SI Masters Predictions 2024: Who Wins and Why

The 88th Masters gets under way Thursday and SI Golf writers and editors have picks for who will don the green jacket. 
Apr 10, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Rory McIlroy hits balls at the driving range during a practice
Apr 10, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Rory McIlroy hits balls at the driving range during a practice / Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Network

The 88th Masters begins Thursday and by now you know all the storylines.

Jon Rahm is the defending champion now flying under the LIV Golf banner (and perhaps a bit under the radar). Scottie Scheffler, the winner one year prior, is the unquestioned world No. 1 whose strong play is bringing betting odds not seen since Tiger Woods’s prime. And speaking of Woods, he’s back at Augusta National and showing plenty of game but how his body holds up will continue to be the lead story.

A green jacket is history, and if Rory McIlroy can finally get one this year he’ll complete the career Grand Slam. Might an attitude change make all the difference for him? 

Rory McIlroy watches a shot during a practice round for the 2024 Masters.
Rory McIlroy is playing in his 16th Masters--will this be the one? / Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll see how all the storylines play out soon. In the meantime, the Sports Illustrated team of writers and editors have made their picks on who will win the season’s first major. 

Bob Harig, SI Golf Senior Writer: In a year where very few of the game’s stars have shined, Hideki Matsuyama is one who has actually performed quite well. The 2021 Masters champion battled injuries for a good part of last year, and his Official World Golf Ranking number dropped outside the top 50. But he showed his overall abilities once again when he shot a final-round 62 at Riviera to come from behind and capture the Genesis Invitational. Matsuyama has been solid since, with a T12 at the Arnold Palmer, a T6 at the Players and a T7 last week at the Valero Texas Open. Hideki has some form coming to a place where’s won.

Andy Nesbitt, Associate Managing Editor: It’s hard to pick against a guy who’s playing some of the best golf on the PGA Tour this season, with five top 10s. It’s tough to pick against a guy who has a T3 and a T2 on his Masters resume. It’s hard to pick against a guy who almost won the Players Championship a few weeks ago. It’s hard to pick against … Xander Schauffele. He’s ready to make the big step, he excels on tough courses, and he seems to be a great fit at Augusta National. Hopefully he just avoids a few costly bogeys down the stretch on Sunday. Get the cigars ready, it’s Xander’s time. Finally. 

John Pluym, Managing Editor: Brooks Koepka. He’s been close twice, including last year when he was the leader for most of the tournament before losing to Jon Rahm. This time, it’ll be different. I think he figures it out Sunday, shoots 65, and takes home his first green jacket and another big LIV win.

Jeff Ritter, SI Golf Managing Director: I think Scottie and Brooks are the obvious picks, but obvious rarely works at Augusta. I went with Hideki earlier this week in our Bettors’ Roundtable, but I don’t love Hideki in the rain and the Thursday forecast looks ominous. So, I’m looking for a mudder, and do you know who happens to play majors pretty dang well on softer courses? Rory McIlroy! I promised myself last year when Rory missed the cut that I’d stop picking him once and for all, but as Michael Scott once said: There’s no question about it, I am ready to get hurt again. 

John Schwarb, SI Golf Senior Editor: Hideki Matsuyama. Throwing out Scottie Scheffler, this is a tough handicap because so many stars have shown so little in 2024. Do you take one of them to magically wake up? I prefer someone in form and the 2021 Masters champ fits, sitting third in FedEx Cup points with a top-shelf win (Genesis Invitational), T12 (Arnold Palmer Invitational) and T6 (Players) in the last two months. His ballstriking is never in question and if the putter heats up just a little, a second green jacket is well within reach.

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Jeff Ritter


Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.