It’s been a strange sort of season on the PGA Tour so far. Some of the bigger names have failed to get their hands on silverware, with the less-fancied players bringing the goods when it matters most. Of course, there are still plenty of big tournaments to come this season, not least the four major championships starting with the Masters this month.
If you glance at the Masters betting odds you’ll see all the big names listed as potential favourites, but we’re going to look at a few potential winners who have shone in other events this season.
There’s no denying that Scottie Scheffler is one of the most in-form players heading into the Masters at Augusta. In fact, his recent win in the WGC Match Play on home soil in Texas meant he has now become the world number one golfer as far as the rankings are concerned.
It was Scheffler’s third tournament win in the space of five weeks, after winning the Phoenix Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational. That is a remarkable hot streak, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t continue with a strong performance at the Masters.
“I really don’t know what to say,” said Scheffler after the Match Play victory. “I’m just really pleased. It’s a tough week, a long week. I figured out my routine to keep some energy. But I’m pretty worn out right now to be honest. It’s a dream come true to play in front of my hometown fans here, going to school here. I have some good memories on this golf course, coming out to watch this tournament. I’m pleased to be playing in it, and even more happy to win it.”
Another player who has pulled up trees this season is Cameron Smith. The Australian has begun to realise his potential since finishing tied for second at the Masters two years ago, and two tournament victories this season speak to that improvement.
The most significant of these was his recent win in the Players Championship. Many consider that tournament to be something of an unofficial fifth major, and Smith showed great courage to get the better of Anirban Lahiri and claim the title.
Getting his hands on such a coveted title will give Smith huge confidence heading to the Masters. Add the fact that he knows how to play well at Augusta, and he could be a very dangerous players of the four rounds.
What about the defending champion? It was considered something of a shock when Hideki Matsuyama got his hands on the green jacket last year, but the Japanese golfer has backed up his Masters triumph with two subsequent titles on the PGA Tour this season.
The first of these came in the Zozo Championships in his native Japan back in October, whilst victory in the Sony Open in Hawaii will have given Matsuyama even more confidence that he can have another successful four days at Augusta.
The golf tips don’t necessarily fancy the 30-year-old to defend his title, but given his ability to turn on the style when he’s up against it.