Masters 2020: The entire field at Augusta National, ranked
It is Masters week at last. ¶ Nineteen months after one of the most entertaining Sundays in major championship history, the world’s best have returned to Augusta National for a Masters unlike any other: in November, and without patrons.
Golf Digest has ranked all 92 players in the field—from the contenders to the amateurs, from the defending champion to past champions of byegone eras—to help you make better wagers, win your pool or simply be a more educated fan. Happy reading, and happy Masters viewing.
92. Abel Gallegos (a)
Age: 18 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: First
Argentinian teenager won the Latin America Amateur to get his Augusta invite. After the victory, he said through a translator, “I think I’m in a dream.” A big boy, he stands 6’3” and reportedly swings the club in the 125-mph range.
91. Sandy Lyle
Age: 62 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 38
Best Masters finish: Win, 1988
Two-time major winner won his green jacket in 1988 (six years before this writer was born). Has played just five PGA Tour Champions events this year. Has missed the cut in the Masters five straight years, and the smart money says he’ll do so again. He’s earned his right to play as a past champion, but you wonder how many more times he’ll exercise that right.
90. Larry Mize
Age: 62 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 36
Best Masters finish: Win, 1987
Produced one of the most famous shots in Masters history with his chip-in for his 1987 victory. Actually made the cut in three of four years between 2014-2017 but has missed the weekend each of his last two. Still plays a regular schedule on the PGA Tour Champions but has just one top-10 finish in 13 events in 2020 … and that’s against the old guys.
89. Jose Maria Olazabal
Age: 54 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 30
Best Masters finish: Win, 1994, 1999
Spaniard’s record is more impressive than many remember. In addition to his two wins he has had a solo second in 1991, a T-3 in 2006 and a fourth-place showing in 2002. so he knows his way around this course. One of the all-time best short games; go watch some of his old highlights for some good chipping mojo. Missed the cut in each of his last four Augusta starts.
88. Lukas Michel (a)
Age: 26 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: First
Was the first Aussie to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2019 and has a rather interesting life story. His father escaped from communist Czechoslovakia, and he has a Masters degree in engineering. His caddie carried a Sunday bag made with flags from flagsticks at the U.S. Open, which was awesome, but he missed the cut by 11.
87. Yuxin Lin (a)
Age: 20 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: MC, 2018
The native of China who is a sophomore at USC won the Asia-Pacific Amateur for the second time last year to get back to Augusta. In his first appearance in 2018, the then-17-year-old lefty missed the cut with rounds of 80-79.
86. Jimmy Walker
Age: 41 World ranking: 407 Masters appearances: 6
Best Masters finish: T-8, 2014
Still getting into majors thanks to his win at the PGA Championship in 2016. He’s missed nine of last 11 cuts since the PGA Tour’s restart in June, including at the Houston Open, where he shot 77-78. His last top 20 came in May 2019 and last top 10 was May 2018.
85. Fred Couples
Age: 61 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 34
Best Masters finish: Win, 1992
Maybe the coolest person in professional golf, the highlight of his career came when he won at Augusta in 1992. Perhaps the best example of one of the older guys who finds a way to hang around the first page of the Masters leader board, age be damned. Finished sixth at 51 years old, T-13 at 54 and T-18 at 58. Simply put, he knows how to play this course and has a remarkable 11 top-10 finishes and 20 top 25s. Still, he missed the cut last year, and we’re obligated to note that Father Time is undefeated. Making the weekend would be a success.
84. Mike Weir
Age: 50 World ranking: 1,557 Masters appearances: 20
Best Masters finish: Win, 2003
Past champion recently turned 50 and began playing on the PGA Tour Champions, where he lost a showdown to Phil Mickelson last month. Has missed the cut in eight of the last nine Masters, including each of the last five.
83. Andy Ogletree (a)
Age: 22 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: First
Won the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst then had to wait 19 months to play in the Masters. Graduated from Georgia Tech last spring and has played in four PGA Tour events since the restart, missing the cut in all four.
82. Vijay Singh
Age: 57 World ranking: 1,093 Masters appearances: 26
Best Masters finish: Win, 2000
Caused some controversy when he entered a Korn Ferry Tour event earlier this year, so clearly his desire to compete with the young guys has not diminished. Made the cut at the Memorial but missed the weekend in each of his other seven starts on the PGA Tour this year. He’s inching toward 60. Did we say already that Father Time is undefeated?
81. James Sugrue (a)
Age: 23 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: First
Irishman won the 2019 British Amateur to get into the field and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2019 Walker Cup. Currently the No. 8 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
80. Sung Kang
Age: 33 World ranking: 81 Masters appearances: First
A win at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson got the South Korean his Augusta invite. His best finish since the restart is a T-43 at the Shriners, and he beat just two players in the CJ Cup. The poor form combined with this being his first Masters … stay away.
79. John Augenstein (a)
Age: 22 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: First
Runner-up in the 2019 U.S. Amateur to Andy Ogletree. His initial plan was to finish his last year at Vanderbilt and use the exemptions for that performance before turning pro when the college season wrapped in June. But then COVID happened, and he’s now back at Vandy as a fifth-year senior. Currently ranked No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, he’s been a stud for the Commodores, winning SEC player of the year in 2019. Missed the cut in the U.S. Open in September in his first major start.
78. Shugo Imahira
Age: 28 World ranking: 75 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: MC, 2019
His success in Japan saw him climb all the way to No. 32 in the world, but he has not shown the ability to compete in big tournaments against world-class players. Has missed the cut in seven of his eight major starts and was T-66 at the Zozo in a 77-man field. Not to oversimplify things, but he’s listed at 5’5” and 130 pounds, which puts him up against it on big American courses.
77. Nick Taylor
Age: 32 World ranking: 130 Masters appearances: First
Former world No. 1 amateur beat Phil Mickelson to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. His last seven starts, though, do not paint a pretty picture: MC, MC, T-51 out of 70, MC, MC, T-61 out of 77, T-63 out of 77.
76. Tyler Duncan
Age: 31 World ranking: 143 Masters appearances: First
Purdue graduate is one of the shortest hitters on Tour but also one of the straightest, which allows him to make his share of cuts. Won the RSM Classic nearly a year ago but has no top 10s in his 23 starts since. Missed the cut last week in Houston, shooting nine over for the two days.
75. Jazz Janewattananond
Age: 24 World ranking: 73 Masters appearances: First
Has had plenty of success in Asia and took third at the Irish Open in September, but it hasn’t translated in the U.S. beyond his T-14 at the 2019 PGA at Bethpage. Four other missed cuts in majors and tends to finish near the bottom in WGCs he gets into via World Ranking. His last six events have produced four missed cuts and a T-60 out of 77.
74. Andrew Putnam
Age: 31 World ranking: 161 Masters appearances: First
Made 17 straight cuts through the fall of last year then missed nine of his next 10. That’s golf for you. Looks like the worst is behind him now, but he’s fallen well outside the top 100 and has work to do if he’s to qualify for majors in the near future. Shorter, flat-ball hitter primarily plays a cut. Not a great fit at Augusta.
73. Francesco Molinari
Age: 37 World ranking: 85 Masters appearances: 8
Best Masters finish: T-5, 2019
As he stepped to the 12th tee on Sunday of last year’s Masters, he had full control of the tournament and looked like he might robot his way to a second major championship in three tries. Then he rinsed his tee shot and made double, did it again on 15, and he has been in free fall since. Like, ESPN 30-for-30 feature treatment freefall. He’s been candid about how hard that loss was to swallow and how difficult it will be to get back to his world-class best of 2018, when he stared down Tiger to win the Open Championship at Carnoustie and went 5-0 at the Ryder Cup. He’s been injured and dealt with equipment problems, and he recently moved his family to California. Played his first tournament in eight months at the Shriners, where he missed the cut by three, but did make the weekend at the Houston Open. Still, hard to overstate how much has changed since he last played in the Masters.
72. Rafael Cabrera Bello
Age: 36 World ranking: 88 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-17, 2016
Once a popular sleeper pick in big events, the Spaniard is free-falling down the world rankings with no top 20s anywhere since a runner-up in Spain in October 2019, which was 26 starts ago. Would have lost his PGA Tour card had it not been for the pandemic, which threw him a lifeline, but his priority level has dropped so low that he could not get into last week’s Houston Open. Swings it beautifully but ranked outside the top 130 in strokes gained/off the tee and approach last season. Has made three of four cuts at the Masters, and he’ll be encouraged by a T-23 at Winged Foot, but he’s missed his last two cuts coming in and has shown few signs of the turnaround he’s searching for.
71. Justin Harding
Age: 34 World ranking: 133 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: T-12, 2019
South African got hot in spring 2019 to squeak inside the top 50 on the World Ranking before the cutoff date and get into the Masters, then tied for 12th to book a return to Augusta National. Has been sliding down the rankings since, although he does have some solid finishes in Europe. Missed the cut by seven at the U.S. Open.
70. Brandt Snedeker
Age: 39 World ranking: 89 Masters appearances: 11
Best Masters finish: T-3, 2008
A southern boy, he absolutely loves the Masters and had a good chance to win it back in 2008, but a final-round 77 did him in. He has two other top 10s at Augusta, most recently in 2016, but missed the cut last year. His only top 10 of the 2019 came in his very first tournament, at Torrey Pines, and he’s dropped to his lowest world ranking since 2010.
69. Graeme McDowell
Age: 41 World ranking: 66 Masters appearances: 9
Best Masters finish: T-12, 2012
Won the Saudi International back in January to crack the world top 50, which is how he got into the field. Been a bleak picture since, as he’s missed 10 of his last 16 cuts, including six straight before a T-24 at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. Does not have much success to speak of at Augusta, missing the cut six times in nine tries. This will be his first Masters appearance since 2016.
68. C.T. Pan
Age: 28 World ranking: 176 Masters appearances: First
Won the RBC Heritage one week after last year’s Masters, 19 months ago. That win got him into the field and also saw him make the 2019 Presidents Cup team, but he’s tumbled down the World Rankings since. Does not have a top 10 anywhere since the Charles Schwab Classic in May 2019. One of the smaller guys on tour (he’s 5’6”, 145 pounds) ranked 167th in driving distance and 99th in driving accuracy last season.
67. Charl Schwartzel
Age: 36 World ranking: 217 Masters appearances: 10
Best Masters finish: Win, 2011
His victory in 2011 will go down in history, as he’s the only player to birdie his last four holes of the tournament and win. That seemed to be a launching point to stardom, but it just hasn’t materialized. He’s only 36 years old, and his swing is still picture-perfect, but he’s fallen outside the top 200 in the world. Did finish solo third in 2017 but missed the cut each of the past two years at Augusta, and he’s missed the weekend in four of his last six major starts.
66. Nate Lashley
Age: 37 World ranking: 116 Masters appearances: First
Won last summer’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and has a few top-five finishes since, but he misses plenty of cuts in between. Finished 164th in strokes gained/off the tee and 159th in strokes gained/approach last season. He makes up for some of it with his short game, but little evidence to suggest he’ll contend.
65. Lucas Glover
Age: 40 World ranking: 119 Masters appearances: 7
Best Masters finish: T-20, 2017
Had a resurgent 2019 in which he reached the Tour Championship, which is how the 2009 U.S. Open champ got into the field. Played some nice golf right after the restart, with four straight top 25s from Colonial through Detroit, but had missed five of his last seven cuts heading into Houston. Never had much success in seven career starts at Augusta.
64. Adam Hadwin
Age: 32 World ranking: 72 Masters appearances: 2
Best Masters finish: T-24, 2018
Canadian has a PGA Tour victory and made last year’s Presidents Cup team, a solid haul for a player of limited physical gifts. Does not miss many cuts and can contend on the right course, but for him, the right courses tend to be the shorter/easier ones. In 14 career major starts, he has no finishes better than the T-24 in 2018 at Augusta.
63. Charles Howell III
Age: 41 World ranking: 103 Masters appearances: 9
Best Masters finish: T-13, 2004
Born and raised in Augusta, he grew up playing Augusta Country Club, which sits adjacent to the National. He’s been a human ATM throughout his 20-year career, keeping his card every season since 2002 and ranking 20th on the all-time money list with more than $40 million. But he’s won just three times and seems to live in the T-20 to T-50 range. The same is true for his history at the Masters, where he’s played nine times and made six cuts without a top 10. At 41, he’s likely to end his career without a major victory, but there are way worse existences than playing on the PGA Tour for 19 years and making more than $1.25 million in every single one of them.
62. Henrik Stenson
Age: 44 World ranking: 54 Masters appearances: 14
Best Masters finish: T-5, 2018
Picked up a comical 46 World Ranking points for beating 17 other players in the Hero World Challenge last December. Who knows what he’d be ranked had he not won that event? Withdrew from the Bermuda Championship two weeks ago with a back injury. No top 10s in 10 starts worldwide in 2020. Trending in the wrong direction, and he has just one top-10 in 14 Masters starts, by far his worst record in any of the four majors.
61. Danny Willett
Age: 33 World ranking: 57 Masters appearances: 5
Best Masters finish: Win, 2016
Held steady while Jordan Spieth collapsed to win four years ago, then faded from relevance as he dealt with injuries and confidence issues. He’s missed the cut in all three starts at Augusta since his victory and pulled out of last week’s Houston Open with a wrist injury.
60. Andrew Landry
Age: 33 World ranking: 135 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: T-46, 2019
Won the American Express in Palm Springs in January but does not have a top-25 finish in his 15 starts since. Shorter, low-ball hitter tends to struggle in the majors but did contend at the 2016 at U.S. Open. He’s a nice player and has won two of the last three years on the PGA Tour, but game does not feel big enough to contend at majors. Missed the cut last week in Houston.
59. Max Homa
Age: 29 World ranking: 97 Masters appearances: First
The mayor of Golf Twitter was an extremely popular winner at the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2019, which got him into the field and also feels more like at least a decade ago. Been a struggle since the restart outside of one good week in Minnesota—he’s missed the cut in eight of 14 starts post-COVID hiatus, including at both majors by a combined 12 shots. He’s struggling quite a bit with his swing and had dropped strokes to the field with his approach play in six straight events prior to Bermuda. That’s bad news coming into Augusta, which demands more precise approach shots than almost any other course on tour.
58. Bernhard Langer
Age: 63 World ranking: N/A Masters appearances: 36
Best Masters finish: Win, 1985 and 1993
If there was a Masters variation of Mount Rushmore … he wouldn’t be on it, but he’s darn close. A two-time winner, the German has nine career top-10 finishes in the Masters. Seems to always make the weekend even as he moves well past 60, and he’s made the cut in three of the last four years. Continues to be a force on the PGA Tour Champions. Will be making his 37th Masters appearance. Not going to do the math, but you have to think more than half this field is less than 37 years old. The remarkable longevity is part of this hall of famer’s wonderful legacy.
57. Marc Leishman
Age: 37 World ranking: 26 Masters appearances: 7
Best Masters finish: T-4, 2019
Has quietly strugged since the restart. Finished second in his last tournament before the COVID-hiatus but has been a bit of a mess in his 12 starts since, with only one finish inside the top 40 … and that came at the Tour Championship, where he finished T-28 out of 30. Missed the cut at the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, The Northern Trust and finished last at the no-cut BMW Championship. He’s hitting the ball poorly, he isn’t chipping well and his putting has been brutal. Smart money says it’s just a rut and not anything concerning long-term, but he’s the definition of an out-of-form player.
56. Chez Reavie
Age: 38 World ranking: 52 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: 53, 2018
He might have the least PGA Tour-looking game of any PGA Tour player—he won’t stop anyone in their tracks on the driving range—but he’s put together a nice career, reaching as high as No. 26 in the world toward the end of last year. One of the shortest hitters on tour but one of the straightest, he can plot his way around the right style of golf course. That said, he’s missed the cut in three of his four Masters starts. This is a lot of course for him.
55. Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Age: 26 World ranking: 59 Masters appearances: First
First, it’s pronounced Buh-ZAY-din-hote. Second, the South African has one of the wilder backstories—he accidentally drank rat poison as a toddler, which caused a speech impediment that he still carries today. And he was suspended by the European Tour for failing a drug test, which he says was the result of taking prescribed medication for his anxiety. Finished just short of getting his PGA Tour card through non-member points last season and thus sits in the purgatory of not having guaranteed starts in America. His last start came at the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship, which wrapped up on Oct. 11. He finished T-40.
54. Dylan Frittelli
Age: 30 World ranking: 100 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: MC, 2018
South African won the 2012 NCAA team championship at the University of Texas alongside Jordan Spieth. Played a few years in Europe before making the switch to the PGA Tour, where he’s had some success, highlighted by a win at the John Deere last July. Has just one top-10 since the restart, which came at the RBC Heritage in July.
53. Kevin Na
Age: 37 World ranking: 38 Masters appearances: 8
Best Masters finish: T-12, 2015
Always one of the more fun players to watch, he’s played the best golf of his career in his mid 30s, with three of his four PGA Tour wins coming since summer 2018. Has a pair of T-12 finishes at Augusta, but outside of that, nothing better than T-46 in his six other Masters starts. Missed the cut in four straight majors—he hits it short and not particularly straight, which tends to be a problem on more penal setups.
52. Phil Mickelson
Age: 50 World ranking: 64 Masters appearances: 27
Best Masters finish: Win, 2004, 2006, 2010
Now PGA Tour Champions—he’s won both events he’s played so far on the senior circuit—Lefty will not go down quietly in his fight against Father Time. He’ll be using a 47½-inch driver at Augusta because, of course, he will. Tried it out last week in Houston, where he missed the cut, and finished near the bottom in strokes gained/off the tree. He’s searching, but not sure what he’s finding. Still, he’s a three-time winner of the Masters with 15 top 10s in 27 career starts, and if he has any chance of winning another major, it would be here. It’s generous enough off the tee to allow him to play his misses, which is not typically the case at the other three majors. Badly missed the cut at the U.S. Open, shooting 13 over in what was a depressing scene, and beat just one guy in the 77-man Zozo Championship. And yet, he remains upbeat and maintains belief that he’s far from finished contending for big titles.
51. Bernd Wiesberger
Age: 35 World ranking: 37 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-22, 2018
The Austrian was a three-time European Tour winner in 2019, the last of which got him into the top 25 in the world. This year hasn’t been quite so kind, and he doesn’t tend to show particularly well against world-class fields, but he did make the cut in both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. Also has made the cut in all four of his starts at the Masters
50. Rickie Fowler
Age: 31 World ranking: 46 Masters appearances: 9
Best Masters finish: 2, 2018
His slump hasn’t been as high profile as good buddy Jordan Spieth’s, but it’s not too far behind. Fowler’s last top 10 came 17(!) events ago in Palm Springs, and he’s on the cusp of falling out of the top 50 in the world for the first time in more than a decade. Nothing actually jumps off the page statistically to explain the downturn, but this year has been his worst as a professional and his recent form—MC/T-49/T-49/MC/T-28/T-57—does not scream optimism. Of course, that can all change with one magical week. Does have top 10s in each of his last two Masters starts, including a runner-up to Patrick Reed in 2018.
49. Matt Wallace
Age: 30 World ranking: 52 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: MC, 2019
Fiery Brit played one year at Jacksonville State, of all places. Then went on a meandering journey through mini-tours before breaking through in 2018, when he nearly made the Ryder Cup team. Missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs last season but did finish solo second at the Scottish Championship last month. Seems to have much better results in Europe than in the U.S.
48. Gary Woodland
Age: 36 World ranking: 32 Masters appearances: 7
Best Masters finish: T-24, 2011
The big question mark here is his health—withdrew from the Zozo Championship with a back injury and did so when he was three under par on Thursday. When a pro WDs when he’s three under on Thursday, you know something is really wrong. Another concern is his poor record at Augusta—no finishes inside the top 20 in seven career starts. The 2019 U.S. Open champ has not been playing anywhere near his best for a few months now and missed the cut in his title defense at Winged Foot.
47. Billy Horschel
Age: 33 World ranking: 39 Masters appearances: 5
Best Masters finish: T-17, 2016
He’s been around a while now and continues to hang inside the top 50 in the World Rankings, but he has not won an individual PGA Tour event in 3½ years. Made the cut at the U.S. Open but finished near the bottom of the board in his last start at the Zozo Championship. Recently made a caddie switch and now has Mark Fulcher, Justin Rose’s looper of 11 years, on the bag. Has just one top-10 finish in 27 career major starts, a surprisingly low number for a player of his caliber.
46. Justin Rose
Age: 40 World ranking: 28 Masters appearances: 13
Best Masters finish: 2, 2017
At 40, he’s at a crossroads of sorts. After reaching World No. 1 in 2019, he left TaylorMade after 20-plus years for Honma, a deal that went so wrong it was canceled early. He’s shown some signs of a return to form with a T-3 at Colonial and a top 10 at the U.S. Open, but he simply hasn’t been the ruthlessly consistent performer he was a few years ago. The reason: his ball-striking has regressed rather dramatically. Had the 2017 Masters in his hands before losing to Sergio Garcia in a playoff—a crushing defeat given how vocal he’s been about wanting to win this tournament. Has four other top 10s at Augusta, including a T-2 in 2015, but missed the cut last year.
45. Jordan Spieth
Age: 27 World ranking: 80 Masters appearances: 6
Best Masters finish: Win, 2015
His early success at Augusta was nothing short of breathtaking—his first five Masters starts resulted in a runner-up, a victory, another runner-up, a T-11 and a solo third. But that was then, and this is now. Spieth’s prolonged slump is not knew information for any golf fan, and he continues to be squarely in the wilderness with his ball-striking. Has just two top 10s in 18 starts this year and no top-fives. In turn, he’s dropped to a hard-to-believe 80th in the world. If there’s any place to jolt his game, a place where he can manufacture scores for one week, it’s Augusta National. But if you’re betting on Jordan Spieth in 2020, you are a braver person than I.
44. Victor Perez
Age: 28 World ranking: 36 Masters appearances: First
Promising (and, at 6’6”, tall) young Frenchman (who lives in Scotland) has a good chance to make next year’s Ryder Cup team. Finished runner-up at the BMW PGA Championship last month and posted a solid T-22 at the PGA Championship in August. Has J.P. Fitzgerald, Rory McIlroy’s old caddie, on the bag. Unsurprisingly given his size, he hits it quite a ways. Don’t be too shocked if he quietly hangs around the leader board.
43. Corey Conners
Age: 28 World ranking: 68 Masters appearances: 2
Best Masters finish: T-46, 2019
Canadian was one of the better stories from last year’s Masters—Monday qualified for the Texas Open the week prior, then won to book an Augusta tee time. Excellent ball-striker with a beautifully rhythmic move, he was 13th in strokes gained/off the tee and 12th in strokes gained/approach last season, which makes his struggles in majors a bit puzzling. he’s made the cut in just two of his seven major starts, and missed the weekend at both the PGA and U.S. Open earlier this year.
42. Si Woo Kim
Age: 25 World ranking: 93 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-21, 2019
Was a missed-cut machine toward the end of 2019 and into the first half of 2020, but he’s made 13 of his last 14 weekends and is coming off two really solid finishes in Vegas, a T-8 at the Shriners and a T-17 at the CJ Cup. Has beautiful swing and won the Players at 21, so there’s still a boatload of potential there. Has top 25s at the Masters in each of the past two years.
41. J.T. Poston
Age: 27 World ranking: 63 Masters appearances: Firwst
Became the first player in 45 years to win a PGA Tour event without making a bogey when he won last year’s Wyndham Championship. Finished solo third at the Sanderson Farms last month. Might benefit from patron-less Masters in terms of lessening rookie jitters.
40. Byeong-Hun An
Age: 29 World ranking: 67 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-33, 2017
Was the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur when he triumphed in 2009 at Southern Hills. That got him into the following year’s Masters, where he missed the cut as a 19-year-old. Has missed more cuts (12) than he’s made (11) in his major career but has had some success recently, with a T-22 at this year’s PGA Championship and a T-16 at last year’s U.S. Open. Missed three straight cuts before two middle-of-the-pack finishes in the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship, both no-cut events. Really solid ball-striker but struggles on the greens in a big way—in his last five events, he’s dropped a combined 22.3 strokes putting. Not a good formula for greens as exacting as Augusta National’s.
39. Zach Johnson
Age: 44 World ranking: 125 Masters appearances: 15
Best Masters finish: Win, 2007
Getting up there in age, but he’s actually going along quite nicely recently, with two top 10s and four top 25s in his last four starts, including a T-8 at the U.S. Open. Never long off the tee, he’s often cited as proof that even a shorter hitter can win at Augusta. His 2007 victory came amid unusually cold and windy conditions, and his winning score was one over par. And the course could play similarly in this one-off November edition. We’re not saying he’s going to win, but he’s a deep sleeper to finish in the top-10 range.
38. Shane Lowry
Age: 33 World ranking: 27 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-39, 2016
Much too early to say his career peaked with last year’s British Open, but he’d do well to equal that magical week at Portrush for as long as he lives. Has just two worldwide top-10s since then, the most recent at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in July. Held a share of the 36-hole lead at the BMW PGA Championship in Europe last month but faded over the weekend. A feel-first, artist-type player, he prefers a lower ball flight and has not fared well at Augusta, missing the cut in three of his four starts. That poor record is a bit curious given how good his short game is, and the sample size is small, so it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see him play well.
37. Cameron Smith
Age: 27 World ranking: 45 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-5, 2018
Baby-faced Aussie finished T-5 at the 2018 Masters and has hung around the top 50 in the world rankings ever since, winning his first PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in January. Terrific short game and good wedge player, his ball-striking can sometimes get a bit squirrely. Comes in off a very solid West Coast duo, finishing solo 11th at the CJ Cup and T-4 at the Zozo Championship.
36. Paul Casey
Age: 43 World ranking: 22 Masters appearances: 13
Best Masters finish: T-4, 2016
Englishman is getting up there in age but has a sneakily impressive Masters record, with five top 10s in 13 appearances. Proved at the PGA that he can still contend in the sport’s biggest tournaments, eventually coming up just shy at Harding Park winning his first major in his 64th major start. That said, he came into last year’s Masters in excellent form and missed the cut. His form coming in is suboptimal, having finished near the bottom at the CJ Cup and firmly middle-of-the-pack at the Zozo. Strength of his game remains his ball striking—he finished 15th in strokes gained/off the tee and ninth in strokes gained/approach last year—but the short game can go missing at inopportune times. Has shown little signs of slowing down at 43, remaining firmly inside the top 50 in the world, where he’s been a mainstay since 2003.
35. Brendon Todd
Age: 35 World ranking: 43 Masters appearances: 1
Best Masters finish: MC, 2015
This game took him to some dark places, when he missed more than 30 straight cuts and fell outside the top 2,000 in the World Rankings. That made his back-to-back wins in the fall of 2019 that much sweeter, and he’s played a lot of solid golf since. Punches above his weight talent-wise—he may be the shortest hitter on tour—and finished T-17 at the PGA and T-23 at the U.S. Open. A University of Georgia grad and a resident of Atlanta, he’ll be delighted to get back to the Masters for just the second time in his career and first since 2015.
34. Erik van Rooyen
Age: 30 World ranking: 50 Masters appearances: First
Big South African got his PGA Tour card through non-member points last season. Has made the cut in all six majors he’s played, with a lone top 10 at last year’s PGA Championship. Became something of a household name by wearing joggers en route to a T-3 finish at the WGC in Mexico, but he didn’t record another top 10 after that until a T-6 lat month at the Scottish Open. If you had to bet on a guy to wear a hoodie at Augusta National, here’s your guy.
33. Matt Kuchar
Age: 42 World ranking: 29 Masters appearances: 13
Best Masters finish: T-3, 2012
He has a sneaky great history at Augusta National that dates back to 1998, when he finished T-21 and won low-amateur honors. Has made the cut in all but one of his 13 appearances with four top 10s to show for it, and he finished a very respectable T-12 last year. That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s just not playing very well at the moment, finishing in the bottom half of both no-cut invitational events on the West Coast and missing the cut in both majors this year. Recently split with longtime caddie John Wood, and you wonder if he’s in no-man’s land at the moment. With nine PGA Tour wins and a Players, any major championship would elevate him to fringe Hall-of-Fame status. There’s still hope, but this week doesn’t feel realistic.
32. Tommy Fleetwood
Age: 29 World ranking: 16 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-17, 2018
Has had some good finishes in Europe since the restart, with a T-3 in Portugal and a runner-up in the Scottish Open, but it’s been a different story in America. The Englishman finished toward the bottom in both the CJ Cup and the Zozo Championship, and he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, his first missed cut in a major since the 2017 Masters. He’s earned a reputation as a flusher of the golf ball but he’s struggling with his swing, having dropped strokes tee-to-green in four of his last five PGA Tour starts. Still chasing his first win on U.S. soil. Has been among the handful of favorites at a number of majors, but this doesn’t feel like one of them.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
31. Sungjae Im
Age: 22 World ranking: 25 Masters appearances: First
Being from South Korean and not having played college golf in the U.S., Im goes somewhat forgotten in the best-young-player discussion, but he’s younger than Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. Was flying before COVID hit (last two starts before the hiatus were a win at the Honda Classic and a solo third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational), but he’s been a bit cold since with just two top 10s in 17 starts. Had missed four straight cuts in majors before a 22nd-place finish at Winged Foot. The consummate road warrior, he played 34 events in 2018, 35 in 2019 and somehow managed to find 25 starts in 2020. True to form, he teed it up in Houston right before his first Masters … because why mess with what works?
30. Abraham Ancer
Age: 29 World ranking: 21 Masters appearances: First
The Mexican is making his Masters debut—say that five times fast—thanks to a terrific 2019 season that saw him crack the top 30 in the world and qualify for the Tour Championship. He’s still looking for his first PGA Tour win but has been close a number of times, with two solo seconds in 2020 and a fourth-place finish at last month’s Shiners. Doesn’t exactly profile as a guy with a made-for-Augusta game, as he doesn’t hit the ball particularly far nor high, but his game doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses (he finished 20th in strokes gained/overall last season) and you get the sense he’s the type to relish the big moment.
29. Lanto Griffin
Age: 32 World ranking: 55 Masters appearances: First
Virginia Commonwealth grad defines late-bloomer. After years on the mini-tours he won his first event at last year’s Houston Open and qualified for last season’s Tour Championship while making more than $3.5 million for the year. He’s continued his solid play this fall with a T-7 at the CJ Cup and a T-11 at the Zozo Championship. Made the cut in both majors this year.
28. Sebastian Munoz
Age: 27 World ranking: 61 Masters appearances: First
Terrific young player from Colombia who may not (yet) be familiar to the casual fan. Made it to the Tour Championship in 2020 thanks to a very solid playoff run and is off to a nice start to this season, with a ninth-place finish at the CJ Cup and a T-14 at the Zozo Championship. Got into the Masters field via a victory at last fall’s Sanderson Farms Championship. Made the cut at the U.S. Open in September, his first time playing the weekend in a major in four attempts.
27. Cameron Champ
Age: 25 World ranking: 74 Masters appearances: First
One of the longest players on the PGA Tour, he was Bryson before Bryson, so to speak. Has two tour wins already but misses his fair share of cuts. Did contend at the PGA Championship before a semi fall-off on Sunday. While his length is an advantage at any course, it’s especially true at Augusta. Now has John Wood on the bag, who caddied for Matt Kuchar for five years before splitting late this summer. Comes in off a solid T-8 at the Zozo Championship. A semi-deep sleeper with potential to overpower the par 5s, if he putts well, he could be in with a shout.
Darren Carroll/PGA of America
26. Ian Poulter
Age: 44 World ranking: 49 Masters appearances: 14
Best Masters finish: T-6, 2015
Last year at Augusta, a rinsed tee shot on 12 from the penultimate threesome was a harbinger of things to come. The Brit was fully in contention before making bogey at 11 and double at 12. That’s been a common theme in his otherwise stellar career: near-misses in the majors. At 44, he’s still a force in world golf and has been playing quite nicely coming in, with his last three start resulting in a T-6 at the Scottish Open, a solo fifth at the BMW PGA Championship and a T-12 at the CJ Cup. Has three top 10s in 14 Masters appearances, most recently a T-6 in 2015. His chances of capping his career with a major, a la Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, dwindle with each passing year, but you get the sense he has at least one more push in him.
25. Hideki Matsuayama
Age: 28 World ranking: 18 Masters appearances: 8
Best Masters finish: 5, 2015
At No. 20, he remains a world-class player, but it’s hard not to feel as though his career has hit a bit of a wall. Reached No. 2 in the world in summer 2017 but has not won since, despite a number of close calls. Still an elite ball-striker—he ranked second in strokes gained/tee-to-green last season—he hardly ever misses a cut and plays the majors well, with 18 top-25 finishes in his 31 career major starts. Has missed the weekend just once in his eight starts at the Masters and has two top 10s, but you wonder if he can putt well enough to win a green jacket.
24. Lee Westwood
Age: 47 World ranking: 47 Masters appearances: 18
Best Masters finish: 2, 2010
At 47, he’s still playing some very nice golf, albeit almost exclusively in Europe these days. Chose to remain in England rather than quarantine and play the PGA Championship, but did tee it up in the U.S. Open and finished T-13. Missed the cut in his last start coming in at the Houston Open. Has a tremendous track record at Augusta, with two runner-ups and six top-10 finishes in his 18 appearances.
23. Kevin Kisner
Age: 36 World ranking: 34 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-21, 2019
Grew up near Augusta in Aiken, S.C. Has joked recently that the course is way too long for him—he averaged 289.2 yards off the tee last season, 160th on the PGA Tour—but he’s been able to make the cut in all four starts and had his best finish, a T-21, last year. Never going to overpower a course and won’t have short irons into the par 5s like some others, his best chance is if the winds are up and the scoring is higher than usual. Think Zach Johnson in 2007.
22. Matthew Wolff
Age: 21 World ranking: 14 Masters appearances: First
He’s only played in two majors so far and finished in the top five in both: a T-4 at the PGA and a solo second at the U.S. Open, where he held the 54-hole lead before fading a bit on Sunday. Followed that up with a playoff loss at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to get all the way to No. 12 in the world, a remarkable accomplishment for someone of his age. Has had a bit of a comedown in recent weeks, as he finished 73rd out of 77 at the CJ Cup and T-50 out of 77 at the Zozo, played at his adopted home course of Sherwood. An explosive talent, it’d be no surprise at all if he irons out the ball-striking woes with one quick fix. Hits it (nearly) Bryson-far and has the huge game that tends to translate well to Augusta.
21. Jason Day
Age: 32 World ranking: 41 Masters appearances: 9
Best Masters finish: T-2, 2011
Former World No. 1 had been in the abyss for two years as continued back problems have made finding any sort of sustained rhythm nearly impossible. Looked to have turned the corner this summer, when he posted four-straight top-seven finishes and a T-4 at the PGA, but it’s been a struggle since—a missed cut at the Shriners, a withdrawal from the CJ Cup and a T-60 in a 77-man field at the Zozo. Started Sunday at Houston one off the lead, and has a wonderful history at Augusta National, which is no surprise given how well he tends to putt slick greens. Had a great chance to win his first Masters in 2011 before Charl Schwartzel’s closing birdie kick, and he has three other top-10s since, including a T-5 last year. Still, it’s almost impossible to predict how his back will hold up, and that makes him a risky proposition this week.
20. Jason Kokrak
Age: 35 World ranking: 24 Masters appearances: First
Big Ohioan won his first PGA Tour event at the CJ Cup in his 233rd career start. No fluke, either—he now has six finishes of T-17 or better in his last six starts. Game suits Augusta nicely as he hits it miles, averaging 312.4 yards off the tee last season, seventh-longest on tour. Doesn’t have a top 10 in 13 career major starts but he’s playing the best golf of his career, and length is always an advantage at the Masters. Finished 151st in strokes gained on the greens last season but ranks second this year—although the sample size is small, he’s clearly rolling the rock. Putted beautifully on the slick bentgrass greens at Shadow Creek, where he won, so that’ll certainly give him confidence going into the slick bentgrass greens at Augusta. Would be a shock winner, but don’t be surprised if he picks up a top 10 in his first Masters.
19. Matthew Fitzpatrick
Age: 26 World ranking: 20 Masters appearances: 5
Best Masters finish: T-7, 2016
His lone top-10 finish in a major came at Augusta in 2016. Shot himself out of the contention with an opening-round 78 in 2019, but played the final three rounds in 11 under—the same score as Tiger Woods after Thursday—to eek out a T-21. Been something of a mixed bag this year, with some high finishes on tough courses, but he’s missed the cut in both majors and struggled to put four good rounds together. He led at the halfway point of the BMW PGA Championship in Europe but finished T-7, and entered Sunday of the Zozo with a semi-chance to win before tumbling down the leader board with a 73. Made headlines recently for his comments about Bryson DeChambeau and the distance explosion in professional golf. As good a putter as there is anywhere, he can really get it rolling on Augusta’s perfect surfaces. Still waiting for that first win in the U.S.
18. Tiger Woods
Age: 44 World ranking: 33 Masters appearances: 22
Best Masters finish: Win, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019
If you look solely at his results this year, there is little reason for optimism—in eight starts in 2020, he has just one top 10, and that was at Torrey in his first tournament. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open and beat just three players at the Zozo Championship in his last start, and that came on a course he’d won on five times. His putting has looked shaky virtually all year. With all that said, this is Tiger Woods at the Masters. He’s a five-time winner, the defending champion and has never missed the cut in 20 starts as a professional. He’s found a way to post respectable results even when he barely has a golf swing, like an out-of-nowhere T-17 in 2015. He knows Augusta offers his best opportunity to win more majors going forward, and he will do everything in his power to peak for this tournament—especially since he’s likely have the next two months to rest afterwards. It should be noted that his game was in much better shape heading into this event last year, but if the 2019 Masters taught us anything, it’s to never count Tiger Woods out. Especially at Augusta National.
17. Webb Simpson
Age: 35 World ranking: 7 Masters appearances: 8
Best Masters finish: T-5, 2019
Doesn’t have the sexiest game in the world, but he’s been a top-10 player virtually all year. Knows how to play within himself and you won’t catch him making a mental mistake or losing his patience, which always serves him in big tournaments. And yet, outside his win at the 2012 U.S. Open, he has a disappointing record in majors, with just three other top 10s in 33 starts—a much lower percentage than in regular tour events. Did finish T-5 at last year’s Masters and had a top 10 at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
16. Collin Morikawa
Age: 23 World ranking: 4 Masters appearances: First
At the time of last year’s Masters, Morikawa was still a senior at Cal and known only by those who pay attention to college golf. Now he’s a three-time PGA Tour winner, a major champion and a top-five player in the world. Began his career with 22 consecutive made cuts, telling you a lot about his ball-striking, which is other-guys-watch-him-on-the-range good. Plays a cut almost exclusively and doesn’t hit it miles, so Augusta wouldn’t seem to be the best fit, but he beat a bunch of big hitters on a TPC Harding Park track that certainly played into bombers’ hands. Interestingly, he’s missed the cut in three of his seven starts since winning that PGA and took T-50 out of 77 in his last tournament at the Zozo Championship. This will be his first of many, many Masters appearances.
15. Brooks Koepka
Age: 30 World ranking: 12 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-2, 2018
Missed birdie putts on 17 and 18 at last year’s Masters and ended up missing out on a playoff by a single shot. Then won the PGA at Bethpage, took solo second at the U.S. Open and T-4 at the British Open for one of the best major championship seasons in history. Has been dealing with a nagging knee injury since, which kept him out for three months last fall and caused him to miss the FedEx Cup playoffs in Augusat and the U.S. Open in September. Has been a factor at seven of the last eight majors—including the PGA at Harding Park, where he entered Sunday two back, talked trash, then shot four over on Sunday to fall to T-29, his worst major finish since the 2018 British. Says he felt great as he returned to competition at the CJ Cup and looked healthy (if not a bit rusty) in finishing T-28. Finished T-33 in his first Masters in 2015 and had improved on that finish every year since. If he continues that trend, he’ll pick up major No. 5 and complete the third leg of the career Grand Slam.
14. Tony Finau
Age: 31 World ranking: 17 Masters appearances: 2
Best Masters finish: T-5, 2019
Played in the final threesome last year alongside Tiger Woods. Was betrayed by swirling winds at 12, as he rinsed his tee shot and eventually finished T-5. That was his second top 10 in as many starts in the Masters—because he’s been a fixture in huge events, it’s easy forget that Finau was a serious late bloomer and did not make his Augusta debut until 2018. He’s been a consistent performer against the strongest fields, with seven top-10 finishes in his last 10 majors, including a T-4 at the PGA and a T-8 at the U.S. Open. Had a rough bout with COVID-19, which kept him out of the Shriners and CJ Cup, but showed no signs of trouble in a T-11 at the Zozo Championship. Still sitting on that lone PGA Tour victory in Puerto Rico four years ago, he’s bound to kick down the door one of these days … right?
13. Scottie Scheffler
Age: 24 World ranking: 30 Masters appearances: First
Reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year had tremendous momentum coming into the U.S. Open—he’d finished T-4 at the PGA Championship, shot 59 and took T-4 at the Northern Trust and had the second best score for the week at the Tour Championship. Then he tested positive for COVID and had to withdraw, and the results since haven’t been as impressive. University of Texas grad has a funky swing but drives the ball extremely well, finishing 16th in driving distance last year and 10th in strokes gained off the tee. Still chasing a first PGA Tour victory, and this is also where we’re obliged to say no player has won the Masters in their first start since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
12. Adam Scott
Age: 40 World ranking: 15 Masters appearances: 18
Best Masters finish: Win, 2013
Crowning achievement of his career came when he became the first Aussie to win the green jacket in 2013. Was in terrific form in the winter—he won consecutive starts (albeit two months apart) at the Australian PGA Championship and the Genesis Invitational, the latter of which got him back inside the top 10 in the world. He simply hasn’t played much since, though, as he chose to stay in Australia while the tour restarted and has only played four tournaments since June—all finishes between T-22 and T-58. Prep for Masters was also hindered by testing positive for COVID and needing to quarantine. Plays Augusta well, with four top 10s in addition to his victory. Could be slightly undervalued by betting markets given his lack of recent play, and he’s something of a sleeper.
11. Louis Oosthuizen
Age: 38 World ranking: 19 Masters appearances: 11
Best Masters finish: 2, 2012
Might have a plaque in the second fairway from his albatross in 2012 had he closed the deal, but the South African eventually lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff. Interestingly enough, that’s been his only top 10 in 11 Masters starts. Holds the semi-dubious distinction of the Second Slam, having finished runner-up in all four to go along with his sole major win at the 2010 Open at St. Andrews. Hung around at the U.S. Open in September and finished solo third. Feels destined to add to that one major and still has time to do so, but would be wise not to let too many more chances slip by. Might have the prettiest swing in golf and it rarely goes wrong, as he’s made 10 straight cuts.
10. Tyrrell Hatton
Age: 29 World ranking: 9 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-44, 2018
Few have played better since the restart. Come to think of it, few have been better in the last year. Fiery Brit has three worldwide victories in the last 12 months, including his first PGA Tour W at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (pre-COVID) and a win at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship (post-COVID). Followed that BMW win with a T-3 at the CJ Cup, where he closed with 65. Terrific iron player, he finished fourth in strokes gained/approach last year and eighth in strokes gained/overall. He looks every bit a favorite, but he’s laid an egg at some big tournaments recently, missing the cut at the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. That, and his (albeit brief) history at Augusta is disappointing: MC/T-44/T-56. Runs extremely hot and is prone to a usually funny outburst, but he’s proven to be a killer when in contention on Sundays. Fully capable of winning a major right now, but something about his chances feels a bit off this week.
9. Bubba Watson
Age: 42 World ranking: 44 Masters appearances: 11
Best Masters finish: Win, 2012, 2014
He’s been candid about his recent struggles with anxiety and seems to be in a great place mentally. Also playing some nice golf, too, with top 10s at the CJ Cup and the Zozo Championship in his last two starts. Obviously has wonderful memories at the Masters with his two victories, and he finished T-5 in 2018 and T-12 in 2019. His ability to shape shots is rewarded at Augusta and he’ll enter feeling great about his chances.
8. Rory McIlroy
Age: 31 World ranking: 5 Masters appearances: 11
Best Masters finish: 4, 2015
The talk of him winning the Masters and completing the career Grand Slam seemed to peak just before last year’s Masters, as he had just won the Players Championship and looked in great form. It’s a different story this time around, as he has not been in contention in any of the 12 events he’s played since the restart. Did close with 67-67-66 after an opening 73 at the Zozo Championship, his last start before the Masters. He’s flying a bit under the radar—whether it’s his relatively poor form or just the odd cadence of a November masters, there’s less attention on Rory than usual in the pre-Masters run-up. And if the course is softer, as many suspect it will be, that should play into McIlroy’s hands, as he has torn up long, soft courses throughout his career (remember Congressional?). Had five straight top 10s in Masters before a very meh T-21 last year. It could happen this year, but you wish he’d have shown a few more signs in the last five months of reaching that top-level gear he possesses. Will be his first Masters as a father.
7. Patrick Reed
Age: 30 World ranking: 11 Masters appearances: 6
Best Masters finish: Win, 2018
His Masters victory in 2018 wasn’t the most popular win in the world, but he’s proven it was anything but a fluke in the two-plus years since. Something of a golfing machine, he seems to play every week, all around the world and hardly ever misses a cut. Feels like his status as golf’s Chief Villain has been usurped by Bryson DeChambeau. One of the best short games in the world and a fantastic wedge player, he has an ability to grind that shines on difficult courses. Enters in fine form, with four straight finishes of T-14 or better, and you know he’s never short on confidence or belief in himself. Smart money says he won’t finish his career with only one major, and at 30 years old, he’s squarely in his prime. Oh, and he already won a green jacket in 2020 when we simulated the tournament in April.
6. Patrick Cantlay
Age: 28 World ranking: 10 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-9, 2019
Was having a bit of a disappointing year for a player of his potential—he reached No. 6 in the world in January but then went 13 straight starts without a top five. Bounced back in a huge way in his last start at Sherwood, where he chased down Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm to win the Zozo Championship. Amid all the chaos from Sunday of last year’s Masters, it feels a bit forgotten that he held the solo lead after an eagle on 15 before bogeying 16 and 17 and eventually finishing three back. Still, no one fared better on the weekend than his 64-68, and he’ll be brimming with confidence after winning in his home state of California. Putted fantastically on Sunday at Sherwood after making a setup tweak, and he’s historically been at his best on bentgrass greens, which bodes well for Augusta. At 28, he’s entering his prime and should be a factor in big events for the next decade. Plus there’s a sense within the golf world that he’s just scratching the surface. Would be no surprise at all if a major breakthrough came this week.
5. Xander Schauffele
Age: 27 World ranking: 8 Masters appearances: 2
Best Masters finish: T-2, 2019
His record in the majors is remarkably impressive—in 13 career major starts, he has five top-five finishes, seven top 10s and nine top 25s. It’s only a matter of time, then, until he busts down the door and wins his first one. Shot the lowest score over four days at East Lake during the Tour Championship, finished solo fifth at the U.S. Open and was runner-up at the CJ Cup. Blossomed into quite the consistent performer, he finished third in strokes gained/overall last year and also sits third in that category on the young season. Terrific ball-striker with an underrated short game, he ranked second on tour in scrambling from 20-30 yards, always an encouraging sign given the demanding nature of Augusta’s green surrounds. Made a back-nine charge at last year’s Masters by birdieing 11, 12 and 13, but his failure to add another at the par-5 15th eventually did him in, as he finished one back of Woods. Ready to win a major, and ready to do it right now.
Kevin C. Cox
4. Jon Rahm
Age: 25 World ranking: 2 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: 4, 2018
He’s still just 25, so it’s a bit early to be pushing the when-will-he-win-a-major narrative, but the simple fact is he hasn’t really been in contention to win one yet—which is somewhat shocking given his incredible record in non-majors. Reached No. 1 in the world earlier this year after winning the Memorial and added a victory at the BMW Championship thanks to a 66-foot birdie putt in a playoff. No holes in his game—he led the the PGA Tour in strokes gained/overall last season—he’s proven a consistent threat on all different types of courses. Comes in on a nice run of form, with a T-2 at the Zozo in his last start. Has two top 10s in his three Masters starts and yet you sense he hasn’t played the way he’s wanted to around Augusta. Holds himself to an extremely high standard, so he’ll fully expect to be in contention on the back nine on Sunday. We share that expectation.
3. Justin Thomas
Age: 27 World ranking: 3 Masters appearances: 4
Best Masters finish: T-12, 2019
One of the best players in the world, but he hasn’t been the consistent performer in majors that he has in regular PGA Tour events. Has yet to record a top 10 at Augusta but his finishes at the Masters have improved each year. Terrific all-around player who might have the best wedge game in the world. Ten of his 13 PGA Tour victories have come after Aug. 1—he clearly loves himself some fall golf—so perhaps the shift to November will play into his hands. Will be kicking himself for not winning his last start at the Zozo Championship, where he held the 54-hold lead but fell to Patrick Cantlay. Led the tour in a plethora of categories last year, including the ever-important strokes gained/approach, strokes gained/tee-to-green and proximity from 125-150 yards. Has gotten off to slow starts in each of the four Masters he’s played in, shooting a combined eight over par on Thursday, so posting something under par on Thursday could be all he needs to propel himself into contention.
2. Dustin Johnson
Age: 36 World ranking: 1 Masters appearances: 9
Best Masters finish: T-2, 2019
Finished the season with a flourish. Shot 30 under to win Northern Trust, then lost in a playoff to Jon Rahm the next week at the BMW, then did enough at the Tour Championship to win his first FedEx Cup. Along the way, established himself again as a top dog in global golf and elbowed his way back to World No. 1. Continues to be a fixture on the first page of major leader boards—he has 19 top-10s in 44 major starts—but the endings have by and large been unfulfilling. Held the 54-hole lead at the PGA, shot 68 and lost. Backdoored a top 10 at the U.S. Open before testing positive for COVID, which kept him out of the two West Coast invitationals. All eyes, then, were on Houston to see if he showed any signs of rust or lingering effects of the disease; within three shots of lead entering final round suggests there aren’t. Birdied 13, 14, 16 and 17 to charge into contention at Augusta last year but it was too little, too late as he finished one shot behind Mr. Woods. Has top-10s in each of his last four Masters starts after failing to post one in his first five. A favorite in every tournament he plays in, and this one is no different.
1. Bryson DeChambeau
Age: 27 World ranking: 6 Masters appearances: 3
Best Masters finish: T-21, 2015
Golf’s reigning headline king, his six-shot domination at the U.S. Open felt seismic, the culmination of a mental and physical transformation that has many pondering the direction of the game as a whole. Has played just once since, a T-8 at the Shriners, as he’s spent the last four weeks “speed training” and testing a 48-inch driver. There’s much intrigue as to how he will play Augusta, as his social-media posts of launch-monitor readings has some wondering whether he will turn the course into a pitch-and-putt. Yes, he could have a wedge into 13, and he could drive the third green with a 3-wood, but he’ll need to putt better than he has at Augusta to have a chance come Sunday afternoon. His best finish in three Masters starts came as an amateur in 2015; but then again, he’s a completely different person than he was prior to 2020, and his results in majors with his new body speak for themselves: a T-4 at the PGA and the romp at Winged Foot. A second major in as many tries could prompt action from the governing bodies, for better or for worse. Bryson’s a disruptor, and he’s bringing his disruption to the game’s holiest cathedral. We can’t wait to see what happens next.
MORE MASTERS 2020 PREVIEW CONTENT FROM GOLF DIGEST:
• Masters 101—Everything you need to know about the major
• How to watch the Masters on TV and streaming online
• Ranking every golfer in the Masters field
• Our 13 best bets to win the 2020 Masters
• 50 defining moments in Masters history, ranked
• Never say never—An oral history of Tiger's dramatic 2019 Masters victory
• How Tiger Woods plays every hole at Augusta National
• Can Bryson break Augusta?
• 9 things Augusta National doesn’t want to talk about
• The most memorable rules issues in Masters history
• A completely unscientific ranking of 10 Masters traditions
• The 13 best ‘B characters in Masters history