VSiN's golf experts wrap up the rain-soaked Masters that ended with Jon Rahm's victory on Sunday.
Wes Reynolds, Host of Long Shots and VSiN Tonight
Jon Rahm became "El campeón" at The Masters on Sunday 40 years after his childhood hero Seve Ballesteros won the green jacket in 1983.
In my Masters column last week, I mentioned that 72% of the eventual Masters champion's scoring output since 2009 comes from the Par 5s. Rahm's winning score was 276 (12-under par) and 10-under of it was courtesy of the Par 5s.
Rahm also ranked No. 1 in the field for Scrambling (21/27 up and downs - 77.8%), 2nd for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (+1.58 strokes per round), 3rd for Greens In Regulation (52/72 - 72.2%), 4th for Driving Accuracy (48/56 - 85.7%), 6th for Strokes Gained: Approach (+1.21 strokes per round), and 6th for Strokes Gained: Around The Green (+0.77 strokes per round).
Even when trailing Brooks Koepka, who finished T-2nd, it never felt like Rahm was too far out of the mix. He showed the complete all-around game and displayed why he has won four times already in 2023 and is once again the No. 1 OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings) player in the world.
The 18-player LIV contingent had a successful Masters by all accounts with 12 of 18 players making the cut including Koepka and Phil Mickelson, yes the same Phil Mickelson who has one Top 10 finish in ten LIV Golf events with an average finish of 31.3 out of 48 golfers, finishing T-2nd, and Patrick Reed finishing T-4th.
For betting and handicapping purposes, it still remains a crap shoot with LIV because not only do very few shops offer their events, but it is difficult to handicap the motivations of these players going forward. How do you go from being on the first page of the leader board at The Masters and then go play in a 48-player, 54-hole event with often small crowds and even smaller TV ratings? The answer, of course, is money, but you can never really judge a player's motivation until he's playing for prestige and legacy.
Every player that had a realistic chance coming in to win The Masters made the cut with the exceptions of Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, who will go another year without completing the major championships career Grand Slam, which he has been trying to complete since 2015.
There are five more events, including two elevated events with $20 million purses this week at the RBC Heritage and the Wells Fargo Championship, before we reach the second major at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY. Jon Rahm is the current 9/1 co-favorite (along with Scottie Scheffler) at DraftKings, but will likely be the solo favorite next month at the PGA.
Matt Brown, host of Long Shots podcast and The Huddle
Another tournament, another win for one of the world's best. Jon Rahm proved, yet again, he is a threat to win every single time he tees it up. Rahm has no weakness, and if he's clicking, he's going to be at the top of the leaderboard.
From a betting standpoint, the LIV players are really going to mess things up in the majors for people that rely on modeling (points to self). Without any sort of real data for recent form to pull from, it will always be a leap of faith to back them. But several showed they can still play a little golf and compete against the PGA Tour's best.
Finally, it's only a matter of time before Cam Young starts to win some tournaments. He was able to overcome a 3rd-round 75 to rally to a 68 in the final round, good for a T7 finish. He's long off the tee, and does everything else pretty darn well. Hopefully we'll be able to snag him at some attractive numbers.
Kelley Bydlon, host of Long Shots podcast
Well, for those of us holding long Brooks Koepka tickets, it was a tough Sunday. He entered the morning third round play 4-up on Jon Rahm and that quickly disappeared. Throughout the fourth round, the momentum was with Rahm. He was able to hold off some others making late charges up the leaderboard and cement his place as one of the best golfers in the world right now.