5 Masters Outsiders 2019
With the bookies always offering very short odds on the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, and a resurgent Tiger Woods back in the mix, there’s plenty of value to be had as you move down the list of competitors.
Below are some Masters outsiders who I think have the potential to challenge at Augusta National this year. For the purpose of this piece, I’ve taken Masters outsiders to mean anyone 50/1 or longer.
Masters Outsiders 2019 - Our Picks
Eddie Pepperell @ 150/1
We all know by now that Fuzzy Zoeller is the only player since 1935 to have won en debut – a product of Augusta National’s nuances and the fact first-time players are often overawed by competing at such an iconic venue.
That said, Pepperell has been hugely impressive over the last 18 month and has now forced himself into the world’s top 25. What’s more, his skill set seems to be well suited to Augusta, on paper at least. His strengths are his iron play and his short game – both great attributes on a layout where distance control on approaches is key and the green complexes are severe.
His biggest weakness is his driving, but we’ve seen examples in the past of people being wayward off the tee and still claiming the Green Jacket. Pepperell finished third en debut at the Players Championship and that should give him great confidence as he heads to north-east Georgia for the first time.
Webb Simpson @ 80/1
I know he’s a multiple PGA Tour winner and Major Champion, but I’m going to class him as an outsider as he’s as much as 80/1 with some bookmakers. Big hitting is frequently touted as a key attribute at Augusta, and while Simpson is one of the shorter players on tour, the likes of Zach Johnson have been successful in the past so it’s clearly not essential.
Simpson is one of the straightest drivers of the ball in the game and he ranked as the best putter on the PGA Tour last season. His Augusta record features no top-tens, but look a little closer and you’ll see three top-28s in his last four starts – the last of which, a tie for 20th, was his best Masters finish. Things are certainly moving in the right direction.
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Cameron Smith @ 50/1
Whenever I watch Cameron Smith, I’m convinced he’s going to be a world top-20 player for a number of years. He possesses a quality golf swing and seems to have a demeanour well suited to Major Championship golf. His stats are solid across the board – and very good on and around the greens – and he tied for 5th last year in just his second start at The Masters. Look out for some big things from Smith, whether at Augusta or beyond.
Brandt Snedeker @ 100/1
There’s no doubt Snedeker’s comparative lack of length is a slight issue – especially when you consider all the top favourites send it out there off the tee – but if he gets on a roll with the flat-stick, as he’s done numerous times in the past, he could be a danger man. Snedeker has quietly amassed nine victories on the PGA Tour and his record at Augusta is very good.
In his last four starts, he’s registered four top-37s, including two top-tens, and he also tied for 3rd in 2008. He consistently ranks as one of the best on the PGA Tour in the Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green categories.
Charles Howell III @ 100/1
Howell III has enjoyed an excellent spell over the last few months, ending an 11-year PGA Tour victory hiatus at the RSM Classic in November. Since then, he hasn’t missed a cut and has registered six top-20 finishes. Howell III is statistically very strong this season – he’s inside the top 37 in five of the six major categories and ranks 10th for Strokes Gained: Total and 2nd in Greens in Regulation.
He hasn’t played in The Masters since 2012, and while his record doesn’t set the pulse racing, he does have five top-30 finishes in eight starts at Augusta. For what it’s worth, Howell was also born and raised in Augusta.
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Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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