1 – The winning score
As of Monday, some of the regulars of the Augusta national GC pointed out his extremely firm character. Adam Scott even argued that the only time he had seen such a devious Augusta so early in the week was in 2007, when Zach Johnson was successful. During this very selective edition, the winner had won with +1 total. Can we imagine the same kind of test this year? FYI, over the last 10 editions, the winning average score is around -12. The weather will of course be an important factor to take into account in answering the riddle. Rain is forecast for Friday afternoon and Saturday.
2: Rory’s slam
He is the only player in the field who can complete his personal Grand Slam. Only Rory McIlroy lacks this Masters which has escaped him on several occasions. But 2021 may not yet be the year of deliverance … “Rors” himself said on Tuesday that he was starting a long journey with his new trainer, Pete Cowen, in search of a little swing. too disturbed by a search for ultra-power. However, it would be too simple to put aside such a talent who signed Top 10 in each of his last six appearances at Augusta (5th in 2020 after a 75 on the first day …)
3: The 15th in showtime mode
Considering the firmness of the Georgian layout, hole n ° 15 may (re) become a pretty monster. This par 5 which was violated last year with the very flexible conditions of November (2nd easiest hole with 4.6 average, 140 birdies and 14 eagles combined) will regain its superb. Attacking it in two shots will always be possible, but perhaps not strategically very recommended because stopping a long iron on this tile defended by a pretty lake will be quite an achievement.
4 : Cantlay, trop underdog ?
Patrick Cantlay, does that not speak to you? However, the American, 10th in the world, was in the game for a long time to win at Augusta in 2019 and has only signed one performance outside the Top 20 since the start of the year (cut missed at the Players). With his very complete and above all very discreet profile, Cantlay could come to everyone’s agreement this week if he manages to manage the pressure inherent in a first major title.
5: Perez always higher
Victor Perez is playing his second consecutive Masters. And if the Frenchman discovers the “real” face of Augusta, he is also surfing on a state of form which is always so regular and sparkling. Semi-finalist of the WGC match-play, Tarbais reached its best global ranking ahead of the first Major of the season (29th). He will be able to fully rely on the local knowledge of his co-driver JP Fitzgerald, who was supporting Rory McIlroy during some of his best performances at Augusta.
6: The impact of the public
OK, we are far from the usual gauges which see between 30 and 40,000 spectators walking the fairways of the Augusta National GC every day. If no official figure has been communicated by the men in the green jacket, it is estimated at several thousand the number of Patrons (the small name of the ticket holders there) having access to the holy of holies. Casually, their impact on the players was already audible: ” Hear the fan’s roars excites everyone, launched Bubba Watson earlier this week. It inspires, it makes you want to surpass yourself, to hit ever crazier blows. Hearing the roars brings out the best in us ».
7: DJ for the double
Since Tiger Woods in 2000-01, no one has managed to defend their Masters title. And casually, after his show of strength last year, Dustin Johnson seems able to achieve it. Obviously the conditions will not be the same, the record score of -20 will in all likelihood not be reached. It is true, for a few weeks, the state of form of the world n ° 1 is not sparkling: 54th of the WGC Workday, 48th of the Players, eliminated in the group stage in the match-play. Its driver also prevents it from fully expressing itself. But in Augusta, its power fade has already done wonders and the driving is clearly less important there. So…
8 : Game of Thrones
Speaking of planetary No. 1 throne, DJ’s throne hangs in the balance this week. And it is Justin Thomas who is able to bring down the Floridian stew! His lead has melted since JT’s big performances (victory in the Players in particular) and suddenly things are clear: if Justin Thomas puts on the green jacket and Johnson finishes beyond 21st place, he will lose control of the world golf.
9: Pas de baballe Augusta
In his traditional pre-tournament press conference, Augusta chairman Fred Ridley brushed aside the idea of a specific masters tournament ball. Faced with the constant debate on the ever greater distance that the players manage to reach clubs in hand, rumors swelled as to the adoption of a bridled ball only valid in the Georgian enclosure. ” It’s kind of a last resort in our eyes Ridley said before adding that he did not imagine extending his path to infinity.
10: Koepka and Rahm, weakened cadors?
Two heavyweights of world golf arrive in Augusta this year in strange states. One, Brooks Koepka has just returned from an operation on his right knee which requires him to adopt a spider man-type position to read the greens. The other, Jon Rahm, has just welcomed his first child (a son, named Kepa) and only arrived there on Wednesday morning with very little training in his paws. Both are not, however, to be scrapped too quickly … Rahm in particular arrives in a state of mind such as “nothing to lose, everything to gain”: ” I just had such a powerful moment. I just feel happy, I am delighted to be in Augusta and I am clearly getting there in a different state of mind. »Injured player, happy player = danger!