Raise your hand if you had Hideki Matsuyama to win the Masters last week at 40-1…or even higher at some of the sportsbooks.
Let’s see…one, two, three. Like we thought, not too many.
And with good reason. It’s incredibly tough for these players to win a major and likely just as tough for bettors to pick a winner.
But, there’s still hope. We’ve got three more majors on tap in the coming months giving us three more chances to look over a few bets after watching players succeed–and fail–at historic Augusta National.
And we mean fail in epic proportions. A few bettors thought they took the easy way out and put money on favorite Dustin Johnson just to make the cut. Nope. Or how about the same bet with Rory McIlroy. Again, nope.
So if you’re thinking it’s not easy to pick a winner, we’ve got news for you. It’s only going to get tougher with the next three majors.
See, the Masters’ field was limited to 88 players compared to full fields of 144 or so at the other three events. Now we’re no math wizard but the odds of us picking a winner just went down a few notches.
Yet here we are, ready to give out a player to win each of the majors as well as two players in each tournament to also put in the back of your mind, whether it’s right now or as the event gets closer.
For those interested, Dustin Johnson is the favorite in all three events at all three sites. But, remember, he was also the favorite at the recent Masters and missed the cut. Remember that all-encompassing phrase: Buyer beware.
We’re going to take a look at a few players who aren’t the obvious picks but who could certainly win.
PGA Championship (May 20-23)
The event will take place on the Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.
And we’re looking at Jordan Spieth, +1200 at FanDuel to complete his career grand slam journey. No, we’re not crazy…although if you took a poll of friends and family, it might be a close call.
Spieth is back in form and confidence. Sure, it took him about four years to finally win again but his swagger and ball-striking seem to be back. Let him keep making a boatload of 25-footers for birdies over four days and you’ve got the makings of another major.
And this one’s a keeper as it would give him that fabled Grand Slam.
A couple of others to watch: Will Zalatoris at +2900 and Viktor Hovland at +2900.
U.S. Open (June 17-20)
With the tournament being held at Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA, this seems to be a one is a no-brainer for us. Again, no jokes, please.
Xander Schauffele, +1600 at DraftKings, is one of those players wearing the moniker of ‘Best Player to Never Win a Major.’
We think that’s about to change.
This might just be his time…and place. In his four U.S. Open appearances, he’s been way up on the first page of the leaderboard. In 2017 he finished T-5. Move ahead a year and he was T-6. In 2019 he wound up T-3. Last fall he finished fifth. That’s four straight years with impressive finishes over some of the toughest layouts and against some of the toughest fields. And those layouts have seen some of the world’s best players implode over that timeframe.
Not Schauffele. And especially not this year in his backyard.
He’s been a runner-up eight times since his last PGA Tour win. Now’s the time to end that streak.
A couple of others to watch: Justin Thomas at +1200 and Scottie Scheffler at +4500.
Open Championship (July 15-18)
Then it will be time for the PGA Tour’s trip across the pond to play at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, Kent, England, in the Open Championship.
We’re hoping Shane Lowry has enjoyed his two-year run with the trophy as the last champ. The 2020 event was cancelled because of the pandemic.
The last time the event was held at Royal St. George’s, Darren Clarke came out of nowhere to win n 2011. We’re looking for a little more of the same in 2021.
Keep an eye (and a few dollars or pounds) on Tyrrell Hatton at +2500 at BetMGM. Like Schauffele, Hatton will be playing a home game as Royal St. George’s is roughly 125 miles from his roots in High Wycombe, Buckingham, England.
It would be his first major and he’s certainly likely to have a Tiger-esque following come Sunday if he’s in contention.
A couple of others to watch: Tommy Fleetwood at +2800 and Matthew Fitzpatrick at +5000.