The I don’t care what the PGA TOUR says. The golf season begins with The Masters. And the cold of December in Michigan is the perfect time to start thinking about green fairways and magnolia blossoms. And of Pinehurst #2, and Royal Liverpool, and Valhalla.
As you might expect, bettors have Tiger Woods as the favorite for all four Championships. The odds at Bwin have him at 6.0 (5/1 ) for the Masters, 9.0 (8/1) for the US Open, 7.0 (6/1) for the Open Championship, and 9.0 (8/1) for the PGA Championship.
My bet is that he will struggle to win one, let alone all four.
The 2014 golf Majors season opens at Augusta National with the Masters. No introduction is needed. If heaven has a golf course, it’ll look like Augusta in April.
Tiger is the favorite, of course. In second is Rory McIlroy at 12.0 (11/1). I’m not convinced that he will be “back” from his disastrous 2013 season. Phil Mickelson, at 15.0 (14/1) is the bettors’ third favorite. Given his performances there in recent years, he’s a solid choice. Last years’ Masters Champion, Adam Scott is in at 17.0 *16/1). The bettors’ fifth choice is the new “it” golfer, Henrik Stenson. In 2013, Stenson pulled off an incredible feat, winning both the Tour Championship and the Race To Dubai. In my mind, however, it remains to be seen if this is the start of a trend or a flash in the pan.
This year’s US Open is at the legendary Pinehurst #2. A Donald Ross design, it was recently restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Fifteen years ago, Phil Mickelson was edged out there by Payne Stewart. It’s no surprise, therefore to find him as the second choice behind Tiger at 15.0 (14/1). Tiger is at 9.1 (8/1). Rory and Adam Scott are at 17.0 (16/1). Justin Rose, last year’s Champion is in at 21.0 (20/1) to fill out the top five.
I admit to being a huge Phil fan, and am really pulling for him to complete the career slam with a victory at Pinehurst.
Royal Liverpool, also known ass Hoylake, is the site of the 2014 Open Championship. This course was designed by Robert Chambers and George Morris (younger brother of Old Tom) and built in 1869. The “Royal” designation came as a result of the patronage of the Duke of Connaught, one of Queen Victoria’s sons. It was redesigned and tweaked by Harry Colt in the early 20th century.
Tiger (7.0) is the favorite again, and Phil is the bettors’ second choice at 17.0 (16/1). Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott round out the top five at 21.0 (20/1).
I’m not sold on Rory, but I like the chances of the other four.
Finally, the PGA Championship is being held at the PGA of America’s own Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a Jack Nicklaus design that opened in 1986.
Tiger (who else) is the favorite at 9.0 (8/1). Phil (again) is in second at 15.9 (14/1). Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy are in at 17.0 (16/1). Rounding out the top five is Henrik Stenson, at 21.0 (20/1).
If I had to pick, I’d say that we see four different Major winners this year, with one each from Phil, Adam Scott and two others. Perhaps we’ll see a Dustin Johnson breakthrough. If so, the Masters is in my opinion his best bet. The PGA Championship in my mind is always the most wide open. Remember that that’s the one where a guy named Y.E. Yang stared down Tiger and broke his Mojo.
Thanks to Bwin Sports for the use of their golf betting odds.