Ideas for Masters Golf Pools

By Steve Wozniak

The Masters may be one of four majors on the PGA circuit, but since it was first held at Augusta National Golf Club in 1934, it has had a special place in the hearts of golf fans -- perhaps because of the familiarity of a course that changes little over time or because the sight of springtime azalea blossoms on Amen Corner remind them that golf season is back in full swing. The tournament has become so iconic that many golf fans have taken to running Masters pools, some simple and some requiring a statistician to declare a winner.

Tiered Draft

It's easy to pick all the favorites and usual suspects; more difficult is picking from the also-rans for a Cinderella story. Many pools use a six-tiered system, where the first tier includes the top 10 golfers in the field according to the latest world rankings. The second through fifth tiers would include successive groups of 10 golfers each following the world rankings. The final tier would include the remainder of the field. Players select one or two golfers from each tier to create their roster. Points can be awarded for final place -- one point for the champion, two for the runner-up, and so on. You can also tabulate composite scores for all the golfers on a roster. As in golf, the lowest total score would win.

The Raffle

The Masters field typically includes 144 golfers. Let players build their rosters by taking turns randomly pulling names of golfers from a hat. If your pool has 24 players, that gives each person six golfers to root on through the weekend. To avoid someone pulling six low-ranked golfers, consider placing the bottom 49 golfers as a "field" entry, giving you 96 entries to divide between players.

Prop Plays

The Super Bowl is infamous for the many "prop bets" people can play, such as who wins the coin toss or gets flagged for the first penalty. Separate part of the pool money to be awarded for certain stats. For example, give 5 or 10 percent of the pot to the player whose golfer has the least amount of putts or highest percentage of greens hit in regulation. Get creative and reward guessing the first golfer to splash a ball in the creek that runs in front of the 13th green at Augusta. Prop plays can also be used as tiebreakers for the pools that tabulate total scores.

Pick Six, Use Four

If the tiered draft is too complicated, allow players to select six golfers from any ranking to fill their roster. Take the four best scores from each round, eliminating the two worst scores among their roster. This creates more dynamic scoring, which may allow someone far behind after Saturday's third round to make a huge final-round charge.

Making the Cut

For pools that tabulate total scores, a player missing the cut after the second round can cause problems. In this scenario, you have two options: eliminate the player, or assign their cut golfer the worst recorded score in each of the final two rounds.

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