Using our FRACAS model, we look at the key 2024 Masters predictions ahead of the action at Augusta National Golf Club.

Hello, friends.

With spring’s arrival, all eyes have turned to Augusta National Golf Club for the 2024 Masters Tournament.

Since last year’s edition, more players have been signed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf, including the 2023 Masters champ Jon Rahm. With more of the top players on LIV’s rosters and no end to the PGA Tour-LIV fight in sight, having the world’s top players together is becoming a rare event.

Augusta National has featured no major changes since Rahm’s victory, and will be played at 7,555 yards. Weather was a factor in last year’s event, and we could see something similar this weekend with heavy storms on tap for Thursday’s opening round. Friday onwards looks like tremendous weather, if a bit breezy, so even if there are some first-round delays, it likely won’t be the waterlogged course it was at times last year.

If you’re new to Augusta National, or just want some advice on which part of the course to focus on, we recommend holes 12 through 16. Our excitement index for golf courses aims to quantify how important each shot is on each hole.

Using this metric, holes 12, 13, 15, and 16 are four of the five most important holes on the golf course. They’re the holes on the course where, historically, each shot has a greater impact on a player’s score than the other holes.

Holes 13 and 15 are the par 5s with the highest eagle rates on the course (3.24% and 2.76%, respectively), while also being the par 5s with the highest double-bogey or worse rates on the course (3.94% and 4.41%, respectively). 

Who Will Win the 2024 Masters? The FRACAS Picks

Our model had Rahm, the eventual winner a year ago, atop the 2023 Masters projections at 8.48%. After 100,000 simulations of the 2024 tournament, Scottie Scheffler sits atop our modeled win percentage at 8.76%.

Scheffler is an incredible ball-striking star who may be figuring out the short game and putter in time for golf’s biggest tournaments. Scheffler, who went back-to-back at The Players Championship last month at TPC Sawgrass, is No. 1 in our global FRACAS leaderboard in both current and long-term FRACAS.

He’s almost 0.3 strokes better per round than the next best (Rahm) in long-term FRACAS, but a full half-stroke better in current FRACAS. If Scheffler putts well this week, he has the best chance to win the green jacket.

masters favorites

Rahm, who has the second-highest win probability, has played just OK since his move to LIV and his current FRACAS (2.202) is a smidge lower than his long term FRACAS (2.225). Of the top players, the defending champion is the most exciting to watch (more on that in a bit), while also being among the most consistent golfers in the field. He hasn’t played in a non-LIV event since November of last year, so he comes in a bit of an unknown for the first time in a while.

Xander Schauffele has 11 top-10 finishes in major championships, but he has yet to get over the hump and actually win one. His form, though, has never been better than it is heading into this year’s Masters. He has six top-10s in eight tournaments to start 2024 and fits the Scheffler/Cantlay mold of being incredibly steady. Those two are the only golfers in the field with a higher projected cut percentage than Schauffele. He’s projected for the third-highest birdie or better rate in the field (22.06%) to go along with the eight-lowest double bogey or worse rate in the field (1.76%). He’ll probably need to be atop the leaderboard or within just a few strokes of the lead heading into the final day if he wants to win. He’s not a golfer who has a high variance in score outcomes.

Rory McIlory has been rather quiet heading into the 2024 Masters. Like Rahm, he’s a little below his baseline right now but remains one of the most boom-or-bust golfers in the game. Our model projects him for the fourth-highest birdie or better rate in the field (21.77%) while also projecting him to rank 69th in double bogey or worse. The big number has haunted McIlroy in the past, and 2023 showed how he can exit on Friday without so much as sniffing the cut line. On the other hand, he is so immensely talented that his variance can swing the other way, too.

Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay are mainstays atop major leaderboards these days, though neither have been able to pull off a victory yet. Both are good, steady golfers who will need four consistent rounds to have a chance this weekend. Cantlay, in particular, is the model of slow and steady. He’s projected for the lowest double or worse rate in the field (1.37%) and the highest par rate in the field (61.73%).

Joaquin Niemann received a special exemption into the Masters this year after four consecutive top-five finishes in non-LIV worldwide tournaments. He’s the hottest golfer in the top of the field, currently playing about 0.4 strokes above his long-term baseline. It’s hard to know what we’ll get from Niemann after such a strong offseason. His metrics bear some of that uncertainty, not really shining in any of the scoring projections we’ve referenced for the other golfers.

Wyndham Clark, Tyrrell Hatton and Russell Henley finish off the golfers with the 10 highest projected win rates. Clark, who is the golfer with the best-course fit in the field, enters the tournament 28th in the field in FRACAS, but he has the eighth-highest win percentage. The model sees something about the way the 2023 U.S. Open champ scores, the way Augusta asks a golfer to score, and finds a complete match. This will be his first Masters and history has not been kind to debutants at Augusta National, but our model thinks Clark will find the course to his liking.

highest chances of making the cut

What about Tiger Woods, you ask? Well, our supercomputer gives him a 34.3% chance of making the cut and a 0.6% chance of making history and matching Jack Nicklaus with his sixth Masters victory.

So Many Golfers, Who Should I Watch?

Masters coverage is the best coverage you’ll get all year. Viewers have the ability to watch featured groups, featured holes, sections of the golf course or really any golfer they want. Using our golf simulator and projected hole scoring, we can bucket groups of players into several types of viewing experiences.

The Roller Coasters

To find “roller coaster” players, we can look at how they rank in the field in projected birdie or better rate and projected non-par rate. Yes, there is some overlap between those two ideas, but it also encourages the ranking system to find better golfers.

Byeong Hun (Ben) An, Shane Lowry, Ludvig Aberg, Nick Taylor and Rahm headline this group. We mentioned the excitement level when it comes to Rahm earlier, and this is what we were referencing. Ben An is 38th in our projected win percentage but 15th in projected birdie or better rate. That means there are quite a few bogeys to counteract the birdies.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is always a fun watch, but so is Sweden’s debutant Ludvig Aberg. Aberg turned some heads during the 2023 Ryder Cup, and is another first timer the model likes to succeed.

  • Group 26: Adam Scott, Sam Burns, Cameron Young (Thursday 1:12 p.m. ET/Friday 10:06 a.m.)
  • Group 10: Russell Henley, Joaquin Niemann, Nick Taylor (9:48 a.m./1 p.m.)
  • Group 22: Akshay Bhatia, J.T. Poston, Shane Lowry (12:24 p.m./9:12 a.m.)

The Tortoises

Borrowing from The Tortoise and the Hare, the tortoises are great golfers who just hit smart golf shots. These players lead the field in projected par rate.

This group features Cantlay, Si Woo Kim, Tommy Fleetwood, Scheffler and Tony Finau. They hit the greens in regulation and two-putt for par. Kim has been known to truly blow up a hole on occasion, and when he does it’s a spectacular explosion, but those are rare and he’s an extremely steady golfer.

If you like thinking about golf in a risk-averse way (my brother is furiously nodding his head reading this), this is the group to watch. Brooks Koepka, last year’s runner-up with Phil Mickelson and the winner of the 2023 PGA Championship, is that second trio along with Open Championship winner Brian Harman.

  • Group 14: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele (10:42 a.m. ET/1:48 p.m.)
  • Group 28: Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, Tom Kim (1:36 p.m./10:30 a.m.)
  • Group 11: Patrick Cantlay, Min Woo Lee, Rickie Fowler (10:06 a.m./1:12 p.m.)

The Best of the Best

In this category we have the golfers who are probably the safest to watch if you want great, solid golf. This group is Scheffler, Rahm, Schauffele, Hovland, Henley and Jordan Spieth.

Rahm and Scheffler have already appeared in a group, but they’re clearly the best players in the world and show up on a lot of different leaderboards. The other four are just quality watches who will all likely turn in solid performances.

  • Group 14: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele (10:42 a.m. ET/1:48 p.m.)
  • Group 10: Russell Henley, Joaquin Niemann, Nick Taylor (9:48 a.m./1 p.m.)
  • Group 15: Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith (10:54 a.m./2 p.m.)

Masters 2024 Value Plays

Let’s look at the players who should be considered the best bets in terms of value plays in Georgia this weekend. Viktor Hovland is 40-1 in consensus Masters odds, but our FRACAS model puts him at 34-1.

Despite hovering around 75-1 in the consensus markets, Sam Burns should be considered at around 50-1. And J.T. Poston isn’t as big of a longshot as his 250-1 odds suggest — FRACAS puts him at just 78-1.

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