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The 2020 Masters: What To Expect

Everyone knows 2020 has been one of the craziest years in human history. We have everything from a global pandemic to murder hornets to a historic presidential election. Sports have been impacted this year in a unique way. All sports have handled the COVID year differently. Not everyone remembers, but golf was one of the first sports to get back to playing. When the news came out The Masters was cancelled it was a real gut check for golf fans like myself. It was one thing to cancel the NCAA tournament, but The Masters…man that hit hard.  

But Now…

Fast forward to November. Now we finally get to experience a tradition truly unlike any other. We get to witness a November Masters tournament. Augusta is groomed year-round to be in peak performance every April for the best golfers on the planet to compete. This year is different.

We get an autumn themed Augusta. Foliage will be on point; the views and imagery will be something we have never seen before (at least in my lifetime). The biggest difference will be the absence of fans. What makes The Masters truly the best tournament of the year is the atmosphere. Obviously with COVID still being extremely relevant in society as it stands today, they won’t have the usualy fan impact. Casual golf fans may not realize this is a significant difference, but players feed off the energy of the crowds just like any other sport.

On Sunday afternoon in a tight race on the back 9, if you’re in the hunt and you hear a huge roar ahead or behind you it is impossible not to think of the impact that can have on your position. Augusta roars give me chills. It won’t be the same this year, but it will still be the best.  An example of what a crowd brings to the table…

The 2019 Masters was one of the most memorable sporting events of my lifetime. It had everything you could ask for from incredible crowd moments to clutch shots to an iconic finish. In case you somehow don’t remember, Tiger Woods is your reigning Masters champion. That is a real-life sentence and has been since April 2019. You could not script a better Masters tournament than in 2019…unless Tiger is able to repeat in 2020.

The Favorite

The overwhelming favorite to win this year is none other than Bryson DeChambeau. Bryson took the COVID time to transform everything about his game. He put on about 40 pounds and it dramatically changed how he has played. He’s always been an odd ball when it comes to his game. All of his irons are the same length. He has a very unique putter and putting technique.

To me, that is just as important as the distance he has gained. He regularly is hitting 400 yard bombs and cutting corners at these courses that nobody has done before. Not only is he pounding the ball, but he’s extremely accurate with his driver. It really is unfair to a point, but at the same time he’s not cheating. I don’t personally like him but I would be silly to ignore the fact he should dominate this tournament. His distance, accuracy, and putting puts him at #1 in the power rankings and honestly if you gave me Bryson vs the field, I might take Bryson. This guy is an absolute beast.

Who I WANT to Win

Forget about who I think should win, now I’m going to talk about a few people who I want to win (or at least be in contention). If I could handpick one player to win it would be Tiger Woods. The man made me and millions of other kids fall in love with golf and winning a 6th green jacket on a back-to-back would just be incredible. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail with that pick but I do have a couple more I think would be great. Rory McIlroy would be a great story. A longtime fan favorite who has been the best player in the world at times but has also had his fair share of irrelevancy.

One factor many people are ignoring with Rory is the fact he has dad power now. This 110% has an impact. Golf is a dad’s game and now that he is a dad I expect him to make some noise this weekend. I’d be shocked if he didn’t make the cut. Another popular name I expect to play well is Brooks Koepka. He’s healthy again and probably has the best odds (+1600 last time I checked). This is one of the guys on tour you want to have a beer with. The ultimate dude’s dude and he always shows up in the bright lights. He loves playing in majors and has the distance to make Augusta a couple of strokes easier.  Plus, he hates Bryson. That’s fuel to fire.

Some BIG Takes

At Small State Big Takes we are all about the big, bold takes. I have a few sleeper picks I think will make the weekend and could be in contention. Matthew Wolff has sort of a cult following right now. He’s young (a mere 21 years young) and has the most unique swing on the tour. He makes Jim Fyruk look smooth. All that is fine because he is a very consistent player and when his putter is hot he is fun to watch. He’s also finished top-5 in his first two majors (both this year). You do have to consider Augusta is a different animal but he has been very impressive to start his career. 

Xander Schauffele is a name not many people know by heart but the casual golf fan has probably seen his name around. I think he’s going to have a great week. Call it a gut feeling. If you have him in a Masters pool I’d feel pretty good about it.

This has nearly been the year of Tony Finau but he’s got himself into the choking category. He’s been in contention quite often the first couple of rounds in many tournaments in 2020 but falls apart on Saturday. Saturday at the Masters is arguably more important than Sunday. If you can put yourself in position on Saturday to be within range on Sunday you are very happy. I think Tony has the distance, like Brooks, to make Augusta a little easier on himself. 

A BUST?!

I don’t think there are too many recognizable names that I would label as a “bust”. There is one though, and it’s someone who all golf fans know. Jordan Speith has not been good for a while now. He has a reputation of being somewhat of a mental headcase and is supposedly very technical about his swing. Those two things do not go well together when you’re struggling (I’ve been there). Even today (I’m writing this on Wednesday) my brother sent me a video of Jordan on the range and it took him about 30 seconds to hit the ball on driving range after he addressed it.

That’s a clear sign of him being in his own head and thinking way too much. You might be able to get away with that every now and then, but his putter has also been letting him down lately and I predict Jordan to miss the cut unfortunately.  Many of you probably saw the John Rahm hole in one skip across the water. Jordan is pretty good at it too; at the very least he has this to take home with him this week…

A Little Reward for You All!

To wrap up here, I’m going to reward those of you who chose to read this masterpiece. I don’t write up blogs often. When I do it’s typically on a topic I am passionate about and I usually go all in on it. I’ve been killing the game in Daily Fantasy (no free ads!) this year and I have 2 lineups I’d like to share with you. If you like free money, I would use these. 

  • Bryson DeChambeau $12,100 
  • Brooks Koepka $11,300 
  • Matthew Wolff $10,300 
  • Tony Finau $10,400 
  • Zach Johnson $8,100 
  • Lanto Griffin $7,700 

 

  • Bryson DeChambeau $12,100 
  • Brooks Koepka $11,300 
  • Xander Schauffele $11,500 
  • Bubba Watson $10,000 
  • Dylan Frittelli $7,600 
  • Graeme McDowell $7,500 

Shoutout to my brother Sam for the second lineup, that’s what he is rolling with. With all that being said, let’s enjoy this Masters weekend in November. Also some honorable mention names I am rooting for this weekend include Dustin Johnson (I’ve met him no big deal), Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, and Phil Mickelson. Some popular names where if they are in the hunt on Saturday, we are in for a treat. Go follow my podcast @SmallStateTakes and my personal account @o__martel where I’ll be tweeting by butt off all weekend. 

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-Oliver Martel (@o_martel, @SmallStateTakes)

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