Masters Favorites 2021: Projecting Daily Score Totals for Golf's Top Stars
Jordan Spieth comes into The Masters with the most buzz of any golfer since he broke his four-year winning drought at last week's Valero Texas Open.
Spieth has been close to winning a tournament for most of the PGA Tour season, and now that he finally has a breakthrough, some believe he will feel less pressure at Augusta National Golf Club.
Spieth is one of six golfers to capture the green jacket in the last six years. His win in 2015 feels like an eternity ago since he has faced so many struggles since then.
The 27-year-old may be the most talked-about golfer in the Masters field, but he is far from the only one that can contend for the green jacket.
Jon Rahm has come close to earning his first major at a handful of events, but he has not won one yet.
While Rahm is still waiting for his first major win, Dustin Johnson is the most recent major winner from November's Masters.
Johnson has been fantastic across the major competitions in the last few years and anything outside a top-10 finish is considered a failure from the high expectations he has set during that span.
Spieth has everything going in his favor entering Augusta.
That sentence could not be uttered about Spieth in previous seasons, as he experienced plenty of dips in form.
Even before his Texas Open triumph, Spieth was pegged as a potential contender at Augusta thanks to a string of solid outings.
Spieth landed in the top 10 at the Waste Management Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
If you combine those results with the fact that he is a previous champion at Augusta, a very convincing case could be made for Spieth to don the green jacket on Sunday.
However, the pressure of thriving on the PGA Tour pales in comparison to dominating a major over four days, which is what Spieth has failed to do recently.
In the last two years, Spieth has two top 20 finishes at majors, and one of those was a tie for 20th at the 2019 Open Championship.
Spieth recorded a 70 or worse in six of his last eight rounds at Augusta. The one score providing Spieth backers with a glimmer of hope is the final-round 64 he produced in 2018 to finish third.
We will likely see a better Spieth than the player who has struggled at majors recently, but whether he can put everything together and win among a loaded field remains to be seen.
An argument can be made that Rahm is the best player in the Masters field to never win a major.
The Spaniard has come close to finishing first on countless occasions in the last three years, and Augusta has been one of his favorite courses.
Rahm took fourth in 2018, tied for ninth in 2019 and tied for seventh in November.
In his last two Masters appearances, Rahm split his rounds between two scores in the 60s and two in the 70s.
None of his last eight rounds at Augusta have gone over 72 strokes, but he needs to go lower if he wants to best Johnson, Spieth, Justin Thomas and others.
If he maintains that consistency and adds in a round or two in the 66-67 range, Rahm could come away with his first green jacket.
If there is anybody who knows how to go long at Augusta, it is the man with the freshly-minted 72-hole scoring record.
Johnson captured the green jacket in November by turning in a 20-under tournament with a pair of 65s and a final-round 68.
That performance was a continuation of his terrific major form over the last three years. He had four rounds in the 60s when he came up short at the PGA Championship, which was won by Collin Morikawa.
Johnson has nine consecutive rounds of 70 or better at Augusta and he placed in the top 10 in his last three Masters appearances.
At The Masters and PGA Championship, Johnson put together a three-year run with a single scorecard above 72. He fared differently at the U.S. Open and The Open Championship because of course and weather conditions.
If he displays the same remarkable consistency over four days, Johnson should be in the mix to be the first repeat Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002.