Masters week is finally here. This year’s Masters has a completely different vibe to it than in years past after being pushed from April to November. With the new spot on the calendar, there are quite a few unknowns as to how Augusta National may play which is exactly the reason as to why there are so many interesting storylines to keep up with this week.
Here’s a breakdown of the Top 7 storylines entering the 2020 Masters that you need to pay close attention to throughout the final major of the year.
1. Big Boy Bryson’s Attempt To Break Augusta
Yes, Bryson DeChambeau and his gameplan to overpower his way to a green jacket is more intriguing than Tiger Woods actually defending this year.
DeChambeau’s gameplan of disregarding any trouble and make Winged Foot as short as possible en route to his U.S. Open title in September worked and that’s the exact same strategy he’s going to bring to Augusta. Which, by the way, Augusta National has far less trouble than Winged Foot does.
If things go as they did at Winged Foot for DeChambeau, the 27-year-old will be a two-time major champion and as soon as the dust settles, the Masters will immediately start figuring out how to make the course longer to contain him ahead of next year’s event.
2. Tiger Woods Trying To Go Back To Back
In his four starts as the defending champion at Augusta, Woods has gone back-to-back only once, but he’s never finished worse than T-15 in those four starts either.
The Big Cat’s game doesn’t seem to be at its best heading into the week, which wasn’t the case when he won a year ago. Woods had five Top 20 finishes in his six starts heading into Augusta last time around. Woods’ last Top 10 finish heading into this year’s Masters came in January and he’s played just twice in this new season. You can’t overlook Woods by any means, as long as he has a pulse, he’s got a shot to do something special at Augusta National.
It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to playing a Masters without fans as well. It’s no secret he misses the regular thousands of people that follow him Thursday through Sunday.
3. Remember That Brooks Koepka Guy?
After battling some injuries over the past 12 months or so and not winning an event last season, Koepka seems to be getting overlooked headed into the week. Let’s not forget that Koepka finished T-2 in last year’s Masters and would have likely won if he didn’t put his tee shot in the drink on No. 12.
After not teeing it up in the U.S. Open, we’ve only seen Koepka twice in the new season and it seems like his game is coming into form, and fast. After picking up a T-28 finish at the CJ Cup, Koepka reeled off back-to-back 65’s this past weekend to finish T-5 at the Houston Open, his second Top 5 finish in his last five starts.
Koepka may enjoy not being the guy heading into a major, or maybe he needs that buzz. We’ll find out pretty quickly this week.
4. Rory McIlroy Going For The Slam
It’s the same old, same old for Rory heading into yet another Masters. This will be his sixth start at Augusta with three of the four majors to his name in search of his first green jacket. He’s been close with a solo fourth and a T-5 finish, but the stars haven’t aligned for the 31-year-old.
We’ve all heard ‘this could be Rory’s year at the Masters’ for half a decade now, but this truly could be his time to shine. He isn’t the top storyline, not even close, heading into the week. Plus, without fans on the course, maybe that plays a factor in him being able to keep out any outside noise.
McIlroy finished T-8 at the U.S. Open and has picked up two Top 25 finishes in his two other starts in the new season. It hasn’t been great, but it certainly hasn’t been bad, either.
5. Maybe Jordan Spieth Can Find Something?
Jordan Spieth is a different player when on the grounds of Augusta National. Not only did he win the 2015 Masters, but he’s also never finished worse than T-21 and has three other Top 3 finishes in his six Masters starts.
Having said that, Spieth hasn’t shown us any reason to believe he can contend this week. He’s missed the cut in three of his five starts in the new season and has just three Top 10’s in his last 23 starts.
But, again, if there is one place where all that goes out the window and something clicks for Spieth it’s Augusta National.
6. The Weather Could Play A Key Role
Obviously, the weather in Augusta in November is much different than it is in April, therefore the golf course is going to look and play differently. While Jack Nicklaus and others suggested that the course could play a lot more firm and fast, Tropical Storm Eta may have an impact on that idea in a major way.
As of Monday afternoon, there is a 60% chance of rain on Tuesday in Augusta and an 80% chance on both Wednesday and Thursday. There is at least a 30% chance of rain all four days of the event. A soggy, slower course only plays into the hands of the longest hitters in the field even more so.