The 2020 Masters is finally here. As you will hear hundreds of times over the weekend — and it could not be more true — it’s “a tradition unlike any other.” The Super Bowl of Golf has finally arrived after all this time, and with a stacked field for of stars, sleepers, and longshots, we have a lot to discuss ahead of finalizing picks for PGA DFS lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Let’s start by focusing on Augusta National. There is no need to go into detail here because it’s one of the most well-known courses in the world. It is a Par 72 that measures out to between 7,400 and 7,500 yards, depending on the setup. This course is very difficult and true test of a golfer’s game. There are very long Par 4s and reachable Par 5s. The greens are always the fastest on tour and hard for these players to stick because of the shaved edges. Since the course was lengthened in 2010, we’ve seen a majority of 300-yard bombers winning or finishing in the top 10, but there are exceptions to every rule, namely Charl Schwartzel, Danny Willett, Jordan Spieth, and Patrick Reed. When looking over the course history, good greens in regulation numbers have been found to be very beneficial to success at Augusta.
Augusta National will always be known as a second-shot course. That means our favorite stat comes back into play this weekend: Strokes Gained: Approach. You can look also more specifically at proximity from 175 and 200 yards out. That means targeting great long iron players (i.e. ball strikers). Tiger Woods may be the most outstanding iron player ever, and that’s why he has five green jackets hanging in his closet. It’s the only way to score on this course, putting yourself in as many birdie-making opportunities as possible.
Course history is vitally important when it comes to The Masters even if it is just one previous trip like we saw with Willett and Spieth recently. No player has won at Augusta on their first attempt since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. When you look at last year’s final top-20 leaderboard, it’s filled with names you’ve seen and heard before on the PGA Tour. Experience matters at Augusta. (More on that in a bit.)
Finally, the weather always plays a factor at Augusta because it is known for changing on a whim. We are seeing this course for the first time in November, but right now the temperatures are up from normal. They are scheduled to get a decent amount of rain over the coming days leading up to Thursday’s start. It looks like Thursday could be a wash with a 90-percent chance of rain and thunderstorms. Friday-Sunday have rain in the forecast but less than 50-percent chance. We should see soft conditions on the fairways this week.
PGA DFS strategy for Masters 2020
Before getting into the specifics, please realize that basically any player priced at $7,500 and up has a chance to win the Masters. My job is to provide you with the golfers I feel have the best combination of price, ownership and level of play to help you bring home big money this weekend. It was extremely difficult to narrow down the Playbook below to these select few, especially from the top tier. I would not fault you if you played any player priced at $9,000 or more.
Also, you’ll notice I don’t have Bryson DeChambeau in this Playbook. You don’t need me to tell you about his 2020 success culminating with a domination at the U.S. Open a month ago. He will attempt to continue this style of play at Augusta, which has never even been thought to be possible. Feel free to roster him as much as you would like, but I’ll have limited shares because of his lack of experience at August. I guess you can call me an Augusta purest, but I want to see it work before I go all-in.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Putting
Greens in Regulation
Par 5 Birdie or Better
ONE-AND-DONE PICK: Brooks Koepka
Masters DFS picks
The following is a preview of Fantasy Alarm’s PGA DFS Playbook. To have access to all of Fantasy Alarm’s PGA DFS tools, including full analysis, sample lineups, and more, get Playbook PRO.
Brooks Koepka: Koepka has improved his finish each year he’s teed it up at Augusta National. He finished 33rd in his debut back in 2015, then 21st in ’16 before just missing the top 10 in ’17 and last year tied for second with Xander Schauffele. He’s worked himself back into championship shape over the past month with a 28th at the CJ Cup and a fifth at the Houston Open last weekend. We all know the type of player he is and his ability to turn it on when needed. Koepka plays better with a chip on his shoulder, and he absolutely hates that everyone is fawning all over Bryson DeChambeau after his historic win at the U.S. Open. He’s the type that feeds off people writing him off, and he’ll be out for blood this weekend.
Dustin Johnson: I absolutely love him at this price, and he’s basically a lock to anchor cash game lineups. The only problem with rostering DJ this weekend is that he’ll be extremely popular, especially at that price. Just know he’ll be the chalk of all chalk. He has finished either first or second in five of his past six starts. DJ also has four straight top-10 finishes at Augusta. In just two starts this season thus far he ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach, 26th in Par 5 Birdie or Better, and 40th in Greens in Regulation.
Tony Finau: On the list of best players in the world who haven’t won a major, Finau currently ranks 17th in the world golf rankings and has made two trips to Augusta in his career with two top-10 finishes. Finau ranks 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 16th in Par 5 Scoring, and 23rd in Strokes Gained: Approach. He steps up on the biggest stages with a fourth-place finish at the PGA Championship, an eighth-place finish at the U.S. Open, and has back-to-back top-25 finishes leading into this week’s major. If Dustin Johnson doesn’t win, I think Finau takes it down.
Bubba Watson: Bubba Watson has 12 PGA Tour titles in his career, and seven of those have come on just three courses. He has courses that just fit his game best, and one of them is definitely Augusta National being that he has two green jackets. He also has back-to-back top-15 finishes at the Masters in 2018 and ’19 and top-10 finishes in his past two starts at the CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship. Lefties are known to have an advantage at Augusta National.
Cameron Smith: No one in this field is flying under the radar more than Smith. He’s put together a fantastic run over the past three months: 10 straight cuts made, and over his last four starts, he improved each week going 38th, 24th, 11th, and fourth. This will be his fourth trip to Augusta with a perfect record of making the cut. He peaked in 2018 with a top-five finish. The putting has been strong this season, as he ranks 20th in Strokes Gained: Putting and ninth in Par 5 Birdie or Better.
Si Woo Kim: Despite his inconsistency, this has been one of his more consistent seasons. Since the restart in June, he has six top-20 finishes, including a third at the Wyndham. Kim makes for a perfect tournament play at the Masters because of his price tag and high upside. He has back-to-back top-25 finishes at Augusta. Kim always comes with a warning label because of his ability to shoot a 62 any round but also an 82 any round. Buyer beware!
Matt Kuchar: It has been a long time since Kuchar has made his way into this playbook but if there was any week, Augusta is the place. Kuchar splashed onto the PGA Tour scene when he was the low amateur at the 1998 Masters. He has never missed the cut at the Masters in 10 professional trips with four top-10 finishes, and he also finished 12th last year. He has only one top-20 finish since his runner up at the Genesis in February. I would feel confident with him as salary relief in my cash lineups.
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