One more sleep!
As is customary at the Masters, pairings for Thursday and Friday hit the presses on Tuesday morning. Typically, the green jackets stay away from powerhouse groups of three big names. Most of the threesomes in this year’s tournament follow that format, but there are a few that stick out.
9:48 a.m. ET – H. Matsuyama/H. English/A. Ancer – All three of these players have potential to be under-the-radar contenders, Matsuyama especially. The ball-striking extraordinaire has a strong history at the Masters, but he has been held back by a wobbly flatstick.
10:06 a.m. ET – B. Watson/B. Koepka/V. Hovland (Featured Group on Thursday) – Talk about an entertaining featured group. No one knows what to expect out of Koepka’s knee; just look at the way he’s reading putts. Then again, he’s heard our doubts and yours, so he could very well go out and shoot 65 on Thursday. As for Young Hov, he was low amateur in 2019 but has yet to play in the Masters as a professional, and Bubba could either win his third green jacket or miss the cut.
10:30 a.m. ET – D. Johnson/L. Westwood/T. Strafaci (a) (Featured Group on Thursday) – You’d be hard-pressed to find a more mellow crew in the tournament, but something to watch for will be the pace-of-play difference between DJ and Strafaci. Tee to green, Johnson is one of the quickest players on the PGA Tour, whereas Strafaci showed some slowish tendencies in his victorious campaign at last year’s U.S. Amateur.
10:42 a.m. ET – X. Schauffele/J. Rahm/R. McIlroy – Well, Mr. Ridley, this looks an awful lot like a supergroup! Schauffele, Rahm, and McIlroy are all in the top 12 of the Official World Golf Ranking, and any of them would make a sensible pick to win. Yet all three have something to prove this week: Xander and Rahm are both searching for their first major titles, and Rory is looking to find his form and vanquish his Masters demons.
1:24 p.m. ET – P. Cantlay/S. Im/M. Fitzpatrick – All fashionable “dark horse” picks this week, this trio has a better OWGR résumé than you might think: Cantlay, Im, and Fitzy are all in the top 20 in the world.
1:36 p.m. ET – A. Scott/B. DeChambeau/M. Homa – A former champ, a circus act who’s also a major winner, and a second-time participant with the skills to contend. Obviously all eyes will be on DeChambeau as he takes his mighty lashes, but don’t count out his playing partners.
1:48 p.m. ET – T. Finau/L. Oosthuizen/J. Thomas (Featured Group on Thursday) – You just expect to see these names on the first page of the leaderboard. JT can obviously make noise anywhere and has improved with every appearance at the Masters, Finau made the final group in 2019 and has played extremely well this spring, and Oosty just knows how to hang around on a major-championship weekend.
2:00 p.m. ET – J. Spieth/C. Smith/C. Morikawa (Featured Group on Thursday) – The man everyone wants to see this weekend gets the final tee time alongside Cameron Smith and Collin Morikawa. Smith’s strong outing last year has many expecting big things from him this time around, and if Morikawa gets his putter under control, he’ll almost certainly have a great week.
How to practice in order to play in the Masters
So far in 2021, you haven’t practiced as much as you said you would. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. You’ll never qualify for the Masters without any follow-through! Fortunately, Golf Blueprint is here to help. Developed by University of Georgia professor Kevin Moore and doctoral student Nico Darras, Golf Blueprint teaches you how to practice. Using information provided by students and its own algorithms, Golf Blueprint can tailor practice schedules to any player.
New to Golf Blueprint this spring are additional ways to transmit your practice-session data, challenges in which Golf Blueprint members can compete against each other, exclusive Instagram content for members, and more. Whether you’re looking for a six-month program or prefer to start on a month-to-month basis, Golf Blueprint has a package for you. Plus, you will automatically save 15% on a six-month package if you purchase during Masters week!
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Paulie’s Picks: 2021 Masters – There is a lot of advice floating around this week, but there’s only one Paulie. See who he likes for one-and-done leagues and DraftKings!
Geoff Ogilvy’s Notes on Augusta National – Compiled from our 2019 podcast with the U.S. Open champion and eight-time Masters contestant, these insights into every hole at Augusta National will allow you to appreciate this year’s tournament on another level.
The Fried Egg Podcast: Five Things about the Masters with Shane Bacon
Golf Channel host Shane Bacon joins Andy Johnson to discuss the upcoming Masters Tournament. Shane and Andy each run through five things they’re looking forward to seeing at Augusta National this week. They touch on Jordan Spieth’s reemergence, Rory McIlroy’s struggles, and the predictive power of name length, among other topics. On most weeks, you can catch Shane on Golf Today, the Golf Channel show he co-hosts with Damon Hack, and Get a Grip, his podcast with PGA Tour pro Max Homa. This week, you can watch Shane not only on Golf Channel’s Live from the Masters broadcast but also on Masters.com coverage of the tournament. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start… will be a midday release today in order to give Andy time to recover from what will (hopefully!) be a brief illness. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Tuesday of Masters week is a busy day in the media center. Lots of big names paid a visit yesterday, some providing more insight than others. Here are a few of our favorite quotes:
Phil Mickelson: “I would say for the last decade, the greens here are in the top 25 percent of softest we play on [the PGA Tour]. When the greens are firm, the precision, the course management, the angles, the leave where the ball is left, all of this stuff becomes incredibly important in your ability to play this course effectively. So if it’s firm, I think it’s going to be a real test.”
Patrick Cantlay: “I think of [Augusta National] as a series of red, yellow, and green lights. Not as many yellow as red and green. When you do get a red hole location, like the back-left hole location on the 6th hole, guys just aren’t making birdie [to that pin], especially if it’s firm. So it frees yourself up to hit it to the bottom-left section and leave yourself a 35- or 40-footer up the hill. That would be a situation where you’re leaving yourself in the correct spot where maybe you make a 40-footer, but knowing that you’re trying to hit it to 40 feet because that’s what the hole requires almost frees you up.”
Rory McIlroy, discussing a conversation with Tiger Woods: “So I went over to Tiger’s house a few weeks ago to see him, and in his family room he’s got his trophy cabinet and it’s his 15 major trophies. I said, ‘That’s really cool. Where are the others?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I go, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yeah. My mom has some, and a few are in the office and a few are wherever.’ That’s all he cared about. So how easy must it have been for him to win the others?”
Justin Thomas, referring to the soft setup last November: “It was obviously the same golf course tee to green, but it was a different golf course at the same time. Any memory that you had you almost had to throw it out the window because chips and putts reacted differently.”
Bryson DeChambeau: “On [No. 5], I’m hitting it over the bunkers. I did that yesterday into the wind so that gives me a lot of confidence that I can do that on a windy day.”
Dustin Johnson on how old he’ll be when he stops playing the Masters: “Until I don’t feel like I have a chance to win. I don’t know. I have no clue. I don’t know how long I’m going to play golf.”
Friend of the program Justin Ray put together a wonderful series of Masters facts early this week. Scroll his Twitter feed for Masters trivia, advice for betting, and more.
In case you haven’t yet seen Bryson swinging like the Tasmanian Devil on the Augusta National range…
Nothing gets you in the golfing mood like Masters week. Make sure you’re ready to hit the links with a Fried Egg Sport Polo from B. Draddy. Get yours today!