With the 86th Masters fast approaching, the key question everyone’s asking is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win at Augusta National? With a tremendous field featuring most of the best professionals and a few of the top amateurs in the world, the first major of 2022 should be an epic ride from Thursday’s first round onward.
This year’s Masters is as wide open as any in recent memory. There is no favorite in the single digits this time around, and nobody has emerged as the player to beat over 72 holes. The favorites, technically, are Jon Rahm (10-1) and Justin Thomas (12-1) as they top the oddsboard on Caesars Sportsbook. Both have tremendous, competitive histories at Augusta National, but neither has claimed a green jacket as of yet.
The two hottest players in the world — Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler — are both nice picks but not considered heavyweight favorites at Augusta. Conversely, many of the top stars in the world have not won so far in 2022 and several of them have a dodgy history with this course.
Then there is the Tiger Woods conundrum. What do you do with a five-time Masters winner who has not played an official event in 17 months but also might know the golf course better than anyone who has ever played it? Woods indicated that he is indeed going to tee it up on Thursday morning alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann, and the potential outcomes for him might be wider than anyone else in the field.
Add it all up, and it would appear that we’re in for a wild Masters week full of unexpected twists and turns but also a lot of familiar names atop the leaderboard. As such, you’re not going to want to miss a minute of action, so be sure to check out (and bookmark) our 2022 Masters TV schedule and coverage guide so you can stay tuned in all week.
So what is going to happen this week at Augusta? Let’s take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts as we attempt to project who will win — and what will happen — at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Check out a full set of 2022 Masters odds provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
Watch all four rounds of the 2022 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world throughout Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.
2022 Masters expert picks, predictions
Kyle Porter, golf writer
Winner — Justin Thomas (12-1): I have some conflicted feelings about J.T. at Augusta National, where he clearly does not putt the ball well. However, in the weeks leading into this one, it has felt (and looked, statistically) as if he was building toward a massive victory. You could have said the same over the first few rounds at the Masters last year, too, before an 8 on the par-5 13th led to 75 and undid his chances of winning. His driving can get wayward at times so the big number is always a concern, but if the weather gets a little squirrely later this week — and it might — Thomas proved at the Players Championship that he has probably more game than anyone to stand up to it.
Sleeper — Si Woo Kim (65-1): There are a few things I love about Kim this week. The first is that he’s showed the propensity to win massive events before (he dominated the 2017 Players), and the second is that he low-key plays Augusta National tremendously. Kim has four straight made cuts here, including three top 25s and a sneaky T12 in 2021 when he putted with his 3-wood for part of the tournament. There are a handful of players at 50-1 or longer (Adam Scott and Russell Henley included) that stand out, but Kim is my favorite of the bunch.
Top 10 lock — Brooks Koepka: There’s a lot to like about Koepka this week. He’s been playing good golf (three top 20s in his last four starts). He’s seemingly as healthy as he’s been in a long time (certainly healthier than last year when he was climbing up the hill on No. 13 following a knee issue). And of course, the fact that he just destroys at major championships with 12 (twelve!) top 10s in his last 16 starts at the four biggest events.
Star who definitely won’t win — Rory McIlroy: It pains me to say it, but McIlroy has been struggling with his irons more than somebody who wants to win at Augusta National should. His top-10 record at this event is tremendous (nobody has more than his six over the last 10 years), but he has yet to properly execute what he referenced earlier this week as a “negative” game plan where he plays away from trouble, takes full advantage of the par 5s and hits everything pin high. I would love to see that happen this week, but even last week at the Texas Open, he struggled with distance control which did not engender a ton of optimism.
Surprise prediction — Tiger Woods makes the cut: Perhaps this would be considered more surprising three weeks or two months ago than it is after seeing how healthy and fit Woods looked at the beginning of the week. However, it should still be completely astonishing if somebody who nearly lost a leg 14 months ago is playing the weekend at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world.
Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 275 (-13)
Winner’s Sunday score: 69 (-3)
Chip Patterson, writer
Winner — Xander Schauffele (20-1): If he stays true to form, Schauffele will be at a minimum in the mix to win and if you’re consistently putting yourself within a handful of shots of the lead the odds favor the tournament breaking your way eventually. Schauffele’s last two starts at Augusta in April have been T2 and T3, coming up just short of Hideki Matsuyama last year thanks in part to splashing his tee shot on the par-3 16th. He can play this course well and I expect him to do so based on recent form, and this is great value on a player with a high floor for performance in this tournament.
Sleeper — Kevin Kisner (100-1): Seeing Kisner have a strong showing at a match play event is not a huge surprise. The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play has been the setting for three of Kisner’s five best finishes (one win, two runner-ups), but it’s the other results this year that have me intrigued in his chances. He started the year with back-to-back top-10s in Hawaii then after a couple up-and-down weeks resurfaced as a contender at The Players, where he finished solo fourth. Contending here would admittedly be a big jump from his Masters finishes (two missed Curts and no top-20 finishes in six starts), but the Aiken, South Carolina, native and former Georgia Bulldogs golfer could quickly become a patron favorite if he strings together a couple good rounds.
Top 10 lock — Jon Rahm: No betting favorite has won the Masters since Tiger in 2005, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t line up with Rahm as the surest bet to finish on the first page of the leaderboard. He’s got four top-10 finishes in his last four Masters starts and went on a run earlier this year that included three top-10 finishes in four starts. The consistency with Rahm is so strong that even if he has one awful round, you still have a chance for him to backdoor a top-10 by going low in an early morning weekend round.
Star who definitely won’t win — Dustin Johnson: The 2020 Masters champ came back to the property five months laster and missed the cut in 2021, and that was the first of five missed cuts across his last 20 starts. I’m not expecting D.J. to miss the cut again, but since the start of last year, he’s been a star who’s been good but not excellent. Actually winning the Masters usually requires excellence, and if he D.J. can tap into that, it would be a turn of form based on recent results.
Surprise prediction — Tony Finau finishes in the top 10: Why is it a surprise prediction that someone with three top-10 finishes in last four Masters starts might do so again? Well, if you haven’t checked in on Big Tone recently, things have been moving in the wrong direction. In nine starts since the beginning of 2022, Finau has finished in the top 20 just once (a T19 in Hawaii in early January) and missed the cut three times. His world ranking peaked at No. 9 after beating Cam Smith in a playoff at the Northern Trust last August but has since slid down to No. 22. My surprise prediction is this special place — where he popped his ankle back into place and shot a 68 the next day back in 2018 — brings a special performance from Finau.
Lowest round: 63 (-9)
Winning score: 275 (-13)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 69 (-3)
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Kyle Boone, writer
Winner — Collin Morikawa (20-1): Two-time major champion, still 25 years old, one of golf’s best and most consistent ball-strikers. What’s not to like here, especially at 20-1? His putting has improved substantially, too, and tee-to-green he’s one of the best on the PGA Tour. Completing the third leg of the career grand slam at his age would put him in some rarefied air.
Sleeper — Tiger Woods (50-1): It’s been well over a year since Tiger played in a real event, so I wouldn’t empty the bank account here just because Woods’ odds to win a Masters are this long. He could easily be back home by Saturday. But … it’s Tiger … at 50-1. And he’s apparently looked sharp in practice rounds. There are probably worse, less fun ways to wager money than on the G.O.A.T.
Top 10 lock — Jordan Spieth: With two top-three finishes in his last four Masters outings and five in his career, Spieth is nearly always in the mix at Augusta National, having never missed a cut. His last few events have kept the hype train largely away from him entering this year, but Spieth at Augusta National is Spieth at Augusta National — he should be in the hunt to the end.
Star who definitely won’t win — Rory McIlroy: Rory’s trajectory at Augusta National and recent play this season suggests he may be in the thick of things this weekend, which sometimes is the exact spot where he tends to underperform. Physically, there are few as gifted as him and capable to take the course, but he’s never quite cracked the Masters code and this week doesn’t feel like the place he does.
Surprise prediction — Tiger finishes in the top 25: Yes, yes, I know he’s not played on the PGA Tour in well over a year. And going from training and practice rounds to four grinding days at Augusta is quite the chore. But Tiger’s proved doubters wrong before, and I really don’t think he’d rush his way back onto the biggest stage in golf only to do some sort of grand appearance to prove he’s healthy. I think he wants to prove him and his game are both in a healthy spot.
Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 277 (-11)
Winner’s Sunday score: 67 (-5)
Jacob Hallex, producer
Winner — Cameron Smith (16-1): I’ve been big on this Aussie since his stunning performance at the 2020 Masters. Smith comes to Augusta with two victories and a T4 in his past five worldwide starts. He opened 2022 with a win at Kapalua, a course that historically plays similar to Augusta National with creativity and hitting off dramatic slopes a key component to success. His last start saw him hoisting the trophy at TPC Sawgrass at an albeit fluky Players Championship. He has remarked that Augusta reminds him of the Sandbelt courses he grew-up playing in Australia. Can he get a little loose off the tee with the driver? Absolutely, that’s a big concern. His ability to scramble has been crucial to success here in the past and I’m expecting it to help him this week.
Sleeper — Luke List (80-1): I get it, he’s a debutante and only very recently became winner on the PGA Tour. His weapon is the driver and occasionally he gets hot with the irons. The putter always seems to hold him back, but as we’ve seen before at Augusta National, it’s OK to be a mediocre putter as long as you have a ceiling week with the flatstick. Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris come to mind as recent success stories who fit this narrative. List won at Torrey Pines with a ceiling week on the greens. The past major history isn’t great but a solo sixth at the PGA Championship in 2019 gives me hope he can possibly string together a decent performance this week.
Top 10 lock — Justin Thomas: You could make the argument J.T. is the best player in the world right now, if you only are looking at the strokes gained data. He’s only finished outside the top 20 twice this season: T33 at a storm-soaked Players Championship and a T35 at the WGC Match Play. He has yet to lose strokes in the approach category over a tournament this season and his around the green game is tremendous at a course that rewards guys who can scramble. On the bag, he has Jim “Bones” Mackay, who looped for Phil Mickelson in his three Masters victories. J.T. also played practice rounds and happens to be good pals with a man named Tiger Woods. The combination of recent form and knowledge around him makes me think he’s a lock to finish at the top of this field
Star who definitely won’t win — Bryson DeChambeau: It feels cheap to keep picking on B.A.D., but he’s coming to Augusta in bad form. Speed training has caught up to him in the form of a lingering hip injury that’s finally started to rear its ugly head. Things got worse when, apparently in Saudi Arabia, he went and “Charlie Brown’d” himself, falling on his wrist during a ping-pong match against Garcia and Niemann. DeChambeau remarked in his press conference that he is feeling “around 80% right now” and that he “can’t go all-out”. If Bryson can’t go all out, then I am out on him to perform well this week, especially since he has only broken his “personal par” of 67 at Augusta National once in 20 tournament rounds.
Surprise prediction — Rory McIlroy finishes in the top five: I think the attention on Tiger will help propel Rors to a top-five finish this week. The recent form at the mundane PGA Tour stops hasn’t been great. I chose to look at the Dubai Desert Classic, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the CJ Cup, which he won. Pretty much everyone wants to see Rory win the career grand slam. He just needs to not play himself out of it on Thursday, and I think he has a great shot to slip on the green jacket.
Lowest round: 67 (-5)
Winning score: 278 (-10)
Winner’s Sunday score: 69 (-3)
Adam Silverstein, managing editor
Winner — Justin Thomas (12-1): J.T. has the game to win this tournament, and he came excruciatingly close in 2020 with a fourth-place finish. In six career Masters, he’s finished inside the top 40 every time and inside the top 22 in each of the last five years. There’s no doubt that 2021 was a disappointment as he started 4 under entering the weekend but went 4 over across his final 36 holes. To perhaps remedy the situation, he’s spent the last week at Augusta National playing rounds with … Tiger Woods. You know, the five-time green jacket holder who knows Augusta like the back of his hand. It’s obviously unlikely that Woods wins this week, but the knowledge gained by Thomas from walking the grounds with the best to ever do it for dozens of holes is not easily replicated. Is that perhaps a bit of a superfluous reason to pick Thomas? Maybe. Is it something I’m going to discount when I already liked him as one of my favorites? Absolutely not.
Sleeper — Webb Simpson (100-1): Granted, this is more of a longshot than a sleeper, per se, given Simpson has been playing uninspired golf this season with his last top 10 finish coming at the RSM Classic in November 2021. But there’s a switch that turns on for Webb, and given the long odds he faces, it’s one that is likely worth riding. Despite his only major win coming 10 years ago at the U.S. Open, Simpson appears to have figured out Augusta (as much as one can). He has three top-12 finishes in as many years and always seems to be in the hunt early.
Top 10 lock — Jon Rahm: No need to overthink this. The best golfer in the world right now has four straight top 10s at Augusta. He also has four straight top 10s in majors, period, doing so in every event last year (with his first major win coming in the 2021 U.S. Open). He may not have a victory yet this season, but Rahm’s likelihood of a top-10 finish has to be higher than anyone else in the loaded field.
Star who definitely won’t win — Bryson DeChambeau: It’s tough to understand why anyone would believe in DeChambeau this year, which is why so few do. Forget for a moment the fact that he’s not 100% healthy and just look at the stats, which indicate a falling driving accuracy and struggles hitting greens. Forget definitely not winning the Masters, Bryson may be in danger of making the cut on Friday evening.
Surprise prediction — Tiger Woods sits in the top 10 after at least one round: Fourteen months removed from playing professional golf, Woods is going to suit up and play his favorite event with perhaps the least pressure he’s ever faced. He’s not the defending champion. Patrons and media understand he may have difficulty even completing all 72 holes from a physical standpoint, and no one believes he actually has a chance to win … except Tiger himself. At his press conference Tuesday, Woods did not sound like a golfer pleased to compete at his second home. He was poised and confident as usual, expecting to be in contention as he has been so many times before. But that surgically-repaired leg remains a concern. So while the story of alls tories would be Woods being in the hunt Sunday, him being among the top 10 on the leaderboard after any day would be an incredibly praiseworthy accomplishment — and one that’s certainly achievable given his experience and acumen around this course.
Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 276 (-12)
Winner’s Sunday score: 68 (-4)