The most popular week of the year for golf pools is Masters week, so if you’re a casual sports fan and you’ve never heard of half the players in this field, you’ve come to the right place! The below strategy guide to walk your through some of the best options in each tier for your 2023 Masters golf pool picks.
GOLF POOL STRATEGY
Similar to a Daily Fantasy tournament strategy, game theory is key in Masters Pools. It’s best to first understand who the popular players in each tier are going to be, then decide which ones you want to double down on and which ones you’re comfortable fading for a more contrarian option to differentiate your lineup. Below, we’ll go through the consensus Popular and Pivot plays in each tier. The format in each golf pool will vary, but the below tiers are structured in order of consensus betting odds, as is most common for golf pools.
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Tier 1: Top 1-6 Players
The Popular Play: Scottie Scheffler ()
When the stars align on the World No. 1 being both the defending champion and betting favorite, you can bet he’s going to be popular in pools. Scottie hasn’t skipped a beat since picking up his first career Major win at the 2022 Masters, as he’s added a pair of Designated event wins to his resume between the WM Phoenix Open and THE PLAYERS Championship already this year. His elite touch around the green and top-tier ball-striking form give Scheffler arguably the highest floor in this field.
The Pivot Play: Jon Rahm ()
You could go contrarian for the sake of being contrarian with Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, or Xander Schauffele in this tier, but picking Rahm over McIlroy and Scheffler is contrarian enough of a start. Rahm has four top-10 finishes over the last five years at The Masters, and there’s little doubt his elite driving and newfound putting form will translate to success this week.
Tier 2: Top 7-22 Players
The Popular Play: Justin Thomas ()
With options like Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, and Tony Finau in this tier, I don’t think there’s a pure chalk play, but in the pools format, I’d lean towards Justin Thomas being the consensus pick here, as he’s the biggest household name, has a respectable history at Augusta, and just picked up another Major victory at last year’s PGA Championship.
The Pivot Play: Will Zalatoris ()
This is a high-risk, high-reward play, but Zalatoris has proven worthy of a leap of faith in Majors, even when the immediate preceding form is in question. He’s had three consecutive disappointing starts before this week, but the short game has been all to blame. A T4 at the Genesis Invitational and finishes of secnd and T6 in his first two Masters trips still makes for a clear path to contention, despite his lack of popularity this week.
Tier 3: Top 23-54 Players
The Popular Play: Brooks Koepka ()
I personally will not be clicking Brooks’ name in any of my pools this week, but can understand some of the shockwaves his LIV Orlando victory last week may have sent. Like Zalatoris, Koepka raises his level of play in Major weeks, and is the type of player you can feel safe backing in difficult conditions, especially if we take him at his word that he is healthy once again.
The Pivot Play: Justin Rose ()
Justin Rose, on the other hand, is someone I will be backing with more conviction, as he’s the only player beyond Tier 3 who I would give a viable chance to win the 2023 Masters. Rose was a PGA TOUR winner five starts ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and proved that week was no fluke with another top-10 at THE PLAYERS Championship weeks ago. He’s finished runner up twice at The Masters since 2015, so it’s clear he knows how to navigate these grounds.
Tier 4: Top 55-75 Players
The Popular Play: Kurt Kitayama ()
This is another tier that lacks a standout consensus pick, but Kitayama is the one player who sticks out to me, having just taken down a loaded, Designated field event at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Although he’ll be making his Masters debut this week, he’s shown great promise on other long, driver-heavy courses, with driving distance being the strength of his game. He’ll be my bet to finish as top debutant this week.
The Pivot Play: Jason Kokrak ()
For a bit of a riskier play, you can always dive into the unknown of LIV golf form with Jason Kokrak. He’s been remarkably average since joining the LIV Tour last May, but has managed a top-25 finish in each of his full-field DP World Tour starts this year and finished an impressive T14 at the 2022 Masters.
Tier 5: Top 76+ Players
The Popular Play: Mito Pereira ()
Not a ton of viable options left in this range, so if you’re just going with the best talent available, I expect it would have to be Mito who commands the highest ownership among this tier. The Netflix Full Swing star gained notoriety after nearly winning the 2022 PGA Championship in his rookie season. That notoriety has dissipated since joining LIV, but he remains an elite ball striker who’s shown promise in difficult scoring conditions.
The Pivot Play: Adrian Meronk ()
Nobody is going to go out of their way to play Adrian Meronk in Masters pools, but the over-sized debutant from Poland stacks up with the right profile to attack Augusta National. He’s one of the longest drivers in this field and has been dominant on the DP World Tour with two wins already this season. His ability to contend consistently in Europe may give him a leg up to handle the stormy conditions ahead in Augusta.
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