The Masters: Pre-Tournament Notes

12th green, Augusta National Golf Club

2017 Masters Tournament pre-tournament notes

Dates: April 3-9, 2017

Where: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.

Par/Yards: 72/7,435 yards

Field size: 94

2015 champion: Danny Willett FedExCup: 600 points to the winner Format: 72-hole stroke play

Cut: After 36 holes, top 50 and ties and players within 10 strokes of the lead play the final two rounds

How Danny Willett won the 2016 Masters

Beginning the final round three strokes off Jordan Spieth’s 54-hole lead, England’s Danny Willett posted a bogey-free 5- under 67 to win by three strokes over fellow Englishman Lee Westwood and Spieth. Spieth followed a 1-over 73 in round three with another in the final round to claim the share of second place. The last time a Masters champion emerged from three-or-more strokes behind beginning the final round was in 2012, when Bubba Watson overcame a three-stroke deficit and then beat Louis Oosthuizen in sudden death.

More on Danny Willett

  •       Following his win at the Masters in 2016, made four additional starts on the PGA TOUR in the 2015-16 season, with a T37 at the U.S. Open his best showing.
  •       Including his win at Augusta, amassed five top-10 showings on the European Tour in 2016.
  •       Has made four starts on the PGA TOUR this season, with a T39 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks ago his best showing.
  •       Will be making his third start in the Masters Tournament (T38/2015).
  •       With a win in 2017, would join Tiger Woods (2001-02), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Jack Nicklaus (1965-66) as players to successfully defend a Masters title.

The Masters and the FedExCup

  •       Four players have held the lead in the FedExCup standings over the first 20 weeks of the season: Hideki Matsuyma (11), Justin Thomas (6), Brendan Steele (1) and current leader Dustin Johnson (2).
  •       Current FedExCup leader Dustin Johnson is also No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
  •       The top 10 in the current FedExCup standings, and 23 of the top 30 are in the field.
  •    All 30 from last year’s final FedExCup standings are in the field.
  •    Seven of the nine different FedExCup champions are in the field:

o     Vijay Singh (2008)

o     Jim Furyk (2010)

o     Bill Haas (2011)

o     Brandt Snedeker (2012)

o     Henrik Stenson (2013)

o     Jordan Spieth (2015)

o     Rory McIlroy (2016)

  •       Eight of the 10 Masters winners in the FedExCup era have qualified for the TOUR Championship:

o     Zach Johnson (2007)

o     Trevor Immelman (2008)

o     Angel Cabrera (2009)

o     Phil Mickelson (2010)

o     Bubba Watson (2012)

o     Adam Scott (2013)

o     Bubba Watson (2014)

o     Jordan Spieth (2015)

o     Rory McIlroy

Additional Field Notes

  •       All 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
  •       13 of the 15 different winners on TOUR from the 2016-17 season (Cody Gribble/Sanderson Farms Championship, D.A. Points/Puerto Rico Open).
  •    31 of the 94 players in the field have won at least one PGA TOUR event starting with last year’s Masters champion Danny Willett and ending with the Shell Houston Open winner Russell Henley. Henley was the final addition to the field on Sunday with the “PGA TOUR win and you’re in” exemption.
  •       Past Masters champions (18): Danny Willett/2016, Jordan Spieth/2015, Bubba Watson/2012,2014, Adam Scott/2013, Charl Schwartzel/2011, Phil Mickelson/2004, 2006, 2010, Angel Cabrera/2009, Trevor Immelman/2008, Zach Johnson/2007, Mike Weir/2003, Vijay Singh/2000, Mark O’Meara/1998, Jose Maria Olazabal/1994, Bernhard Langer/1993, Fred Couples/1992, Ian Woosnam/1991, Sandy Lyle/1988 and Larry Mize/1987.
  •       PGA TOUR Champions professionals in the field (9): Fred Couples, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize and Steve Stricker.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson

  •       15-time PGA TOUR winner has won last three starts on TOUR (Genesis Open, World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play). Looking to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win four straight starts. Woods won five straight starting with the 2007 BMW Championship and ending with the 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
  •       Only two players have won the Masters coming off wins in their last two starts: Jack Nicklaus in 1975 (Doral-Eastern Open and Sea Pines Heritage Invitational) and Tiger Woods in 2001 (Bay Hill Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship).
  •    Is 45-under par in his last three stroke-play starts on TOUR.
  •       Is making his eighth start at the 2017 Masters Tournament, with top-10 finishes came in 2015 (T6) and 2016 (T4).
  •       Has won six of his last 16 starts dating back to the 2016 U.S. Open. Since his rookie year on the PGA TOUR in 2008, Dustin Johnson has the second-most wins with 15:
Player PGA TOUR wins since 2008
Tiger Woods 18
Dustin Johnson 15
Rory McIlroy 13

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy

  •       2016 FedExCup champion is making ninth consecutive start in the 2017 Masters Tournament. Three top- 10 finishes came in 2014 (T8), 2015 (4th) and 2016 (T10).
  •       Is making his 33rd  start in a major (14 top-10 finishes).
  •       The winner of the 2011 U.S. Open, 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship and 2014 Open Championship, looks to complete the career grand slam. Five players have won all four majors in a career:

Gene Sarazen 1935 Masters; 1922, 1932 U.S. Open; 1932 British Open; 1922, 1923, 1933 PGA Championship

Ben Hogan   1951, 1953 Masters; 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953 U.S. Open; 1953 British Open; 1946, 1948 PGA Championship

Gary Player   1961, 1974, 1978 Masters; 1965 U.S. Open; 1959, 1968, 1974 British Open; 1962, 1972 PGA Championship

Jack Nicklaus   1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986 Masters; 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 U.S. Open; 1966,

1970, 1978, British Open; 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980 PGA Championship

Tiger Woods 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 Masters; 2000, 2002, 2008 U.S .Open; 2000, 2005, 2006 British

Open; 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007 PGA Championship

  •    A 13-time PGA TOUR winner, last victory was the 2016 TOUR Championship.

World No. 3 Jason Day

  • Making his seventh start at the Masters Tournament, with three resulting in top-10 finishes; 2011 (T2), 2013 (3rd) and 2016 (T10).
  • Never missed at cut at Augusta (withdrew in 2012).
  • Making his 26th start in a major championship (13 top-10 finishes).
  • In search of his second major title (2015 PGA Championship).
  • Holds the record for low 72-hole tournament total in a major at 20-under par. His 20-under 268 score at the 2015 PGA Championship broke the previous record of 19-under, set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 Open Championship.
  • 10-time PGA TOUR winner is in search of first victory since 2016 PLAYERS Championship.
  • Withdrew from last start at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play during the first round due to illness of his mother.

World No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama

  •       Making his sixth start in the 2017 Masters Tournament, with top-10 showings in 2015 (5th) and 2016 (T7).
  •       Making his 18th major championship start this week, with a T4 at the 2016 PGA Championship his best showing.
  •       Claimed his third and fourth career PGA TOUR titles earlier this season at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and Waste Management Phoenix Open. Previously won the 2014 Memorial Tournament and 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  •    Including his victories this season, has four top-1 showings in 10 starts this season.

World No. 5 Henrik Stenson

  •       Making his 12th consecutive start in the 2017 Masters Tournament, with a T14 in 2014 his best showing.
  •       Making his 43rd major championship start this week, where he has collected 11 top-10 finishes. The Masters is the one major which has not surrendered him a top-10 finish.
  •       Claimed his fifth career PGA TOUR victory and first major championship title at the 2016 Open Championship.
  •       Claimed two top-10 finishes in five starts on the PGA TOUR this season; WGC-HSBC Champions (T2), Valspar Championship (T7).
  •       Claimed the 2013 FedExCup title on the strength of Playoff victories at The Dell Technologies Championship and TOUR Championship.

World No. 6 Jordan Spieth

  •       2015 FedExCup champion making his fourth start at the Masters Tournament; 2014 (T2), 2015 (1st), 2016 (T2).
  •       Became the first player to begin his Masters career with eight straight par-or-better rounds (2014: 71-70- 70-72—283 2015: 64-66-70-70—270).
  •       2015 Masters winner led after 54 holes in 2016, before a final-round, 1-over 73 resulted in the T2.
  •    Looking for his third major championship crown in his 17th major start (2015 Masters, 2015 U.S. Open).
  •       Looking for his ninth career PGA TOUR win and second of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am).

World No. 7 Justin Thomas

  • Making just his second start at this week’s Masters Tournament (T39/2016).
  • Became the season’s first of two three-time winners, with wins at the CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii. (Dustin Johnson also has three wins). Posted round of 59 in first round of the 2017 Sony Open en route to a wire-to-wire victory.
  • Remains in search of his first top-10 finish in his seventh major championship start. Best showing is T18 at the 2015 PGA Championship.

World No. 8 Rickie Fowler

  •       Making his seventh consecutive start at the 2017 Masters Tournament.
  •       Best finish at the Masters, a T5, came in 2014 when he recorded top-five finishes in all four major championships. Became the first player to perform the feat since Tiger Woods in 2005.
  •       First missed cut at the Masters came last season, following rounds of 80-73.
  •       Claimed his fourth career PGA TOUR win at this year’s Honda Classic.
  •       Including his win at PGA National, has collected four top-10 finishes in seven starts this season. He finished T3 at last week’s Shell Houston Open.

World No. 9 Adam Scott

  •    The 2013 Masters champion is making his 16th consecutive start at Augusta this week.
  •    In addition to his win, also finished in the top 10 in 2002 (T9), 2011 (T2) and 2012 (T8).
  •    The only Australian to win the Masters.
  •       The last playoff at the Masters was in 2013 when Scott defeated Angel Cabrera on the second playoff hole (No. 10). It was the 17th playoff in tournament history.
  •       Will try to become the ninth player with exactly two Masters wins (Horton Smith, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw and Bubba Watson).
  •       Making his 64th appearance in a major and 63rd consecutive. Active consecutive major appearances (including 2017 Masters Tournament):

o     Sergio Garcia: 71

o     Adam Scott: 63

Additional Player notes:

World No. 18 Bubba Watson

  •       2012 and 2014 Masters champion is making his ninth start at the Masters Tournament. His two wins mark his only top-10s in eight starts.
  •    Looks to join Jimmy Demaret (1940, 1947, 1950), Sam Snead (1949, 1952, 1954), Gary Player (1961,

1974, 1978), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990, 1996) and Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010) as players to win the Masters exactly three times. Only eight players have won three or more Masters tournaments.

  •       Lefthanders have won six of the last 15 Masters (Phil Mickelson-3, Bubba Watson-2, Mike Weir-1).
  •    9-time winner is in search of his first win since the 2016 Genesis Open.
  •       One top-10 finish in nine starts this season (T9/World Golf Championships-Dell Technology Match Play).

World No. 19 Phil Mickelson

  •    2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters champion is making his 25th start at the 2017 Masters Tournament.
  •    Has 11 top-five finishes at the Masters. Players with the most top-five finishes at the Masters:

o     15, Jack Nicklaus

o     11, Tiger Woods

o     11, Phil Mickelson

  •    Is in search of his fourth win at the Masters. Players with the most Masters wins:

o     6, Jack Nicklaus

o     4, Arnold Palmer

o     4, Tiger Woods

  •       Has three top-10s in nine starts this season. The 42-time PGA TOUR winner is looking for his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship. He has five major wins.

First timers at the Masters (19): Brad Dalke (A), Tommy Fleetwood, Toto Gana (A), Scott Gregory (A), Adam Hadwin, Stewart Hagestad (A), Tyrell Hatton, Mackenzie Hughes, Billy Hurley III, Si Woo Kim, Curtis Luck (A), William McGirt, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, John Rahm, Brian Stuard, Daniel Summerhays, Hudson Swafford, Hideto Tanihara.

Players won the Masters in their first appearance: Horton Smith (1934), Gene Sarazen (1935), Fuzzy Zoeller (1979).

Amateurs at the Masters (5): Brad Dalke, Toto Gana, Scott Gregory, Stewaret Hagestad, Curtis Lucke,

Best finishes by an amateur at the Masters: 2–Ken Venturi (1956); T2–Frank Stranahan (1947), Charles Roe (1961).

Miscellaneous Masters Notes

  •       Dating to 1991, with the exception of Zach Johnson in 2007 (T4), Bubba Watson in 2012 (T3), Adam Scott in 2013 (3rd) and Danny Willett in 2016 (T5), each Masters champion has been T2 or better after 54 holes.
  •       The only Masters champion who was not inside the top 10 on the leaderboard after 54 holes was Art Wall Jr. in 1959 (T13).
  •       The third-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win the Masters Tournament 43 (out of 80) times, most recently Jordan Spieth (2015), Bubba Watson (2014) and Angel Cabrera (2009).
  •       The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing 21 out of the last 26 years, with Zach Johnson (2007), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012), Adam Scott (2013) and Danny Willett (2016) the exceptions.
  •       The youngest winner of the Masters is Tiger Woods (1997, 21 years, 3 months, 14 days).
  •       The oldest winner of the Masters is Jack Nicklaus (1986, 46 years, 2 months, 23 days).
  •       Gary Player owns the most starts in Masters history (52).
  •       The largest comeback victory at the Masters is eight strokes (Jack Burke, 1956). Burke was eight behind Ken Venturi through three rounds but edged Venturi by one with a closing round of 71 (compared to Burke’s 80).
  •       Americans have won 10 of the last 17 Masters to 2000.
  •       Six of the last 11 Masters champions played the week before their win, most recently Jordan Spieth in 2015.

Below is the number of attempts before a first victory at the Masters:

1, Horton Smith, 1934

1, Gene Sarazen, 1935

1, Fuzzy Zoeller, 1979

2, Jimmy Demaret, 1940

2, Herman Keiser, 1946

2, Charl Schwartzel, 2011

2, Jordan Spieth, 2015

2, Danny Willett, 2016

Since 1934, most major starts without a victory:
Jay Haas 87
Lee Westwood 75
Sergio Garcia 73
Colin Montgomerie 72
Miguel Angel Jimenez 71
Scott Hoch 70
Brad Faxon 68
Steve Stricker 67
Robert Allenby 65
Scott Verplank 65
John Cook 62
Since 1934, just five players have won the week before winning the Masters Tournament.
2006 Phil Mickelson won BellSouth Classic followed by Masters
1988 Sandy Lyle won Greater Greensboro Open followed by the Masters
1959 Art Wall won the Azalea Open followed by the Masters
1949 *Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open followed by the Masters
1939 Ralph Guldahl won the Greater Greensboro Open followed by the Masters

*No event scheduled the week after first win. Major was next event contested

2016-17 Trends

Top players winning in 2017

Nine of the 14 winners in the 2017 calendar year have been inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering that week’s event: Justin Thomas (SBS Tournament of Champions/22); Thomas (Sony Open in Hawaii/12); Hideki Matsuyama (Waste Management Phoenix Open/5); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro- Am/6); Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open/3); Rickie Fowler (The Honda Classic/14); Dustin Johnson (WGC-Mexico Championship/1), Dustin Johnson (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play/1).

Young stars excelling

Through the Shell Houston Open, 13 of the 21 PGA TOUR wins this season have come from players under the age of 30, including seven straight (see shaded portion). The seven straight tied the longest streak on the PGA TOUR since 1970.

Date Tournament Winner Birthdate Age won
10/23 CIMB Classic Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 5 months, 24 days
10/30 WGC-HSBC Champions Hideki Matsuyama 2/25/92 24 years, 8 months, 5 days
10/30 Sanderson Farms Championship Cody Gribble 9/20/90 26 years, 1 month, 10 days
11/20 The RSM Classic Mackenzie Hughes 11/23/90 25 years, 11 months, 29 days
1/8 SBS Tournament of Champions Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 8 months, 10 days
1/15 Sony Open in Hawaii Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 8 months, 17 days
1/22 CareerBuilder Challenge Hudson Swafford 9/9/87 29 years, 4 months, 13 days
1/29 Farmers Insurance Open Jon Rahm 11/10/94 22 years, 2 months, 19 days
2/5 Waste Management Phoenix Open Hideki Matsuyama 4/29/93 24 years, 11 months, 11 days
2/12 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Jordan Spieth 7/27/93 23 years, 6 months, 16 days
2/26 The Honda Classic Rickie Fowler 12/13/88 28 years, 2 months, 13 days
3/12 Valspar Championship Adam Hadwin 11/2/1987 29 years, 4 months, 10 days
4/2 Shell Houston Open Russell Henley 4/12/1989 27 years, 11 months, 21 days

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