The Masters Preview: Contenders and Pretenders

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The Masters will be overly exciting this year, with the drama of several LIV tour players in the field. Despite that, current PGA players lead the way as favorites to win the tournament.


It is well known that players that have great iron play tend to play well at Augusta. John Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler are the three premier golfers in the world right now. Those three have battled for the No. 1 world ranking all year. They are all in the top 10 of strokes gained from approach shots, which should give them a major advantage this week. This statistic measures how much of an advantage is being gained from their play in the fairway.

Other notable golfers that have shown dominance on the fairway include, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau. They stand a great chance to make some serious noise in the first major of the season. It’d be shocking if these three weren’t battling to contend Sunday.

They are the hottest golfers on the PGA tour this season, but as many know, that isn’t the only high-end professional golf league anymore. The LIV tour will be sending some of their best players in the tournament, 18 to be exact.

Six of the 18 LIV tour players are former winners of the green jacket. That includes Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson. Brooks Koepka looks to do some damage in this tournament. He claims that he is finally healthy, after dealing with numerous injuries since 2019. Koepka joined the LIV tour last year, but still hasn’t returned to his previous success. He won this past weekend’s LIV tournament in Orlando and is hoping to continue his good play.


The Masters is consistently one of the most frustrating tournaments of the year, which contributes to why it is so exciting for fans. Some of the world’s best golfers struggle at times and look like the rest of us. This year, there’s a handful of guys that might underwhelm at Augusta.

Johnson is a previous winner at the Masters, but like most LIV players, it will be an uphill battle for him. Johnson has had an uncharacteristic season in the LIV tour. His highest finish was seventh this past weekend, for his first top-10 finish on the year. There have been reports of a potential back injury that has led to his struggles. This wouldn’t be the first back injury that he’s dealt with, as he missed the 2017 Masters due to a back injury.

Another player with a chance to disappoint this week is Mickelson. The biggest advocator for the LIV golf tour and arguably the most disliked golfer amongst the PGA tour players, Mickelson has not been at the top of his game. He’s failed to crack the top-25 in all three of LIV’s events this season, only shooting under par one of those times. It’s easy to say that the 52 year old is on the back nine of his career, but he’d love nothing more than to perform well at his first PGA event since joining the LIV tour.


Scheffler is the favorite at +650, but there are some other golfers to look to for this weekend. Homa and Morikawa have real chances of finishing top-5 or even winning this tournament. Look for one of them to potentially win the green jacket in 2023.

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