Augusta National Should be Coming for Blood

It’s almost Masters week. In a few short days the fairways of Augusta National will again be filled with the best players in the world. But this time, the course should play a lot different.

The last 2 playings of the Masters featured the 2 lowest scoring averages in the tournament’s history. But from what it sounds like, that’s not going to be the case next week.

Dustin Johnson took advantage of the soft, November conditions in Georgia and captured the all-time scoring title at the Masters (-20). In fact, he’s the only player ever to reach the -20 mark in the tournament’s history. You should expect no one to come close to that number this time around.

So with the fast, firm conditions already in play at Augusta – who benefits the most? Well, the obvious answer would be the longer players on Tour, for example, Bryson DeChambeau. The fairways this year should have enough runout for Bryson to see under 100 yards into many Par 4s around the property. The same goes for Dustin, Brooks (if he plays), and our guy, Rory McIlroy.

But, is that truly the case? The firm fairways aren’t in play for just the long players on Tour. They’re also there for the shorter hitters. Meaning, players who usually hit 7 irons into greens, will now have shorter clubs into most. To put it bluntly, firmness is relative. Everyone gets longer.

In my opinion, this gives more guys an opportunity to win. Like a Kevin Kisner. A player that drives it straight, can putt the lights out, and is a great short iron player. And we’ve seen it in the past. His first 4 appearances were all made cuts, and 2 of them were Top 30s. But last year, when wet conditions favored the longer hitters, Kiz missed the cut.

The areas of the golf course where I expect to see the most change, are the greens. Last year they were receptive, slow (for Augusta’s standards), and damp for the majority of the week. With the Masters back in April, the greens should be back to their diabolical ways. The angulations will once again wreak havoc, leaving the field begging for forgiveness on a mis-struck chip or pitch.

What I’m saying is, Augusta knows what it’s doing. They now the last 2 years have been, relatively, easy. I fully accept the winning score to be in double digits, and for the green coats at ANGC to remind the world how tough this golf course really is.

Many of the players in the field are in good form. Justin Thomas is coming off a PLAYERS victory, Jordan Spieth is playing is best golf since 2016, Bryson DeChamebeau won the Arnold Palmer, and nearly won the PLAYERS, and Jon Rahm has consistently finished inside the Top 20 of every leaderboard.

On the other hand, a few powerhouse’s are struggling. Rory McIlroy missed the cut at both the Genesis and PLAYERS, where he was the defending champion. Then found someone’s pool with a tee shot in Austin, before missing out on the Sweet 16. Masters defending champion Dustin Johnson has, too, struggled. After finishing in the Top 10 at the Genesis, his last 3 starts were a T54, T48, and an early exit at the match play for a 3rd year in a row.

Neither Dustin or Rory made the trip to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open (DJ was a late WD). Hopefully they find some form at the Bear’s Club back in FL.

There is nothing like Augusta. The absolute Heaven of golf. We’ll see you soon.

Cover via Instagram (theMasters)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: