Table of Contents

    The TaylorMade First Major Challenge

    Let me clarify this out of the gate, I am the furthest thing from a golf expert. Did I just recently win an internal RYP company pool, filled with some actual golf experts? Yes. Am I likely to repeat that performance for the Masters? No, but I’m sure as hell going to give it a shot. Just because I’m not a golf expert doesn’t mean that I don’t love the sport. The Masters is easily in my top-5 favorite sporting events of the year list, I follow the PGA Tour, and I’m locked into every major of the year. So when the opportunity came about to give some picks for our public contest that we’re running with TaylorMade, I jumped at the chance.

    Before we get right into the picks, let’s talk about the contest itself. As always with our public challenges, it’s completely free to enter and play. We’ve switched up the player selection process to accommodate LIV golfers being allowed to play in majors this year. If you’ve played in a golf pool with us before, you’ll remember that we used to tier golfers into six tiers by their Official World Golf Rankings position. Because LIV golfers do not earn OWGR points in their events, we’re now tiering golfers into the same six tiers based on their betting odds. Scoring is simple, just pick a golfer from each tier and the user with the best-performing roster wins!

    TaylorMade is giving away some major prizes for the first major, including a set of TaylorMade irons, woods, and a driver for first place, a Stealth 2 driver for second place, and free TaylorMade balls for a year for third place. I’ll give a warning to the good folks over at TaylorMade right now, don’t let me come in third. I’ll put your company out of business during the first month of the season with how bad I’ve been hitting the ball lately. Is it too late to add lessons to these prizes? But enough about my game, let’s get into the pros and the picks.

    Tier 1

    No surprises here with Tier 1 as we’ve got heavy hitters like Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth. To me, this tier comes down to two men; Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm. Rahm has three wins this season compared to Scottie’s two, but you could argue that Scottie has more quality wins with The PLAYERS Championship and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. I don’t think you can go wrong selecting either of these guys, but from what I’ve watched this season, Jon Rahm seems to have a second gear that no other guy on the tour has. He can elevate his play at any time, and what better time to do it than The Masters?

    The Pick: Jon Rahm

    Tier 2

    The LIV guys are out and about in Tier 2. Dustin Johnson enters the tournament as the LIV golfer with the second-best odds to put on the green jacket (again) at +2800, behind Cameron Smith. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tuned into the CW (that’s seriously the best TV deal they could get?) to watch any of the LIV events, but I don’t think DJ is playing elite golf right now. I’m going to cross him off my list for Tier 2. Brooks is an intriguing option, the old Big Game hunter used to show out at every major on the golf calendar, but he’s way past that point of his career. Some names that stand out to me here include Max Homa, Sungjae Im, and Will Zalatoris. Willy Z’s putting stroke is beyond horrendous and I don’t think I can bring myself to pick someone with a worse stroke than me. This is the kind of insight you guys want, right? For this tier, there’s only one pick for me, and it’s Max Homa. He’s been playing incredible golf this season with two wins already under his belt, and you know that he’s hunting a major victory to add to his already impressive resume. I like him to put together a strong showing out of this tier.

    The Pick: Max Homa

    Tier 3

    This is where the fun begins. Pools and contests like these are won in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th tiers. If you can find that guy who doesn’t have great odds but shows out for a top 5 or top 10 finish, you put yourself in a great spot to take home a prize. The three people that know me that might be reading this know I’m a Tommy Fleetwood guy, but I’ll put my bias aside and try to make an expert pick here. Outside of Fleetwood, I have my eye on one golfer here; Hideki Matsuyama. We’re only two years removed from his 2021 Masters victory, but even looking beyond that his finishes at Augusta are outstanding. T14 in 2022, T13 in 2020, T32 in 2019, 19th in 2018, T11 in 2017, T7 in 2016, and 5th in 2015. Simply put, Matsuyama shows out at The Masters. I’ll take the guy who knows what it’s like to win at Augusta and who consistently puts together quality performances.

    The Pick: Hideki Matsuyama

    AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

    Tier 4

    The Big Cat is staring me directly in the face for this tier. I tend to pick Tiger for literally any pool or contest I’m in for The Masters, but I can’t in good conscience give him out as an expert pick. Take him on your own if you want (I probably will), but there are better options here. I’ll stay away from that cornball Bryson DeChambeau given he tends to crumble when the lights are brightest at Augusta (he’s never finished better than T21), and guys like Sahith Theegala and Tom Hoge simply don’t have the experience to make a splash at a tournament like this. PGA Tour diehards won’t be happy with this pick, but I’m rolling with Abraham Ancer for this tier. You have to take this season’s performances with a grain of salt given the lack of competition on the LIV Tour, but he’s put together some solid showings. He got cut from last year’s Masters, but put together a T26 in 2021 and a top-15 finish in 2020. He’s been there before and I like him to stick around through the weekend and stay competitive at Augusta.

    The Pick: Abraham Ancer

    Tier 5

    Now we’re in the weeds. I’m tempted to go with fellow New Englander Keegan Bradley, but I think there’s a better play on the board. Kurt Kitayama may go against my ‘experience’ strategy for The Masters, but I love the young gun to make a splash this week. He’s been hit-or-miss on the Tour this season but has put together some quality finishes including a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a 2nd place finish at The CJ Cup, and a top-25 at the WM Phoenix Open. Tiers 5 and 6 are where you really need to take some risks in your selections, and I love Kitayama to be my guy who is still making some noise on Sunday.

    The Pick: Kurt Kitayama

    Tier 6

    We’re officially throwing some darts, folks. If you can get lucky enough to find a guy in this tier that can give you a top-20 or 30 finish, congratulations. Phil is the obvious popular pick here, but I don’t think he has enough left in the tank to make a run this week. Your only hope there if you’re picking him is if he’s in deep with a bookie and needs to cover his losses with a strong performance. We have some other former winners in this tier, including Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, Freddie Couples, Bernhard Langer, Larry Mize, and Sandy Lyle, but I don’t like any of those guys to come close to repeating. I’m rolling with Billy Horschel for this tier. His best finish came in 2016 with a T17, but he’s made the cut every single year dating back to 2014, and that’s a huge bonus for golfers in this tier. I won’t promise a top-20 finish for Billy, but as long as he’s around on the weekend, you get a chance to climb the leaderboard.

    The Pick: Billy Horschel

    And there you have it! 6 ‘expert’ picks to help you dominate the TaylorMade First Major Challenge, and any other Masters pools you may be in. And if you really want some expert information, check out our Masters hub with all the information you’ll need to follow the action this week. With the tournament starting on Thursday, there’s no better time than now to get your pools up and running. Sit back, relax, and talk an enormous amount of trash to your friends this week while you’re beating them in your golf pools.

    Golf FAQs

    How do PGA Golf Majors Pools work?

    In PGA Golf Majors Pools, member select six golfers to compete on a roster over the course of an event. The member with the best combined score from the six golfers wins.

    Can you include all four majors into one pool?

    Yes, but your commissioner can also customize these setting with RunYourPool. Pools can include up to all four majors, repicking golfers each time or adding bonus points for finishing positions

    How do I assemble a roster?

    Golfers are broken up in to six tiers, as members select one golfer per tier to be on their Major roster.

    What happens to golfers who miss the cut?

    Any PGA Player who does not make the cut will be given the highest score of Round 3 and Round 4, respectively.

    What are the four golf majors?

    The Masters is the first major of the season, in April. The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open follow, with the British Open ending as the final major.

    How do PGA One and Dones work?

    Members in a pool select one golfer to win a tournament, but can't pick that golfer again for the rest of the season. The member with the best score at the end of the season wins.

    What is a PGA One and Done pool?

    A PGA One-and-Done Pool is a contest similar to Survivor Pools, in which members can only select a golfer one time per season for events.

    Which tournaments are played for PGA One and Dones?

    Pool commissioners can set up the season for as many or as few tournaments as desired. Go crazy and do all of them! Or dial it back for the major events. As commissioner of a RunYourPool contest, you decide which events to play in!

    How to run a weekly golf pool?

    In order to run a golf pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like One and Done or Pick-X Pools. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    How do golf Pick-X Pools work?

    Members select a certain number of golfers per tournament, set by the pool commissioner. The member earns the total winnings that their selected golfer won for the tournament. Whichever member earns the most winnings over the duration of the season wins.

    What is a golf Pick-X Pool?

    A Pick-X Golf Pool calculates tournament winnings rather than strokes gained when deciding a winner. This amplifies the big name events that feature a higher prize purse.

    How to run a golf pool?

    How you decide to run a golf pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.

    What is a prop bet?

    Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

    How do Masters Prop Bets Pools work?

    Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.

    When is the Masters?

    The Masters is typically in April and the first major of the golf season. The 2023 Masters is set for Thursday, April 6 and will run until Sunday, April 9.

    Where is the Masters played?

    The Masters is annually held at the Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, USA.


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    About Author

    Matt K

    Matt is the Social Media Manager at RYP and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. He has experience managing social media accounts with agencies, small brands, and large companies. He’s a diehard New England sports fanatic, and if he’s not watching the Celtics, he can be found roaming around Boston discovering all that the city has to offer.

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