The 2018 Masters is quickly approaching and the list of green-jacket contenders seems longer than ever thanks to the emergence of some new talent and the revival of several old reliables. We’ve combed through all potential players—and their odds to win, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook—to come up with a top-13 ranking that is bound to change in the final weeks leading up to the first major of the year.
1. Dustin Johnson (10/1); Last week: No. 1
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Reason to pick: A year ago, Johnson arrived at Augusta as the biggest Masters favorite not named Tiger Woods in decades. Provided he stays on his feet at his rental house this year, DJ is still the man to beat, and deserving of his co-favorite status with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Cause for concern: Although he finished T-4 in his last Masters start in 2016, Johnson has never seriously contended late on a Sunday in seven tries.
2. Justin Rose (14/1); Last week: No. 2
GOH CHAI HIN
Reason to pick: It’s still hard to believe Rose didn’t win last year after seemingly seizing control on the tournament’s 67th hole. Rose, coming off consecutive top 5s at Innisbrook and Bay Hill, has been Masters runner-up two of the past three years at Augusta National, and he hasn’t finished out of the top 25 at Augusta National in a decade.
Cause for concern: Is Rose this generation’s Ernie Els when it comes to coming close but never quite slipping on that green jacket?
3. Tiger Woods (12/1); Last week: No. 3
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Reason to pick: We questioned Tiger’s status as one of the favorites two weeks ago, but there’s no doubt following a runner-up at the Valspar Championship and another close call at Bay Hill that Woods currently has the game to win a fifth green jacket. Those who bet on him at 50-to-1 odds a few months ago are feeling pretty good right now.
Cause for concern: Even in Woods’ most recent stint at No. 1 in 2013-14, he was unable to snap his drought in majors that dates back to the 2008 U.S. Open. Overcoming the hurdle of winning again is tough enough, but doing it at a major will be extra difficult.
4. Bubba Watson (16/1); Last week: No. 6
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Reason to pick: 2018 is the year of the rejuvenated lefty. Before Phil broke through in Mexico, Watson won at Riviera after he’d fallen all the way to No. 117 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The following month he dominated the WGC-Match Play, causing Vegas to drop his odds to 16/1 from 25/1. There are a few places that for whatever reason suit Bubba Golf, and Augusta National is certainly one.
Cause for concern: There’s not much to worry about right now. In fact, you could make a case for Bubba to be ranked a lot higher on this list.
5. Jordan Spieth (10/1); Last week: No. 10
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Reason to pick: Have you seen what he’s done in his first four trips to Augusta National? After a win in 2015 that was sandwiched by two runner-ups, Spieth was everyone’s pick playing in the penultimate group on Sunday last year before posting his worst-ever round at Augusta National (75) to tumble to T-11 (still not bad). He jumps back up in our ranking after a T-3 in Houston.
Cause for concern: Spieth’s struggles on the greens this season have been well documented. He currently ranks 185th in strokes gained/putting, but he’ll arrive at Augusta with some confidence after that performance in Houston. And considering he’s third in strokes gained/tee-to-green, he might not have to make too many putts to contend for a second green jacket.
6. Justin Thomas (10/1); Last week: No. 4
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Reason to pick: Have you seen what he’s done everywhere other than Augusta in the past 16 months? It looks like it’s just a matter of time before JT gets to No. 1 in the world—and picks up green jacket No. 1.
Cause for concern: Thomas’ best Masters finish was a T-22. Weak. Oh, wait, he’s only played the tournament twice. Yeah, that’s not really a cause for concern then. . .
7. Phil Mickelson (16/1); Last week: No. 5
Chris Condon/PGA Tour
Reason to pick: Mickelson finally ended a winless drought that was approaching five years at the WGC-Mexico Championship, but Lefty’s entertaining victory didn’t come out of left field. At 47, he just had the first stretch of four consecutive top-six appearances of his career.
Cause for concern: Will the golf gods really let someone best Jack Nicklaus’ mark as oldest Masters champ in history?
8. Rory McIlroy (10/1); Last week: 7
Reason to pick: Rory may have left actual scorch marks on Bay Hill’s back nine after a blistering finish that gave him his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Tour Championship. With the win, McIlroy jumped into our ranking for the first time (Sorry for doubting you, Rory) and jumpstarted the career Grand Slam conversation again.
Cause for concern: Before his sensational performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy was putting like a, well, let’s just say he wasn’t putting like someone who could win the Masters. Whether Bay Hill was a blissful blip or Rory’s really found something remains to be seen.
9. Jason Day (18/1); Last week: No. 8
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Reason to pick: The Aussie nearly won in his Masters debut in 2011 and then followed that up with another close call in 2013. A win at Torrey Pines earlier this season shows the former World No. 1 is back on the right track after a difficult 2017.
Cause for concern: We won’t know about his health until he tells us about it the week of the tournament.
10. Sergio Garcia (30/1); Last week: No. 9
Reason to pick: Garcia’s odds improved following a T-7 at the WGC-Mexico Championship and a fourth at the Valspar, but as the defending champ, 30/1 is still a pretty generous number from Vegas.
Cause for concern: Will the new father (Congrats, Sergio and Angela!) be totally focused? Also, we’re still trying to wrap our head around Sergio Garcia winning one green jacket. He might be as well.
11. Paul Casey (25/1); Last week: No. 11
Kevin C. Cox
Reason to pick: Casey jumped into our top 10 after holding off an impressive group that included Tiger Woods to win the Valspar Championship. The Brit might just be the most consistent player in the world, and he’s got a solid Masters track record, highlighted by a T-6/T-4/solo sixth run the past three years.
Cause for concern: At 40, he’s never seriously contended in a major on Sunday.
12. Jon Rahm (18/1); Last week: No. 12
Reason to pick: Few possess the power and finesse needed to navigate Augusta National, but Rahm is one. And he’d like nothing more than to have one of his idols and fellow countrymen slip that green jacket on him for the first time.
Cause for concern: Rahm has been a consistent contender since turning pro—except at major championships.
13. Rickie Fowler (16/1); Last week: No. 13
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Reason to pick: According to Westgate, no one has had more money bet on them to win this year’s Masters than Fowler. Perhaps that has to do with his better odds (he’s now down from 20/1), but his first two rounds in Houston also indicated he’s ready to burst out of a mini-slump.
Cause for concern: With all his talent and improved stats, Fowler is still stuck on four official PGA Tour wins.
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