2020 Masters favorites, predictions: Ranking the field from 1-92 at Augusta National

It’s that time again — time to rank the entire field of 2020 Masters participants from 1-92. There’s a newcomer at the top of this year’s this year as U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau climbs to No. 1 as the most likely to win the 2020 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. DeChambeau is not only the favorite, he plans to set a new scoring record at Augusta. Whether that will happen definitely remains to be seen.

DeChambeau being the favorite, according to William Hill Sportsbook, does not mean that he will win, of course, or that he’s even my pick to win (he’s not). It’s just that I have him as the most likely candidate to put on a green jacket.

This list was interesting to create. It feels like the top 20 and bottom 20 are always pretty easy but that middle 50 is a bit of a mess. I found myself trying to rank everyone in that group at No. 47. In the end, I gave weight to both past performance at Augusta and also recent form but also other things like experience, major performances this year and how current conditions might affect what players do at the course this week.

Here’s the list from most able to win the Masters to the least. From 1-92.

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2020 Masters field, ranked

1. Bryson DeChambeau (T21 in 2016): It feels … odd to have somebody whose best finish at the Masters came when he was still an amateur, but that’s how much DeChambeau has transformed his body and his game over the last year. He’s going to have some absolutely astonishing distances into some of these greens. This doesn’t guarantee Bryson will win, of course, but it does guarantee that he’s simply the most likely to do so.

2. Jon Rahm (4th in 2018): He has to win here at some point, right? He has every tool you need to be great at Augusta National, an underrated short game and wins on big-time courses all over the world. It feels … somewhat inevitable. Of course, that’s probably also what somebody wrote about Greg Norman and Ernie Els at one point.

3. Dustin Johnson (T2 in 2019): Played the par 5s in 12 under last year and everything else in even par. He played them in 10 under the year before, and in 2015 he played them in 14 under (!) but somehow did not win (despite making three eagles in Round 2 that year). This is the formula for him (and many of the other longer hitters in the field). Strangely (or maybe not, given his major championship history), it’s never really felt like D.J. has been in this tournament late on a Sunday. Even last year when he played the final 6 in 4 under, everybody was focused on Tiger, who never gave up the lead. On the bigger picture, winning Oakmont and Augusta sure feels a lot different legacy-wise than just Oakmont.

4. Justin Thomas (T12 in 2019): On paper, this seems like a place where J.T. should thrive. He’s an elite iron player — maybe the best iron player in the world — and elite iron players have been rewarded with green jackets in recent years. Off paper, Thomas has not yet finished in the top 10 here, although he has improved each year he’s been and never missed a cut. His lone deficiency at times — getting wild off the tee — doesn’t matter as much at Augusta National as it does other places. He’ll legit contend for one of these a handful of times, and likely soon. The necessity for a great short game, like Rory McIlroy recently mentioned, should benefit him. 

5. Collin Morikawa: For three straight years, he has averaged 1 stroke gained per round on approach shots. Legitimately might be the best iron player on the planet. Also gets my vote for the player most people watching the Masters have never heard of but will immediately get behind if he’s near the lead at any point this week. Morikawa is playing his first Masters.

6. Rory McIlroy (4th in 2015): Though I would love to buy the November Masters idea with no patrons and the lack of hype for McIlroy, I cannot bring myself to do so. A version of that has been sold too many times, not by McIlroy but by the rest of the golf world. He might win the Masters at some point — I hope for both my writing sake and the broader golf world’s that he does — but the longer the career slam goes, the more difficult it gets mentally. The other (perhaps more troubling) part is that he’s not hitting his irons particularly well right now (though he did pop in his last two rounds at the Zozo Championship), which is his most likely path to victory. Who knows, though. If he’s able to flip a switch like he has so many times before, the entire thing will be a (very, very enjoyable) show.

7. Xander Schauffele (T2 in 2019): The burden of excellence is that we being to judge the non-wins. Schauffele is beginning to enter that “Wait, why has he not won one of these things yet?” territory.

8. Matthew Wolff: I’m all in. Wolff is the first golfer to finish top four in each of his first two majors (PGA Championship and U.S. Open) in 140 years. The only thing that concerns me is a fairly mediocre short game, though that didn’t seem to be an issue at either TPC Harding Park or Winged Foot. We are a few made putts from Wolff on the back nine at the PGA and an absolute meltdown from DeChambeau at the U.S. Open from Wolff going for the covid slam this year at Augusta National. People forget this. He’s also making his Masters debut.

9. Tony Finau (T5 in 2019): It’s such a great spot for him, and Finau has been terrific at majors over the course of his career. He has eight top-10 finishes in 17 starts and has top 10s at his only two appearances at the Masters. The only argument against him is a key one. He doesn’t win. He’s only won one time in his PGA Tour career, and it came at an opposite-field event. There’s a case to be made that he’s the best golfer of all time without a regular PGA Tour win. While that may be true, it’s equally true that this means it’s unlikely that his first will come at the Masters.

10. Brooks Koepka (T2 in 2019): Koepka was one (ill-timed) swing in 2019 from winning a green jacket. Unfortunately for him, the last 18 months have not gone all that well as his body has been riddled with injury and his game has been a bit of a mess. He does have a top 30 and a top 10 in his last two starts heading into this week, but if he didn’t already have four major wins in the bag, he would not be this high on my list.

11. Adam Scott (Won in 2013): Won to end 2019 and in his first start of 2020 but does not have a top 10 since. Also has not played very much and recently had to miss more time because of a positive COVID-19 test. A tour de force at majors. More than twice as many top 10s (15) at majors than missed cuts (six) since 2010.

12. Webb Simpson (T5 in 2019): He’s relentless from the fairway in, maybe the best in the world after the tee shot. This has never really been a place he’s thrived, though last year he had the quietest top five in the history of the event.

13. Patrick Reed (Won in 2018): It’s easy to dislike Reed and some of his antics, but the game (especially his short game) is a hell of a thing to watch when he’s feeling good. T13 at both of the first two majors of the year.

14. Louis Oosthuizen (2nd in 2012): I think it’s a little odd that we praise Oosthuizen for the same thing we crush guys like D.J. for (being in contention but rarely winning). Regardless, Oosthuizen is seven swings from having five majors (and the career slam and two Opens at St. Andrews).

15. Patrick Cantlay (T9 in 2019): Cantlay flirting holding the 2019 lead in the final round feels like it happened 11 years ago. His game has been in a bit in neutral since the return to golf in June, but he has both the tee-to-green credentials as well as the pedigree to win at Augusta National. Interestingly, this will be just his fourth appearance here. One incredible note about his T9 last year is that he lost strokes to the field in each of the first two rounds. 

16. Jason Day (T2 in 2011): He has a top 10 at a major in seven of the last eight years (including this one). His golf has been pretty good over the last few months, but his iron play has been subpar even for Day, who has traditionally never been an elite iron player. Day finished second in putting in last year’s Masters (to Rickie Fowler) and a quiet (stealthy!) T5 on the final leaderboard.

17. Tyrrell Hatton (T44 in 2018): Hatton is playing the best golf of his life and has as many worldwide wins in the last 12 months as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele combined.

18. Hideki Matsuyama (5th in 2015): Has a slightly better scoring average at Augusta than Jack Nicklaus, and yet I’ve never come into a week thinking, “Hideki is going to win the Masters this week.”

19. Bubba Watson (Won in 2012, 2014): I’m not as bullish on Bubba as some. He’s played better of late, but part of that is because we’re comparing him to himself from the past three years. If you compare him to himself from 2012 and 2014 when he won this tournament, he still a ways off.

20. Tommy Fleetwood (T17 in 2018): I love Fleetwood, but has not been trending in the right direction from tee to green. Since hitting that shot in the water on the 72nd hole of the Honda Classic, Fleetwood’s best finish on the PGA Tour is a T29 at the PGA Championship. Normally, Augusta is not the place to find something in that part of your game. I think he’s maybe helped if conditions are cold, windy and wet. 

21. Justin Rose (2nd in 2017): Statistically, the game is as bad as it has been since 2009, but Rose’s history at this course is excellent. I don’t think he has what it takes to win this year based on how he’s been playing, but I would not be surprised if he summoned something when it feels like there’s nothing there.

22. Lee Westwood (2nd in 2010): Maybe the best golfer of all time without a major win. Westwood has 19 (!) top 10s at majors. My favorite what if ever is, what if Danny Willett’s baby had not been born early in 2016 and Westwood ended the event tied with Jordan Spieth? 

23. Tiger Woods (Won in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019): There is a potential path to Tiger winning again, but it’s a convoluted one. It likely involves beneficial weather, a meltdown at the top of the leaderboard and Woods par-ing his way through the weekend to another green jacket. Nothing about Tiger’s last 19 months since winning this tournament suggest that he will win it again. And that’s OK.

24. Paul Casey (T4 in 2016): Casey is the lesser Justin Rose at Augusta National. He’s played in 13 Masters and finished in the top 25 an astounding eight times with five top-10 finishes. There’s a little Dustin Johnson in there of, “Have you ever truly been in contention?” but it’s still an impressive resume. On the downside, Casey is playing some of his worst golf in five years. It’s still pretty solid golf, but certainly not up to his standards.

25. Scottie Scheffler (N/A): There are three first-time players who could legitimately win this year’s event. Morikawa and Wolff rank ahead of Scheffler, but Scheffler played behind both of them in the final pairing at the PGA Championship earlier this year.

26. Matthew Fitzpatrick (T7 in 2016): He might be the best putter in the world right now, but that’s unfortunately not how you wear a green jacket. His only top 10 at a major came at the 2016 Masters that Danny Willett won. (Fun fact: three Englishmen, including those two and Paul Casey, shot round-of-the-day 67s that Sunday).

27. Sungjae Im: If you got him at 80-1 or something like that in January, you were feeling great when he won the Honda Classic in February. However, his restart has not gone great entering his first Masters. Difficult to see a first-timer who does not necessarily hit elite approach shots winning this tournament.

28. Rickie Fowler (2nd in 2018): Fowler is pretty easily in the top 10 all-time in Masters scoring and has finished in the top 12 here in five of the last six years. If his tee-to-green game was not trending down like it has been, he would be in the top 15 or top 10 here.

29. Jordan Spieth (Won in 2015): It hasn’t been pretty, but I do still kind of believe in him at Augusta National. Even through a bumpy last few years, he’s still never finished worse than T21 here and is the all-time leader in strokes gained per round. Him exiting the abyss at Augusta National would be pretty spectacular.

30. Cameron Champ: Champ has maybe my favorite trajectory off the tee of anyone on the PGA Tour. I’m not sure if it’s the best for Augusta National because he likes to hit it so low and a higher ball flight is probably preferable there, but when you gain 0.7 strokes off the tee every round in every season, you’re probably going to have a chance in your first Masters.

31. Phil Mickelson (Won in 2004, 2006, 2010): Maybe the player in the field whose name least matches his current game.

32. Ian Poulter (T6 in 2015): I might be alone here, but I think it would be kind of great if Poulter won the Masters, got to pick a Champions Dinner and was able to come back every year for the next quarter-century.

33. Matt Kuchar (T3 in 2012): Kuchar has just one top 10 on the PGA Tour since last year’s Canadian Open. He crushes at Augusta National, though. Five top 12s in his last eight starts with only one missed cut ever (2002).

34. Kevin Kisner (T21 in 2019): He’s never missed a cut here but also never contended. Kisner (160th in driving distance) downing guys like DeChambeau, McIlroy and Johnson at a place where that skill is so important would be an unfathomable upset.

35. Kevin Na (T12 in 2012, 2015): I’m not sure I would make it, but I think you could make the case that Kevin Na is the most underrated player in the field.

36. Cameron Smith (T5 in 2018): Though I know he hasn’t, it still feels like he’s contended in about six of these. Solid game across the board even if the driver lacks some pop.

37. Francesco Molinari (T5 in 2019): Poor Francesco has to return to the scene of Tiger’s 2019 crime.

38. Gary Woodland (T24 in 2011): I would not have thought that Woodland’s best finish at the Masters came nine years ago nor that it was outside the top 20, but it’s true. He’s currently in the middle of one of the worst driving slump of his career, which does not scream, green jacket.

39. Erik Van Rooyen: Underrated South African probably won’t win in his first, but I would not be surprised if he contended. Great tee-to-green game and probably a touch underrated.

40. Bernd Wiesberger (T22): He has never missed a cut at the Masters but also never finished in the top 10 at a major championship. Probably not quite as good as his top-40 ranking would suggest, but the ball-striking has been really good over the last three months.

41. Jason Kokrak: Elite driver of the ball so he could at least make some noise, but I’m not sure the rest of his game will stand up. Remember, the champion at Augusta has been the best iron player (or close to it) in each of the last five majors. That won’t necessarily apply to this year, but Kokrak’s game outside of the driver leaves something to be desired.

42. Shane Lowry (T39 in 2016): Says he’s never come to Augusta with form, which his career finishes (three missed cuts and a T39) would indicate is true.

43. Si Woo Kim (T21 in 2019): I’m a believer in the talent, but he still doesn’t have a top 10 at a major. Kim is on a stretch of some of the best golf of his career and is sneaky young (Champ is older than him, for example).

44. Corey Conners (T46 in 2019): He hit the ball well off the tee last year but did not hit his irons very well (which is normally a bedrock for him). I’m just not sure the putter is good enough regardless, but he’s a nice top-20 or top-10 play based on his tee-to-green game alone.

45. Zach Johnson (Won in 2007): Johnson finished T8 at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot (which was incredible), and that was his first top 10 at a major in four years. Unless the weather is extremely wild (like in 2007 when he won), he likely won’t have the juice to contend here. That win is one of just two top 10s he has at the Masters.

46. Danny Willett (Won in 2016): He has not shot a round of par or better since winning in 2016.

47. Ben An (T33 in 2017): Only six golfers have won the U.S. Amateur and the Masters (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Mark O’Meara, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer). An (or Bryson DeChambeau or several others) could make it No. 7.

48. Marc Leishman (T4 in 2013): He’s interesting because he has no form but he does seem to play pretty well at Augusta National.

49. Billy Horschel (T17 in 2016): It feels like Horschel gets forgotten about a bit in the broader golf conversation even though he pretty consistently plays at a top-25 or top-30 level. His only top 10 at a major as a professional came in his first start at a major as a professional.

50. Rafa Cabrera Bello (T17 in 2016): I like Cabrera Bello as a player, but he’s only cracked 70 twice at Augusta National.

51. Brandt Snedeker (T3 in 2008): Good player who’s gotten a bit lost over the past few years with all the talk about distance as his tee-to-green game has fallen. Still, he’s been in the fire there and has three top 10s in his career at Augusta National.

52. Henrik Stenson (T5 in 2018): Stenson has only played 11 times in 2020 and not very well in any of those events. He’s made just six cuts and is 0-for-2 in making cuts at the majors.

53. Sebastian Munoz: Pretty awesome 14-month stretch for Munoz, who won, made it to the Tour Championship and is coming in off of consecutive top 20s at big-money events into his first Masters.

54. Charles Howell III (T13 in 2004): There is nobody in the field for whom a green jacket would mean more. This will be Howell’s 50th major. I can’t imagine there are a lot of players in the field who have played in more than that.

55. Matt Wallace (MC in 2019): Would not want to face him in a Ryder Cup but would not mind facing him in a Masters. Good player who does not have the iron game to contend at Augusta National.

56. Charl Schwartzel (Won in 2011): Bizarre run for him in which he’s missed three of four cuts but the other performance was a third-place finish in 2017.

57. Abraham Ancer: Players over whom Ancer has a better strokes-gained number than over the last 12 months include Fleetwood, Fowler, Finau and … Woods. Will that be enough in his first shot at the Masters?

58. Chez Reavie (53rd in 2018): Good iron player, and nobody gets more out of his game. Him trading tobacco brands with Koepka on the back nine of last year’s U.S. Open remains a personal favorite moment.

59. Justin Harding (T12): Tied Justin Thomas for low Justin in 2019. You could have won some absolute cash by betting him against Thomas and Rose as low Justin.

60. Lucas Glover (T20 in 2007): Glover has just two top-10 finishes at major championships, but one of them is a win (2009 U.S. Open). His last top 10 anywhere came in October … 2019.

61. Lanto Griffin: It’s just difficult for me to look at the glut of superstars in golf and say, You know what, I think Lanto Griffin is going to be your Masters champion in his first appearance.

62. Adam Hadwin (T24 in 2018): Neither the top Adam nor the top Canadian in the field.

63. Christiaan Bezuidenhout: Smooth-swinging 26-year-old ingested rat poison as a toddler (which led to an unfortunate nine-month drug ban as an amateur nearly 20 years later). He’s earned his way into the top 60 in the world, though, and has a great iron game. Playing just his fourth major and first Masters.

64. Victor Perez: Low-key stud on the European Tour who just finished runner-up at the BMW Championship. Good experience at the Masters for the first time (and other majors) will benefit him when he’s on next year’s Ryder Cup team.

65. Jimmy Walker (T8 in 2014): Would you believe that Walker has played in 28 straight major championships? He’s missed the cut at his last four, though, and doesn’t have a single top 10 since winning the 2016 PGA Championship.

66. Andrew Landry (T46 in 2019): He has one top 10 in 2020. It was a win. That’s how you do it.

67. Brendon Todd (Cut in 2015): Todd is a cool story — him simply contending on the PGA Tour is awesome — but it’s difficult to see his path to victory given how average he is from tee to green.

68. Dylan Frittelli (MC in 2018): In the last 12 Masters, two South Africans have slipped on the green jacket (only one did it from 1934-2007). Frittelli is unlikely to make it a third.  

69. Nick Taylor: He’s essentially tour average at everything, which is not going to do it at Augusta as a first-timer.

70. Max Homa: Golf Twitter would melt if he contended, but the reality is that he’s never even finished in the top 50 at a major championship and probably won’t do so in his first Masters.

71. Tyler Duncan: Duncan has one win in college or as a professional (which got him into this tournament). I have a feeling No. 2 is not going to come in his first trip to Augusta.

72. Andrew Putnam: He’s never had a full season of positive strokes gained off the tee. Feels like that could be a problem here as he takes on Augusta National for the first time.

73. Sung Kang: Shot 86 in Round 2 of the U.S. Open and 82 in Round 3 of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. Not exactly riding a wave of momentum into his first Masters. 

74. J.T. Poston: A J.T. might win the Masters, but it won’t be his first one.

75. Graeme McDowell (T12 in 2012): This has never really been a great spot for him. Hasn’t played in a Masters since 2016, but got in because he was top 50 in the world when Augusta froze the entry list back in March.

76. C.T. Pan: He had maybe the longest wait of anyone in the field as he won last year’s RBC Heritage the week after the Masters to get into this year’s Masters for the first time, which will end up being 19 months later.

77. John Augenstein: Beat a ton of stars, including Woods and Mickelson, at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September. Data Golf has him ranked as a top-five college golfer currently and as a top-350 golfer in the world despite the fact that he’s not in the top 1,500 in the OWGR.

78. Bernhard Langer (Won in 1993): He’s made the cut in five of the last seven Masters and has a top 10 in that span. Two feats he shares with a much more popular pick this week, Phil Mickelson.

79. Fred Couples (Won in 1992): It’s still fun to think about, but the reality here is that Couples’ last great shot was in 2014 when he was within four going to the final round but finished T20 as Bubba Watson ran away from the field.

80. Nate Lashley: Since winning last summer to get into this year’s Masters for the first time, Lashley has had a tough go of things. He has more WDs than he does top 10s.

81. Jazz Janewattananond: Data Golf — interestingly — has Janewattananond outside the top 200 in the world, even though his OWGR number is inside the top 70. This is not uncommon for players who earn most of their points outside the PGA Tour (see: Shugo Imahira below).

82. Shugo Imahira (MC in 2019): Here’s a fun one — though Imahira is ranked in the top 75 in the Official World Golf Rankings, none of his 20 best performances in terms of OWGR points earned have come outside the Japan Golf Tour.

83. Andy Ogletree: Amazing experience for him playing the Masters regardless of the outcome. Reigning U.S. Amateur winner gets to play with reigning champion Tiger Woods for the first two rounds.

84. Vijay Singh (Won in 2000): He finished outside the top eight one time from 2000-06.

85. James Sugrue: Won the Amateur Championship to get into the Masters and recently made the cut at the Irish Open after Westwood lobbied for him to get an invite. Making the cut would feel like a win.

86. Yuxin Lin (MC in 2018): He’s 20 and playing his second (!) Masters.

87. Lukas Michel: U.S. Mid-Am champ did a very enjoyable golf architecture podcast and discussed Augusta earlier this week as he plays for the first time. 

88. Jose Maria Olazabal (Won in 1994, 1999): Rory has won a major more recently than Olazabal has made a cut at one.

89. Mike Weir (Won in 2003): One cut made in his last nine Masters.

90. Abel Gallegos: Burly teenager from Argentina took the Latin America Amateur Championship by four and absolutely destroys the ball. He’ll be fun to follow but will be wildly outclassed here. 

91. Larry Mize (Won in 1987): Listen, all I’m saying is that he’s made the same number of cuts at the Masters as Tiger has since 2014.

92. Sandy Lyle (Won in 1988): Has not finished in the top 10 at a major since I was 3 years old. Should always tee off first at every major he plays.


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