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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS - The Masters

Welcome back RotoBaller PGA family! First off, a quick congratulations to Carlos Ortiz for outlasting a heavyweight leaderboard to win the Vivint Houston Open!

With that quick hat tip to Ortiz out of the way, we're gonna dive right into what we've all been waiting for...the Masters! If you are a golf fan, this is like the Super Bowl and Christmas all rolled into one, let's go!

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

Featured Promo: New for 2023, we've added A LOT of new exclusive PGA articles, picks, and tools to our PGA Premium Packages! Spencer Aguiar, one of the most successful PGA bettors in the industry, now features 10+ weekly articles with his exclusive picks, rankings and models in the TeeOffSports VIP subscription. Win big in 2023! Sign Up Now!


The Masters Overview

A tradition unlike any other...that's the catchphrase that defines the Masters for golf fans. Unfortunately, 2020 has been a year unlike any other, which is why we're talking about the Masters in November instead of April.

I suppose everybody has their own personal "favorite" major and the Masters is definitely mine. I love the traditions, the field, the excitement the golf course seems to always provide down the stretch on Sunday, and I love the variety of PGA DFS tournaments that are available!

You guys don't need me to tell you that this week's field is STACKED, with basically every elite player in the world set to tee it up in Augusta this week (though both Sergio Garcia and Joaquin Niemann have been forced to withdraw due to positive COVID tests). It feels like it's been a decade ago, but Tiger Woods is still your defending Masters champion. The struggling Woods will be challenged by the likes of U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy. As we often see in major championships, the DFS salary scale is fairly forgiving this week with soft-ish pricing. Augusta National is historically very rewarding of those with good course history, so without further delay, let's dig into this week's selections.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: Augusta National

Par 72 - 7,435 Yards, Greens: Bentgrass, Designed By: Bobby Jones & Alister Mackenzie

The brainchild of the legendary Bobby Jones, Augusta National was built on a 365-acre property that had been Fruitland Nurseries. Jones imparted all his wisdom on the layout that would eventually become the most famous golf course in the world. The condition of the course is IMMACULATE, with not as much as a young azalea out of place.

Augusta National is a Par 72 that has been stretched out to 7,435 yards. The legendary layout tests every facet of a player's game. You have to be long and (somewhat) accurate off the tee, precise on approach shots with your irons, creative with your short game, and have nerves of steel on the lightning-fast greens.

Perhaps nearly as important as being able to hit the shots, is knowing what type of shots to hit and where to hit them. Course experience isn't an absolute must to play well at Augusta, but we see time and again how big of an asset course knowledge and experience can be in the Masters. The preferred ball flight is right-to-left (a draw for right-handed players) off the tee and a high cut on approach shots into the greens. While there is obviously more than one way to skin a cat, we've seen players that can hit those shots repeatedly succeed over the years. We're extremely familiar with this Augusta National layout, but in true 2020 fashion, we're being thrown a curveball this year, as the tournament has never been held in November. This forces us to guess as to how differently the layout will play. While I initially imagined cool, firm and fast conditions for this unprecedented November Masters, Augusta is currently unseasonably warm and wet, with showers forecasted throughout the week. If these conditions hold, it will limit rollout and favor those that have longer carry yardages off the tee.


Recent Champions & Winning Scores

  • Tiger Woods (-13)
  • Patrick Reed (-15)
  • Sergio Garcia (-9)
  • Danny Willett (-5)
  • Jordan Spieth (-18)


The Horse

Dustin Johnson

DraftKings: $10,000
Notable Course History: T2 ('19), T10 ('18), T4 ('16), T6 ('15)

After initially struggling at Augusta at the start of his career, last year's runner-up finish marked Dustin Johnson's fourth-straight top-10 result at the Masters. The argument for many years was that Augusta wasn't a great natural fit for DJ because of his preference for a cut off the tee, but he's steadily put those thoughts to bed in recent years.

Obviously, Augusta National is a course where we want to pay tons of attention to course history - as we see the same players repeatedly play well on this course - but we don't want to completely ignore current/recent form. Johnson has that box checked as well. After a multiple week layoff due to a positive COVID test, DJ knocked the rust off in spectacular fashion last week at the Houston Open, finishing in a tie for second and gaining 10.2 strokes T2G. It marked DJ's seventh-consecutive outing with positive T2G numbers and he's gained strokes T2G in nine of 11 starts since the COVID layoff.

An argument can be made for a handful of players being the "best" since the restart, but Johnson has to be near the top of the list. He has two wins (three if you wanna count the Tour Championship) and three runner-ups over his 11 post-layoff starts. DJ leads this week's ultra-elite field in all of the following major statistical categories over the last 24 rounds: SG: Total, T2G, Ball Striking, Approach and DraftKings Points Scored.


The Ponies

Jon Rahm

DraftKings: $10,500
FanDuel: $11,700

Notable Course History: T9 ('19), 4th ('18), T27 ('17)

It's been a tremendous year for Jon Rahm and he's certainly in the "best player since the restart" conversation. He came out of the Covid layoff in sluggish form, but quickly found his footing and posted two impressive wins on tough golf courses at the Memorial and BMW Championship. Despite the confidence boosts of the wins and form that ranks him third in this week's field in SG: T2G, Rahm failed to really get anything going at either of the year's other majors, posting solid, but unspectacular finishes of T13 at the PGA and T23 at the U.S. Open.

However, the Masters has been in his "best" major to this point in his young career, as the 26-year-old has posted impressive finishes of T9 and 4th in his last two starts at Augusta National, as well as a T27 in his debut three years ago. The Spaniard's 70.50 Masters scoring average is the third-best in the field among those with at least two appearances. His ability off the tee (second in SG: OTT & sixth in Driving Distance) will obviously continue to serve him well this week - especially if conditions are wet and slow - but it's his improving touch on and around the greens (20th in SG: Short Game) that has me high on his chances in this spot.

Bubba Watson

DraftKings: $9,000
FanDuel: $10,000
Notable Course History: Two-time Masters Champion

It's almost a perfect storm with Bubba this week...he's been posting great results on the strength of unbelievably-sharp ball striking and he's a two-time Masters champion that loves this golf course. Watson seems to post solid Masters results, even when he's in bad form, as his T12 and T5 finishes of the last two years indicate. At first glance the price tag feels a little too high, but Watson stands second in this field in SG: T2G and SG: Ball Striking over the last 24 rounds, while also grading out inside the top-five in SG: OTT and Approach. The concern is his putting, which has been...bad. I actually like him a lot here and will be willing to swallow the price tag if his ownership isn't real high...but if it looks like he's going to be super popular, I'll probably pivot to being underweight, as I don't want to fight both the price tag and high ownership. I've said it ad nauseum over the years, but Bubba is perhaps the most "course specific" player on the PGA Tour and he loves Augusta National more than any other course. A note that's easily a narrative-based thought...Bubba seems to be in a really nice headspace at the moment.

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Tony Finau

DraftKings: $8,800
FanDuel: $10,400
Notable Course History: T5 ('19), T10 ('20)

I've always been a Tony Truther, so maybe my bias is throwing me off here...but how is Finau just $8.8k? He's continually posted strong results in all four of the major championships, including a T5 and a T10 in his only two Masters starts. Finau's 69.75 Masters scoring average is the best in the field among those with at least two appearances. If he isn't the most popular player on the slate I'll be surprised. The obvious worry is if he can actually win this tournament. My heart says "yes", while my head says "probably not". The concerns about his win equity circles us back around to his price tag...we don't really have to have a win at $8.8k. At the end of the day, his recent form and course history point to him, to put it simply, being a good play. I'll be overweight on Finau.

Hideki Matsuyama

DraftKings: $8,700
FanDuel: $10,500
Notable Course History: T32 ('19), 19th ('18), T11 ('17), T7 ('16), 5th ('15)

Some would argue that Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau are the "same guy"...the type of rock-solid players that we love to target on tough courses in majors, but guys that can't close the door on wins. Hideki's resume reflects that it's a fair label. His last win came at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2017 and outside of a T3 at the BMW Championship and last week's runner-up finish at Houston, 'Deki has no top-10s since the restart. However, his game log is dotted with top-25 finishes and his Masters credentials are similarly solid...he's made the cut at Augusta in seven of his eight career starts and last year's T32 was his worst finish since 2014. Like with Finau, he doesn't have to win to pay off this price tag, but we're always targeting tournament-winning upside, which makes Matsuyama more of a solid building block in cash games or single-entry formats rather than an awesome GPP play.

Louis Oosthuizen

DraftKings: $7,900
FanDuel: $9,600
Notable Course History: T29 ('19), T12 ('18), T41 ('17), T15 ('16), T19 ('15) 2nd ('12)

As we move down the salary scale, we start to see course history that perhaps isn't "ultra elite". However, Louis Oosthuizen's track record at Augusta National can undoubtedly be described as rock solid. Oosty fell short in a playoff at the 2012 Masters and has made the cut in six of his seven starts since with four top-25s among those. The South African has played sneaky-good golf since the restart, making 11 of 12 cuts post-Covid, with a T6 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude and a very impressive T3 at the U.S. Open. Unfortunately, his most recent start was also his poorest performance in several months, as he lost over three strokes on Approach en route to a T48 at the CJ Cup. I'm not overly concerned about one bad outing, because Louis is such a seasoned pro. If anything, maybe we can catch him flying a bit under the radar this week.

Cameron Smith

DraftKings: $7,300
FanDuel: $8,700
Notable Course History: T51 ('19), T5 ('18), T55 ('16)

The course history alone isn't enough to bring Cameron Smith to my attention (though going 3/3 with a T5 at the Masters is pretty damn impressive), but when we couple it with his hot recent form he comes squarely into play for me this week. The Aussie is not a player that I roster very often, but I've found myself routinely clicking his name as of late. My change of heart with Smith can be attributed to his solidified iron play over the last three months. Ball striking has historically been the downside of his game, but he heads to Augusta off EIGHT straight plus performances on Approach. That consistency with the irons has resulted in six top-25s in his last seven starts, including a T4 in his most recent outing at the ZOZO Championship. Smith's history of volatility makes him tough to trust completely, but his current form and sneaky upside makes him a very intriguing GPP option.


Win Big With RotoBaller

Golf is back, and it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller! Our PGA DFS Premium Package features several savvy analysts and proven DFS winners.

Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big.

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