There are only a certain number of golfers who can win the 2019 Masters. Oh sure, any of the 86 participants could theoretically wear a green jacket on Sunday, but we can more or less eliminate the bottom fifth of the field, made up of amateurs, seniors and golfers who qualified but have no realistic chance of taking down Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in the same week.
From there, it gets tricky though. There’s a group of 20 ahead of these bottom 15 that are either good and slumping or consistent but (probably) can’t get hot enough to win. Then you have your middle 35 — the Jimmy Walkers and J.B. Holmeses of the world — that need an all-time week to take the title. This is capped off by the top 20, which is what I want to focus on today. It is this group from which the winner will most likely come.
Since I’ve been doing my ranking the field posts for CBS Sports, all five winners have come from inside my top 40 with three coming from inside my top 15. The point here is not that I’m good at picking Masters winners — trust me, I’m not — but rather that we don’t get many surprises at Augusta (or any of the majors).
- 2014: Bubba Watson (7th in my rankings)
- 2015: Jordan Spieth (3rd)
- 2016: Danny Willett (27th)
- 2017: Sergio Garcia (12th)
- 2018: Patrick Reed (38th)
So with that in mind, I’m going to mostly pull from the top 20 on my ranking the field list, which you will see on Tuesday, for the nine golfers from which the 2019 Masters champion is going to be drawn.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one billion times: He’s playing a par-68.5 course. That it makes it all the more disconcerting that he’s only shot better than 68 twice (a pair of 67s). Odds: 10-1
If there is a trend in golf or the Masters, it is converging on this week for McIlroy. Tops in strokes gained on the PGA Tour, four straight top 10s at Augusta. All he has to do is sometimes the most difficult thing to do — be Rory McIlroy. Odds: 8-1
Coming in quietly, but he’s one of just three golfers this year gaining over two strokes per round. He’s improved his finish here every year, and I’d expect him to do so again after finishing T17 in 2018. Odds: 14-1
You see a hot-headed Spaniard who doesn’t have to win a major championship until he starts controlling his temperature. I see one of the best ball-strikers alive who closed 68-65-69 in last year’s Masters to finish fourth. Odds: 16-1
Speaking of narrowly missing, we could be talking about all the orange-themed food Fowler is going to serve at this year’s Champions Dinner if one shot goes differently at last year’s Masters. He’s not been super consistent this season, but his highs have been high (win and T2), and that’s what he’s lacked at past majors. Odds: 18-1
He won’t make the top 25 on this list for the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Open, but Augusta is a playground for Watson, and he could become just the 10th golfer with three or more jackets. Odds: 25-1
I truly think he can win it this week. Last year? Probably not, but he’s played far better golf than people realize so far this season, and he’ll fall into that familiar tango with a course whose treasures he’s consistently unearthed. Odds: 12-1
Seven (!) top 15s in his last eight appearances here. Obviously, that runs out at some point, but I’d be a fool to not include him. Odds: 12-1
I believe him (although maybe I shouldn’t) when he says the 2018 Valspar win change him. Combine that with another one this year plus four straight top 15s here, and I’m (for better or worse) all the way in. Odds: 30-1
Check out the complete field with odds for all 87 players competing in the 2019 Masters.