🦀 Bring Home The Beacon
Masters Review & Heritage Preview | Stats, Trends & More!
I could linger in the Masters forever but THE SHOW MUST GO ON! The TOUR attached “elevated” status to this week’s RBC Heritage and while I question the idea of putting an elevated event immediately after a Major — I love it!
This is such a unique course and one where the top players haven’t really traveled to, outside of 2020. This injects a completely different field into an awesome course that is different from what we see every week on TOUR.
I hope you enjoy.
🏆 Last Week’s Optimal Lineup
🤢😁 The Best of Times & The Worst of Times
We saw a few golfers hit their floors and ceilings last week, earning their best and worst finishes in quite some time. Here are a few notables.
Sahith Theegala earned his best finish at a Major (9th), which was previously a T34 at the 2022 Open Championship.
The last four Majors played by Cameron Young have been a T7 at the Masters, runner-up at the Open, MC at the U.S. Open and 3rd at the PGA Championship.
Sam Burns earned his best Masters finish (T29) but has still yet to finish better the 20th in 10 Major appearances.
Rory McIlroy missed the cut at a Major for the first time since the 2021 Masters and Justin Thomas missed the cut at a Major for the first time since the 2021 PGA Championship. It’s the first time that they have both missed the cut at the same Major in their careers (29 starts).
Russell Henley’s T4 was his best Major finish in 33 career starts. His previous best was a T11 at the 2017 Masters.
Patrick Reed’s T4 is his best Major finish since the 2018 U.S. Open (4th). He’s made the cut in 13 of his last 14 Majors.
🔰 The T2G Secret of Augusta National
Augusta National is a full examination from tee-to-green and the last five winners are proof of that.
Of every event on TOUR in the last five years, The Masters has the 6th highest average T2G for winners at +13.03. And there’s really no way to fake it!
It’s the only event where each of the last five winners gained at least 10 strokes from tee-to-green.
🔮 The Pendulum Has Swung
Below are my notes for a podcast episode I did at the end of last season. It pointed to the historic season Jon Rahm had driving the ball and how little he got out of it.
The short of it — Rahm became the 12th golfer in the ShotLink era to gain 1+ stroke per round off-the-tee. An incredible feat and one that usually comes with lots of trophies — except, it didn’t.
Rahm had “only” one win, the fewest of any other to accomplish the feat. He had the worst finish on the Money List and the worst finish in the FedEx Cup Standings.
The idea was that he was running bad and that the rubber band was going to snap back and boy … did it ever.
Since the TOUR Championship, Rahm has played 14x globally and has won six of them.
This is obviously cherry-picking but since the TOUR Championship concluded, Rahm has gained 2.77 strokes per round to the field — by far the best mark in the world.
🤏 Taking Dead Aim
There are a few unique characteristics of Harbour Town compared to other courses on the schedule. One of the traits are these really small greens, checking in at 3,700 square feet on average. That makes them the second smallest greens on TOUR behind only Pebble Beach.
Since the start of 2020, here are the best players on small greens (4,000 sq ft or smaller).
This golfer has gained 1.70 strokes per round (50 rounds) at this event, dating back to 2008. It’s the second most of any golfer who has played at least 20 rounds.
Despite his success during that span, he didn’t hoist a trophy and finished runner-up an agonizing five (!!) times.
(Answer at bottom of the email)
👍 Keep It In Play
I’ve always love this photo of Harbour Town which shows the challenges golfers will face off-the-tee this week. Being in the fairway isn’t good enough when you have overhanging limbs that block you out from the green. You’re often asked to be on the correct side of the fairway to give yourself the proper angle to the green.
Good Driving % is a stat that measures how often a golfer 1) hit the fairway or 2) hit the green/fringe in regulation. It basically just says “did you give yourself a chance to get to the green in two?”. Here are the best in that category.
👨🚒 Too Hot To Handle
The hottest player in the field is… Ben Martin. That might be surprising to you, so let’s define what is means to be “hot”. To me — it’s how much better a golfer is playing than their 100 round baseline, which is generally “who a golfer is”.
Martin is a staggering 0.81 strokes per round BETTER in the last 36 rounds than his baseline. And he’s doing it in the best way possible.
His gains have all come from tee-to-green and primarily via approach play (+0.52).
For perspective, Sam Ryder is also hot — gaining 0.57 strokes to his baseline, which is the 10th best mark in this field. Howevahhh — all of those gains and then some (+0.77) come from putting. He’s losing strokes OTT to himself during this run, which is worrisome.
Does this mean Martin is the best player in the field? No. But a a “hot” Ben Martin is equivalent to Matt Fitzpatrick’s baseline.
❤️🔥 Prop It Like It’s Hot
The prop market is heating up and there’s a few plays that stick out to me in round one for this week.
The “strokes” props are being set between 68.0 and 68.5 for the top players. This is a par-71 that will likely play 0.5 shot under par on Thursday — which means these golfers will need to gain 2+ strokes to the field to go under their prop line.
Patrick Cantlay under 68.5 strokes — Has gained 2+ strokes in 11/18 rounds at Harbour Town.
Xander Schauffle over 68.5 strokes — Has gained 2+ strokes to the field in 4/12 rounds at Harbour Town. Has gained 2+ strokes in 44% of his last 100 rounds at any event.
⛔ These lines are likely to move, so you can secure them here.
⚠️ In Case You Missed It
🥼 On Monday, Will Zalatoris announced that he had back surgery and will be out for the rest of the season. Wishing him a quick recovery and hopefully this will be a permanent solution.
⛳ Andy Lack posted his course breakdown of Harbour Town, which is likely the most in-depth breakdown of course architecture and how it impacts fantasy/betting that you’ll find on the internet.