PGA Tour Betting: Favorites and Long Shots to Target for 2021's Majors
With two majors already in the books for the 2021 PGA Tour season and a full slate on tap in the New Year, now is a great time to eye up the futures for the four major championship on FanDuel Sportsbook.
If you have a hunch on which golfer may be on the rise, now is the time to get your bets in before the market catches on and shortens your favorite pick after he crushes it in the first couple months.
Below we'll dive into each of this year's tournaments and venues, and based on history and course fit, lay out which favorite is worth backing, which golfer can break through for an overdue major win, and which long shot makes for a viable dark horse.
The Masters (April 8 - April 11)
Course: Augusta National Golf Club
Par: 72 | Distance: 7,475
For the second time in six months, Augusta National will host a select field of the world's best golfers. Dustin Johnson defends his title and opens as the favorite at +750, but even with DJ now at the peak of his powers, it is difficult to believe he can win consecutive Masters. We know what it takes at Augusta -- drive the ball well, score on the par 5s, and for the love of all that is holy stay out of the water on 15.
Xander Schauffele (+1800) - Schauffele is a notch below the top of the market, but grab him at this number because the books will not hesitate to move up into that tier at 12/1 or shorter if he flashes in the beginning of the season. People love to bet this guy, and even if he doesn't quite deserve the level of credit the market gives him, the books are determined not to take a bath when he breaks through. That may well be this year at Augusta, where he was T17 in November and T2 in 2019.
Daniel Berger (+3400) - Much was made of the lack of Berger's presence at the November edition, the 13th-ranked player in the world not "qualified" to play The Masters. But the truth is when Berger really started to come on in late 2019 and early 2020, he was nowhere on the map. It wasn't until a T4 at the Honda Classic -- his last event before the COVID-19 layoff -- that he cracked the top 100 in the world, and his four top-five finishes in his first six starts after the resumption were all for this year's eligibility. Either way, he has a chip on his shoulder and has been one of the best players in the world for about a year now and still available at 34/1.
Joaquin Niemann (+5500) - Niemann gained entry into the 2018 Masters by virtue of winning the Latin American Amateur Championship and missed the cut on debut. He did not qualify in 2019 and then, unfortunately, missed last year's due to a positive COVID-19 test. He'll be itching to get back out there, and his ball-striking and aggressive style should play well as long as he keeps his head. His preference for bentgrass is well documented at this point, the only surface he beats the field on.
PGA Championship (May 20 - May 23)
Course: Ocean Course, Kiawah Island Resort
Par: 72 | Distance: 7,676
The Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course hugs the Atlantic coastline, with eight holes bordering the ocean and the rest running parallel just inside. Befitting a Dye design, golfers will face all kinds of angles and elevation changes, along with dynamic winds that could potentially make the course play entirely differently over the course of a weekend or even a round.
Rory McIlroy (+1000) - McIlroy could follow in Johnson's footsteps and finally capitalize on great form at Augusta to don a green jacket, but the specter of the career grand slam cast enough doubts on Rory's prospects at the Masters. He has no such demons at Pete Dye courses, which he has dominated over the course of his career. He is the last man to win at TPC Sawgrass, and with his last major win now over six years in the rearview mirror, McIlroy can reassert himself only with a win on the biggest stage. The PGA is his best chance this season.
Webb Simpson (+3300) - Simpson is no slouch in the Pete Dye department, a former PLAYERS champion who also picked up a win at Harbour Town last season, another South Carolina coastal track designed by Dye. Simpson has been prolific in the the Southeast, with a slew of top five finishes in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Tyrrell Hatton (+5000) - This is a great price for Hatton, who won in some of the toughest wind conditions last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He picked up two more wins on the European Tour and is all the way up to the 10th-ranked player in the world. He's missed just three cuts in the past year; unfortunately, the three events were major championships. He was T6 at The Open in 2019 and has four other top 10s at majors, so it's not like he isn't up to the task. He was right back to consistent play after missing the weekend at the Masters, with a T23 at the RSM Classic and T8 in the Euro finale in Dubai. Fine form and 50/1 for the 10th-ranked player in the world is too good to pass up.
U.S. Open (June 17 - June 20)
Course: South Course, Torrey Pines GC
Par: 71 | Distance: 7,643
Torrey Pines hosts the U.S. Open for the second time, with the first installment featuring the iconic Monday 18-hole playoff when Tiger Woods -- with a badly injured knee -- bested Rocco Mediate. We'll give anything for those kinds of theatrics this year, and you'll see no complaints about primetime major championship golf at one of the most well-known courses in the country.
Jon Rahm (+1100) - Rahm reached the top ranking in the world twice last year before settling in behind Johnson after DJ's dominant close to the season and Masters victory to open the new one. Rahm earned two signature wins in grueling conditions at the Memorial and the BMW Championship, defeating Johnson in a playoff in the latter. Next up in Rahm's trajectory is a major championship, and Torrey Pines is as good a spot as any. He picked up his first PGA Tour win at the 2017 Farmers and has posted two more top-fives since then, including runner-up last year.
Tony Finau (+4100) - Finau's record in major championships is stellar but for the fact that he's yet to win one. His power off the tee is an asset everywhere but especially at U.S. Open setups that require elite distance, and he's fared well at Torrey Pines over his career: three top-10s in the past four years.
Matthew Wolff (+3700) - Wolff is shorter than Finau but given the recent U.S. Open champions just about everyone outside the very elite is certifiably a long shot. Wolff leveled up after the pandemic layoff, with top-five finishes at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. He was the top dog in college and will prove a consistent winner on Tour over time. The driver is his primary weapon, but the ceiling gets raised when the strikes his irons well. He showed a propensity to do that with more frequency over the second half of the year and improving in that area is his focus.
The Open Championship (July 15 - July 18)
Course: Royal St. George's Golf Club
Par: 70 | Distance: 7,211
Royal St. George's was pushed back to 2021 after the Open was canceled amid traveling concerns. Darren Clarke was the surprise winner back in 2011 when Royal St. George's last hosted and rated out as the most difficult course on Tour that year. It is a traditional coastal layout, with no foliage to speak of except tall native grasses, and packed with deep pot bunkers.
Dustin Johnson (+850) - Johnson was runner up in 2011 and has the right temperament for Open golf. He is nonplussed by the windy conditions and can overpower this course if he gets a friendly draw. He'll be the favorite in just about any event he tees it up for this year, the Tour's reigning alpha.
Rickie Fowler (+4100) - Fowler's struggles the past few years have been granted cover by Jordan Spieth's more precipitous collapse. He had just one full-field top-10 finish in 2019-20, a T10 at the American Express in January where he was eight strokes off the lead. But Royal St. George's produced an unlikely winner last time, and Fowler (albeit a lifetime ago) managed a T5 finish that he can gain some measure of confidence from. He was also T6 at the Open in 2019.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+5000) - Fitz is outmanned on many American courses that favor the longest hitters and give up tons of birdies to anyone willing to take them. He is far more suited to an Open test, where weather and wind dictate strategy and bombing it as far as you can doesn't earn you quite as much. He took down the European crown by winning the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai this month, setting the stage for a big 2021.