AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Round One
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If you haven't paid much attention to golf in 2024, who could blame you? Most people are attuned to football before moving on to pro and college basketball and then a bit of baseball before turning their attention to golf. For many, the Masters will be the first -- and perhaps only -- golf tournament they watch this year. So, it can be difficult to know who to root for and what storylines to follow. 

Let's use this time to cover the former. Of course, amateurs and players who have no chance at winning the tournament -- like past champions Fred Couples and Jose Maria Olazabal -- are fun to root for, but we limited this to players who have a legit shot at making a bit of history with a win at Augusta National.

1. Rory McIlroy: I don't know your feelings on McIlroy. Perhaps you despise him for all the ways he has tried to disrupt the Saudi-backed LIV Golf over the last few years. Perhaps you love him for the exact same reason. Regardless, here is what I can tell you: A Rory victory at Augusta National would be one of the more emotional, epic scenes in recent golf history. It's been 10 years since McIlroy won a major, and the Masters burden is heavy for anyone, but it's especially heavy for him. If you're looking for emotion, tears, incredible quotes and the most extraordinary event of the golf year, this is the one for which to root. Odds: 10-1

2. Rickie Fowler: Apparently, this is just the 2023 U.S. Open final round all over again. Fowler's career has gotten interesting of late. Prior to the last few years, the presumption was that he was just a wunderkind who had immediate success at every level. But some failure in the middle of his career -- Fowler has not even played a spring Masters since 2019 -- has made him more endearing. Now a 35-year-old dad, a win here would be more meaningful than it would have been five or 10 years ago. Odds: 120-1

3. Jordan Spieth: Spieth is going for what feels like his fifth green jacket, but in reality, it would only be his second. Though he can get a little whiny at times on the course, he's a tremendous champion. A win here would be his first at a major championship following a years-long slump in the middle of his career; a situation somewhat similar to Fowler's. He was a comet at Augusta National in 2015, and it looked like he'd win a closet full of them. He hasn't, but he's still just 30 and has probably the best relationship with this golf course of anyone in his age bracket (and maybe ever). Odds: 22-1

Watch all four rounds of the 2024 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world through 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, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.

4. Brooks Koepka: If you're interested in non-Rory history, this is your guy. Koepka can tie [deep breath] Phil Mickelson, Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino with a sixth major. That would put him within one of Arnold Palmer, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead -- at the age of 33, the same age at which Mickelson had just exactly zero major championships. That is insane. Odds: 20-1

5. Viktor Hovland: Hovland was in the mix at both the Masters and PGA Championship last year, and it appears that nobody has more fun playing golf than him. Even in high-stress situations, it is a delight to watch him compete for tournaments. You won't find anyone who competes and wins, or even loses, with more joy. Odds: 33-1

6. Sahith Theegala: If nobody plays with more joy than Hovland, nobody plays with more pure emotion than Theegala. He empties the tank no matter the outcome of the tournament. His free-wheeling ways worked to the tune of a backdoor top 10 at Augusta National a year ago, and it's a golf course wide enough that it would not be crazy if he got into contention again. If he does, he'll be impossible to root against. Odds: 50-1

7. Tommy Fleetwood: There are a handful of likable players who have yet to win a major, and Fleetwood is near the top of that list. He's certainly among the few golfers -- along with Xander Schauffele -- who have come the closest without hoisting a trophy at one of the four big ones. Here's a recap of his close calls.

  • 4th at 2017 U.S. Open
  • 2nd at 2018 U.S. Open
  • 2nd at 2019 Open Championship
  • T4 at 2022 Open Championship
  • T5 at 2023 U.S. Open
  • T10 at 2023 Open Championship

Fleetwood has not played his best major golf at the Masters (though he hasn't missed a cut since 2017), but he's a terrific major player and one of the easiest athletes in the world for whom to root. Odds: 50-1

8. Jason Day: After some down years, Day has experienced a resurgence. He finished T2 at the Open last year and is playing his most consistently good golf over a long arc of time in probably four years. He also has an interesting history at Augusta National with three top-five finishes in his starts here. Day and his interesting career, massive family and hard-luck finishes at the Masters would be an easy one to root for if he's in it late on Sunday. Odds: 80-1

9. Ludvig Åberg: The Scandinavians are so affable. Hovland's playing partner at the 2023 Ryder Cup is competing in his first major championship but only half a dozen players have shorter odds. This time a year ago, he was playing in the Calusa Cup followed by the Thunderbird Collegiate. So, the jump has been quick. Åberg is easy to like and his game is wondrous. If he's in the mix, you will quickly understand why, at least in deep golf circles, he's chatted about off and on as the next "it" guy. 

Guys like that are always fun to find early and follow as they ascend the ranks. Odds: 33-1

Who will win the 2024 Masters, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed 10 golf majors, including last year's Masters and Open Championship.