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Saturday June 15th

The Signal’s sports section’s Masters predictions

<p><em>The 2024 Masters are underway (Photo courtesy of John Trainor / </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Flickr</em></a><em>).</em></p>

The 2024 Masters are underway (Photo courtesy of John Trainor / Flickr).

By Eddie Young, Joey Bachich, Aidan Mastandrea, Joseph Caruso, and Tyler Morello
Sports Editor and Staff Writers

With it being the second weekend of April, the Masters has arrived. As it is the most prestigious golf tournament, every spring, golf fans gather around their televisions to see who will receive this year’s green jacket at Augusta National. Will it be Jon Rahm, becoming the first to repeat as champion since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002? Will it be Rory McIlroy, giving him the final major to complete his career grand slam? Will it be an LIV player, or a PGA player? Our sports staff is here to give you their predictions on who will win on Sunday.

Eddie’s winner - Will Zalatoris
Three years ago, Will Zalatoris, a rookie on the PGA Tour, entered the Masters with 66-1 odds to win, and was not considered by many to have much of a chance. However, the then-24-year-old put together a great showing at Augusta, announcing himself to the golf world. He finished only one stroke behind Hideki Matsuyama, the winner of the 2021 Masters, earning second place. 

Since that amazing Masters debut, Zalatoris has dealt with some ups and downs in his career. He won the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and put together some amazing performances in 2022. He came in second in two more majors, the PGA Championship and the US Open, which followed up a sixth place Masters finish that year. However, even with all of these top finishes, he has only won one PGA Tour event in his career.

After missing most of 2023 after a back surgery, Zalatoris has been inconsistent in 2024. He had another second place finish at The Genesis Invitational, which would have been a first place finish if not for an all-time great final round from Matsuyama, and he finished in fourth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has struggled as of late, but that should not matter.

Zalatoris has historically done well at Augusta National, and he always finds himself towards the top of leaderboards. Come Sunday, Zalatoris will be alone atop the leaderboard, and will be the one wearing the green jacket. 

Joey’s winner - Joaquin Niemann 
In a newly split game of golf, the Masters is one of the four majors where the LIV and PGA players come together and compete. While regular PGA events might not be as highly competitive as they used to be, the majors are more contentious than ever. Augusta is one of the “stickiest” courses, which means if a player plays well in the past they will always play well there, and vice versa. This course asks for a ton of well rounded play, long off the tee, long iron play and creativity around the green. Driving accuracy will not play a huge factor, which is great news for big hitters and putting favors on those who have played on the greens in the past. 

The PGA has players that may sit around the top 10. McIlroy has slowly found his game and has the ability to make a run and complete winning all four majors. Ludvig Åberg is the only player that does not have history at the Masters that is interesting. He is one of the most well rounded young players on tour and that will translate early. He will not win, but a top 10 finish is likely. Finally, Zalatoris can win this thing outright. His play off of the tee is impeccable and finally fully healthy to contend at one of his best course fits. 

The LIV has players that can finish high, too. Bryson DeChambeau has the best driver in the field by far and has played his best golf in his entire career recently. This course has beat him up in the past, but he has shown flashes earlier in his career here. Brooks Koepka finished second last season, losing to his now LIV partner Rahm, and it is one of the biggest weeks for the tour's biggest major player. 

The winner, however, might be a shock to those who do not follow LIV and might remember him as a young Chilean player on tour who had moments of brilliance. Niemann is the pick to secure his first green jacket at the young age of 25. Niemann and Scottie Scheffler have been by far the two best golfers on the planet when it comes to all around play this season. Niemann has finished top ten in every event but one since September and has three wins. Every year at the Masters, he has gotten better and better. In his last four rounds, he's finished CUT, T40, 35 and T16, and that has me confident in his growing ability to strike the ball better than everyone in the field. 

Aidan’s winner - Rory McIlroy
While one of the favorites at this tournament for over a decade, it seems that McIlroy can never get it done at Augusta. It is the last piece in the grand slam for the 34-year-old from Northern Ireland, so the pressure feels immense every year that he tees it up. Coming off a third place finish at the Valero Texas Open, McIlroy’s game seems to be rounding into shape at the right time after his practice session with legendary coach Butch Harmon. He has changed up his strategy this year, not arriving on Augusta’s grounds until Tuesday and looking to play more free once tournament play starts on Thursday. Tiger said it himself at his presser, “It’s just a matter of when. But, yes, I think that Rory will be a great Masters champion one day.” Rory will get it done this week and finally put on the green jacket that has been eluding him for so long.

Joseph’s prediction - Xander Schauffele
The Masters is one of the most elusive titles in sports, uniting all types of fans, including people who do not even watch golf. As a result of the strong mental aspect of golf, predicting events like the Masters is a difficult task. Scheffler is the clear odds-on favorite, having won the tournament in 2022, with defending champion Rahm not far behind, also near the top in betting odds. However, Schauffele is the pick. This will be his seventh Masters appearance, finishing in the top ten thrice. Simply put, with a name like Xander Schauffele, his aura might be leaking out of his golf hat onto the course, making him a difficult choice to overlook. 

Tyler’s prediction - Scottie Scheffler
Scheffler is the leading favorite to win the Masters right now, and for good reason. He has been on a tear the past few years playing as the top golfer in the world. He was the 2022 and 2023 PGA Tour Player of the Year, and has six top 10 finishes in 2024 so far. He has experience playing in the Masters, as this will be his fifth appearance. He won the green jacket in 2022 and then placed in the top ten in last year's competition. Scheffler beat out Mcllroy for the win in 2022, and it is quite possible these two could end up at the top again with Scheffler pulling out a win.


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