Florida Swing results could hold secret to who wins Masters

History says the big performers on this year’s Florida Swing may have a significant edge at Augusta National next month

The results from Florida are in.

The PGA TOUR's month-long jaunt through the Sunshine State is over and it's produced the usual array of fascinating storylines.

For most of it, the big-name Americans have dominated. PGA champion Collin Morikawa landed the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession; US Open hero Bryson DeChambeau came through to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational; and thanks to a thrilling weekend charge, Justin Thomas hoisted the silverware at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Europe's golfers had their moments, none more so than Lee Westwood, who had to settle for second place at Bay Hill and Sawgrass despite holding the 54-hole lead in both.

But it was an Aussie, who had the last laugh. Florida has often been a happy hunting ground for those from Down Under and Matt Jones, fuelled by an opening 61, captured the Honda Classic by a convincing five-shot margin.

While this year's Florida Swing is now in the history books, clues have been left behind that could be extremely important for those betting on this year's Masters.

Why? Results in Florida can be a portent for something much bigger: glory at Augusta National.

Proximity is one obvious reason. When Jones completed victory in the Honda Classic on Sunday, a check of the calendar showed that the start of The Masters was just 18 days away.

Secondly, Florida and Georgia share a border. Indeed, it's notable how many golfers from the Southern States have won at Augusta. South Carolina's Dustin Johnson was the latest to add to that trend when winning the 2020 Masters.

Dustin Johnson captured the Green Jacket in 2020
Dustin Johnson captured the Green Jacket in 2020

A study of recent Masters winners certainly helps nail the link and highlight the importance of good Florida form.

Here's a key stat:

Six of the last nine Masters winners had posted a top three on the Florida Swing earlier that same season

Players with a top-three finish on this year's Florida Swing

WGC-Workday Championship: Collin Morikawa 2. Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel.

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bryson DeChambeau, Lee Westwood, Corey Conners.

THE PLAYERS Championship: Justin Thomas, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman, Bryson DeChambeau.

The Honda Classic: Matt Jones, Brandon Hagy, Chase Seiffert, Brendan Steele, Denny McCarthy, Russell Henley, C.T. Pan.

That's 16 different players in total, with DeChambeau and Westwood the only two to appear twice.

However, Harman, Hagy, Seiffert, Steele, McCarthy and Henley aren't in the Masters field. They could still qualify with a big performance in the last few events but it's a tall order.

It means, the Florida Swing has produced a list of 10 potential Augusta winners. Let's list them in betting order.

Florida pearls challenging for the Green Jacket

9/1 Bryson DeChambeau (previous Masters best: T21st)

10/1 Justin Thomas (previous Masters best 4th)

12/1 Brooks Koepka (previous Masters best T2nd

22/1 Collin Morikawa (previous Masters best: Tied 44th)

25/1 Viktor Hovland (previous Masters best: Debut)

28/1 Lee Westwood (previous Masters best: 2nd)

80/1 Corey Conners (previous Masters best T10th)

125/1 Matt Jones (previous Masters best: Missed cut)

175/1 Billy Horschel (previous Masters best: T17th)

200/1 C.T. Pan (previous Masters best: T7th)

It's a list that contains some of the main contenders.

But there are some interesting outsiders too; they include Conners and Pan, who both have top 10s.

Several of the above names would have been on many shortlists anyway. But with the added Florida form link, their appeal grows even further.

If adding in some more stats, six of the last nine Masters winners had previously won on the Florida Swing while no Augusta debutant has won since 1979 which is bad news for Viktor Hovland. Finally, nine of the last 10 Masters winners had posted a previous top 30 at Augusta National.

When using those three filters, the short-list becomes even shorter. It suggests your Masters winner is one of:

Bryson DeChambeau or Justin Thomas.

READ MORE: Head-to-head records: The leading contenders ahead of the WGC-Match Play

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