After his win at the Masters, fans were eager to see how Tiger Woods would play at the PGA Championship last weekend. They had hoped that he was ‘back’ and that the once-dominant star would take over the PGA Tour going forward as he did in the old days.
But instead, he missed the cut by one stroke.
Had he made it, chances are fans would have been disappointed anyway because defending PGA champion, Brooks Koepka, played like a man on a mission. Well—for three of the four rounds at least; Sunday’s round wasn’t too hot. But it was good enough to hold off Dustin Johnson and make him a back-to-back winner.
However, Sunday’s win wasn’t just any old win for Koepka. He became the first golfer to successfully defend two Major titles simultaneously (he won the U.S. Open in 2017 and ’18). Should he win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in a few weeks, he will become the first to do so in three consecutive seasons since Willie Anderson did it over a century ago (193-05).
Oh—and with the win Sunday, he is now the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world.
“It’s been a hell of a run,” Koepka said following his final round at Bethpage Sunday, via Golf.com. “It’s been fun. I’m trying not to let it stop. It’s super enjoyable, and just try to ride that momentum going into Pebble.”
It stands to reason that oddsmakers would install him as the favorite to win the U.S. Open, which will be held at Pebble Beach from June 13-16, when they released the latest odds (via BetOnline.ag):
- Brooks Koepka +600
- Tiger Woods +900
- Dustin Johnson +1000
- Rory McIlroy +1200
- Jordan Spieth +1400
- Justin Rose +1600
- Justin Thomas +1600
- Bryson Dechambeau, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson +2000
- Rickie Fowler +2200
- Tommy Fleetwood +2500
Tiger Woods was the favorite following his win at the Masters. But with how he played at Bethpage, there was no way he would remain the favorite—especially when you consider how well Koepka has been playing at Major events.
With the way Koepka has been playing on the sport’s biggest stages (he has won four of the last eight majors), it is not hard to understand why he is now the favorite. But that doesn’t mean you should bet the house on him, though.
First of all, of every tournament played this season, only one was won by the betting favorite, and he was a co-favorite (Rory McIlroy; The PLAYERS Championship). In fact, tournament favorites rarely win. There were only four out of48 events that did so in the 2017-18 season, five the year before that, and only two the year before that.
The odds are simply against him winning even though he has the best odds of the field.
If that isn’t enough to make you think twice, the only other time he has played at the Pebble Beach Links in competition (the public course, not Bay Hill where the Arnold Palmer Invitational takes place) was back in 2016 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where he finished tied for eighth.
This is not to say that he will not or cannot play well at the tournament, but you may be better off picking him for your fantasy team than you are betting on him to win.