We’ve arrived at The Masters in 2021 and we know the favorites will demand plenty of attention but which sleepers and dark horses could pop up and win at Augusta?
If it feels like we were just at Augusta National Golf Club, that’s because we were in November for the pandemic’s version of The Masters. Dustin Johnson finally got the Green Jacket slipped over his shoulders and, less than 150 days later, we’re back with eyes on Amen Corner, with patrons (in limited capacity) on the course and for another edition of The Masters.
Following his win in November, Johnson (+950) is the favorite to win at Augusta this week when they tee it up on Thursday, April 8 until Sunday, April 11. But there is a heavy group at the top with a resurgent Jordan Spieth (+1150), beefy Bryson DeChambeau (+1150), Justin Thomas (+1250) and Jon Rahm (+1250) right behind him in the odds.
Other heavy hitters and young guns alike aren’t far behind with odds at +3500 or better. And the truth of the matter is that these golfers have these odds at The Masters because they deserve to. If you’re life depended on it, you’d pick someone from that tier to win at Augusta. But if there was a dark horse sleeper to pop up and win, who would that be? Let’s take a look at five players with worse than +5000 odds who could possibly make some noise at The Masters.
The Masters 2021 sleeper pick No. 5: Will Zalatoris (+7500)
We’re starting off with a live one but how can you not throw the youthful sensation, Will Zalatoris, into the conversation? Of course, only Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 has ever won The Masters in their debut appearance in the tournament, which does pour some cold water on the possibility of the 24-year-old putting on the Green Jacket. Then again, history is always looking to be made at this place.
And Zalatoris has the look of a player who could possibly make history given what he’s done over the past year. He made his major championship debut as a professional last year and finished T6 at the U.S. Open, which speaks to his game. More than that, though, he also has five top-10 finishes to his credit already this season and has been absolutely flushing it.
The former Wake Forest standout ranks 26th on the Tour this year on Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee while ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green. The latter is monumentally important given that Augusta National is a famed second-shot golf course. Despite his age, you might be able to count the number of players in the world better than Zalatoris with their irons on one hand.
If there’s one thing (aside from the lacke of experience) that gives me pause, it’s the fact that Zalatoris ranks outside the top-100 in Strokes Gained: Putting this season as he takes on the notorious greens at Augusta. But his game is so good with driver and irons in his hands, expect him to at least make noise in his debut.