PLAYERS), he’s fifth on Tour in complete photographs gained, and most significantly: he’s improved his place actually each single one of many 5 years he’s performed right here. That suggests he’s getting near a veteran stage of deciphering ANGC. Last time round he completed fourth, which suggests there’s not far more upward mobility with out including to his wardrobe. Put $20 on JT for me …
… which brings us to our new main custom: the place would you spend $100 in solely hypothetical coin? You’ve received $20 within the kitty already, the place’s the remainder going?
PIANOWSKI: Let’s play just a little technique of elimination.
I can’t guess on DJ, the gods received’t let somebody win two Masters in six months. And who needs to guess on the favourite?
I can’t again Rahm, this recent after the infant. I’m all for household pleasure, however sleep is important.
I can’t dial up Brooks Koekpa given the current knee surgical procedure.
I really like Webb Simpson on so many programs, however he doesn’t have sufficient energy for this main.
Maybe Phil Mickelson has a Tom Watson 2009 percolating in him, however not the best way he’s hitting it proper now. If somebody texts you with “did you see what Phil just did”? — you realize that could possibly be a 2 or an 11. But there’s an excessive amount of zig-zag on his shot chart. I can’t get sentimental.
I can’t choose one of many three Fs to win — Finau, Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood. They’re all so overdue. But this isn’t the place the place the snakebitten discover antidotes.
I’ll be watching to see if DeChambeau can overwhelm the course, if Jordan Spieth can remedy the course, and if Rory McIlroy could make peace with the course.
Although it was an incredible story, I want Spieth hadn’t received final week — it tramples the chances. Jordan doesn’t bomb the ball, however he is available in uber-confident — he was even hitting driver when he didn’t must Sunday at San Antonio. Of course, staring down Charlie Hoffman isn’t the identical as staring down a Masters subject (I’ll miss The Hoff this week; he normally performs properly right here), nevertheless it’s a blast to assume together with Spieth as he delicately negotiates the challenges right here. He’s at all times been a stunning chipper of the ball, and his nerves are again on the inexperienced. Spieth must be a four-day story, however sadly the worth has evaporated. He’s too sizzling, and just a little too standard.
I’d be shocked if DeChambeau doesn’t win this match within the subsequent 5 years. His energy is an absurd benefit and that is the kind of course the place it’s rewarded — and extra importantly, the place wayward drives might be overcome. You should be delicate in your approaches to the inexperienced, in fact, nevertheless it’s such a bonus to be hitting wedges when others want mid-irons and even hybrids. And he’s develop into a a lot better putter within the final couple of years.
I’ve $100 to spend, and I’m at all times going to lean empath. Just a few years in the past, that meant McIlroy — essentially the most approachable star within the sport, essentially the most sincere, essentially the most considerate. But I believe it’s time for Xander Schauffele to have his huge second. He has each shot, tee to inexperienced, and maybe most significantly, the equanimity.
Sign me up for this, all odds from Bet MGM:
$20 on DeChambeau to win, +1100
$20 on Xander to win, +2200
$30 on Xander to complete Top 10, +180
$10 on Fred Couples to make the reduce, +190 (I don’t even care if I lose this, he’s nonetheless the king of cool)
$20 on Phil to overlook the reduce (sorry, I’m a capitalist), +110
Hopefully I’ve sufficient left for a pimento sandwich.
BUSBEE: Sun’s getting low behind the pines, so let’s wrap this up. I agree together with your assessments on most of those cats, although I’ll diversify a bit:
$20 on JT to win, +1100
$20 on DJ to repeat, +900
$10 on the feelgood Rahm story, +1100
$10 apiece on some “long” photographs to complete prime 10: Collin Morikawa (+250), Corey Connors (+400), and Will Zalatoris (+450)
$10 on the Big Five (DJ, Rahm, JT, Spieth, Bryson) towards the sector, +125
And as a result of I like drama on Sunday … $5 on a playoff (+350) and $5 on the winner not coming from the ultimate grouping.
And away we go! Enjoy the match!
Jay Busbee is a author for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at [email protected]
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