Swarming Augusta: Will an Injury Derail UNU’s Prediction for the Masters?


UPDATE: UNU’s picks were made before Dustin Johnson’s injury was revealed, and this blog post was written while he status was still uncertain. As it turns out, Johnson was forced to retire from the Masters before teeing off on Thursday. 

When sports fans start discussing green jackets, “Amen Corner”, magnolia trees and Rae’s Creek, it can only mean that the best golfers in the world are getting set to compete in one of the greatest traditions in sports: The Masters. Played each year on the challenging course at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, The Masters is as close to spectacle as professional golf gets.

If Augusta National presents a unique and difficult challenge for players, predicting the twists and drama of a tournament with over 100 players and 72 holes of golf is an equally daunting task for any expert. Researchers at Unanimous A. I. accepted this challenge for the first time ever, bringing together a group of casual golf fans to predict the final results of this year’s tournament. UNU, our Swarm A.I. platform, has an excellent track record in events like this, which require an intelligent ordering of expected finishers. Our research shows that swarming amplifies intelligence above individual performance, a phenomenon UNU has demonstrated often at events like the Academy Awards and weekly NHL games.

For the Masters, the swarm was tasked with creating an ordered list of golfers who will likely sit in the top sections of the leaderboard by Sunday. Unfortunately for UNU, the swarm was held early Wednesday morning, before news that its top contender, Dustin Johnson injured his back, an injury that shouldn’t keep him out of the tournament but whose impact on his performance is impossible know at this point. 

Most analysts see this year’s Masters having the potential to become a fight between three of golf’s best young players: the aforementioned Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy. It shouldn’t be surprising that one of the most intriguing prop bets on the books right now pits the odds of one of those three golfers against the entire rest of the field.  This sort of proposition reminded the team at of the success UNU had at Wimbledon, when Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were heavy favorites. Before the tournament, the swarm accurately predicted that “the field” would win the Men’s draw, but Serena would defeat all challengers. So, our researchers couldn’t resist challenging UNU to repeat the feat at the Masters. 

As far as who takes home the green jacket, there are so many variables at play here that the swarm found it difficult to express a winner with great confidence. And that’s even before Dustin Johnson’s injury was reported. So, for whatever it’s worth, before that news got it, UNU thought there was a decent chance that Paulina Gretzky’s boyfriend may be adding a green jacket to his wardrobe soon.

Unanimous A. I. conducts swarms for major events in entertainment, politics, and sports regularly throughout the year. They also use UNU to predict weekly sporting events and gather opinion on current events. If you’d like to get a weekly newsletter with our picks and insights, just drop us a note below.