My favorite golf week of the year is finally here and the stage is set for the first major of the 2023 season at Augusta National. That brings me to my 2023 PGA DFS: The Masters DraftKings Preview.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 3, 2023
The Masters is the Super Bowl or Wrestlemania of golf. The first week of April each year the golf world returns to Augusta National to crown the season's first major winner. What makes The Masters so special is the fact the event is hosted each year at Augusta National.
Unlike the other three golf majors that rotate venues each year, the players and fans know every inch of the hallowed grounds that is Augusta National. Every great player in the history of the game has played this course and event numerous times. Most of the greats have won this event and the famous moments in Masters lore are a-plenty, including my personal favorite.
Before I dive into my usual breakdown of the course and the players I will be using for DraftKings. I wanted to briefly discuss the four big storylines heading into the 2023 Masters Tournament.
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2023 Masters Storylines
It wouldn't be Masters week without discussing the man who has five green jackets. Woods is making his 25th Masters appearance this week and has never missed the cut at this event. How healthy is Tiger Woods? Will his body be able to hold up if he can find himself in contention this weekend?
These are the norm for questions involving Tiger at this point in his career. Last year he returned to Augusta without playing a competitive round for 508 days. He made the cut and was in contention heading into the weekend. A combination of a cold weekend last year and Tiger looking very limited physically lead to a 78-78 finish.
Tiger looked much better physically the last time we saw him at the Genesis Invitational. His play was sporadic which can be expected with how little competitive golf he plays these days. However, if there is any course that Tiger can simultaneously eliminate any tournament rust and get in contention to win at the same time, it's The Master. He has five wins and 23 consecutive cuts made at Augusta National.
LIV Guys return to the PGA Tour
After their exit last season, 17 LIV tour players will tee it up at Augusta highlighted by Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson. A majority of the players in the field earned their spot thru either being a past winner or being in the top 50 in the official golf world rankings.
Many, including myself, are very interested to see how these players fare this week. The LIV tour has a totally different set of rules from the PGA Tour. Most notably playing 54-hole events with shotgun starts. There are several LIV players who have great track records at this event.
Greg Norman has stated that it would be a huge celebration if one of his players from the LIV tour could win this event. It would be fascinating to see how the fans and tour react if that does occur.
Rory's Grand Slam
With a victory this week at Augusta, Rory would join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, and Gary Player as the only players in the history of golf to win all four major events. This is referred to as the career grand slam. If Rory can accomplish this it would put him on another tier in the pantheon of the all-time greats in the game.
Rory's game is tailor-made for success at Augusta. Especially now that he is one of the best putters on tour as well. He changed putters for the WGC match play and putted great all week. There are rumors that last week he only needed nineteen putts to get around Augusta for his practice round.
In his last nine appearances in this event, he has four top-five finishes and seven finishes inside the top ten. I have a feeling that this is Rory's week and he will join the other five all-time greats as players with a career grand slam.
Scottie Scheffler has an opportunity with a win this week to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win this event in back-to-back years. More impressively he would become only the fourth player in the history of the game to accomplish this feat, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Sir Nick Faldo.
Scheffler has five wins on tour in the last two seasons and two in six events in 2023. He's finished inside the top ten in five of his last seven major starts. Scheffler rightly should be the betting favorite this week.
However, I am interested to see how he responds to his loss at the WGC match play in the semi-finals. He had a four-footer to defeat friend Sam Burns and head to the finals of that event that he missed. Burns won the playoff two holes later and Scheffler was beaten badly by McIlroy in the third-place match later that day.
2023 PGA DFS: The Masters DraftKings Preview
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The Trends piece of all Trends pieces for the most predictive course - Augusta National.
Highest % winning trends for #TheMasters
Two players fit all 19 trends...
Standings with detailed analysis, including why each trend matters, inside the FREE article… pic.twitter.com/0e4Aqa1lVo
— Ron Klos (@PGASplits101) April 3, 2023
The Venue (Augusta National)
This course really needs no introduction, but for the purposes of this article, I will anyways. Since 1934 The Masters has been hosted at Augusta National every year. The course now stretches to 7,545 yards on the scorecard. The longest it has ever played. This is due to the lengthening of the Par 5 13th this year on the heels of last year's lengthening of the Par 5 15th and Par 4 11th.
The forecast is calling for significant rain during all four rounds. There is no course in the world better equipped for this. Augusta is equipped with the most state-of-the-art SubAir system in the world. A system that can literally vacuum up standing water underneath the surface of the greens and fairways.
This course is known for its severe undulation and lightning-fast greens. This course allows the players to use more creativity with their approaches and pitch shots than arguably any course in the world.
The most famous stretch at Augusta is Amen Corner. Tournaments have been won and lost on this three-hole stretch that includes a very difficult Par 4 11th, a tricky 150-160 yard Par 3 12th, and a risk/reward Par 5 13th. The water that runs threw all three holes is known as Rae's Creek and it will claim more victims in this year's event.
This course is about scoring on the Par 5s and trying to survive the long Par 4s. Nine of the ten Par 4s play over 440 yards and three of those holes play over 490 yards. Luckily the course features some of the widest fairways on tour with nonpenal rough.
- Muirfield Village
- Torrey Pines
- Bay Hill
- Quail Hollow
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Par 5 Scoring
- Course History
- Par 4: 450 yards +
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around the Greens
- 3 Putt Avoidance (Firm and Fast Conditions)
My 2023 PGA DFS: The Masters DraftKings Preview (Lineup)
Rory McIlroy ($10,600)
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 3, 2023
As I mentioned above I believe Rory should be the favorite this week and he is my pick to win. That makes it easy to have him anchoring my DK lineup for this week as the most expensive player in my lineup. Rory is in great form and his track record at Augusta speaks for itself.
Another option in this price range: Collin Morikawa $9,100
Cam Smith ($9,800)
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) March 30, 2023
Cam Smith is being overlooked as a potential winner of the 2023 Masters. I understand the concerns about him being on the LIV Tour. The fact he isn't playing four-round events with the best on the PGA Tour regularly anymore, but this guy's game is made for Augusta.
In his five starts at Augusta National, he's finished inside the top ten four times. He has three top-five finishes at this event in that same span including his T-3 last year. He won the last major he teed it up in at The Open last year and he's arguably the best putter in the world.
Cam Smith is in my opinion by far the player from the LIV tour with the most realistic chance of winning this event. In the article above he discusses how he understands the importance of a LIV player winning this event and what that could mean for their new tour.
Another option in this price range: Hideki Matsuyama $8,400
Sungjae Im ($8,100)
🚨 In his first Masters Tournament appearance in 2020, 22-year-old Sungjae Im tied for 2nd, finishing at 15-under-par, his 273 is the lowest score ever in a Masters debut.
— NUCLR GOLF STATS (@NUCLRGOLFSTATS) April 1, 2023
Sungjae Im is a name that will be on my betting board this week to win and included in several prop bets. In two of Im's three starts at Augusta, he has finished inside the top ten. Including a T-2 finish in his inaugural Masters' appearance in 2020.
It is not surprising that Im missed the cut in 2021. That was his first trip to Augusta in April. The 2020 event was held in the Fall due to Covid and played much differently than the course normally plays. The reason I am so confident in Im this week is he bounced back last year with a T8 finish in his second start at Augusta in April.
Im is one of the best ball strikers on tour and is actually trending up recently in this department compared to his career average. Over his last five events, he is gaining an absurd five strokes on the field tee to green. If he can continue that kind of play this week, he will be in contention on Sunday afternoon.
Corey Conners ($7,600)
Corey Conners got an 18th-hole moment his young daughter Reis won't remember but he certainly won't forget.
— Adam Stanley (@adam_stanley) April 3, 2023
I was looking at Corey Conners as a potential play this week for my DK lineups and betting board before the Valero Texas Open. He has an incredible record here with three straight top-ten finishes at Augusta. His win at Valero has only strengthened my stance on him being a great play for DFS and on my betting board.
Conners gained an absurd 14.6 strokes on the field last week tee to green and 9.6 strokes gained on approach. He's gained eight strokes or more total on the field in each of his last three appearances at The Masters. I think he is a real value on DK at this price and even more so at +140 to finish in the top 20 this week.
Another option in this price range: Min Woo Lee $7,600
Tiger Woods ($7,300)
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 3, 2023
I would love to say I think Tiger Woods can win his sixth green jacket this week and tie him with Jack Nicklaus for the most in tournament history. But I don't think that is in the cards for my guy this week. A combination of rust and his physical limitations are too much to overcome.
So why is he in my lineup this week you might ask? The answer is simple, Tiger making the cut at this event is about as safe of a play as there is in golf. He has done so in all twenty-three appearances in this event as a professional, including in 2011 and 2022 after lengthy layoffs due to different reasons.
In this price range, goal number one should be in selecting someone you are confident will make the cut. You will not fair well in any big entry event on DraftKings without all six players in your lineup making the cut. That is why Tiger is in my official lineup this week. If he is in contention to win the tournament on Sunday, that will be a happy added bonus.
Kevin Na ($6,500)
🌸🏌️♂️SPOT PRIZE GIVEAWAY⛳️🌺
Our guy Kevin Na has just tee'd off on #MovingDay. To win a Hyper Dry C Stand Bag, tell us how you think he is going to fair later today thru Amen Corner?
— Callaway Golf Europe (@CallawayGolfEU) April 10, 2021
Kevin Na is the second player in my lineup from the LIV tour. I am concerned about how the LIV players will play this week in their return to a PGA event, but Na is priced entirely too low on DraftKings.
Na has made the cut in this event four straight times. The worst finish in his last three appearances is a T14. He is one of the best putters in the game and has spoken often about how much he loves this event.
I am concerned about the forecast calling for heavy rainfall. If that doesn't change I could swap Na for my other option in this price range Danny Willett. I worry if the course plays really wet, it will make it harder for players like Na who do not hit the ball far off the tee.
Another option in this price range: Danny Willett $6,600
Be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays.
Check out Allen's 2023 Masters Tournaments Betting Tiers