Augusta National Golf Club, perhaps you've heard of it? Par 72. 7,435 yards? ANGC is the Jane Fonda of the golfing world, recipient of no shortage of plastic surgery and enhancements, but still looking aesthetically appealing despite being born in the 1930s.
Fiddled with, improved, enhanced, altered. Choose your adjective, the folks at Augusta National have fiddled with the course more times than Jim Nantz has said “Hello, friends," since its founding in 1933—all to create a better, fairer (and more lovely) test.
We all know what Augusta National looks like: wide, sloping fairways (both up/downhill and side to side), little rough with pine straw (and pines) when players hit the ball farther off line. Historically, the preferred shot shape at ANGC is the draw. Precise approach play is key into sloping greens with landing areas effectively much smaller than they might appear (experience is critical is determining where to land the ball).
Augusta's pristine bent grass greens traditionally play wicked fast, but sogginess and bad weather could slow them a bit, making the statistical significance of flatstick worse even more minor. Players who miss the green will have plenty of fun with Augusta's run-off areas and bunkers. You can't survive pitching and putting 5-footers for par at this course, thus emphasizing even further the importance of precise approach shots.
So, approach play...particularly from 150 to 200 yards is key at Augusta National, as is play off the tee (total driving and driving distance). Thus, strokes gained: off-the-tee and strokes gained: approach-the-green are the most significant for establishing a baseline this week.
Creme de la creme
Rickie Fowler - $9,300
Yes. This is Dustin Johnson's tournament to lose. However, DJ is $2,000 more than Fowler, will be the most widely owned golfer (especially in the DK Millionaire Maker), and this is GPP, dammit! Fowler's form is stellar, he's finished T-16 or better in his last six starts and he tied for fifth at the Masters in 2014. He's 26th on tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee and third in strokes gained from approach, as well as seventh in birdie average. Hot in Houston, hope Rickie will keep it up at Augusta.