It’s that time of the year when tour pros head down Magnolia Lane to compete at the illustrious Augusta National and compete for a green jacket and become a major winner and champion at Augusta.
I know around here this is the time of the year that signals the start of the new golf season. As golf courses open up here in Ottawa and tee times get snatched up. I know our family has a tee time Saturday but the Masters will still be our focus. All golf fans will be glued to their TVs Thursday through Sunday this week to see who will figure out Augusta.
So who is going to win this week? Every year it always seems to be only a handful of players that can win as Augusta generally plays hard and fast during April. Last November Dustin Johnson won his first green jacket but the course played very soft. DJ was a machine knocking off a pile of scoring records including the following during these soft conditions, and he is as short as 10/1 to retain the green jacket.
72-hole scoring mark
Johnson’s 20-under-par 268 broke the previous 72-hole record held by Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015) at 270.
First to reach 20 under in Masters history
By setting the scoring record, Johnson also became the only golfer to ever reach 20 under in Masters history. (Spieth got to 19 under before a final-hole
bogey in 2015).
Low 54-hole score
Johnson’s 65-70-65 start put him at 16-under 200 through three rounds, matching Spieth’s mark from 2015.
First player to have two rounds of 65 in one Masters
A number of golfers have had a 65 and a 66 in one Masters, but only Johnson can claim to have shot a pair of seven-under-par 65s in one tournament.
Most consecutive subpar rounds at the Masters
DJ put together four subpar rounds at the 2020 Masters, which combined with four in 2019 and the final three rounds of 2018 gave him 11 straight, one better than Tiger Woods managed from 2000-2002.
Playing the par 3s, 4s and 5s all under par and winning
Johnson became the 15th champion to play the par 3s, par 4s and par 5s under par for the week in which he won. Johnson was four under on the par 3s, five under on the par 4s and 11 under par on the par 5s. The last champion to do so was Charl Schwartzel in 2011.
Lowest stroke average of players with 25 to 49 rounds
With his 268 total, Johnson now has played his 38 career rounds in 2,699 strokes for a stroke average of 71.02, which now marks the lowest stroke average of any player in that group with that many rounds.
Sleeping on the lead at the Masters is always difficult. Doing so for three nights and winning is another thing altogether. Johnson led or was tied for the lead each of the first three days and then finished the job on Sunday. That puts him in good company with 11 other champions who did the same.
Fewest bogeys by champion
Avoiding bogeys is always good in a major, but difficult to do. Johnson made just four bogeys over the 72 holes at the 2020 Masters, which was the fewest of any champion in tournament history. The all-time best by a champion prior to 2020 was five bogeys, held by five different players, Jimmy Demaret (1940); Jack Nicklaus (1965); Ben Crenshaw (1995); Phil Mickelson (2004) and Trevor Immelman (2008).
Although DJ will be a huge favourite come Thursday. Here's a few others that might don the green jacket come Sunday. I’m not really looking at first timers or players with little to no experience at Augusta.
Although the new and improved Bryson DeChambeau had just a so so Masters this past November I’m intrigued just like VJ Singh was watching him hit driver this week. Can he overpower Augusta? I'm willing to bet he just might, especially using a 4.5-degree driver. DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion is planning to use a 5.5-degree Cobra RadSpeed prototype driver this week at the Masters. However, the adjustable hosel mechanism will drop the loft down to 4.5 degrees. Pretty cool stuff from the “Scientist” of golf.
The best iron player in the world
Justin Thomas: When J.T. is on his game he’s a pleasure to watch from tee to green he can be downright perfect.He can grind with the best players in the world and I think thats what it will take this year. He's improved his final standing at the Masters each year over the last five years so it tracks that this week could be one of his best finishes.
Webb Simpson: Another elite iron player who has posted back-to-back top 10s in the last two years. and is a real threat to win here because of his elite iron play. He said last year that he started playing Augusta National more conservatively than when he first started playing Augusta. You can see the result in T5 in 2019 and T10 in 2020.