2023 Masters picks to win: Here’s who our staff is betting on at Augusta National

Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler hits a tee shot last month on the 11th hole at Austin Country Club.

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Is it a big three? And everyone else?

The Official World Golf Ranking will tell you that. As do the odds to this week’s Masters. In each, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are one, two and three — in the OWGR, over the past half-year or so, they’ve volleyed around some — and there’s a bit of a gap after that. 

But will you bet it that way?

Scheffer, Rahm or McIlroy, or the field? It’s maybe the gambling question of this year’s first major. Scheffler was your winner at Augusta National last year, and Rahm won the 2021 U.S. Open, and McIlroy’s won four majors. But then again, those are Scheffler’s and Rahm’s only major victories, and McIlroy hasn’t won one since 2014. 

And the other guys ain’t bad, either. 

Let’s try to figure this out. I’ve asked two of my wonderful GOLF.com colleagues two questions: Why will a member of the big three win the Masters, and why will a member of the big three not win the Masters? And to help you even further, members of our staff have each made a to-win bet. The hope is, of course, we help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.

On to our analysis. 

Why a member of the big three will win the Masters

Jessica Marksbury: Each of these three players comes into this year’s Masters with a sparkling resume: Scottie Scheffler, defending champ, World No. 1, seemingly unstoppable. Jon Rahm, three PGA Tour wins since January, and only one finish outside of the top 8 since October. (Not to mention four top 9s in his past five appearances at Augusta.) And then there’s Rory: PGA Tour hero, a win in October at the CJ Cup, a near-miss at the API, seven career top 10s at Augusta. With all that to chew on, how could it NOT be one of these three slipping into a green jacket on Sunday?

Josh Sens: The Masters, for the most part, does not do flukes. Sure, there have been a handful of outlier winners in its history. But everything about the tournament — from the limited field to the scale of the course to the importance of course knowledge— tilts toward the seasoned top. Rahm has never missed a cut at Augusta. He has four top 10s in six tries. Scheffler has been every bit as dominant of late as he was leading into his win last year. And Rory’s history of close calls here is well known.  It’s possible that Danny Willett will win this year. But I think you can bank that all three of the big guys will make the weekend, and when Augusta does what it usually does, distilling things down the final stretch, one if not all of the trio will be right in the mix. 

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Nick Piastowski: Do you bet against the defending champ, who also happens to have won this year’s Players? Scheffler’s high ball-striking, consistent short game and unflappableness are perfect for Augusta National. And if he doesn’t do it, no player in the game can match the firepower of Rahm and McIlroy. 

Why a member of the big three won’t win the Masters

Jessica Marksbury: As much as we like to focus on previous performances and statistics, success in pro golf is really all about being in the right form at the right time. Scottie is golf’s current Superman, but how long will this peak excellence stretch? Defending at the Masters is so tough, it’s only been done by Nicklaus, Tiger and Faldo — all-time greats! Maybe Scottie will one day be in their company. But history has proven that back-to-back Masters wins are exceedingly rare. And Rahm is displaying a bit of streakiness. He’s cooled a bit since his early-season dominance, with a worrying WD at the Players and a T39 at the API — his worst finish since last summer. Then there’s Rory, who has to feel drained after acting as the Tour’s de facto spokesman and defender for the past year. Add to that the pressure of needing the Masters to complete the career grand slam, and it just might be too much to ask for.   

Josh Sens: Because repeating at the Masters is hard. Only Nicklaus, Tiger and Faldo have done it. Scheffler has that working against him. Because this tournament is in Rory’s head. He has said so himself. And because Rahm, as Jessica points out, has been streaky and could always have an off week. Oh, and because guys like Jordan Spieth and Cam Smith are also playing this week 

Nick Piastowski: Because I think Keith Mitchell will. It’s a hunch — he’s played the Masters just once. But his game is there — Mitchell can pop it, and he’s done the work to clean up his touch from in close. And if he doesn’t, Spieth will. And the big three can’t win ’em all. I think. 

2023 Masters picks to win

Ryan Barath

To-win: Rory McIlroy, +750. I hate to do this, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Although he’s had a few ups and downs leading into the tournament, I can’t help but think he’s looking good after his performance at the Match Play and the equipment tweaks he’s made to the driver and putter. Add on last year’s high finish and how he has talked about some great play at Augusta during recent visits — and he’s my winner. 

Alan Bastable 

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. Let’s not overthink this one, people. Scheffler isn’t only a proven winner at ANGC, but he also hasn’t finished worse than 12th — anywhere — since before Halloween. Scary good, indeed! Rory and Rahm are rightfully right there with him as the faves, but from that group, Scheffler feels like the least prone to do something unpredictable. This week, the chalk pick is the right pick.

Josh Berhow 

To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,800. It seems like a Jordan Spieth kind of week, and I wish I had better insight than that, but we all know by now that Jordan is unpredictable. He’s not lights-out in any particular strokes gained category and missed the cut here for the first time last year, but it’s always been a place where he’s played well and his game fits Augusta National. I’m betting on Spieth — with some help from a crazy-low Saturday round — riding a streaky putter and winning his second green jacket.

James Colgan 

To-win: Justin Thomas, +2,000: It’s this simple: Augusta National is a shotmaker’s golf course, and Justin Thomas is golf’s premier shotmaker. It’s incredible his best finish at this event is a solo fourth in 2020, but in 2023, he’s leaving with a green jacket. It’s inevitable.

Dylan Dethier   

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200: I have picked Xander to win roughly the past 13 major championships and I’ll be damned if I miss this one, the week he actually will win.

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Nick Dimengo    

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200. At some point, Schauffele is going to take the leap and join the upper echelon of golfers — but it requires a major title to even join that conversation. What better time than this year’s Masters to get the monkey off his back? After dealing with a back issue earlier this year, the 29-year-old has looked healthy in recent months, carding two top 10s this season. And, although he missed the cut last year, he did finish in the top three in two of the three years prior. Something tells me Xander’s ready for his moment, and he’s coming to Augusta just a little bit overlooked among some of his peers.

Connor Federico

To-win: Cameron Smith, +1,800. Picking golf’s most recent major champion feels like a safe bet to perform well at Augusta. But Smith was more than just Champion Golfer of the Year — he was definitely the best golfer on the planet in ’22 not named Scottie Scheffler. The Aussie had a chance to beat Scheffler on Masters Sunday last year, and at 18-1, he’s a great value to get the job done this Easter Sunday.

Jack Hirsh 

To win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. He’s played well in spurts throughout the year, but hasn’t really put four rounds together yet. The closest we’ve seen was the debacle at Maui, when he led by six entering the final round, only for Jon Rahm to lap him. His short game is on the rise, and that’s really the only thing missing from his game. Let’s also not forget, in the chaos from his back-to-back hole-outs with McIlroy on 18, he did finish fourth in 2022 after a Sunday 67.

Jessica Marksbury

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. I’m shocked there isn’t more love for the defending champ here! Yes, he’s the odds-on favorite, and for good reason: Scheffler is a machine. He hasn’t had a finish outside of the top 12 since October. (!!) He’s the World No. 1 and consistent as can be. This year, he’ll join Tiger, Jack and Faldo as the only players to win back-to-back titles at Augusta. 

Zephyr Melton 

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. In the words of Drake, “we goin’ back to back.” Much like in 2022, Scheffler’s game is rounding into form heading into the Masters. And after his performance last year, there’s no reason to doubt him as the favorite once again.

Nick Piastowski 

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +6,600. He’s lost his touch. He’s thinking of leaving LIV. He looked defeated in Full Swing. All logs on the fire. Major Brooks is back. 

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Tim Reilly

To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,600. He’s been knocking on the winner’s circle door recently. Unfortunately, the roller coaster ride has taken a nosedive down the stretch on him during those runs. Spieth’s due to finish one of these off, and he’s certainly due to finish off another Masters after a few close calls. It won’t come easy — fans will be watching with one eye open around Amen Corner — but Spieth puts back on his green jacket. 

Josh Sens

To-win: Cam Smith: +1,800. The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward entertaining stories. Since joining LIV, Smith has vanished into a media vortex. But nothing suggests he’s not the same player who has looked very much at home at Augusta. Primed to win, even. The conventional knock against the LIV guys is that they’ll have lost their fire and edge. I suspect that will be true of quite a few of them. But Smith was never a ruthless range rat to begin with, so I don’t take that as a difference-maker. Throw in the Tour vs. LIV subplot, and Sunday should be interesting, with a bad mustache and mullet getting airtime.

Marley Sims   

To-win: Rory Mcllroy, +750. Seven top-10 finishes in the past nine years. A second-place showing last year. It’s McIroy’s turn. 

Jonathan Wall 

To-win: Sam Burns, +3,300. Only one Masters appearance gives me pause, but I love the way Burns is playing at the moment. He seems to have figured out the driver and has one of the best iron games around. Putter will still be warm from his win in Austin. It feels like a risky pick based on Burns’ past form at Augusta, but I’ll take my chances. 

Sean Zak 

To-win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. He’s way closer to winning than we’ve likely perceived. I think a big summer is coming from him, starting with a smooth 13-under victory at The National.

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.