Sobel’s 2021 Masters Betting Preview: Ranking Every Player in the Field at Augusta National

Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm

AUGUSTA, Ga. — You know the drill by now: I rank the entire Masters field, from 1 to 88, then you bookmark this page and tell me how wrong I was on Sunday evening. A tradition unlike any other, indeed.

As always, if I get ‘em all right, I walk off Costanza-style.

I’m not exactly holding my pimento cheese-scented breath waiting for it to happen, though.

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1. Jon Rahm

After his wife Kelley gave birth to the couple’s first child on Sunday, he now owns serious Danny Willett vibes, who had the same situation back in 2016. Add in recent form, course history and ball-striking and he checks every box.

2. Jordan Spieth

He’ll be riding down Magnolia Lane with more momentum than anyone. Expect a big week, but if you’re looking for a reason to not pick him, he’s been fighting the draw off the tee, obviously the preferred ball flight here.

3. Paul Casey

At 43, Casey might be playing the best golf of his career. He’s cashed top-five tickets in three of his last six worldwide starts, including a win in Dubai, which was a precursor to Masters success for Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia.

4. Justin Thomas

Only a month removed from his Players Championship victory, JT proved that his A-game is as good as anyone’s. If a similar ball-striking performance takes place this weekend, he might similarly emerge as a champion again.

5. Xander Schauffele

Full disclosure: When I arrived in Augusta, he was my pick to win. Schauffele is a big-game hunter who’s having the best ball-striking season of his career, but he’s struggled to close. Here’s hoping he figures it out this week.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele

6. Patrick Cantlay

Much like Schauffele, Cantlay is a guy who doesn’t wow anyone with length off the tee or his putting stroke. He just does everything well, which has translated into him becoming a major contender anytime he tees it up at one of ‘em.

7. Patrick Reed

The past champion everyone loves to hate comes into this week armed with perhaps the best short game around. His wedge work around the greens in vaunted and he currently leads the PGA TOUR this season in putting.

8. Jason Kokrak

The chalk stops here. Expect some surprises in the top-10, though Kokrak’s inclusion on the leaderboard would hardly count as one, considering he’s finished inside the top-10 in each of his last three stroke-play events.

9. Collin Morikawa

Elite ball-strikers tend to find success here — and Morikawa certainly qualifies. That alone should keep him in the mix this week; if he putts the way he did at The Concession (a big ask, admittedly), he could win.

10. Corey Conners

Consider the Canadian a chic dark-horse pick this week. He’s a tremendous iron player who’s been putting much better lately, with three finishes of 14th-or-better in his last three stroke-play starts.


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11. Brooks Koepka

Just a few weeks removed from knee surgery, many will doubt his ability to contend so quickly — which might be exactly what he wants. The four-time major winner seems to thrive with a chip on his shoulder.

12. Dustin Johnson

The defending champion obviously has the talent to be the first repeat champion since Tiger Woods in 2001 and ’02, but results of 28th-48th-54th in his last three starts are a bit disconcerting.

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13. Bryson DeChambeau

Few players in this field own as high of a ceiling, as he could potentially dominate like he did at Winged Foot, but his floor might also be as low as any of the game’s elite players, all of which makes him an intriguing X-factor.

14. Rory McIlroy

It’s gonna happen… someday. McIlroy will win a green jacket, the culmination of so many close calls and disappointments, joining golf’s most exclusive club. This week, though, doesn’t feel like that moment.

Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Webb Simpson

15. Webb Simpson

After seven straight starts to his Masters career that never peaked higher than a share of 20th place, Simpson has finished T-5 and T-10 the past two years, suggesting he might’ve figured something out around here.

16. Sergio Garcia

A conservative ranking here for Sergio? Maybe not. Since his Masters victory in 2017, he’s played in 13 major championships and made the cut only four times, with no top-10 finishes. Yikes.

17. Daniel Berger

18. Viktor Hovland

If it’s possible for a couple of players to invoke the revenge narrative against an entire club, then perhaps Berger and Hovland are more motivated than most, as a technicality kept them out of the November edition of this event.

19. Si Woo Kim

He won the Players Championship at the age of 21, but Si Woo has somewhat quietly matured into a consistent player who’s capable of contending on any given week. He’s finished between 21st and 34th here the past three years.

20. Will Zalatoris

Perhaps my favorite bet of this week is Zalatoris as low-debutant, although there are only five other Masters rookies in the field. Despite inexperience, he seems impervious to growing pains, like so many other young players.

21. Matt Fitzpatrick

22. Tony Finau

23. Tommy Fleetwood

24. Gary Woodland

25. Adam Scott

The past champion hasn’t posted anything better than a T-10 since his win last February at the Genesis Invitational, but that’s still an intriguing outright price for a guy capable of winning on any given week.

26. Cameron Smith

27. Scottie Scheffler

28. Matt Wallace

29. Abraham Ancer

30. Phil Mickelson

I spoke with Mickelson for Masters Radio on Tuesday afternoon and he told me that the physical part of his game feels great right now, but he just needs to avoid the mental errors which have plagued him recently.

pga championship-round 2-betting-picks-strokes gained-data-jason dayPhoto credit: Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Day.

31. Jason Day

32. Sungjae Im

33. Matt Kuchar

34. Lee Westwood

35. Bubba Watson

As a two-time champion, Bubba is always a threat to play well here, though he remains an all-or-nothing proposition, as a T-5 result in 2018 is his lone top-10 finish in nine other starts.

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36. Billy Horschel

37. Tyrrell Hatton

38. Ryan Palmer

39. Christiaan Bezuidenhout

40. a-Tyler Strafaci

Once again dipping into the category of “they can’t all be chalk,” the reigning U.S. Amateur champ has a great chance to be low-am this week – and remember, six amateurs have made the cut in the past two years.

41. Louis Oosthuizen

42. Lanto Griffin 

43. Joaquin Niemann

44. Max Homa

Hideki Matsuyama. Credit: Cliff Hawkins, Getty Images.

45. Hideki Matsuyama

Played the Valero Texas Open last week in an apparent last-ditch effort to find some semblance of a game before the year’s first major, but there still isn’t much of a suggestion that he’s ready to contend here.

46. Sebastian Munoz

47. Matthew Wolff

48. Robert Macintyre

49. Shane Lowry

50. Marc Leishman

A fast, firm golf course is usually Leishman’s jam, but his recent results don’t suggest that he’s ready to make a 2013-like run at this title. Even so, this has been a strong event for him in the past.

51. Harris English

52. Justin Rose

53. Kevin Kisner

54. Danny Willett

55. Victor Perez

It might not be this week, but the recent WGC-Match Play semifinalist has the type of game to start contending in major championships soon, though this will only be the fourth of his young career.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Champ

56. Cameron Champ

57. Brian Harman

58. Ian Poulter

59. Stewart Cink

60. Francesco Molinari

Perhaps scarred for a while after losing a back-nine lead at the 2019 Masters and eventually watching Tiger Woods claim the green jacket, Molinari has battled back to find his game this year.

61. Dylan Frittelli

62. Bernd Wiesberger

63. Kevin Na

64. Carlos Ortiz

65. C.T. Pan

A longshot of 1,000-to-1 prior to last November’s edition of this event, Pan finished an impressive T-7, proving that when his game is firing on all cylinders, he can hang with the big boys.

66. Zach Johnson

67. Matt Jones

68. Brendon Todd

69. Mackenzie Hughes

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Bernhard Langer

70. Bernhard Langer

A true marvel who keeps on keeping on. Starting at age 48, Langer missed the cut here in six straight starts. He’s now 63 and has made the cut in three straight, including a T-29 last year.

71. Jimmy Walker

72. Michael Thompson

73. Martin Laird

74. Fred Couples

75. Charl Schwartzel

We tend to best remember the major championship triumphs of the biggest stars, but Schwartzel’s win a decade ago was the stuff of legend, as he birdied the last four holes to stave off some big-name competition.

76. Henrik Stenson

77. Brian Gay

78. Hudson Swafford

79. Robert Streb

80. Mike Weir

81. Vijay Singh

82. Jim Herman

83. a-Joe Long

84. a-Charles Osborne

85. Jose Maria Olazabal

86. Sandy Lyle

87. Larry Mize

88. Ian Woosnam

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