Masters 2021: Latest Expectations for Golf's Top Favorites and Sleepers

Martin FennFeatured Columnist IApril 6, 2021

Masters 2021: Latest Expectations for Golf's Top Favorites and Sleepers

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Some of the best players in the world are arriving at Augusta National prior to the start of the 2021 Masters on Thursday.

    Things are likely to look a bit different this time of year after last year's tournament was held in April. The azaleas will be in bloom and the course could be faster and firmer. Not to mention, fans will be on the course to watch some of golf's top stars compete for the coveted green jacket. 

    Here is a closer look at some of the favorites and sleepers for this week.

Latest Odds

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Dustin Johnson +950 (bet $10 to win $95)

    Bryson DeChambeau +1100

    Jordan Spieth +1150

    Jon Rahm +1200

    Justin Thomas +1200

    Rory McIlroy +1900

    Patrick Cantlay +2050

    Xander Schauffele +2300

    Brooks Koepka +2800

    Collin Morikawa +3150

    (All odds obtained via Golf" target="_blank">DraftKings)

Breaking Down the Favorites

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Dustin Johnson   

    Johnson is the reigning Masters champion looking to become the first back-to-back winner since Tiger Woods accomplished the feat in 2001-02.

    The No. 1 player in the world comes to Augusta in a bit of a rut, though. Johnson has not finished higher than a tie for 28th in his past three starts on tour, including a tie for 48th at The Players last month. He will need to be in much better form to recapture the glory he obtained in November.


    Bryson DeChambeau   

    Another week of golf, and another week of Bryson DeChambeau pushing the boundaries of swing speed.

    DeChambeau sought to impose his will on Augusta last year with his sheer length. But it didn't work out as planned, as he finished in a tie for 34th. The 27-year-old does not appear to have changed his strategy much entering this week. He was ferociously ripping drivers on the range on Monday. 

    Might the prodigious length work in DeChambeau's favor this time? He certainly is in a run of good form after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and finishing in a tie for third at The Players.


    Jordan Spieth   

    Spieth's resurgence has been one of the best stories early in 2021.

    The former Masters champion captured his first win on tour in nearly four years after winning the Valero Texas Open. It was the stamp on a calendar year that has already seen Spieth earn three other top-five finishes.

    Spieth's familiarity with Augusta and ability to make a bunch of putts in a hurry should benefit his chances of contending. He might also be entering the week with even more confidence now that he has gotten the elusive win.


    Jon Rahm   

    As talented as Jon Rahm is, he has never won a major championship.

    The Spaniard finished in a tie for third at the 2019 U.S. Open. He was fourth at the 2018 Masters and finished in a tie for seventh last fall. Is this the year Rahm finally breaks through?

    Rahm has not won in 2021, but he has four top-10 finishes. He and his wife, Kelley, also had a baby over the weekend, which will perhaps serve as added inspiration at Augusta. 

Sleepers to Watch

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Sungjae Im   

    Sungjae Im is not the biggest of sleepers. He enters the week with the 19th-best betting odds (+4150). It makes sense, given the South Korean finished in a tie for second at last year's Masters.

    Im is not the longest player in the field. But he ranks eighth on tour in driving accuracy and 31st in greens in regulation percentage. Im also ranks 27th in strokes gained putting. 

    The 23-year-old finished tied for 17th at The Players and was tied for eighth at the Honda Classic. He seems to be building well.   


    Louis Oosthuizen   

    Former Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen has not finished outside the top 30 in the last three Masters. He was solo third at last year's U.S. Open and, most recently, finished tied for sixth at a WGC-Workday Championship.

    The 38-year-old vet always seems to be in the mix on the biggest of occasions. Why should this year be any different? Oosthuizen ranks ninth in strokes gained around the greens and third in strokes gained putting in the 2021 season. He also ranks a surprising fourth in eagle average, which is important given Augusta's gettable par-5 layouts.   


    Bubba Watson   

    Watson had a tough showing at last year's Masters, finishing solo 57th. But the 42-year-old had previously shown strong form at Augusta, including a T5 finish in 2018.

    It has been a bit of an up-and-down season for Bubba thus far. He was cut at both the Genesis Invitational and The Players. But he has reason to be as confident as anyone at a place where he has already won twice.


    Tommy Fleetwood   

    Fleetwood's odds (+6000) are fairly appetizing for someone with serious major championship pedigree.

    The Englishman finished solo second at the 2018 U.S. Open. A second-round 64 shot him into contention at the 2020 PGA Championship before he stumbled on the weekend. He also earned a top-20 finish at last year's Masters despite shooting 74 on Sunday. 

    Fleetwood finished in a tie for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and had a good showing at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He can go as low as anyone in the field and should be a dark horse to watch.   


    All stats obtained via, unless otherwise noted.


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