The Masters 2021 – What to Look Out For This Week at the Most Famous Golf Tournament in the U.S.
Golf expert Luke H. overviews tee pairings, who to look out for, as well as his pick for dark horse and tournament winner.
Azaleas and Magnolia Lane - Ahh yes. Spring has sprung and golf season has officially arrived.
The 2021 Master’s Tournament is shaping up to be fantastic. I think the biggest story, and the one we are looking forward to the most, is hearing Sunday roars from the crowd on the back nine. Following a quiet 2020 event in November due to COVID, a little return to normalcy of cheers echoing through Augusta National as the world’s best players clamor for the Green Jacket will be a welcomed sound.
Not only will it be great to see fans back on the lush fairways this year, but there are also so many exceptional storylines for the tournament. Dustin Johnson defending his title from the first Masters tournament held in the month of November. Jon Rahm enjoying the arrival of his first baby this past Sunday. Jordan Speith breaking through a four-year dry spell with his win at the Valero Texas Open. Bryson DeChambeau unveiling his new “secret weapon” from Cobra for busting even more ridiculous drives.
Too many to focus on – I can’t wait for the tournament to start.
Pairings, Favorites and Dark Horses, Oh My
The Masters announced pairings for the first two rounds on Tuesday and there are some notable ones to watch (make sure to check out https://www.masters.com/ for live streaming coverage and real-time updates on the Leaderboard all week. I will also be writing up daily recaps – so keep an eye out for those!).
Some of our favorite pairings for the first two days include:
- Jason Day, Matthew Wolff, and Cameron Champ – 9:36 AM EST Thursday, 12:48 PM EST Friday. Lots of firepower in this group. No doubt we will see some of the longest drives of the week here. Maybe that has you thinking about a new driver like the Callaway Epic Speed or a TaylorMade SIM2 Max to get you some more distance off the tee?
- Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, and Tyler Strafaci – 10:30 AM EST Thursday, 1:36 PM EST Friday. Hard not to watch the defending champ Dustin Johnson try to go back-to-back to win his third major. Lee Westwood has had one of the best starts to the 2021 golf season with multiple runner-up finishes. Could this be the week he breaks through and finally takes a major? Tyler Strafaci was the U.S. Amateur Champion last year and is following in his grandfather’s footsteps – Frank Strafaci teed it up at Augusta 83 years ago after winning the North Amateur title in 1938. All three of these guys are tremendous putters: Dustin Johnson and his infamous TaylorMade Spider Tour 2020 and Tyler Strafaci who won last year’s U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes with his tried and true Scotty Cameron.
- Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, and Collin Morikawa – 2:00 PM EST Thursday, 10:54 AM Friday. These are some of the best iron players on the planet. Pinpoint accuracy is needed at the brutally quick Augusta greens to position yourself for birdie, and these three are some of the best. Both Jordan Spieth and Cameron Smith trust the Titleist T100 irons to get them as close to the hole as possible on their approach shots, while Collin Morikawa rocked the TaylorMade P7MC irons during his latest win at the WGC Workday Championship.
According to Vegas, the odds-on favorites are:
- Dustin Johnson (10/1)
- Bryson DeChambeau (10/1)
- Jordan Spieth (11/1)
- Justin Thomas (11/1)
- Jon Rahm (13/1)
Obviously not much difference across the board between the top five players, but that is exactly what we all want! With so many talented players on the field, this will certainly be a major where Ken Venturi’s saying applies: “The Masters doesn’t start until the back 9 on Sunday.” This is sure to create a memorable ending.
Someone I think everyone should keep an eye for as a dark horse is Cameron Smith at 39/1 odds; he could be sneaky good this week. He has been playing well all season, with only one missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. He came close to winning three straight weeks with a solo 4th finish at The Genesis Invitational, a tie for 11th at the WGC Workday Championship, and a tie for 17th at the Players Championship. He hasn’t won since the Sony Open in 2020 in Hawaii, but he loves Augusta. He has finished inside the top 5 at the Masters twice out of the last three years, including a tie for 2nd in 2020 and a tie for 5th in 2018.
But if I were to pick any one player as my top choice, I am going with Dustin Johnson to defend this week. Hard to bet against the #1 player in the world. He tore up the tour last year, winning 5 times, including The Masters, The Tour Championship and The FedEx Cup.
Stay tuned for daily recaps in the afternoons after each day, including a look at the standings, daily highlights, and the gear being used in Georgia!
My name is Luke H., and I am a Golf expert here on Curated! You can check out some of my other articles – such as “Blades vs. Cavity Back Irons: Which is Right for Your Golf Game?”, or hit me up through my profile on Curated to chat about everything Masters.