The Masters Tournament, initially scheduled for April 9-12 will now be played Nov. 12-15 due to the COVID-19 virus.
Instead of its traditional spring date during which the famous azaleas are a big part of CBS’s stunning visuals, The Masters will now close out a truncated major tournament slate. It will be interesting to see if the Augusta National Golf club leaders can somehow control nature well enough to get spring plants to somehow bloom in late fall in Georgia.
While we’re still over two months from the start of the tournament, early betting odds are out on several websites. A couple of big tournaments remain, The Tour Championship this week and the U.S. Open, that could impact who eventually emerges as the favorite in November. However, unless someone sustains a significant injury, the names currently at the top of the list are unlikely to change between now and when they tee it up, searching for a coveted green jacket.
A Look at the Favorites
Dustin Johnson +1000: DJ is coming off a second-place finish at the BMW Championship, where he sunk a 43-foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Jon Rahm. That followed an 11 stroke win at the Northern Trust in the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs and another second-place finish at the PGA Championship.
He’s the hottest golfer on the planet and would probably be a more significant favorite if he had a better history of closing out wins in major championships. Despite 22 victories and the top spot in both the World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup points standings, he still has just the lone major win in the 2016 U.S. Open.
In four of the last five years, Johnson has recorded a top ten finish at Augusta, including a tie for second behind Tiger Woods in 2019. With his length and improved game around the greens, his favorite status is justified and puts him in a great position to break through for his second major victory.
Jon Rahm +1100: Rahm sunk a double breaking, 66 foot put on the first hole of his playoff with Dustin Johnson to secure the BMW Championship win. He had to overcome a one-stroke penalty for failing to mark his ball on the fifth green during his third round 66 and Johnson’s bomb to prevail. The win vaulted him to number two in the World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup points standings.
After missing the cut in the restart’s first tournament, Rahm hasn’t missed a cut in eight starts while recording a pair of wins and another top ten finish. The 25-year-old Spaniard has yet to win a major championship, but he has finished in the top ten in each of the last two Masters, with fourth place in 2018. Rahm is generally considered the best player yet to win a major, but that could change in November.
Rory McIlroy +1400: Since the restart, McIlroy has had difficulty getting his game going. His wife is expecting their first child, so he could be a little distracted. That will change by November and be replaced by a different type of family responsibility. The Irishman will be looking for his fifth major title to complete the career grand slam, one of the most significant professional golf accomplishments.
The 31-year-old (yes, that’s true) hasn’t won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship, but he was able to win a pair of FedEx Cups in 2016 and 2019. McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six Masters, including 2018, when he faded to a final round 74 while in the previous pairing with eventual champion Patrick Reed. For McIlroy to have a shot at Augusta in November, he’ll need to work on his focus and consistency.