The 2024 Masters Tournament Preview: Everything You Need To Know About Augusta National

, , ,
Written By John Haslbauer | Last Updated
masters free bet

The first major of the 2024 season is finally here, as we head to Augusta for the 2024 Masters Tournament. Compare Masters Open odds at the best sports betting sites to increase your potential PGA TOUR golf betting payouts. Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy project as the top favorites for this upcoming tournament.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – The Masters! After putting in the hours this year grinding research for non-Signature Events on the PGA TOUR like the Valero Texas Open and Cognizant Classic, we are finally rewarded with the first Major of the year. It’s the Super Bowl of golf and 2024 Masters odds have been shifting for months.

All the traditions and constants are what make The Masters such a fan-favorite event. With so much the same, it’s our job to identify what’s different this time around. This year, that job’s easy. LIV golf continues to fragment the game as we know it, making The Masters the first time since July that we can watch Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy compete versus Jon Rahm, Cam Smith, and Dustin Johnson.

This is the one tournament most golfers around the world want to win most, given the history, tradition, and historical significance. And for golf obsessives like ourselves, it’s one of the few times each year we can take our casual sports friends under our wing and soak this tournament in together. I couldn’t be happier to dive into the research and preview for this year’s festivities. Without further ado, let’s get into everything we need to know about Augusta National ahead of The Masters!

2024 MASTERS ODDS: FAVORITES

Scroll to the bottom of the article to compare full outright Masters odds. New sportsbook users take advantage of Masters promos aplenty. Click on odds anywhere to bet on The Masters.

THE FIELD AT A GLANCE

As of this writing, 88 players make up the field. Should Akshay Bhatia win the Valero Texas Open this weekend, he’ll bump that number up to 89.

As is tradition (unlike any other) at The Masters, any previous winner holds a lifetime spot in the field. Top amateur players in the world also gain entry. There is a long list of qualifying criteria, but, in summary, the field of entrants consists of:

  • OWGR top-50 players
  • Major winners over the last five years
  • PGA TOUR winners since last year’s Masters Tournament
  • Special Invite

Those criteria make The Masters the most exclusive Major to earn an invite to. Tiger Woods returns for his first start since the Genesis Invitational. Joaquin Niemann, Thorbjorn Olesen, and Ryo Hisatsune were not otherwise qualified but received special invitations for their international victories over the past year.

LIV Players are Back

Players on the LIV golf tour continue to nosedive down OWGR rankings since they cannot earn new OWGR points. In 2023, 18 LIV golfers qualified by way of top-50 OWGR ranking at the end of 2022, previously winning The Masters or winning another Major within the last five years. This year, only 12 LIV players have qualified.

LIV players make up about a quarter of the non-amateur or senior entrants. The numbers suggest there’s a good chance at least one LIV player is in the mix come Sunday. Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, and Dustin Johnson are all players to watch in great form leading in. Each of the top-three finishers in 2023 – Rahm, Mickelson, and Koepka – plays on the LIV tour now. It’s a good reminder that although we do not have Strokes Gained data to compare on a level scale, all of the best players in the world no longer play on the PGA TOUR.

The descent of the DP World Tour over recent years has never been more evident, as Thorbjorn Olesen is the lone full time DP World Tour member in the field this week, and even he required a Special Invite.

Between all the Tours, here is a breakout of where the field of 88 is sourced from:

  • PGA TOUR: 66
  • LIV: 12
  • Amateurs: 5
  • Senior past champions: 4
  • DP World Tour: 1

If we remove the ceremonial group of nine seniors and amateurs, we are essentially working with a field of 79 contenders.

Scheffler’s to Lose?

Last year, there was a clear “Big 3” at the top of the field between Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Jon Rahm.

This year, it’s Scheffler who stands in a league of his own. The World No. 1 and 2022 Masters champion is getting Tiger Woods-level respect from sportsbooks, and will be the prohibitive betting favorite at 4-1 consensus odds. Scheffler’s run of dominance over the last two years has been the best we’ve seen from a tee-to-green standpoint since Woods himself.

Over the last 18 months, Scheffler’s worst finish was a T31 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. He has seven top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR since the last time World No. 2 Rory McIlroy has recorded one. And while we could once count on his woeful putting as his one Achilles Heel, a simple equipment change to a new mallet putter has paid immediate dividends, gaining strokes putting in each of his first three starts since the change. Augusta is an ideal setup for Scheffler’s game, too, as he thrives on long par-5s and par-4s and is one of the most creative scramblers around the green in the world.

There are no foregone conclusions at The Masters, but we are looking at a reality where Scheffler’s “floor” outcome is better than the ceiling of half the players in this field. I won’t be betting Scheffler outright, given the short price, but I am approaching outright betting this week from the perspective of “Who’s A-game is good enough to beat Scottie Scheffler’s B-game?”.

INTRODUCTION TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL

The one course each year that needs no introduction is Augusta National. But, we’ll dive on in for good measure.

The Masters has been played on these same grounds every year since the tournament’s inception in 1934. Horton Smith won with a prize of $1,500 that year and, over the last 89 years, we’ve watched that purse grow 10,000-fold – $18,000,000 in prize money was distributed across the field in 2023, with Jon Rahm taking home the grand prize of $3,240,000. The official 2024 purse will be announced later this week.

Augusta National is a massive property, stretching to 7,545 yards on the scorecard, the longest in its storied history. The weather forecast calls for far more benign conditions in 2024 than the water-logged systems that ran through last year, even losing a tree along the way. There will be light rain in the forecast for the opening round on Thursday, but nothing significant enough to compromise the integrity of the event.

AUGUSTA WEATHER

Creativity Required

Augusta National features some of the most dramatic undulations and elevation changes both in its fairways and around the greens complexes. It demands creativity from shot makers off uneven lies.

Amen Corner (No. 11, 12, and 13) will be prominently featured on this week’s broadcast. Tournaments have been won or lost here on these three iconic holes. This stretch includes a 500-yard Par-4, a treacherous 155-yard Par-3, and a risk/reward 545 yard Par-5 where a good tee shot can set up eagle opportunities. Rae’s Creek claimed countless victims over the years on this three-hole stretch and it never disappoints come Sunday.

The simple summation would be elite, in-form players with the ability to work the ball in both directions on drives and approach shots, and who possess crafty touch around the greens. The grounds favor lefties with a right-to-left ball flight, anchored by wins from Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir, as well as a top-10 finish from Robert MacIntyre in his 2021 debut. Modifications to the tee box on the 13 places a greater emphasis on right-to-left tee shots than ever before.

The beauty of Augusta National is that many holes are set up for a left-to-right approach after a right-to-left tee shot. You have to be comfortable abandoning your stock shot shape here at times to create the most scoring opportunities.

How It Breaks Down

Augusta National is a Par-72, elongated to 7,545 yards this go around. It features four reachable risk/reward Par-5s, which are the only holes on the property with a scoring average under par. Players who take advantage of birdie-or-better opportunities on these four holes usually go on to find the most success. There’s certainly an advantage for longer hitters who can hold these green in two.

As we’ve come to expect from Major championship venues, the par-4s are much longer than what we typically see on TOUR. That, in part, helps make Augusta one of the most challenging golf venues we see. Nine of the 10 par-4s play over 440 yards and three of the par-4s play over 490 yards.

Augusta features some of the widest fairways we see all year. Although players hit them much higher than the TOUR average rate (~70%), it’s important to hit the correct side of the fairway to set up your next shot. Augusta is still far from a second-shot course, as certain pin locations are only accessible from one side of the fairway.

We also see top-five difficulty among PGA TOUR courses in terms of Par-4 Scoring, Par-3 Scoring, Putting, and Around The Green. Players who excel in long Par-4 Scoring and Short Game have been able to separate themselves here over the years.

Augusta’s Greens

Bentgrass makes up the greens at Augusta National, playing extremely firm and fast. TOUR pros and caddies cite them as the most complex and nuanced greens to read. That puts an added emphasis on course experience; course history is more predictive of future success for Masters odds than any other course on TOUR.

Given how difficult these greens are to read, there is an argument that it plays to the advantage of weaker putters just as much as the elite putters in the field. Players like Scottie Scheffler, Hideki Matsuyama, and Sergio Garcia picked up victories in recent years despite being notoriously poor putters. Corey Conners and Cameron Champ also regularly played well at The Masters despite being two of the statistically worst putters on TOUR.

New Course Adjustments

While the grounds at Augusta National are one of the few constants in golf year to year, it is notable that three holes – 11, 13, and 15 – incurred modifications over the last feww years.

The change to No. 13 was the most notable last year. The 510-yard par-5, which has traditionally been reachable with less-than-driver, now stretches to 545 yards and is no gimme to reach in two if players choose to play more conservatively off the tee. It’s a far more claustrophobic tee shot now and will primarily reward players who comfortably hit a right-to-left tee shot with their driver (see below).

In 2022, modifications were also made to holes No. 11 and No. 15.

The tee box on the Par-4 11th was pushed back and to the left by 15 yards. They re-contoured the fairway and removed several trees on the right. The tee box on the par-5 15th was also pushed back by 20 yards with additional re-contouring of the fairways, adding an extra club for players to challenge the green in two. These are not terribly significant changes, but they add a challenge to some of the few “gettable” holes at Augusta National.

In 2024, the second hole has been lengthened by 10 yards. It’s a marginal change that should not dramatically alter scoring on the hole; however, the change was made in an effort to add a bit more bite to the easiest scoring hole at Augusta National.

For even more detail on Augusta National course specs, hole-by-hole breakdown with yardages, Player Profile write-ups, Masters champion odds trends with their pre-tournament odds and more, visit our Masters odds page.

Editor’s Note

EVENT HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS

Of all the tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule, none has a more predictive course history than The Masters. Whether that be a credit to the pressure-packed atmosphere, its consistent fixture on the schedule, or the intricacies and nuances to the greens, it proves to be a course that players either thrive at with great consistency or a code they never crack. This helps narrow down the list of potential contenders.

Over the last five years, 15 players finished in the top 10 multiple times: Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im, and Corey Conners. Given what we know about the sticky course history, it would be a safe bet to consider any of these players to contend once again in 2024.

Conversely, notables who failed to crack the top 15 at The Masters over the last five years include Gary Woodland, Tyrrell Hatton, Max Homa, and Joaquin Niemann.

Assessing The Debutants

I always like to dabble in the Top Debutant prop market in Masters week. You’ll hear the timeless adage that a debutant has not won The Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, but that doesn’t mean first-timers are immune from playing into contention. Since 2014 Jordan Spieth, Jonas Blixt, Sungjae Im, and Will Zalatoris have all finished runner-up in their Masters debuts. Last year, Sahith Theegala impressed with a T9 showing in his Master debut, and Sam Bennett nearly made Masters history, contending through the first three days before finishing T16.

This year brings one of the most appealing groups of debutants we’ve ever seen, with Major champion Wyndham Clark, and young phenom Ludvig Åberg each entering in red-hot form with consensus odds around 28-1 to win in their first trip to Augusta National. Both are sensible fits to find early success at Augusta, with elite length, par-5 scoring, and all-around form on long and challenging courses.

If you’re brave enough to fade the two prohibitive favorites in the debutant market, Matthieu Pavon, Denny McCarthy, Stephan Jaeger, Jake Knapp, and Nicolai Højgaard are also suitable, high-upside fits set to make their debuts this week.

Others Excelling At The Masters

The top-10 in total strokes gained Course History at Augusta National over the last 10 years include Will Zalatoris, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Justin Thomas, and Cameron Smith.

14 players avoided missing the cut in four consecutive trips to The Masters: Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith, Shane Lowry, Adam Scott, Si Woo Kim, and Charl Schwartzel. Of that group, only Rahm, Scheffler, Matsuyama, and Lowry finished inside the top 30 each of the last four years.

Course Comps

It’s sacrilegious to compare any golf course to Augusta National, but we’ve got to try, or risk going back to 2018 for a 24-round sample size of Course History. Simply looking for courses with similar characteristics to Augusta National, I consider Muirfield Village, Plantation Course at Kapalua, Bay Hill, Riviera CC, Accordia Golf Narashino, Torrey Pines, Quail Hollow, and Los Angeles Country Club as top comps.

I wouldn’t single out any of these courses as a one-to-one comp, with the atmosphere at Augusta National standing on its own. Muirfield Village, Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, and Quail Hollow each share similar lengths and difficulty in scoring conditions. That tends to reward the top all-around players, though each features far more prevalent and penal rough than Augusta.

Riviera CC is another difficult test featuring a strong field that asks players to shape the ball in both directions off the tee and on approach. We’ve seen crossover winners like Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, and Mike Weir at both events. Of the last 10 Genesis Invitational winners, seven have crossed over as Masters Champions; Joaquin Niemann, Max Homa, and JB Holmes are the only exceptions.

Although the Plantation Course at Kapalua has become more birdie-heavy in calm conditions, it does feature a massive property of wide and severely undulated fairways, bearing plenty of similarities to Augusta when not flooded.

The top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT across these comp courses are Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Max Homa, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, and Patrick Cantlay.

KEY STATS TO CONSIDER WITH MASTERS ODDS

  • SG: T2G
  • Driving Distance
  • SG: ARG
  • SG: APP
  • Par 4: 450+ / Prox 200+
  • Par 5 Scoring
  • 3-Putt Avoidance / SG: Short Game (Firm & Fast Conditions)
  • SG: TOT (Majors L5 Years) / SG: TOT (Difficult Comp Courses)
  • Course History

We don’t have the luxury of strokes gained data easily available to model top correlated stat categories from. But there is a very clear profile of players who found repeatable success at Augusta National. Some modeled stats may need to be taken with a grain of salt when considering the 12 LIV players have been playing off the grid for close to a year.

Experience With Greens

Starting with the basic stats, SG: ARG, Driving Distance, Par 5 Scoring, Par-4: 450+, and Course History are the five main pillars I’m looking for. Past winners consistently check off at least four of these five boxes. With these greens being the most intricate and difficult to read on TOUR, there is a distinct advantage for veterans who have seen these breaks before without the aid of a greens book.

The firm and fast qualities of these greens also make SG: Around The Green and 3-Putt Avoidance crucial, as players will need deft touch to save par on a course that yields only 60% greens in regulation. Nine players rank inside the top 30 in SG: ARG, 3-Putt Avoidance, and SG: Short Game (Firm & Fast Greens): Dustin Johnson, Ludvig Åberg, Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed, Harris English, and Adam Schenk.

Driving, Par-5 Scoring

Distance is not a must, but it provides a distinct advantage to hold these greens on approach shots if players can loft a shorter club into them. The top 10 players in Driving Distance in this field are Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Min Woo Lee, Joaquin Niemann, Nicolai Højgaard, Brook Koepka, Gary Woodland, and Justin Thomas. However, I’m more likely to weed out the bottom half of this field in Driving Distance when refining down a player pool.

The four Par 5s are the only holes at Augusta with a scoring average under par, so distance will go hand-in-hand here for players with the ability to generate Eagle opportunities. The top-10 players in Par-5 Scoring entering this week are Matt Fitzpatrick, Wyndham Clark, Scottie Scheffler, Erik van Rooyen, Ludvig Åberg, Patrick Cantlay, Corey Conners, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Davis, and Grayson Murray.

Long par-4s are a staple of Major championship venues. All 10 par-4s measure over 440 yards at Augusta National, so identifying the players who played long par-4s well across standard events can be a great way to identify contenders. The top 10 players on 450+ Par-4s over the last 36 rounds are Scottie Scheffler, Ludvig Åberg, Chris Kirk, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Russell Henley, Wyndham Clark, JT Poston, Viktor Hovland, and Erik van Rooyen.

Couple these key stats with the Course History, you find just six players in this week’s field to rank above average in each: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland, and Justin Thomas.

Scoring In Difficult Conditions

What makes a Major course unique from the typical week-to-week venues (legacy-defining stakes and of the world’s best in the field aside)? Major venues are designed to test a player’s all-around skillset from tee to green, expose the flaws in a given player’s game, and ultimately reward the best all-around golfer that week.

Uncertainty surrounds the recent form of the 18 LIV players, so it’s a good starting point to reference performance in Majors over the last five years to establish common ground across the entire field. The top-10 in SG: TOT in Majors over that span are Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, and Patrick Reed.

Most importantly, 10 players ranked in the top 30 in Recent Form (SG: T2G L36), Course History, Major History, and Comp Difficult Course History: Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland, and Justin Thomas.

There is an infinite number of ways to splice the data this week and hone in on top candidates to play at The Masters. To me, the perfect formula consists of a player who is above-average to the field in Masters & Major History, Driving Distance, Par-5 Scoring, and Prox 200+, and Top-30 in Recent Form (SG: T2G) & SG: ARG.

Only three players satisfy that criteria: Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Tony Finau.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Brooks Koepka

The five-time Major champion has officially separated himself from the rest of the players in his era as the alpha in golf’s biggest stages. Still, he remains two legs short of the career grand slam, so he’ll have no lack of motivation in his continued quest for his first green jacket.

Brooks may not fit the profile of the typical creative shot shaper, but he hasn’t needed a deep bag of shots to find success at Augusta to date. Over eight prior appearances, Brooks has four finishes of T11 or better, including runner-up finishes in 2019 and 2023. Augusta’s continued efforts to lengthen the course to combat the advancements of modern technology have suddenly shifted the paradigm in favor of distance over creativity off-the-tee, as the further the tee boxes are pushed back, the fewer “options” players have to consider off-the-tee.

In Brooks’s case, he can lean on the driver early and often as the strength of his game. He ranks top-10 in Driving Distance, and gained strokes in both distance and accuracy off-the-tee across the Masters, PGA Championship, and US Open in 2023.

It’s always an easy argument to get behind Brooks Koepka in a Major, given his long-term resume, and it makes for an even easier decision, considering his preceding form in non-Majors has never really mattered. While I don’t think there’s a ton of value in diving into finishing positions on LIV’s 54-man tour, five top-15s over his last six starts, including a win at LIV Jeddah, is not going to talk me out of betting the best Major player of his generation in pursuit of joining the company of Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo, and Phil Mickelson for his 6th career Major championship.

2024 MASTERS ODDS: DFS PLAYER POOL

With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early toward the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the 2024 Masters odds, as well. I’ve broken the list down by actualized pricing/odds tier for DraftKings and rankings projections for Underdog Fantasy, with odds and pricing released earlier this week.

UNDERDOG GOLF DRAFT RANKINGS TIERS

New Underdog users via TheLines are eligible for a 100% match on your first deposit of up to $100CLICK HERE and use the promo code THELINES when registering.

Tier 1

Scottie Scheffler
Jon Rahm
Brooks Koepka

Tier 2

Xander Schauffele
Will Zalatoris
Ludvig Åberg
Wyndham Clark
Cam Smith
Hideki Matsuyama

Tier 3

Tony Finau
Joaquin Niemann
Matt Fitzpatrick
Dustin Johnson
Cameron Young
Shane Lowry

Tier 4

Erik van Rooyen
Patrick Reed
Corey Conners
Sahith Theegala
Russell Henley

Tier 5

Harris English
Austin Eckroat
Jake Knapp

  • Join TheLines.com’s free sports betting Discord with more than 4,000 community members and our staff sharing betting ideas daily. Go to the #roles server to get push notifications to the Discord app from TheLines.com staff when they lock in a bet.

THE MASTERS MODEL RESULTS & BREAKDOWN

In my BTN model this week, I’ve put an emphasis on SG: T2G, SG: ARG, Par-5 Scoring, Par-4 450+, and SG: TOT (Majors L5 Years), followed by a more balanced mix of SG: APP, Prox 200+, Driving Distance, Course History, SG: TOT (Comp, Difficult Conditions), SG: Short Game (Firm & Fast Greens), and 3-Putt Avoidance (Fast Greens).

Model Favorites

According to my model (and the consensus odds to date), Scottie Scheffler is the No. 1 threat to win his second green jacket in three years. Scheffler’s been on a mission in 2024, winning for the second time at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS, so another repeat win at Augusta would seem to fit that trend. His odds are too short for me to consider betting outright, but I’ll definitely be looking his way from a DFS, Pools, and One and Done standpoint.

After Scheffler, the rest of the top-10 is rounded out by Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Ludvig Åberg, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Wyndham Clark, Cameron Smith, and Shane Lowry.

As it currently stands, I managed to remain patient and did not place any futures bets, hoping to see some value when the odds adjust Monday. Sure enough, I have locked in my Masters outrights early. It can be found in TheLines.com’s free Discord channel. If you have any questions this week, ask me in the Discord.

We’ve got a long weekend of Masters odds content ahead. Still to come this week:

Thank you for reading this far. Best of luck navigating 2024 Masters odds!

2024 MASTERS ODDS Comparison Table

Click on Masters odds anywhere in the table below to place a bet on 2024 Masters odds.

Masters Sportsbook Promos

Take advantage of top signup promos below for new users. View Masters odds below.

RELATED ARTICLES