13 reasons why a LIV Golf player will win The Masters

All the best players in the world are competing in the 2024 Masters including 13 LIV Golf players: Bryson DeChambeau (top row, left), Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Adrian Meronk, Tyrrell Hatton (bottom row, left), Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio García, Joaquín Niemann and Cameron Smith.

FORESTVILLE, New York – The number thirteen. Some say it is unlucky, some say it can be the signifier of change. With the late addition of Akshay Bhatia, 89 “lucky” golfers make their way down Magnolia Lane for the 88th playing of The Masters and thirteen of them are LIV golfers.

What makes this year’s LIV golfer’s stand out from the PGA Tour? There is always going to be speculation over whether LIV players can still compete against the best in the world on golf’s biggest stage. They play fewer events, 54-hole competitions, and against the same players every time they tee it up. But if the 2023 Masters was any indication for LIV players moving forward, they will be there when Sunday afternoon back nine rolls around.

Jon Rahm greeted Rory McIlroy during practice prior to the 2024 Masters Tournament (Photo: Getty)

In 2023, The Masters tournament proved that LIV golfers are still capable of competing at a very high level. Then PGA Tour player Jon Rahm finished first, with three of the other top five players being from LIV. Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson tied for second, and 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed finished tied for fourth.

Perhaps the strongest case for anyone playing Augusta National, experience plays a large role in success. Seven of the thirteen LIV players are all past Masters Champions, with Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson winning the green jacket on multiple occasions. Of the six players that have not yet won, three are major champions and know how to close the deal when the pressure is on. History suggests that debut players struggle around Augusta, and LIV has the green-reading knowledge and placement experience to win.

Joaquín Niemann signs autographs after the second round of LIV Golf Miami at the Trump National Doral on Saturday, April 06 is one of the hottest players on the planet the past six months. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/LIV Golf)

LIV Golf now has the defending champion. Spaniard Jon Rahm signed a nine figure contract at the end of the 2023 season with LIV Golf, tilting the axis of player skill and ability more in LIV Golf’s favor. Only three players have been able to successfully defend the green jacket out of the 56 total champions, with only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo slipping the green jacket on themselves. Rahm is coming into Masters week having played in five tournaments and finishing in the top ten in every one while also only shooting in the 70s three times out of fifteen rounds. It is tough to count Rahm out even with all the changes that he is going through.

This article would not be complete without mention of five-time Major winner Brooks Koepka. Though he has not won at Augusta, the course sets up very nice for him and his mentality at majors is unmatched. His best finish was last year and in 2019 where he finished runner-up, and he had a top ten in 2020. He has the most major wins of this golfing era surpassing Rory McIlroy with five after his PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 2023. He is one of my favorites heading into the tournament even with his back-to-back 77s at LIV Golf Miami last week.

Cameron Smith kisses The Claret Jug after winning The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 17, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland is looking for his second Major title. (Photo: Kevin C. Cox via Getty Images)

Preparation is a topic that has floated around the grounds between analysts discussing whether LIV players will be ready ahead of the first major of the year. The PGA Tour has already had fifteen tournaments compared to LIV’s five, with four signature events and The Players to match. Competition wise, the PGA Tour players seem to be better equipped to take on a stacked field. But as individuals, LIV players have more time to prepare for majors and have the ability to rest and recover so their bodies are ready to perform. With time off in between LIV golf tournaments, it is up to the players to keep their game sharp with the amount of hours they put into practice and recovery. This can be seen as an advantage, as all players should be healthy and in their best possible form.

A dark horse in this tournament and one of the few players earning an invite based on their play this season is Joaquin “Jaco” Niemann. The 25 year-old from Chile has had a red hot start to 2024, winning twice on the LIV Tour with victories in Mexico in February and in Saudi Arabia in March. He has also made an effort to play in European events, winning the ISPS Handa Australian Open last November and finishing in the top five at the Dubai Desert Classic in January. Niemann has the firepower and confidence to be wearing green on Sunday.

Jon Rahm. Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson have Masters wins and “Green Jackets’ total of six, pose for a photo after a press conference during the practice round before the start of LIV Golf Miami at the Trump National Doral. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf)

Quite possibly the largest driving factor ahead of The Masters for LIV Golf competitors is the chip on their shoulders. Many people counted them out last year, and we know how that turned out. Once again the media and fans are questioning whether LIV can compete with the PGA Tour. Will they be ready to play 72 holes and not 54? Can they handle the pressure of a major tournament without the practice of competing against the best players? Is their game sharp enough playing in less tournaments? Luckily for LIV, they have the personalities that love silencing critics and proving to the golf world that they still got it. Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith all bask in the spotlight of doubt and aim to prove that they still belong among the best in golf.

Thirteen players and thirteen chances to win the 88th playing of The Masters for LIV Golf. Will the number thirteen prove to be the unlucky superstition we have become accustomed to? Or will it be another check mark in the signifier of change on the professional golf platform?



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