As we enter the home stretch of tournaments leading up to the Masters Tournament in April, there will be a lot of talk about how a win could jumpstart a player and give them the momentum needed to capture the green jacket.
But how much does an early-year win actually translate into success at Augusta?
For all of you looking at how to pick players for your upcoming Masters pool, we took a look at the past 30 years of Masters champions to see what tournament or what month a win is most likely to lead to a Masters win.
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It turns out, however, that not winning an early-year tournament historically provides the best chance to conquer Augusta National. Over the past 30 years, 14 times the eventual champion had not won that season.
For those players who did capture a trophy in the early months of their Masters championship year, March is the month that leads to the greatest success. On eight occasions, a March tournament winner has gone on to claim a green jacket.
But what about players who have won multiple times before heading to Georgia? Only three times in the past 30 years has a two-time winner prior to the second weekend of April won the Masters — Sandy Lyle in 1988, Tiger Woods in 2001 and Mike Weir in 2003.
Some other notable facts about Masters champions during this period:
- Every player who has won had at least one previous win on Tour.
- Of the 14 players who had no early-season wins, nine of them had won the previous year. Larry Mize had the longest pre-Masters drought at 4 years.
So, if you’re using this method to pick your pool this year, watch out for the players you think are due for a win this season or those who find paydirt over the next month.
Here's a look at each champion over the past 30 years and which tournament was won (or not won) prior to their Masters win:
|Year||Champion||Jan-April win prior to Masters win||Win date prior to Masters|
|2016||Danny Willett||Omega Dubai Desert Classic||Feb 7th|
|2015||Jordan Spieth||Valspar Championship||Mar. 15th|
|2014||Bubba Watson||Northern Trust Open||Feb 16th|
|2013||Adam Scott||No 2013 wins||Aug 2011|
|2012||Bubba Watson||No 2012 wins||May 2011|
|2011||Charl Schwartzel||Joburg Open||Jan 16th|
|2010||Phil Mickelson||No 2010 wins||Sept 2009|
|2009||Angel Cabrera||No 2009 wins||Nov 2007|
|2008||Trevor Immelman||No 2008 wins||Dec. 2007|
|2007||Zach Johnson||No 2007 wins||Apr. 2004|
|2006||Phil Mickelson||BellSouth Classic||Apr. 2|
|2005||Tiger Woods||Ford Championship at Doral||Mar 6|
|2004||Phil Mickelson||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic||Jan 25|
|2003||Mike Weir||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Nissan Open||Feb. 2, Feb. 23|
|2002||Tiger Woods||Bay Hill||Mar 17|
|2001||Tiger Woods||Bay Hill, The Players||Mar 18, Mar 25|
|2000||Vijay Singh||No 2000 wins||Mar 1999|
|1999||Jose Maria Olazabal||No 1999 wins||Mar 1998|
|1998||Mark O’Meara||No 1998 wins||Feb 1997|
|1997||Tiger Woods||Mercedes Championship||Jan 12th|
|1996||Nick Faldo||No 1996 wins||Jun 1994|
|1995||Ben Crenshaw||No 1995 wins||Apr 1994|
|1994||Jose Maria Olazabal||Turespana Open Mediterrania||Mar 6th|
|1993||Bernhard Langer||No 1993 wins||Apr 1992|
|1992||Fred Couples||Nestle Invitational||Mar 22nd|
|1991||Ian Woosman||Fujitsu Mediterranean Open||Mar 3|
|1990||Nick Faldo||No 1990 wins||July 1989|
|1989||Nick Faldo||No 1989 wins||Oct 1988|
|1988||Sandy Lyle||Phoenix Open, Greensboro Open||Jan 31,Apr 3rd|
|1987||Larry Mize||No 1987 wins||1983|