Masters Pool Picks: Jon Rahm At The Top, Avoid Tiger Woods, Plus Pivot Selections To Gain An Edge On The Field

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One of the most entertaining ways to get into Masters betting is by playing a pool. As the biggest golf tournament of the year, even the most casual fans are looking to get in on the action.

Because it’s impossible to cover the rules for every specific Masters pool, I’ll make picks for the most common version. Generally, golfers are broken into tiers and you pick from each tier. In the past, the tiers were almost exclusively based on World Golf Rankings.

However, thanks to LIV golf and elevated PGA events throwing a wrench into things, I’ve noticed many Masters pools are going to betting odds-based tiers.

So, for the purposes of these selections, I will use DraftKings Masters odds, breaking golfers into groups of 10 for the Top 50 and then I’ll do a “longshot” pick.

Masters Pool Picks

Tier 1: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele

Top Pick: Jon Rahm

Call it a gut feeling. I know that’s the worst way to handicap anything, but trying to find differences in the statistical profiles of any of Rory, Scottie or Rahm is really digging into the minutia. Of those three, I prefer Rahm because he’s the best putter. Augusta National is notoriously difficult on the greens and that’s where Rahm shines. He finished in the Top 10 five straight years from 2018-21 before last year’s T27. He’s going to win a Green Jacket at some point, why not this year?

Plus, I expect Rahm to be third-most popular behind those two guys, so if he does win you add major strokes on your opponents.

Jon Rahm will eventually win the Masters, so why not bet it happens this year and take him with your top Masters pool selection?
Jon Rahm will eventually win the Masters, so why not bet it happens this year and take him with your top Masters pool selection? (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Pivot Pick: Xander Schauffele

Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy are going to be heavily selected by players in any pool, so if you’re looking to gain a potential advantage, you can pivot to a less-popular selection. In this tier, it’s of course most likely that one of the Big 3 will be there near the end, so if you elect to pivot you really need to nail it.

I love Xander Schauffele here. He barely squeezed into this tier as the 10th player, so he should be heavily under-used by pool players. But Xander shows up at majors and he has a T2 (2019) and a T3 (2021) already at Augusta. Yes, he got cut last year. But again, that will help keep his ownership percentage down. He can absolutely win this golf tournament.

Tier 2: Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Young, Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im, Sam Burns, Hideki Matsuyama

Top Pick: Hideki Matsuyama

To me, this is the make-or-break tier in Masters pools this year. There are some good names on this list, plenty of guys who can contend for a Green Jacket, and if you miss here, you’re giving up a lot of ground to your opponents. That said, Matsuyama can definitely win since he’s done it before (2021) and we need someone who won’t miss the cut. Matsuyama has made eight-straight cuts at Augusta and hasn’t finished outside the Top 15 in the past three years. He’s a safe pick with win equity.

Hideki Matsuyama is a former champion and a good bet to have a strong performance this week, making him a great Masters pool pick.
Hideki Matsuyama is a former champion and a good bet to have a strong performance this week, making him a great Masters pool pick. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Pivot Pick: Sungjae Im

Matsuyama will be popular as a former champion, as will Max Homa and Collin Morikawa as guys with whom casual fans are very familiar. Because of that, I’m turning to the other Asian-born golfer in this tier, Sungjae Im, for lineups where I want to go contrarian. Im is a cut-making machine, having missed only one this season in 13 events. If you go back to last season, he’s missed just one of his past 19 cuts. He did miss the 2021 Masters cut but has two Top 10 finishes in three Masters starts, including a T2 in 2020 and a T8 last year.

Tier 3: Tyrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Corey Conners, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Joaquin Niemann, Min Woo Lee, Tiger Woods, Patrick Reed

Top Pick: Corey Conners

Ah yes, the “Tiger Woods” tier. Most likely, Tiger will be popular amongst your pool mates. The best strategy is really to avoid Tiger. However, if you just want to root for Tiger, I have no problem picking him. From a golf standpoint and a game-theory standpoint, though, it doesn’t make sense.

What’s interesting, though, is that outside of Woods and Patrick Reed all of the other golfers here are non-Americans. Woods and Reed are also the only former Masters champions in this group, which again will likely make them popular.

Conners won last week, so he’s likely to be fairly popular by those who don’t select Woods. But Augusta is a second-shot golf course and Conners has some of the best irons on Tour. He’s also finished Top 10 in three-straight Masters, which seems to be flying a bit under-the-radar. Take advantage of those picking Woods to get a golfer in much better form.

Corey Conners holds the trophy after winning the Valero Texas Open at The AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pivot Pick: Min Woo Lee

Really anyone outside of Woods and Reed could be considered a pivot, but Conners probably will carry some decent ownership, too. Lee is a MASSIVE pivot here. He’s only played the Masters once, and finished Top 15 last year. He also finished T6 at The Player’s Championship last month. Outside of that, there isn’t much data. He’s only played four events this season, making three cuts.

Last season, he got cut twice as many times (8) as he made the weekend (4). But three of his four made cuts came at major tournaments, including the aforementioned Masters finish, plus Top 30 finishes at both the US Open and Open Championship. There’s some risk, of course, but if Lee continues his strong major play you can pick up some key shots against the field.

Tier 4: Tom Kim, Mito Pereira, Si Woo Kim, Keith Mitchell, Tom Hoge, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer, Sahith Theegala, Keegan Bradley

Top Pick: Adam Scott

Scott enters the tournament in decent form, having made all six cuts this season. However, his best finish is just T29 at the Sony Open. I wouldn’t expect Scott to win this tournament, but in the lower tiers we really need to make sure our picks make the weekend. Scott knows Augusta well, having played in every Masters since 2002. He’s a former champion (2013) and hasn’t missed the cut since 2009. He also hasn’t finished in the Top 30 since 2019. But good course history makes him a safe pick, albeit a chalky one.

Pivot Pick: Tom Hoge

You need strong iron play to be successful at Augusta and no one — seriously, look it up — has gained more strokes approach-the-green this season than Hoge. He’s a Top 50 putter, too. The one area he struggles is off-the-tee. But, Augusta doesn’t necessarily punish bad drives like other courses. Now, Hoge is 100-1 to win for a reason: he’s probably not going to win. But for a guy down this low, he’s got a statistical profile that makes him a nice pick that’s unlikely to be too popular.

Tier 5: Thomas Pieters, Talor Gooch, Russell Henley, Danny Willett, Bryson DeChambeau, Kurt Kitayama, Chris Kirk, Sergio Garcia, Seamus Power, Brian Harman

Top Pick: Seamus Power

It’s tough to have a “top pick” in a group where the shortest odds are 130-1, but it’s my format so I have to stick with it. Again, we really want a player here who is going to make the weekend. Cut golfers ruin pool lineups. I expect Kitayama to be popular because he won a few weeks back, but he’s extremely risky. He’s never played The Masters and has been cut in five of his eight major starts. Instead, I’m looking at Seamus Power. Power putts really well (19th this season) and is strong around-the-green (32nd). Those are both necessary at Augusta. He’s not the best iron player, but again we’re talking about long odds. We need to make the cut and Power’s ability on and around the greens should get us there.

Seamus Power is a risky Masters pool selection, but one that could pay off big.
Seamus Power is a risky Masters pool selection, but one that could pay off big. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Pivot Pick: Russell Henley

Speaking of iron-play, that’s what Russell Henley does. In fact, as someone who’s bet on him many times in my life, dude hits ridiculous approach shots. Unfortunately, the putting is a problem. He’s nearly 200th this season in strokes gained: putting. And, he actually hasn’t been that great with his approach play lately. So why am I suggesting him? Well, he’s a pivot play. I don’t expect him to be a highly-selected pick. But also, he’s probably the most talented player in the group. He can get hot at any time and when he does he can really go low. He’s also made five-straight Masters cuts when he’s played, though that dates back to 2014. He finished T30 last year after not being invited from 2019-21. He finished T11 and T15 in the two years prior.

“Longshots” Tier: Everyone Else

Top Pick: Alex Noren

“I just can’t quit you.” If you listen to the “Hot Links Podcast with Geoff Clark” here at OutKick, you probably saw this coming. I back Alex Noren almost every week and almost every week he lets me down. However, he finished T15 last week at the Valero and, statistically, he’s a good golfer, especially for a “longshot.” But his Masters history is not good (only one made cut in three tries) and hasn’t played the event since 2019. He’s good on and around greens, like Power, which is what we want in this range.

Pivot Pick: Anyone Else

Every player in this tier is 200-1 or worse and there are nearly 40 players to choose from. Just pick your guy and go with it. But, you know, temper your expectations.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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