The Genesis Invitational - Round Two
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The ceremonial tee shots at the 2024 Masters are less than 50 days away, and there is one particularly intriguing statistic to follow as it relates to who's going to win this year at Augusta National Golf Club. As a means of prognostication, we need to look back at the last decade of play at Augusta. 

Traditionally, ball-striking wins the day at the Masters. This should not be a surprise, of course. While you could putt your way to a win on the famed course, it almost never happens. It's the iron players who wear jackets, and it's the players who put themselves in good positions off the tee who have a better chance of being the best iron players.

In other words, great ball-striking matters most at Augusta. And to that end, one of the best tells for who will strike the ball at Augusta ... is finding who is striking the ball best going into Augusta.

Nine of the last 11 Masters winners flashed a strokes gained tee to green mark of 1.7 or better. That's over the three months leading into the Masters, according to Data Golf.

The only exceptions: Patrick Reed in 2018 (1.2) and Hideki Matsuyama in 2021 (1.01). Both were still hitting it fairly well in their respective tournaments -- just not at the 1.7 clip that Jon Rahm (2023), Scottie Scheffler (2022), Tiger Woods (2019) or Jordan Spieth (2015) found from January to March leading into their events.

With this statistic in mind, who are the top candidates to win the Masters after two months of play in 2024? Here's your list through the Genesis Invitational, according to Data Golf (minimum 10 measured rounds).

RankGolferSG Tee to GreenMasters odds


Scottie Scheffler




Xander Schauffele




Tony Finau




Justin Thomas




Jason Day




Rory McIlroy




Collin Morikawa



This is a strong list! If you were given the choice to pick between this list and the rest of the field, that would be a difficult decision ... or perhaps not.

Of course, the Masters doesn't start in two weeks so this list will likely change over the next month. Especially given numerous top golfers will be playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship and potentially other events as well.

The other wrinkle: LIV Golf does not publish detailed strokes gained metrics. Overall, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and a handful of other players (Joaquin Niemann among them) are at 2.0 strokes gained or better, so we can deduce their tee-to-green play is 1.7 or higher, but we cannot say for sure. So, that makes the calculation a bit more complicated.

Regardless, this is an interesting statistic to follow. It's likely obvious that players hitting the golf ball best -- compared to everyone else on the PGA Tour -- are going to be favored at the Masters. But putting a specific number on it is does provide some added context on what to follow over the next month-plus.