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US Masters Prime Suspect

Published 8 months ago 04th April 2022 by Big John

Here at the Big John Private Detective Agency, we have received a tip off that at the end of the US Masters Golf Tournament somebody is going to take a green jacket out of the Butler Cabin in Augusta National Golf Club.

At this moment in time we have 91 potential suspects. Even though my initials may be B.J, I’m no Barnaby Jones, but still, for the benefit of the readers of The Premier Newspaper, I’ll do my best to solve the case by using trends and statistics from past Masters Tournaments. Hopefully they will provide us with enough evidence to eliminate 90 suspects from our enquiry. Once that is done we will be left with just our prime suspect and the man most likely to walk off with Green Jacket on Sunday 10th April.
Let’s start by having a look at the evidence board.

Taking a Green Jacket out of the Butler Cabin is a job for a professional. No amateur has ever managed to do it so we can immediately eliminate the 6 amateur players from our enquiry Austin Greaser, Stewart Hagestad, Aaron Jarvis, Keita Nakajima, James Poit and Laird Shephard.

You don’t just rock up to Augusta and take a green jacket at your first attempt. Masters rookies took the jacket at the first Masters in 1934 (when the whole field were rookies), Gene Sarazen managed it in 1935 and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. So with rookies taking just 3 green jackets in 85 attempts the stats are heavily in our favour and we can release the 9 rookies in this year’s field Sam Burns, Talor Gooch, Tom Hoge, Garrick Higgo, Min Woo Lee, Seamus Power, Sepp Straka, Harold Varner 111, Cameron Young.

With Angel Cabrera currently holed up in an Argentinian jail only 12* past champions are coming back to the scene of their greatest robbery. The Augusta 12 are there to sample the food, drink the wine, pass on a few tips to the young contenders but really have no chance of taking another green jacket out of the Butler Cabin on Sunday evening because as history tells us, no player on a Past Champions Invite has ever won the Masters so there is no point in wasting time interviewing these 12 gentlemen.
Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, CharlSchwartzel, Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, Mike Weir, Danny Willett, Tiger Woods*
*Tiger still named in field at time of going to press but unlikely to play.

Just 7 of the previous 85 winners were aged 40 or over. Ben Hogan was 40 years of age when he got his 2nd jacket in 1953. The following year, 41 year old Sam Snead picked up his 3rd green jacket. We then had to wait until 1978 when Gary Player picked up his 3rd and final jacket at the age of 42 and who can forget 1986 when 46 year old Jack Nicklaus picked up his 6th jacket. 9 years later at the age of 43, Gentle Ben Crenshaw picked up his 2nd before the man, who surely has Tipperary roots, 41 year old Mark O’Meara picked up his jacket. Finally it was another 21 years before O’Meara’s best friend Tiger Woods picked up his 5th jacket in 2019 at 43 years of age.
So with the history lesson out of the way, its safe enough to say that we don’t need to bring these nine 40 somethings in for further questioning. Stewart Cink, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Lucas Glover, Padraig Harrington, Ryan Palmer, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood.

“You are only as good as your last game” is a cliché often used in GAA circles but it’s a saying that can certainly be applied to Augusta National. 23 of the last 25 champions had made the cut on their last visit to Augusta. So having failed to make the cut here last April the stats suggesting it is highly unlikely they’ll make the break through this year. Therefore the following 10 golfers can be released without charge
Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, SungjaeIm, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Hudson Swafford, Mathew Wolff.

If you are going to take the crown jewel of golf then you better be at the very top of your game. Only once in the last 20 years has a player ranked outside the World Top 30 came away from Augusta with the loot flung over his shoulder and that was Angel Cabrera in 2009 but of course Angel had performed well here previously so you could say he had form before he ever had form if you get my drift! Time to call off the surveillance on the following 24 golfers:
Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cameron Champ, Corey Conners, Cameron Davis, Tommy Fleetwood, Brian Harman, Lucas Herbert, Russell Henley, Harry Higgs, Mackenzie Hughes, Takumi Kanaya, Si Woo Kim, K.H. Lee, Marc Leishman, Luke List, Shane Lowry, Robert MacIntyre, Guido Migliozzi, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Erik van Rooyen, Gary Woodland.

If you got your hands on the green jacket last year you are very unlikely to get another one this year. Only three times in the history of The Masters has somebody successfully defended their title and they were Jack Nicklaus (65 & 66) Nick Faldo (89 & 90) and Tiger Woods (2001 & 2002). With that in mind, it’s safe to say that last year’s champion is free to go.
Hideki Matsuyama.

10 of the last 11 champions were not World No 1 when they won the Green Jacket. I’m sure this decision will raise a few eyebrows but our psychological profilers have advised us to release the current World No 1: Scottie Scheffler.

So with 72 now eliminated on stats and trends, the evidence board is beginning to look a bit tidier. Before they got their hands on the green jacket 16 of the last 20 winners had a carried out a dry run beforehand with a previous Top 5 finish at Augusta National which means the following 11 gentlemen can go.
Abraham Ancer, Billy Horschel, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa, Harris English, Jason Kokrak, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Na, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland.

11 of the last 12 winners had previously shot 67 or better at Augusta so the following young man is no longer a suspect: Will Zalatoris.

11 of the last 12 winners had posted a Top 5 finish on the PGA Tour in the two months prior to arriving at Augusta whicH means the following are eliminated from the investigation Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Jon Rahm.

So we are finally down to just 4 suspects. They are Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith, and Jordan Spieth. If history teaches us anything at all then it is that one of these four men will take that Green Jacket on Sunday 12th April. To get out of the Butler Cabin with a green jacket, these four golfers will have to do the usual things better than most. After using the trends to eliminate 87 golfers lets now use the stats to eliminate another three.

First up we had a look at the Strokes Gained Off The Tee stats to see how the suspects have performed throughout the season:
Justin Thomas 3rd, Xander Schauffele 16th, Cameron Smith 18th, Jordan Spieth 72nd.
Then we had a look at the Strokes Gained on Approach to the Green Stats and found.
Justin Thomas 5th, Cameron Smith 8th, XanderSchauffele 37th, Jordan Spieth 93rd.

Then you have what we at the Big John Private Detective Agency think is the most important stat for Augusta National and that is Scrambling. All but one of the last 12 winners finished inside the top 10 in scrambling. To emphasise the importance of scrambling at Augusta, in last years Masters, the field missed an average of 6 greens per round meaning their chipping had to be spot on. The scrambling stats show
Justin Thomas 6th, Xander Schauffele 35th, Jordan Spieth 51st , Cameron Smith 66th.

Although some poorish putters have won the Masters, we’re thinking of the likes of Matsuyama, Sergio and Bubba, it would be foolish not to investigate the SG Putting Stats:
Cameron Smith 3rd, Xander Schauffele 69th, Justin Thomas 99th, Jordan Spieth 141st
So with one man ahead on 3 of the 4 major stats, the evidence from the stats suggests that we can let the following 3 golfers go without charge, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith and Jordan Spieth.

A quick review of the evidence shows that our prime suspect is not an amateur or playing on a past champions invite. He is not a rookie and is under 40 years of age. He made the cut last year and he is not a defending champion or World No 1. He is well inside the Top 10 in SG Off The Tee, SG Tee to Green and SG Scrambling.

Therefore the evidence suggests the Prime Suspect to take the green jacket from Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday evening is Justin Thomas.

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