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Predicting What is Going to Happen at The Masters in 2024

By: | Tue 09 Apr 2024

It's sure to be another fascinating week as the world's best golfers assemble at Augusta National for the 88th Masters Tournament, where Jon Rahm returns as the defending champion. Whether the Spaniard can repeat is just one of many compelling questions this week as many eyes will be on the formidable Scottie Scheffler, while the saga that is Rory McIlroy's quest for the career grand slam is always one of the main storylines.

But what is going to happen? Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook has challenged me to make a series of predictions for this year's Masters in a battle to see whose crystal ball is the most accurate.

Who is Going to Win? 

Matt: "Another prediction article, another mention for Scottie Scheffler. I know it's a boring prediction, but given his run of form, not even the most recent, but over the last 18 months or so, it's hard to look past the unbalanced flusher. My heart, however, still says Rory McIlroy. But unsure that his current form will render a run come Sunday evening."

Kieran: "There is no doubt that Scheffler is a strong favourite, but I'm going to favour another recent champion, Hideki Matsuyama, who has consistently played solidly at Augusta and has been in strong form lately, including a victory at Riviera. The Japanese star might well repeat his triumph of 2021."

Top Englishman?

Matt: "Given that there are currently only five to pick from - including previous champion Danny Willett - my gut would normally lean towards Tyrrell Hatton. But given his move to LIV, and being unaware of his recent form, I'm going to go with the evergreen Justin Rose. With his previous results around Augusta National, he could well be top Englishman come Sunday evening as experience will be key."

Kieran: "Matt Fitzpatrick has a solidly consistent record at Augusta National and he's played well lately, including a fifth place at The Players Championship. While I don't think the man from Sheffield will ultimately win the Masters this year, I do see him having another strong week as we enter major season."

Best Former Masters Champion?

Matt: "Well, given that I am predicting Sheffler to win as a past champion, I'll have another pick. Back in 2021, Hideki Matsuyama was incredibly impressive in his victory, and has been playing well of late. His record at Augusta is also pretty impressive so I wouldn't look far past him to be in the mix come Sunday evening." 

Kieran: "Having picked Matsuyama to secure a second major title, like Matt, I will select another Masters champion to have a good run - and it has to be Jon Rahm. It's a rare thing to successfully defend here (only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have done it) - but you cannot dismiss what the Basque golfer can do and I think he'll be somewhere in the mix over the weekend."

Best Golfer Over 50?

Matt: "Not too much to go at here. So a fairly easy pick with Phil Mickleson. Wouldn't bet against him to show up on the big stage."

Kieran: "Mickelson is the obvious and likely winner here, but last year, Fred Couples made history by becoming the oldest golfer to make the cut in the Masters. Who says he can't do it again? I'm a believer."

Where Will Rory McIlroy Finish?

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Matt: "Ideally he will be wearing a Green Jacket come Sunday evening. But my head says it will be a typical Rory backdoor top 10 with three decent rounds under his belt."

Kieran: "Ultimately, if I had magical powers and could grant someone a Masters title, it would be Rory McIlroy, but I just don't think this will be the year for him. His iron play was greatly improved at the Texas Open last weekend, which bodes well for Augusta, but like Matt, I see him coming up a little short in 2024, but not without a glimmer of hope. I would love to see it happen."

Pick 3 Golfers Outside The World's Top 25 We Need to Watch

Matt: "Funny one this time round, given that the OWGR seem to not stand for much. But Tony Finau will be top of my list for this category. Secondly, Will Zalatoris has shown some good form following his return from injury and should be one to watch and I'd also like to see Min Woo Lee go well after his stunning back nine a few years ago. Clearly knows how to get the ball into the hole around Augusta."

Kieran: "As Matt describes, the OWGR has been compromised by the fact that LIV golfers aren't earning points, which means I can be a little sneaky with these picks. And I'm going to select a trio of major champions from the alternative circuit, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson. Surely, at least one of them will be in the final few pairings on Sunday."

Winning Score?

Matt: "Without diving into weather forecast and conditions, etc, I expect the winning score to be around the -12 mark."

Kieran: "Doing my research into those conditions, it's set to be wet and breezy on Thursday, but perfect beyond that, especially over the weekend when the wind is scheduled to drop entirely. Therefore, scoring should be good, and I'm going to edge for -14 being the number to reach."

Leading Amateur?

Matt: "Looking at the five in the field, Stewart Hagestad is the name that jumps out at me. His six previous rounds at Augusta will stand him in good stead." 

Kieran: "Hagestad is a smart choice, but for variety, I'm going for the giant South African, Christo Lamprecht, who was the leading amateur at The Open in 2023 and has plenty of power, if not always the direction. That should make him fun to watch this week."

Top LIV Golfer?

Matt: "It's a toss up between Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm, but I'm probably edging towards Cam Smith as his recent record at The Masters is pretty good."

Kieran: "I've already snunk in Koepka, Smith and Dustin Johnson elsewhere, so I'm going to strategically pick Joaquin Niemann, who has played fabulously in recent months and fully merited his special invitation to the Masters."

Who Will Finish Top Rookie?

Matt: "I really fancy Ludvig Aberg for this accolade. The guy didn't wilt under the pressure of the Ryder Cup and even though he doesn't have prior experience around Augusta, he is probably best placed to finish highest of all the rookies this year!"

Kieran: "There is a really strong group of debutants this year and Wyndham Clark is the clear standout in my mind, considering he's proven his major credentials by winning the US Open and recently finishing in a tie for second at Sawgrass. If we're going to see a rookie succeed in the face of history, then it could be the American."

Where Will Tiger Woods Finish?

Matt: "Sorry to say this, and it really does pain me. But the undulations we know all too well at Augusta will just be too much for Tiger to cope with physically. I can hardly even type this - but it will be a sad missed cut for the GOAT."

Kieran: "Tiger Woods has never missed the cut at the Masters as a professional. He's made the weekend in 23 consecutive appearances and I believe he will still find a way to keep that record going. Given his lack of competition and injury struggles, I wouldn't say that about any other player, but Tiger has a unique ability to defy reality and he will do so again."

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Tags: the masters Masters Golf Previews daily picks Augusta National

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