2023 Masters: Five Golfers To Fade

by Keith Flemming
2023 Masters: Five Golfers To Fade

It's Masters Week and Fantasy Six Pack has you covered. You can watch the latest episode of Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel where we break down our favorite bets and props for the Masters. We have other Masters golf content on fantasysixpack.net. With all the great content telling you who to pick, let's look at the flip side. Thus, I bring you the 2023 Masters: five golfers to fade.

The Masters is the golf tournament where more wagers are placed than any other event on the PGA Tour. I

n this article, I will discuss players who are betting favorites that I am fading to win this year's event.

Being on this list does not mean I think these players will miss the cut or not be in contention on Sunday. This is a list of elite golfers that I simply don't think will win The Masters this week.

2023 Masters: Five Golfers To Fade

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Scottie Scheffler +650

Scottie Scheffler winning the 2023 Masters would be the least surprising to me of the five guys on this list. He's in great form in 2023 and the defending champion of this event. So why do I have him on this list?

Scheffler would only be the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles in the history of the event. He would be the first to do so since Tiger in 2002. The fact that only three players have ever defended their Masters' titles speaks to how difficult it is to defend at Augusta National. Scheffler's odds being at +650 are too low to make a bet with the confidence needed to justify those odds.

I am also interested to see how Scheffler responds to the way he lost at the WGC Match Play. He missed a very makeable four-footer to eliminate Sam Burns and move to the finals for the second straight year. Later in the day, he was defeated soundly by Rory McIlroy in the third-place match. I think it's possible that loss could have lingering effects and put doubt in Scheffler's head if he's in contention on Sunday.

Jon Rahm +850

A month ago Jon Rahm looked like he was cementing his place as the best golfer in the world in 2023. He won three of the first five events to start the year but fell off considerably in March. In March he finished T39 at Arnold's event, withdrew from the Players due to a stomach bug, and was eliminated in group play at the WGC Match Play.

In six appearances at Augusta National, he's made the cut in all six and finished no worse than 27th. That includes four consecutive top-ten finishes from 2018 thru 2021. So why is Rahm on this list?

Rahm is a player who is very aggressive and attacks the flags on nearly all of his approaches. This style is rewarded at many venues but Augusta is not one of them. This week you will see numerous pros hitting in the direction of safe landing spots away from the pins. Augusta is a course that can punish players for being too aggressive and landing their approach in the wrong area.

Jon Rahm has done a great job of improving his temper on the course over the last few years. He needs to similarly adapt his attacking style if he hopes to win a green jacket. I am not sure if he is willing to do that and thus that's why I would fade him this week.

Jordan Spieth +1800

Spieth is on this list but I do expect him to be in contention on Sunday. The reason he is on this list is I don't think he will be able to close out a win at Augusta. I know that sounds ridiculous for a guy who has won a green jacket and has five top-three finishes in eight starts at The Masters.

Spieth hasn't been the same player since his collapse in 2016 at this event. He gave away a great opportunity to win back-to-back Masters by dumping two balls into Rae's Creek on the Par 3 12th. He blew a four-shot lead on the back nine in the worst way imaginable. Spieth has won a major since then, but his ability to play well on Sunday is the main reason he is on this list.

Spieth is averaging a final round score of 71 in 2023, compared to a scoring average of 69.3 for rounds one thru three. Since that 2016 collapse, his final round average at Augusta is 70.8. Yet that number is helped significantly by his 64 on Sunday in 2018. In the other five Sunday rounds at Augusta, his average score is 72.2.

I am pulling for Spieth to win another green jacket and get rid of the demons caused by his collapse in 2016. That collapse completely changed his career trajectory arc. A second win at Augusta National could start his second ascension to the top of the golf world. But I don't think that happens this week.

Max Homa +2800

Homa is having a career year and playing some of the best golf of his life. Homa should have the game to do well at The Masters but he hasn't shown it in his first three Masters appearances. In those starts, he has two missed cuts and his best finish is a T48.

Hopefully, Homa will improve on his best career finish at The Masters this year but I don't think he has a realistic chance of winning the event. At his current odds of +2800, he would not be a wise bet to win this week. Especially when he has the same odds as Collin Morikawa. Morikawa has two major wins and is in the top ten of the field in strokes gained tee to green and approach. Those two statistics correlate closely to success at The Masters. If you're considering Homa, take Morikawa instead.

Will Zalatoris +4500

Will Zalatoris is going to be a trendy pick to win at Augusta this week. His record in the majors over the last three years and at this event makes it easy to understand why. In eleven major appearances, he has six finishes of 8th or better. In his two trips to Augusta National, he has a runner-up and T6 finish.

Zalatoris is the kind of ball striker who normally thrives at Augusta National. The issue for me is he is in terrible form in 2023. His strokes gained numbers are down across the board. He's driving it worse, his iron game isn't as strong, and he only has one top ten in 2023 (The Genesis).

In his last three events he's finished 53rd (the Arnold Palmer Invitational), 73rd (the Players Championship), and lost all three matches at the WGC Match Play. He started the year showing signs of improvement in his putting. Yet in his last two events, he's lost over 10 strokes to the field on the greens.

It's so bad that he's changed his putting grip heading into Augusta. The fact Zalatoris is struggling with his ball striking and seems to be regressing on any progress made on/around the greens is what ultimately landed him on this list.

Check out the rest of our coverage of the Masters!

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