5 Keys to Winning the Masters

Five key things you should consider when picking someone to win the Masters.
Five key things you should consider when picking someone to win the Masters. / Andrew Redington/GettyImages

Welcome to Masters week. If you're a degenerate like me, you're staring at multiple pools and an oddsboard chock full of big names to bet on ahead of tee-off on Thursday.

So, how do you narrow all these names down to a few bets and picks?

Let me help by pointing out five different keys for winning at Augusta National. The golfers you choose should check all five of these boxes before locking them in.

By the way, you can check out my full betting preview and my personal top three picks to win here.

5 Keys to Win the Masters

1) Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

Eight of the last 10 golfers to win the Masters ranked inside the top 10 in the stat called "strokes gained: tee-to-green" heading into the tournament. This is not an event where a golfer whose struggled all season is going to magically put it all together to win the Green Jacket.

You can see the strokes gained: tee-to-green rankings on PGATour.com here, but below is the list of the golfers who currently rank in the top 10 in that stat:

  1. Will Zalatoris
  2. Justin Thomas
  3. Luke List
  4. Jon Rahm
  5. Matt Fitzpatrick
  6. Joaquin Niemann
  7. Russell Henley
  8. Daniel Berger
  9. Keegan Bradley (Not in 2022 Masters field)
  10. Chris Kirk

2) Par 5 Scoring

With Augusta National being as tough of a challenge as it is, scoring on the four Par 5s is absolutely crucial. 80% of Masters champions dating back to 2000 ranked inside the top 10 that week in Par-5 scoring.

Let's take a look at the top 10 golfers on the PGA Tour in Par 5 scoring heading into this week:

  1. Patrick Cantlay
  2. Cameron Smith
  3. Matt Fitzpatrick
  4. Hideki Matsuyama
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Max Homa
  7. Seamus Power
  8. Talor Gooch
  9. Tyrrell Hatton
  10. Sergio Garcia

3) Play Well on Saturday

It seems obvious that to win the Masters you have to play well every round, but playing well on Saturday is especially important. Due to pin placement, Augusta is generally an easier course on Sunday compared to on Saturday. The winner of the tournament has gained over 3.62 strokes over the field on Saturday over the last 13 years, but just 2.88 strokes on Sunday.

According to GoldDigest.com, the winner has gained less than two strokes on the field on Sunday five times in the last 14 years, but only once on Saturday.

Finally, the winner has been in the final group on Sunday in 25 of the last 32 editions of the tournament, which further proves that playing well on Saturday to secure a spot in the final group on Sunday is key.

It may not translate to Augusta, but here are the top 10 golfers on Tour in Round 3 scoring heading into this week.

  1. Shane Lowry
  2. Patrick Cantlay
  3. Matt Fitzpatrick
  4. Justin Thomas
  5. Xander Schauffele
  6. Collin Morikawa
  7. Daniel Berger
  8. Jason Kokrak
  9. Cameron Smith
  10. Kevin Streelman

2) Past Experience

Course experience is absolutely vital for a place like Augusta National. With it being as difficult of a course as it is, you need to know the exact places you want to put your ball off the tee and on the greens.

Will Zalatoris was an anomaly last year when he finished solo second in his Masters debut. That was an exception to the rule, so don't let it convince you to bet on a ton of Augusta newcomers this time around. Target golfers who have been there before, you won't regret it.

1) Recent Form

It's extremely rare for a golfer to pop out of nowhere and play well at Augusta after not playing well in recent weeks. Before you bet on a golfer, take a look at how he's performed in recent weeks.

Has he missed cuts in his last few events like Bryson DeChambeau has? Best to stay away. Has he accumulated a few top 10s and top 20s? That's a green light.

You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.