Tailor made ⛳️


The 88th Masters

AUGUSTA, GA

It has been 259 days since Brian Harman lifted the Claret Jug. The final two majors of 2023 may have just been a premonition of what we will see in 2024! Expect the unexpected this season on the PGA TOUR as we have had one long shot winner after another. Along those lines, who might have guessed Scottie Scheffler would begin figuring out the flatstick for a short stretch around THE PLAYERS? Or how about when Jon Rahm’s fealty fell by the wayside, and he left for “greener” pastures and LIV Golf.

My point is as we approach the most predictive tournament of the year (by far) maybe it is time to start thinking a little outside the box at Augusta National. Akshay Bhatia’s win on Sunday earned him the last spot in the field of 89 players for the 88th Masters. The top 50 and ties will get to the most coveted weekend in golf. The purse was $18 million dollars last year and Jon Rahm took home well over $3 million dollars for first. The official purse for 2024 will be announced today by Chairman Fred Ridley.

I'm in Augusta covering the tournament, so be prepared for a full week of in-depth, on-site information. The quality coverage you have learned to expect from Read The Line for all of golf's major and signature events!

The Masters starts in...

Count down to 2024-04-11T11:00:00.000Z

Golf's greatest palette

None of these men play the Masters looking for anything green other than a jacket! Golf’s greatest tradition continues to evolve and innovate. Most fans feel like the Masters is the same every year and I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The members of Augusta National are constantly pushing the envelope preparing for the future. There are easy examples such as ANWA and the Drive, Chip, and Putt finals, but that’s not where I’m going here. How about the best App in golf. Live streaming coverage all over the golf course, and the most thoughtful changes to the scorecard and design anyone can imagine.

The second hole was the easiest relative to par in the 2023 Masters. Tournament Officials have added 10 yards and pushed the tee box to the left. This brings the beautiful bunker on the corner of this dogleg back into play. The 2024 scorecard now reveals a 7,555 yard par 72 golf course. The perfect complement of four challenging par 3s, four compelling par 5s, and 10 amazing par 4s. Dominated by length, ANGC was the sixth longest course on the PGA TOUR last year.

Long may get longer in the 88th edition of this springtime ritual. A significant storm system is expected tonight and into Thursday morning. The tee times are out, so if you are choosing first round leaders or playing daily fantasy, make sure you check the weather one final time before you book those bets. Early in the week, the course showed some bounce. Green complexes were hard, and the landing areas were fast. I don’t believe the rain episode will be the featured story this week like in 2023. The days leading up have been extraordinary and the remainder of the rounds should be exquisite as well.

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Course conditions

Augusta National Golf Club

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Real-time weather

Augusta, GA

Our familiarity can be as much of a blessing as it is a curse. No other major championship utilizes the same venue year after year. As a result, we are inundated with an infinite number of trends to help us predict the winner. In 2024, the TOUR trend has not been our friend. No tournament sets the tone for the year like the Masters. I'm going to steer clear of too much trend talk and stick to the basics. The golf course is the sixth longest on TOUR.

  • Four par 3s measuring 186 yards on average.
  • Ten par 4s measuring 456(!) yards on average.
  • Four par 5s measuring 563 yards on average.

Augusta National Golf Club boasts 79 acres of fairway grass. That's about double the PGA TOUR average we see week in and week out. Those well-studied green complexes average just 6,486 sq/ft which is the seventh smallest on TOUR. Another reason why GIR proficiency correlates so well to success. This is the first time we will see Bentgrass greens in 2024. The most famous (and fast) putting surfaces on the planet look extremely well maintained and FIRM as I walk the course.

Those who contend will also need to avoid the 44 carefully constructed and artistically arranged bunkers that decorate this green landscape. Thirty -two of those bunkers sit greenside and complement so many of the known hole locations over the years. Don't forget the five holes where water comes into play through all of Amen Corner and on 15 and 16. ANGC is a five mile walk that has incredible elevation changes. After 18 holes, a player will climb a total of 442 feet during their walk. Over the last five and ten years (5/10), the average...

  • Winning score is 13/12 under par.
  • Pre-tournament winner's odds +2100/+2600.
  • The cutline is +4/+4.3.

Six holes have a birdie rate over 15%. All four par 5s are included there, and 14 holes have a bogey rate over 15%. The last ten winners averaged 20 sub-par scores over 72-holes. Looking at the average winning score, birdie/bogey rates, and the other relevant data, you need to save pars around this place. With a firm course and some nasty weather during round one including wind, get yourself to double digits under par. Then see where you stand when Jim Nantz greets the last the group on the second nine Sunday afternoon.

Read The Line recap 🗞️

There were two distinct weather waves in the 2023 Masters. Jon Rahm definitely played through the worst conditions for the first 36-holes. Once the field was consolidated over the weekend, his play shined through against a list of contenders who played in the opposite wave. If weather becomes a factor during round one and two, make sure you correctly weight the waves. Most missed Rahm's edge before he suddenly overtook Brooks Koepka on Sunday.

10 memories...

The Masters offers us an opportunity to have some fun while I describe the skills needed to succeed around Augusta National Golf Club. I'm going to take you through ten of the greatest shots in Masters history and relate those moments to the specific attribute our current field needs to keep up with the contenders and ultimately win the green jacket.

  • Phil Mickelson's six iron off the pine straw. Mid and long iron play is the key to securing GIRs down Magnolia Lane. In 2010, Mickelson was facing a 207-yard approach on 13. He launched a mid-iron onto the green off a questionable lie and made birdie. Seventy-three percent of approach shots at ANGC are played from over 150 yards. Approach play is the number one skill needed to win the Masters.
  • Jack holes the famous birdie putt on 17 in the 1986 Masters. Nothing substitutes for Masters experience. As Jack once said, "You don't read greens at Augusta National, you remember them."
  • Larry Mize chips in from an impossible position. Mize won the 1987 Masters in a playoff over Greg Norman by chipping in from off the green on the eleventh hole. ANGC is the toughest around the green test on TOUR. Contenders are required to use imagination (and skill) to score or save par around these green complexes.
  • Charl Schwartzel holes out from 114 yards on the third. Schwartzel's final round in 2011 is often remembered for birdieing the final four holes. Before that birdie on 15, he holed out on three for an eagle! Par 4 scoring is an incredible indicator of success at the Masters. Play the par 4s under par for the week, and you'll be in the winner's conversation come Sunday afternoon.
  • Ben Crenshaw knocks in a giant putt on hole 10. Crenshaw captured the lead in 1984 when he birdied eight, nine, and ten. From the front of the tenth green, Ben dropped a sixty-foot bomb. Putting from long range is the most important skill on the greens at Augusta National. You don't have to make them all like Ben, but you should two putt them!
  • Bend it like Bubba Watson. Watson went into the woods on hole 10 in the 2012 playoff. From there he hit a gap wedge from 150 yards to 12'. He went on to make birdie and win, but the lesson lies in Watson's ability to bend the ball out of the woods. Augusta National is not a linear test. To effectively play some holes, you will need to work the ball to better take advantage of the angles.
  • "Sandy" Lyle wins from the fairway bunker. Forty-four bunkers are carefully placed across Augusta National. In 1988, Lyle launched a fairway bunker shot on 18 onto the green and made birdie to win. Each contender will be tested from the sand multiple times during 72-holes. Successful scoring from those pristine white surfaces is all part of the difficult short game Augusta challenge.
  • Gene Sarazen hits the shot heard 'round the world in 1935. Sarazen was battling Craig Wood and he holed out his second shot on the par 5 fifteenth hole for an albatross. Par 5 scoring is essential for getting to double digits under par. Make sure your players capitalize on the four holes that historically provide a net return.
  • Tiger Woods chips in for birdie in 2005. "In your life!" exclaimed Verne Lundquist. Woods wowed the spectators surrounding the sixteenth hole with the most iconic short game shot in Masters history. Capturing the green jacket takes creativity. Tiger took home five Masters titles because he used his imagination to see shots others just didn't.
  • Fred Couples survives a scare along the shores of Rae's Creek. Fred's final round in 1992 will always be remembered for his tee shot on Golden Bell (Hole 12). The shot flew offline testing the edge of the green and the bordering embankment. Couples' ball managed to hold on the grass and eventually led to a par save. Others have not been as lucky. Jordan Spieth lost in 2016 when he rinsed his ball twice on twelve. Who could forget the fateful four in front of Tiger Woods in 2019. Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter, Tony Finau, and Francisco Molinari all were wet while Woods went on to win his fifth green jacket. The last skill is luck. If the Augusta gods are shining down on you, it must be your time...

No other venue allows us the perspective and history to create such a catalog of characteristics. The predictive nature of ANGC limits the overall list of outright contenders to just a couple of names. Most of which are on our card below.

Outright Winners - The Masters

Jon Rahm is going to defend his Masters title. I've watched him this week, he looks very sharp and highly, highly motivated.

  • Rahm is the scoring average leader in this field.
  • Jon is also the career strokes gained leader at ANGC in this field.
  • Spain has won the Masters six times since 1980, the most of any other country outside the USA.

Shane Lowry has four straight top 25 results at the Masters.

  • Lowry finished third in 2022. Coming into the Masters he had three top 20 finishes in Florida. This year during the Florida swing: fourth, third, and nineteenth.
  • Shane is gaining over six strokes total (average) in his last five starts.

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