This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Augusta National Golf Club - Par 72 - 7,475 yards
Field - 87 Entrants
Purse - $11M
Every year in April, the bleak realization of the end of March Madness is quickly terminated by a distinguished and unparalleled excitement for Masters Week. That sentiment is no different this time around despite rainy weather pounding Augusta National's hallowed grounds in the moments leading up to Thursday's first round. The azaleas will still be in full bloom as a concentrated collection of the world's best golfers clash on a demanding par-72 layout. An exclusive field of just 87 entrants features all 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking's top 50 golfers, and a mix of past champions, recent PGA Tour winners and a few lucky amateurs round out the crew. The low 50 and ties will make it through to the weekend, but iffy weather in the forecast could result in the alternative cut agenda of anyone within 10 shots of the lead getting the opportunity to advance past 36 holes. If the rain and wind remain tame, however, scoring opportunities should pick up with softer conditions allowing improved proximity numbers as players attack more accessible pins.
Key Stats to Victory
GIR percentage - Hitting greens at a respectable clip has been a tell-tale sign for success at a venue that annually gives up one of the worst GIR percentages on Tour, so players will be extra focused on their approach shots into the dance floor
Driving distance - Hitting fairways is relatively easy at Augusta and rain throughout the week will make it even less of a complicated task, but the course will consequently play longer than usual while par-5 scoring remains essential as well
SG: Tee-to-Green - The all-encompassing measure of both ball striking and wedge play around the greens is a general indicator of form heading into the Masters
SG: Putting - Undulations and speed provide a tricky test on the greens at Augusta, so three-putt avoidance also draws plenty of attention
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Dustin Johnson - $48
Johnson leads this week's field in SG: Total, SG: Approach and SG: Putting over his last 12 rounds, but he's also up to fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green and three-putt avoidance this season. He has finished top-10 in four consecutive stroke-play events and already owns two victories in 2019 at the Saudi International and WGC-Mexico Championship. The second-ranked player in the world has placed no worse than a T10 in his past three Masters appearances.
Rory McIlroy - $47
McIlroy has earned the top betting odds as he continues to pursue the Career Grand Slam with only a Green Jacket eluding his major championship chronicles. The recently crowned PLAYERS champion is on a special run with zero finishes outside the top 10 in seven starts to begin his 2019 campaign. McIlroy has gained an average of 10.1 strokes tee-to-green over his last five tournaments, which is flat-out unreal. There's simply nobody playing better in the world right now, and he's going to find himself in contention if the putter even somewhat cooperates.
Rickie Fowler - $43
Arguably the best golfer without a major championship to his resume, Fowler is now 30 years old and confident as ever in his chances to win this tournament. He leads the field in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds and harnesses both the creativity and poise to excel on Augusta's tough greens. Fowler prepared with extra tournament reps en route to a top-20 at the Valero Texas Open last week, where he ranked eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee and boosted his DFS scoring with a pair of eagles. At the 2018 Masters, Fowler paced the tourney in bogey avoidance and fell just one stroke shy of champion Patrick Reed.
Tommy Fleetwood - $38
Coming off back-to-back top-5s at THE PLAYERS Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, Fleetwood has risen to fourth in SG: Off-the-Tee and sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green on the PGA Tour. The Englishman also ranks fifth in scrambling and fourth in sand save percentage, so he should flirt with contention if he's able to perform with the flat stick. Three of Fleetwood's last four major championship appearances have resulted in a T17 or better.
Bubba Watson - $36
A two-time Masters champion, Watson's most recent showing at Augusta National included a T5 finish as he led the field in GIR percentage while also ranking top-3 in driving distance and fairways hit in 2018. He failed to advance out of pool play in his last start at the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship, but placed T4 the week prior at the Valspar Championship, where he finished third in SG: Off-the-Tee and second in scrambling. Watson has gained an average of 3.5 strokes off-the-tee in his last five starts and that power will certainly come into play again at Augusta.
Sergio Garcia - $33
Standing top-10 on Tour in SG: Approach, scoring average and three-putt avoidance, the 2017 Masters champion has also gained at least five strokes tee-to-green in three of five starts to begin 2019. Questions surround his ability around the greens, but Garcia has gained 2.9 or more strokes putting in three of his last four events to combat those issues.
Hideki Matsuyama - $33
Since 2014 only five players have gained more total strokes at Augusta than Hideki, who collected finishes of 19-T11-T7-5 in the past four editions of the Masters Tournament. He's now top-3 on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Approach and scrambling, but also silenced the doubters by gaining 2.7 strokes putting at THE PLAYERS.
Ian Poulter - $29
Poulter has been a DFS darling in 2019 with at least 20 par-breakers in four of five events that appeared in Yahoo contests from the Sentry Tournament of Champions to THE PLAYERS. He gained strokes tee-to-green and around-the-green in all five of those performances as well, but he will need to make strides with the putter, much like the aforementioned Matsuyama. Poulter ranks 16th in GIR percentage, 15th in total driving and 15th in par-5 scoring.
Si Woo Kim - $22
Kim, who has not lost strokes around-the-green since the 2018 BMW Championship, will have a chance to put his stellar short game on full display at Augusta National. The 23-year-old also gained an average of 4.2 strokes tee-to-green over his last five measurable starts, resulting in a trio of top-5s during this span. Kim ranks seventh on Tour in birdie average and has been a better putter on bentgrass – featured at Augusta – than bermuda or poa annua.
Keith Mitchell - $22
Speaking of poa annua greens, Mitchell will not have to deal with his arch nemesis in his Masters debut. The former University of Georgia standout is much more comfortable putting in the southeastern region of the U.S., and his length off the tee will certainly come in handy as well. Mitchell has gained strokes off-the-tee in every single one of his measured events this season, including the Honda Classic, which he won to gain entry into this week's event.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
Certainly steer clear of washed-up past champions and inexperienced amateurs this week, as a severe studs and duds approach brings in unnecessary risk when there's an abnormally good chance of advancing all six golfers in a lineup past the 36-hole cut. A couple of potential fades I'll be monitoring this week are Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele. The former has been dominant in major championships with wins in three of his last six appearances dating back to the 2017 U.S. Open, but he's clearly been affected by a significant weight cut in recent months as preparations for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue took precedence over his golf career. Schauffele, on the other hand, is simply overpriced on Yahoo compared to almost any other website. This is reflected by his betting odds, which land him behind less expensive names like Tony Finau and Paul Casey.