Fantasy golf rankings: 2017 Masters, the top 50 players

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy golf rankings: 2017 Masters, the top 50 players

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf rankings: 2017 Masters, the top 50 players

The year’s first major is upon us. And to celebrate the Masters, I went 50-deep this week with the weekly fantasy-golf power rankings.

While I considered current form, I put more weight on players’ records at Augusta National. I also took into account a player’s length, ability to hit the ball close to the hole on approach shots, and putting stats.

Here are my top 50 contenders for this year’s edition at Augusta National:

• • •

1. Dustin Johnson: Went his first five Masters without finishing better than T-13. However, he has gone T-6 and T-4 the last two years and enters this year’s Masters playing the best golf of his career. The World No. 1 has won three straight starts and has the type of game that indicates that he should contend often at Augusta. He is second on Tour in greens in regulation and T-3 in proximity to the hole. Not to mention he mashes the tee ball.

2. Jordan Spieth: He’s over last year’s collapse, so don’t worry about that. Spieth has gone T-2, Win, T-2 in his three Masters starts. He has shot under par in eight of 12 career rounds at Augusta. He’d be the favorite if not for Johnson’s stellar play. Also, Spieth failed to make it out of group play at the Match Play and missed the cut in Houston, but his worst finish in 13 stroke-play starts before those events is T-22. He’s also No. 1 in GIR percentage and fifth in proximity to the hole. That’s solid.

3. Rory McIlroy: Making his ninth Masters start. In his first five trips to Augusta, McIlroy finished inside the top 20 once – his T-15 in 2011, when he had the lead on the final nine and shot 80 in the final round. His last three Masters starts have been much improved: T-8, fourth and T-10 (last year). Yes, there’s the career Grand Slam pressure looming over McIlroy, but the fact that Johnson and Spieth are grabbing a lot of attention could be just what McIlroy needs to slip on that coveted green jacket. Before Match Play, McIlroy posted six straight top 10s, including a win, in stroke-play events. He is ranked sixth in both GIR percentage and proximity, and he bombs it off the tee, which helps at Augusta.

4. Jason Day: In six Masters starts, Day has a T-10 (2016), third (2013) and T-2 (2011). He also has a T-28, T-20 and a WD. Left Match Play to be with his mother, Dening, who has lung cancer, but Day is at Augusta feeling refreshed after his mother’s surgery was successful. The family also found out Monday that Dening will not need chemotherapy. Has had a strange year; he has just one top 10 (ATT Pebble Beach) in six starts this season. But the great news should have Day feeling inspired come Thursday.

5. Phil Mickelson: Lefty’s missed cut last year at Augusta was just his third MC in 24 career starts. He’s a three-time winner here (2004, ’06 and ’10) and has eight other top 5s. In 2015, he tied for second, so he has had recent success here, as well. Mickelson enters this year playing great golf, too, as he has finished T-21 or better six times in eight starts this season. Back-to-back top 10s for the first time since summer 2013, made quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Match Play, and he’s eighth in strokes gained: putting. (He did finish T-55 in Houston.) Nobody loves Augusta more than Phil.

Justin Rose (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

6. Justin Rose: In 11 Masters starts, Rose hasn’t missed a cut and has finished in the top 25 in each of the last seven years, including T-2 in 2015 and T-10 in 2016. Current form is good, too, as Rose has been T-15 or better in five of his last seven starts, including fourth or better three times during that span.

7. Jon Rahm: This is Rahm’s Masters debut, and a first-timer hasn’t won at Augusta since 1979 (Fuzzy Zoeller), but don’t rule him out. He made a good run at DJ at the Match Play and has already won this season (Farmers Insurance Open). He has a game that suits Augusta if he can be patient. Remember Spieth’s T-2 in his Masters debut? Rahm could do that, as well, as long as he controls his emotions, which is difficult to do in majors.

8. Rickie Fowler: Is Rickie ever going to win the Masters? Hey, this could be the year. He’s 11th in strokes gained: putting this season and went T-4, Win, T-16 and 12th in his last four Tour starts before a T-3 in Houston. His Masters record includes six starts, with a T-5 in 2014 and T-12 in 2015. He was T-69 last year (he wasn’t swinging well) and didn’t finish better than T-27 in his first three Masters starts.

9. Hideki Matsuyama: Played twice here as an amateur and made the cut both times (2011, ’12). After a T-68 in his pro debut in 2014, Matsuyama has gone fifth and T-7 in two starts since. He won four times in five worldwide starts late last year, but his last four starts look like this – MC, T-25, T-45 and T-51. He’s got the tee-to-green game to excel at Augusta and his putting is improved.

10. Adam Scott: Since his Masters victory in 2013, Scott has finished T-14, T-38 and T-42 (last year) at Augusta with just two rounds in the 60s. He’s having a fine season, though, as he had seven top-15 finishes in eight starts before MC in Houston.

Bubba Watson PGA Tour WGC Dell Match Play

Bubba Watson (Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports)

11. Bubba Watson: Twice a winner (2012, 2014) but nothing better than T-20 in six other Masters starts, including T-38 and T-37 the last two years. Watson is not hitting enough greens or making enough putts to win another green jacket, one would think, but he does the love the place and showed some good signs when he got to the weekend at Match Play.

12. Tyrrell Hatton: Making his Masters debut, but he’s been lights-out lately, notching 11 straight top 25s in stroke-play events worldwide. That span includes a win (Dunhill Links) and seven other top 10s. Also leads the Tour in strokes gained: putting, albeit his sample size is smaller compared to Tour regulars.

13. Brandt Snedeker: Sneds’ T-10 last year was his third top 10 in nine Masters starts. He’s missed two cuts in those nine starts, including in 2015. This season he has five finishes of T-17 or better in nine starts. He’s a great putter, but one concerning stat is his proximity to the hole, as he is ranked T-149 in that category on Tour.

14. Justin Thomas: Was T-39 in Masters debut last year, and currently enjoying his best season on Tour with three wins already. However, he does have two MCs in his last two stroke-play starts and didn’t make it out of group play in Austin. He has a game that fits Augusta – he hits a draw as a right-hander, he bombs it off the tee, he hits greens and close to the hole, and putts well.

15. Paul Casey: In his first eight Masters starts, Casey missed three cuts and had three top 11s with a best finish of T-6 (his debut, in 2004). In his last two trips to Augusta, though, he’s been much better – T-6 in 2015 and T-4 last year. Putting is a question, but he is T-15 this season in proximity to the hole. Made the Round of 16 at Match Play and has missed just one cut this season, although he has just one top 10 in his 10 stroke-play starts.

16. Marc Leishman: He’s the best putter on Tour this season with 20 or more rounds under his belt. And he followed up his win at Bay Hill with a Round-of-16 appearance at Match Play. He’s missed three of four cuts at Augusta, including last year, but the one time he made the cut? He finished T-4 and made a great run at a green jacket in 2013.

17. Bill Haas: In seven Masters starts he has never missed a cut, but he also has no top 10s and has been outside the top 20 four times. If you like guys with good current form, though, Haas is worth a glance. This season, Haas has six top 20s in eight stroke-play starts, and he recently placed third at Match Play, beating Hideto Tanihara in the third-place match.

18. Henrik Stenson: In 38 rounds at Augusta, Stenson has only three rounds in the 60s, though those came in final rounds in 2013, ’15 and ’16. Stenson has made eight cuts in 11 Masters starts, with his best finish a T-14 in 2014. In his last four starts, he’s missed two cuts and had a WD, though the withdrawal was because of a stomach bug in Mexico. Doesn’t sound too confident this week.

19. Rafa Cabrera-Bello: Finished T-17 in his Masters debut last year. He hits greens (No. 31 in GIR percentage) and makes putts (No. 30 in strokes gained: putting). Just missed advancing out of group play at Match Play and missed the cut in Houston, but was T-5 in India before that.

Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

20. Louis Oosthuizen: Was runner-up to Bubba Watson in 2012, but other than that Oosthuizen’s record at Augusta is OK, not great. He was T-15 last year after going T-19 and 25th in 2015 and ’14, respectively. He’s missed four of his eight cuts here. His current form isn’t stellar as he hasn’t cracked the top 20 in his last three stroke-play events and failed to reach the knockout stage at Match Play.

21. Sergio Garcia: Has made 18 career Masters starts with five MCs and just three top 10s, but has finished T-17 or better in three of his last five starts at Augusta. For Sergio, it will come down, as always in these majors, to if he can make enough putts. He’s 191st on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season. Since winning in Dubai, Garcia has finishes of T-49, T-14, T-12 and T-33 (Match Play).

22. Lee Westwood: Tied for second last year at Augusta, his second runner-up finish at the Masters (also was second in 2010). In 17 career Masters starts, Westwood has missed just three cuts (none since 2006). He also has eight top-11 finishes. Before a MC in Houston, Westwood nearly made it out of group play at Match Play and before that had finished T-28 or better in six straight worldwide starts.

23. Jimmy Walker: T-8 in his Masters debut and then T-38, T-29 since. His game fits Augusta – he putts it well, his iron play has improved (he’s T-26 in proximity to the hole) and his weakness (driving accuracy) won’t hurt him here. However, no rounds in the 60s in 12 rounds, and he hasn’t cracked the top 10 since Kapalua. But he also struggled before winning the PGA last year, too.

24. Charley Hoffman: Contended at the 2015 Masters before a final-round 74 left him at T-9. Was T-29 (2016) and T-27 (2011) in his other two trips to Augusta. His GIR, proximity and putting stats are poor this season, but Hoffman seems to like Augusta. Also, he is in good form with a T-4 and T-2 in his last four Tour starts, plus a T-23 in Houston.

25. Kevin Kisner: He’s from Aiken, S.C., so he loves the area. He was T-37 in his Masters debut last year. He’s T-13 in proximity to the hole this season and he’s always putted it nicely. He also has six top 25s in his last seven Tour starts, including three top 10s. Poor back nine cost him a chance to land his second PGA Tour title at Bay Hill.

26. Brooks Koepka: T-33 and T-21 in his first two Masters starts. He’s struggled with ballstriking this year, although the putter has been hot. He did look better at Match Play, making the Round of 16. Always confident.

Thomas Pieters, shown at the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Thomas Pieters (Golfweek)

27. Thomas Pieters: Making Masters debut, and has length and short game to be a contender at Augusta. His GIR and proximity stats aren’t great, however. He failed to make it out of group stage in Austin and has missed three cuts in his last six stroke-play events, but he does have a pair of top 5s and a T-23 during that span.

28. Matt Fitzpatrick: After missing the cut as the U.S. Amateur champion in 2014, Fitzpatrick’s first Masters as a pro went very well, as he finished T-7. Fitzpatrick is coming off a solid showing at Match Play, and before that he notched a win and three other top 16s in his previous seven starts. He’s third on Tour in strokes gained: putting, but his GIR and proximity stats aren’t good as he’s ranked outside the top 175 in both.

29. Daniel Berger: Struggled at Match Play and before that he missed three cuts in five starts – granted his other two during that span were a T-7 in Phoenix and T-16 in Mexico. However, he was T-10 in his Masters debut last year and is coming off a fifth-place showing in Houston.

30. Patrick Reed: Won two NCAA titles at Augusta State, but he hasn’t had success at Augusta National with finishes of T-49, T-22 and MC. Reed has a short game that should be a great asset at Augusta, but he’s not hitting enough greens right now. His current form isn’t great, either, as Reed’s last top 10 came at Kapalua. He also missed the cut in Houston.

31. J.B. Holmes: Was T-4 last year in his third Masters start, but also doesn’t have a top 10 since last fall’s BMW Championship. The putter has been solid this year and his length is his a plus, but Holmes needs to hit more greens to be a factor. Missed cut in Houston.

32. Charl Schwartzel: Aside from his Masters win in 2011, Schwartzel hasn’t finished better than T-25, and he’s missed two of seven cuts, including two of his last three. Was sixth at the Valspar, where he’s won before, but has no top 10s in five other worldwide starts in 2017.

33. Matt Kuchar: His Masters highlight came in 2012 when he was T-3. He has two other top 10s in nine other trips to Augusta. He also has seven starts where he finished outside the top 20, including T-24 last year. (He is 11th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, taking into account the last 10 Masters only.) He’s been good but not great this year. He’s putted it well, but the results haven’t been there – normally a top-10 machine, Kuchar has just one in nine Tour starts this season. Missed cut in Houston.

34. Alex Noren: Ranked 10th in the world and made the quarterfinals in Austin. Hasn’t been great since the calendar flipped and is making his Masters debut, but his putter should give him a chance to do well.

35. Ryan Moore: Hasn’t finished better than T-18 since his T-3 at Kapalua, and he missed the cut last year at Augusta, his second MC at the Masters in eight career starts. He also has three top 15s, including a T-12, at the 2015 Masters. Putting has been good this year, just needs to hit more greens at Augusta to contend.

36. Tommy Fleetwood: Didn’t fare well at Match Play, but was runner-up in Mexico and hasn’t finished worse than T-12 in his last three stroke-play events. This will be his first Masters, but his runner-up showing in Mexico proves he can be a factor on the big stage.

37. Ross Fisher: Has made three of four cuts at the Masters, but hasn’t been to Augusta since 2012. His best finish came in 2011 when he was T-15. Played inspired at the Match Play to move into the top 50 in the world rankings. Was T-3 in Mexico before that.

Adam Hadwin (Getty Images)

38. Adam Hadwin: Making Masters debut but also playing the best golf of his career. All parts of his game are solid, especially his putting (sixth in strokes gained on the greens). In his last seven Tour starts, he has a win, a second and a sixth. Also, he’s now a married man.

39. Soren Kjeldsen: T-6 last year at Masters and looked good at Match Play, beating Rory McIlroy, going 3-0 in group play, and making it to the quarterfinals. Isn’t long and doesn’t hit a ton of greens, but his putter/short game is his biggest weapon. Before match play he had missed four of seven cuts with a best finish of T-27.

40. Emiliano Grillo: Did well in his Masters debut with a T-17 finish. Good tee to green, but his putter has cost him this year. After a slow start to the season, he turned it around at Bay Hill, tying for seventh despite a third-round 78. Struggled at Match Play.

41. Zach Johnson: Won a green jacket in 2007, but in 11 other Masters starts he’s missed five cuts, including last year, and has just one top 10 and one other top-30 finish. He’s not hitting enough greens this year, although he is 22nd in strokes gained: putting. He made the knockout stage at Match Play, losing to the eventual champion, but has just one top 10 in seven Tour starts this season.

42. Bernd Wiesberger: Just missed advancing out of group stage at Match Play, but had finished outside the top 30 three times in his last four starts before that. However, he also has four top 4s in his last eight stroke-play starts; T-23 in Houston. His Masters record isn’t horrible, either, as he’s gone T-34 and T-22 the last two years at Augusta.

43. Martin Kaymer: Doesn’t have a good record at Augusta, as he’s missed five cuts in nine starts and his best finish is T-31. His current form is good, though, as he’s been T-23 or better in seven of his last eight starts.

44. Brendan Steele: Has made 11 starts this season, posting a victory and five other top 20s. Hasn’t missed a cut and has only finished worse than T-39 once this season. Missed the cut in his only Masters appearance in 2012, but he’s got the tee-to-green game to do well at Augusta, and his putter has been solid this season.

45. Gary Woodland: Announced this week that he and his wife, Gabby, lost one of their twins in pregnancy, so that’s sure to weigh heavy on him. He’s been having a good season, too, with four top 6s. He’s made four Masters starts with a best finish of T-24. Had to WD with a wrist injury at Augusta in 2012.

Danny Willett celebrates with the green jacket after winning the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

Danny Willett (Getty Images)

46. Danny Willett: The defending champ has to be in the top 50, even considering his recent struggles. He was also T-38 in his Masters debut in 2015.

47. Steve Stricker: He has made 15 Masters starts and missed the cut five times, but has gone seven straight years without missing a weekend here. His Augusta record also includes five top 20s, two of those top 10s. He doesn’t play much anymore, and gives up a lot of length to the bombers, but he still seems to show up in the big events.

48. Shane Lowry: Fifth on Tour in GIR percentage, just needs the putter to cooperate. MC in Masters debut in 2015, and was T-39 last year. Hasn’t had a top 20 since T-2 at U.S. Open.

49. Jim Furyk: Has made 19 career Masters starts and missed the cut just three times. That includes last year, though, and he hasn’t finished better than T-39 in four stroke-play events in 2017.

50. Branden Grace: Has missed the cut in the last three Masters after a T-18 in his debut in 2013. Didn’t play well at Match Play and has just one top 10 in 18 previous stroke-play starts before that.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home