April 06, 2022 at 01:45 PM
By Zack R., Team Titleist Staff
Zack R., Team Titleist StaffFairhaven, MA
The storied history and unparalleled setting of The Masters provides an annual sports experience like nothing else. In 2021, Titleist golf balls accounted for more than 65% of all birdies or better made for the week. This year, Team Titleist sends another strong contingent of contenders looking to win the green jacket. Here are some of the key numbers to know as the first men’s major of the season approaches:
A year ago, Will Zalatoris nearly became the first Masters rookie to win since 1979. Buoyed by a balanced performance through the bag, his solo runner-up finish was the best by a player in his Tournament debut since 1982 – 14 years before Zalatoris was born.
Zalatoris’ trademark strong iron play was in full force, as he ranked second in the field for the Tournament in greens in regulation (73.6%) and gained more than 3.6 strokes via his approach play. Perhaps more surprising was Zalatoris’ excellent performance in his first career start playing the famed greens of Augusta National. Zalatoris ranked fifth in the field in strokes gained putting for the week (+1.43 per round), including gaining more than 3 full strokes on the field in round number two.
Golf Ball: Pro V1Driver: TSi3 9.0° with a Fujikura Speeder 757 TR X shaftFairway Metal: TSi3 16.5° with a Fujikura Atmos 8 Red shaftUtility iron: T200 3-ironIrons: T100 4-PW with Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shaftsWedges: New Vokey Design SM9 50.08F, 54.10S at 55, 60T with Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shaftsPutter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 11 Tour Prototype
Since making his Masters debut in 2014, no player has been more consistently excellent at Augusta National than Jordan Spieth. In that span, he leads all players in score to par (-50), birdies or better (156), one-putts (239) and rounds inside the top-five (17). Spieth has five top-three finishes in his first eight career Masters starts – one of just two players in Tournament history to achieve that (Arnold Palmer is the other).
Spieth’s 2.45 strokes gained total per round at the Masters ranks second in Tournament history among players with five or more starts (he trails only Ben Hogan). The Texan has averaged 1.17 strokes gained approach per round at The Masters since 2015, most of any player with ten or more rounds played in that span. He’s also among the leaders in strokes gained ball striking (6th) and strokes gained putting (6th) since tracking began in 2015.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: TSi3 10.0° | Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 XFairway Metal: TS2 15.0° | Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 XHybrid: 818 H2 21.0° | Graphite Design Tour AD DI-95 XIrons: T100 4-9 | True Temper Project X 6.5Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 46.08F (PW) with a True Temper Project X 6.5 shaft and Vokey Design SM8 52.08F, 56.10S, 60T proto wedges with True Temper Project X 6.0 shaftsPutter: Scotty Cameron 009
Over the last four years, no player has hit more greens in regulation at Augusta National than Justin Thomas (72.9%). His precision approach play has him ranked fourth in strokes gained ball striking per round at The Masters in that span, gaining 1.44 strokes on the field. At 20-under-par the previous three years, only five players have accumulated a better score at Augusta since 2019.
Thomas heads to Augusta National in full flight, again among the PGA Tour’s leaders in several key ball striking and performance metrics. In eight stroke play events so far this season, JT has five top-ten finishes.
Golf Ball: Pro V1x Driver: TSi3 10.0° | Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana ZF 60 TX-FlexFairway Metals: TS3 15.0° and 915 Fd 18.0°Irons: NEW T100 4 and 621JT 5-9 Wedges: New Vokey Design SM9 46.10F (@ 47.5°), 52.12F (@ 52.5°), 56.14F (@ 57.0°) and WedgeWorks 60T (@ 60.5°)Putter: Scotty Cameron X5.5 prototype
The last time we saw Patrick Cantlay in Georgia, he was holding the FedExCup trophy at East Lake. This week, Cantlay makes his sixth career start at Augusta National, looking to improve on a career-best tie for ninth place in 2019. Cantlay’s early-season consistency saw him rattle off top-ten finishes in each of his first four PGA Tour starts of 2022. To find success at Augusta, Cantlay will look to channel the ball-striking prowess he displayed there in 2019 and 2020, when he gained 10.5 strokes on the field off-the-tee and with his approach shots.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: TS3 9.5° | Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TXFairway: 915F 15.0° | Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 TXHybrid: TS2 21.0° | Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 80 TXIrons: 718 AP2 (4-9) irons | True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 Tour Issue X100Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 (46.10F, 52.08F, 56.08M) & SM8 (61° Proto) | True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5 tour prototype
At the 2020 Masters, Cameron Smith tied for second alongside Sungjae Im with a score of 15-under – the best ever 72-hole performances by players to not win the Tournament. Two years later, both players arrive in Georgia looking for their first career major championship victories.
Smith’s elite short game has shined brilliantly in his young Masters career. Since 2018, Smith ranks eighth in strokes gained around the green per round (+0.51) and third in strokes gained putting (+1.08). That has allowed him to get out of trouble often: his 2.67 bogeys or worse per round are the fourth-fewest among players with ten or more rounds played since the 2018 Masters.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: TSi3 10.0° | Fujikura Ventus Blue 60 XFairway Metals: TSi2 15.0° | Fujikura Ventus Blue 80 X and TS2 21.0° | UST Mamiya Elements Red 8F5 XIrons: NEW T100 5-9 | KBS Tour 130 Custom Matte Black XWedges: NEW Vokey Design SM9 46.10F, 52.08F, 56.08M, 60.10S | KBS Tour 130 Custom Matte Black XPutter: Scotty Cameron 009M tour prototype
Now making his third Masters appearance, Im will be looking to rebound from a missed cut in 2021 with a re-discovery of the outstanding short game performance that fueled him in his Tournament debut. That week, he gained a stellar 11.5 strokes on the field on putts and shots around the green.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: TSi2 8.0° | Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 XFairway Metal: TS3 15.0° | Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 XHybrid: 818 H2 19.0° | Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 105 XIrons: T100 3-9 | True Temper Dynamic Gold X100Wedges: Vokey Design SM7 48.10F (@47), 54.08M (@53), 60.04L wedges | True Temper Dynamic Gold X100Putter: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 tour prototype
Thanks to an ascent into the world top-50 this spring, Russell Henley will have the opportunity this week to play in his first Masters since 2018. The numbers say Henley loves putting at Augusta National: in 12 Masters rounds from 2015-18, he averaged a stellar 1.47 strokes gained putting per round – the second best average of any player since tracking began. Henley enters the week leading the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained approach, making him an interesting name to watch at the season’s first major.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: TSi3 10.0° | Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 70 6.5 TXFairway Metal: TS3 16.5° | Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 80 6.5 TXHybrid: TSi2 21.0° | Mitsubishi MMT Hybrid 100Irons: T100 4-9 irons | True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT (4-6), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (7-9)Wedges: Vokey Design SM8 48.10F @47°, 50.08F @51°, 54.10S, @55° 58.08M @59° wedges | True Temper True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (48°), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (50°, 54°, 58°)Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Long Neck tour prototype
Good luck to Team Titleist this week at the first major of the season! Take a deeper look at the setups they'll be gaming at Augusta National.
El banditoFife Bonny Scotland 🏴
Felipe PMelbourne, VIC
Wade WRoanoke, VA
David EcklColumbus, OH
George VMontgomery, AL
Chuck ZMt Pleasant, SC
Conrad KElkridge, MD
Andrew ACharlotte, NC
Steve STuckerton, NJ
Fred GSherrills Ford, NC
Eric HRidgway, PA
Diego DMiami, FL
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