With the 87th Masters fast approaching, the key question everyone's asking is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win this year at Augusta National? With a tremendous field featuring the best professionals and many of the top amateurs in the world, the first major of 2023 should be an epic ride from Thursday's first round onward.
This year's Masters feels wide open given the stacked field, but last year's champion, Scottie Scheffler, enters as the most likely to win a second consecutive green jacket since Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National to go back-to-back in 2002. Unlike last year, when there were no single-digit favorites entering the first major, 2023 features three: Scheffler (5-1), Rory McIlroy (7-1) and Jon Rahm (9-1), according to Caesars Sportsbook. McIlroy, of course, willwith Augusta National as he seeks to complete the career grand slam in his ninth try.
There are plenty of golfers behind them who will surely be in contention, including Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, both playing some of their best golf with 2016. And then there's the duo of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the former making the cut last year only to fall apart on the weekend as his body failed him and the latter putting his spikes in the ground at Augusta after not playing in 2022.
Add it all up, and it would appear that we're in for a wild Masters week full of unexpected twists and turns but also a lot of familiar names atop the leaderboard.
So what is going to happen at Augusta? Let's take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts as we attempt to project who will win -- and what will happen -- at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Join us for Check out a full set ofprovided by Caesars Sportsbook. Also helpful in making your picks might be Kyle Porter's .
Watch all four rounds of the 2023 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world throughout Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.
2023 Masters expert picks, predictions
Kyle Porter, senior golf writer
Winner -- Scottie Scheffler (5-1): I've never been more sure of anything in my life than I am that Scheffler is going to contend in this year's Masters (statements like that usually go well). Scheffler has been a beast so far in 2023, and he is actually playing better than a year ago when he came in and torched this field. He doesn't have anything worse than a top 12 finish since the fall, and though his odds are horrible in terms of picking a winner, I'm still going to roll with him. That's how well he's playing.
Sleeper -- Will Zalatoris (35-1): I'm cheating a bit here as we normally define "sleepers" as golfers with odds of 40-1 or longer, but Zalatoris at 35-1 is an eye-opener. He has not been great so far this year, which is concerning, but he has three things going for him: his health (seemingly fine), recent contention (Riviera) and high-level play at Augusta National (two top-six finishes in as many starts).
Top 10 lock -- Collin Morikawa: The easy answer here is Corey Conners, who has finished in the top 10 in each of his last three Masters. But the smart money is on Morikawa, who ranks No. 1 in approach, No. 4 in ball striking and tee to green and No. 8 overall in strokes gained this year. He finished in the top 10 at Augusta last year and will do the same this time around. He comes in flying further under the radar of any star in the game.
Star who definitely won't win -- Jon Rahm: I actually picked him at the start of the year and felt pretty great about it when he lost to, like, five golfers across his first seven events. He's dropped off a bit, though, and I'm not sure Augusta National is the place to rediscover what you had a month or two ago. He'll make the cut and play reasonably well, but I don't think he wins.
Scottie Scheffler vs. Rory McIlroy vs. Jon Rahm: Scheffler and McIlroy both finish in the top 10, but Scheffler goes further and wins. Rahm finishes top 20 but doesn't truly contend.
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson will miss the cut; he's been egregiously poor of late with just one top 10 at a non-senior event since winning the PGA Championship in 2021. Woods will make the cut and finish in the top 30 but not put himself into the proper positions to truly get in the mix.
Surprise prediction -- Cameron Smith won't cause waves: There will be contention between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, but it won't come from Cam. Somebody else -- perhaps Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed or Joaquin Niemann -- will mix it up, and the pot will be stirred (not necessarily by them) adequately enough that this narrative becomes a real story at some point this week.
Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 275 (-13)
Winner's Sunday score: 70 (-2)
Patrick McDonald, golf writer
Winner -- Xander Schauffele (20-1): Schauffele was my pick to win the Masters at the beginning of the year, and he has done nothing to make me jump off the ship now. Over the last three months, he is gaining +2.01 strokes per round with massive efforts from both his irons and putter. The driver has been a weak point for him, but the wide landing areas of Augusta National should alleviate some of that stress. A proven contender in major championships, Schauffele has a pair of podium finishes in his Masters career -- both a silver and a bronze -- and appears primed to finally climb to the top spot.
Sleeper -- Min Woo Lee (125-1): Let's get weird. Lee has captivated the general golf audience with his run at the Players Championship and his presence on social media, but don't let the theatrics distract you: He is a certified stud. He finished T14 in his Masters debut last season where he tied the first-nine scoring record with a 6-under 30. Over his last 12 worldwide starts, the Australian has collected nine top-15 finishes and gone to battle against the likes of Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm. He has plenty of distance and can roll the rock with the best of them -- a lethal combination at Augusta National.
Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: The only thing going against Scheffler is history. There have been only three men to successfully win back-to-back Masters, and while it would not be surprising to see Scheffler become the fourth, I'll instead play it safe with a top-10 finish. The world No. 1 is gaining +3.05 strokes on the field per round this calendar year, which is roughly two strokes better per tournament compared to this time last season.
Star who definitely won't win -- Max Homa: I know, I know, the metrics look great, his play in major championships is slowly improving and everyone loves him. I just need to see more from him on this stage, especially at Augusta National, to have faith in him on the final nine come Sunday. In three appearances at the Masters, Homa has missed the cut twice with his best finish coming last season with a T48. Each of the last 10 Masters winners had at least a top-40 finish to their name with seven of them having a top-five finish. So, while he may even contend, don't look for Homa to slip on the green jacket.
Scottie Scheffler vs. Rory McIlroy vs. Jon Rahm: Of this group, only one player has hit a meaningful shot on the second nine on Sunday at Augusta National, and that's Scheffler. He has been there, done that and is playing the best golf in the world. There is a chance for a slow start given his early-week obligations, but over the course of four rounds, Scheffler's quality should allow him to separate from the two Europeans and potentially claim his second straight green jacket.
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: The agent of chaos in me is taking over and siding with Mickelson. The three-time Masters winner was an omission from last year's tournament and will be relishing the opportunity to play at Augusta National again. He hasn't been playing well, striking the ball alright but looking weak with the putter. Still, health and competitive reps are on his side, and that should count for something. I could see Mickelson threatening the top 20 while Woods isn't too far behind in the top 30 or 40.
Surprise prediction -- Bernhard Langer beats Bryson DeChambeau (again): It's a bit of a joke, but it has become a competitive head-to-head in recent years. Langer has gotten the better of the 2020 U.S. Open champion over two of the last three years and enters arguably playing better golf. Langer has four straight top-20 finishes on the Champions Tour, including a victory, while DeChambeau is losing more than two strokes to the field per round on LIV Golf. In a classic matchup of brains vs. brawn, brains should reign supreme.
Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 273 (-15)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-3)
Adam Silverstein, editorial director
Winner -- Rory McIlroy (7-1): The breakthrough -- both in terms of the career grand slam but also simply a first major victory since 2014 -- is going to come at some point. And it sure looks like it is going to be soon. McIlroy has top-eight finishes in five of his last six majors, including all four in 2022. He has finished in the top 10 at Augusta National in seven of his last nine playings of the famed course. He shot 6 under on the weekend last year in a second-place finish, only undone by his typical slow start over the first 36 holes. There's also momentum in his sails. Other than Tiger Woods, there's no one the patrons at Augusta or viewers watching at home will be rooting harder to see end Sunday inside Butler Cabin. Oh, by the way, Rory is only 33. He may feel pressure, but it's not like his time is running out. He gets it done this year.
Sleeper -- Max Homa (22-1): Since everyone except Patrick cheated here by picking golfers with odds under 40-1, I might as well follow suit. The deal with Homa is that his odds are strong entering the Masters -- he's tied as the eighth-highest favorite in the field -- but everyone is doubting that he will succeed this week with many predicting he may even miss the cut. Why? Simply because that's what normally happens to him at majors. His best result is a T13 at the 2022 PGA Championship. Other than that, he has missed cuts in seven majors and finished worse than the top 40 in five. His Masters history since 2020 is two missed cuts and a T48 finish last year. If that's not a sleeper, I'm not sure what would be. Homa is playing some of the best golf on the PGA Tour (three wins in the last 11 months), and he's improved both around the green and with the flat stick.
Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: The defending champion and clear favorite has continued his torrid pace since a 2022 for the history books. It would be an utter shock if he did not finish among the top of the leaderboard, particularly given he has the best chance to go back-to-back since Jordan Spieth's opportunity in 2016.
Star who definitely won't win -- Justin Thomas: When the pressure is off, Thomas shines, as he has recently at the Hero World Challenge and Phoenix Open. Otherwise, his typical finish of late has been somewhere in the 20s as he plays well enough to be in contention on the weekend but struggles to find the third gear to push himself to the top of the leaderboard. While he has top-10 finishes in two of the last three Masters and did win his second PGA Championship last year, the consistency is not there to believe he will finish atop this loaded field.
Scottie Scheffler vs. Rory McIlroy vs. Jon Rahm: There's been a lot said about Rahm's recent struggles, but I followed him for nearly half of his Tuesday practice round, and he was absolutely nails. He has top-10 finishes in four of his last five Masters, and though he didn't follow up his torrid 2021 with any top 10s in 2022, don't discount him simply because there have been some inconsistencies. Still, I have McIlroy emerging from this group with Scheffler making a play for a second straight green jacket and Rahm pulling up the rear.
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Even with Tiger barely playing, he's the easy pick in this head-to-head. There is no course Woods knows better than Augusta National, and he made the cut last year while barely able to walk the hilly course. He has every shot needed to win the Masters; the only question is whether his body holds up. Mickelson, meanwhile, was in exile last year and has not done anything to make one believe he will be truly competitive. Not only do I have Tiger making the cut and opening some eyes on the weekend, I have Phil missing the cut entirely.
Surprise prediction -- Masters finishes on Monday for the first time in 40 years: Inclement weather seems to affect the Masters most years, but the forecast for the final three days of play at Augusta National is ominous with projected rainfall at 97% for Friday, 98% for Saturday and 94% for Sunday. While everything possible will be done to get play completed by Sunday night -- early starts, weekend trios, etc. -- Mother Nature may not cooperate. Hopefully, this is a reverse jinx.
Lowest round: 64 (-8)
Winning score: 274 (-14)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-3)
Joshua Mullenix, First Cut producer
Winner -- Rory McIlroy (7-1): It's time. McIlroy has needed the Masters to complete the career grand slam since 2014, and this is one of his best chances to do it. Driver woes came and went early in 2023, but he still has two top-three finishes in his last three starts. Gaining roughly 2.3 strokes per round, he fits the model of the last 10 Masters champions. And honestly, when Rory wins the Masters, I want to have predicted it.
Sleeper -- Jason Day (25-1): Sleeper may be generous, but since Kyle bent the rules, so will I. Day is playing way better golf than people realize. He's gained at least two strokes in all seven tournaments in 2023. His worst finish is T19 at The Players. He's missed the last two cuts at Augusta, but that seems to be more about health than anything else. In his career, he has three top-five finishes. Day is knocking loudly at the door, and it might be this week that the door opens.
Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: A layup. Scheffler has finished outside of the top 12 once since last year's FedEx St. Jude Championship: in August! It's really hard to repeat at Augusta National, which is why he's not my winner, but it's hard to picture him not finishing in the top 10. He'll tee-to-green the field into submission like he always does, and record yet another solid finish.
Star who definitely won't win -- Max Homa: He has played in 13 major championships and missed the cut in eight of them. Two of those came at Augusta, along with a T48. Homa is crawling out from under the "doesn't perform on big stages" tag, but not to the extent that I would pick him this week. The numbers are tempting, but Homa doesn't have the major or Masters success I want to see in a potential champion.
Scottie Scheffler vs. Rory McIlroy vs. Jon Rahm: As mentioned, the winner will come from this group. If it isn't McIlroy claiming his first green jacket, I feel good about one of the other two taking it home. This feels like a Masters that one of the big boys will win. These are three of the biggest.
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: With preparation, I have faith in Woods' body to hold up for at least two rounds. His performance at the Genesis Invitational communicates that he is capable of making the cut at Augusta -- something he did last year. Mickelson hasn't finished better than 27th since October 2022. For me, this is a conversation of who is more likely to make the cut. The answer is clearly Tiger.
Surprise prediction -- A LIV golfer makes a serious bid to win: For one, the group of 18 makes up 20% of the field, so chances are at least one plays well. Between Smith, Johnson, Brooks Koepka and company, someone is going to send the golf world into a frenzy with a chance to win heading to the back nine on Sunday.
Lowest round: 66 (-6)
Winning score: 276 (-12)
Winner's Sunday score: 70 (-2)
Who will win the Masters 2023, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected Masters leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed eight golf majors, including last year's Masters.