Magnolia Lane

Masters Eve

One day. That’s all we have left until the 2016 Masters, which is shaping up to be one of the most exciting championships in recent memory. Don’t forget to get in on the action by joining our free Masters pool for a chance to win great golf prizes. Entries close tonight at 11pmCST, so make your picks here if you haven’t already.

Refreshing your memory circa 2015

The lasting memory of last year’s Masters will be the dominant performance of a 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who smashed numerous records on the way to his first major championship victory.

Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson tied for second at -14, a total that would have won or tied for the win at 74 of the past 79 championships.

The former world number 1, Rory McIlroy, struggled in the early rounds only to shoot -10 on the weekend with rounds of 68-66 to finish in a respectable 4th place.

The Course

Iconic Augusta National, the home of the Masters, is a one of a kind championship golf course. The par 72 layout features wide landing areas, heavily protected greens and challenging green complexes that reward good shots. Augusta rewards long hitters who can move the ball right to left, hit precise iron shots and have a deft putting touch. Translation: la crème de la crème of golf.

We have two unique ways you can tour Alister MacKenzie’s masterpiece: A photo tour with commentary from the legendary Tiger Woods or a compilation of GIFs put together by Adam Sarson, one of our favorite Twitter follows. Choose your own adventure.

Our Hardboiled Picks to Click

Tip of the week: This week is a big one, the millionaire-maker that will lead to a lot of new blood in the DraftKings lobby dreaming of a big payday. A word of advice, use recency bias to your advantage. For example, a player who missed his last cut but has played well all season up to that point will be subject to a recency bias, and his ownership % will plummet, allowing your lineup to skyrocket when he returns to form.

Stud: Bubba Watson
DraftKings Salary: $11,400
PGA Tour players’ and fans’ distaste for Bubba Watson is well chronicled. With the media frenzy focused on Spieth, Day, McIlroy, Fowler and Scott, Bubba should be under-owned. As for Bubba, what’s not to like? He’s a two-time champion whose left-handed power fade fits Augusta perfectly. Bubba won this year’s Northern Trust and finished 2nd at Doral, the exact same finishes he had in 2014 when he won at Augusta.

Value: Louis Oosthuizen
DraftKings Salary: $8,800
Speaking of recency bias, Oosthuizen had a miserable showing at last week’s Shell Houston Open, missing the cut. The event happened to follow a week where he played 126 holes in 5 days during his run to the finals of the WGC Match Play. The South African has 3 top 25s in his past 4 Masters appearances, including a runner-up to Bubba in 2012. 

Long Shot: Charley Hoffman
DraftKings Salary: $6,400
The oft-overlooked Hoffman has turned into a very good player on Tour. At last year’s Masters, he was in 2nd place going into the weekend rounds before a 71-74 dropped him to t9th. On top of that, Hoffman was leading last week’s SHO before faltering over the weekend to a t33.
3 storylines to watch: 

With so many to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down our top 3.

Majorless.

A quick look at Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson’s golf resumes will find accolade after accolade but one common denominator, no major championships. Each has had their heartbreaks and near misses (some more than others...cough, Dustin, cough) and each come in playing great golf.

This is 45.

Phil Mickelson can contend at Augusta in his sleep.  Augusta’s design fits his left-handed fade to a T. Last year, Lefty was arguably amidst the worst of his professional career, but he was still able to scrape together a weekend charge to tie for 2nd. This year, it looks like Phil got his groove back and is leading the PGA Tour in scoring average. Will we see a retro revival of Lefty on the 30th anniversary of Nicklaus’ legendary win at 46?

The forgotten king.

He has shown flashes of dominance all season, but we have yet to see the former king of golf, Rory McIlroy, keep it together for an entire tournament. With a win, McIlroy would join Tiger, Jack, Hogen, Player and Sarazen as the only golfers to win the career grand slam and take back the crown as king.

The guy to root for

Meet 35-year-old Sammy Schmitz, who is playing in the Masters by virtue of winning the 2015 U.S. Mid Amateur. Schmitz’s road to Augusta is a unique one, and making a hole-in-one on a par 4 to close out his championship win is just the beginning. Read ESPN’s feature piece here

More player analysis! 

Every year, a friend of the fried egg puts together a majors pool. The format is simple: 27 guys, 2 players each determined by a snake-style draft, with payouts going to the owners of the top 3 finishers in the tournament. In preparation for the draft, we decided to be far more organized than usual and rank our Masters picks from 1-54 (with healthy explanations for each) and later compared them to who was actually picked by our friendly competition Read more here.

Quick Hooks

The Web.com Tour stays in the Southern Hemisphere.

Your Wednesday Workout. 

Talkin’ bout that real Texas Barbecue, Spieth’s Champions Dinner Menu.

DeChambeau has nicknames, not numbers, for his clubs.

Featured pairings & a coverage schedule for this year’s Masters.

Chicago golf fans unite, RSVP for our Saturday Masters Watch Party.

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