Brooks Koepka hits from the ninth hole, during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Mike Kern likes Koepka in the U.S. Open, whenever it happens.
Brooks Koepka hits from the ninth hole, during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Mike Kern likes Koepka in the U.S. Open, whenever it happens.|Lynne Sladky | Associated Press
Golf

Bet Golf futures: Kern picks the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, British Open, Solheim Cup, and even the 2021 Presidents Cup

Who says you can’t bet on golf, just because almost the whole world as we know it including sports has been put on hold for who knows how long?

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Who says you can’t bet on golf, just because almost the whole world as we know it including sports has been put on hold for who knows how long?

I know it’s hard. Hey, I’ve been watching way too much TV too. And I’m a TV kind of guy. But some folks, and you know who you are, simply need to have some kind of action going. We understand. It’s why we’re here.

So no, there won’t be a Masters next month. Or a PGA Championship in May. And probably soon we will find out that the U.S. Open in June will have to be postponed as well. Heck, maybe even the British Open in July, if this thing really gets worse before it gets better. Hopefully they will all be played at some point, even though it might involve some schedule-adjusting. It will just be different. But if you look at the Parx website right now, you’ll find that there are future bets you can make on all four of those majors. Maybe that’s not your thing, but it’s something.

I know someone who liked Bryson Dechambeau in the Masters. So, he bet him, at pretty high odds. At the moment he’s listed at 28-1, since he was starting to play much better at the time the PGA Tour stopped playing after the first round of the Players Championship. I get that this is all about trying to project amidst a large number of unknown variables. Still, it’s something, if you really need something, anything.

It didn’t look like Tiger Woods would have a legit shot at defending his title at Augusta National, but who knows what the state of his game might be like in another three or four months. So, some of this is obviously a leap of faith, or just a belief. Doesn’t mean you can’t try to have some fun with it, and maybe even cash a ticket or two. Only problem is you’re going to have to wait to see if you made the right moves. Like when I touted the Eagles to win over nine games last season. That’s why they call them futures.

Rory McIlroy is the favorite, at 6.5-1. He of course has never won this major. It’s the only one he hasn’t won. So, it would complete his career grand slam, something only a handful of guys have ever done. And he won his fourth and last major six years ago. And he hasn’t really come close to winning a green jacket, unless you count the time in 2011 that he led with nine holes to go and imploded his way to the clubhouse. Then again, he did win his first major two months later at the U.S. Open. I don’t think I’d bet him, but I’ve been wrong before. Just think there are better values to invest in.

Jon Rahm is 10-1, Justin Thomas 11-1 and Brooks Koepka 12-1. Rahm is usually there but doesn’t seem to win enough, Thomas wins but his only major came in 2017 and Koepka hasn’t looked the same since his knee surgery last fall. But he has won four majors (just not this one) and did finish runner-up a year ago. Of those three, I would probably look at Thomas.

Tiger is 14-1. I wouldn’t go there, even though he has five green jackets. Dustin Johnson is 16-1, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele 22-1, Tommy Fleetwood 25-1 along with Patrick Reed and Justin Rose. I have Rose in my yearlong pool, but he hasn’t looked good so far. Again, that could change. Reed was your 2018 champion. For all he’s done Johnson has one major, in 2016. Schauffele was second last year. And everyone says Fleetwood is going to win one of these sooner than later, even if he’s yet to win on American soil. So, I might take a shot on him and Dechambeau, just because my friend might be right.

You want more? Adam Scott is 28-1. He won there in 2013. Jordan Spieth, who won in 2015 and nearly won in ’14 and ’16 but has fallen off the face of the planet, is 28-1. Jason Day, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama are 33-1. As is Bubba Watson, who won in 2012 and ’14. Of those, Matsuyama is the one that grabs my attention the most.

Remember, you can throw all your money behind one guy, or you can throw it around and back a bunch of guys, preferably at longer odds, which is usually the way I’d rather roll. That’s why I list so many of the possibilities.

Three-time winner Phil Mickelson is 40-1. And Augusta sometimes has a way of reviving the past glories, but he would be the oldest to ever win a major if he pulled it off. Still, maybe a couple of bucks just in case. Webb Simpson is also 40-1. Paul Casey, Matt Kutcher, Louis Oosthuizen (who lost in a playoff in ’12) and Sungjae Im are 50-1. Im is one of the best young players out there, and he’s already won more than once. Just saying. Not sure he’s ready to take this step, but sometimes it happens before you expect it to.

Francesco Molinari, who nearly won last year, is 60-1. Sergio Garcia, who won in ’17, is 66-1 along with Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, Henrik Stenson and Gary Woodland. Anything beyond that, you’re on your own. But there are other names out there that might do something for you. And that’s all that matters.

For what it’s worth, Koepka is the co-favorite for the PGA, with McIlroy, at 8-1, followed by Rahm at 9-1, Johnson at 11-1 and Tiger at 12-1. Koepka is the defending champ. The PGA was scheduled to be held in San Francisco, but the PGA of America is reportedly looking at a possible venue change due to the crisis in the Bay Area.

Koepka is also the fave for the U.S. Open, which he has won twice and almost won last June. He’s 8-1. Dustin Johnson is next, at 10-1. So is Rory and Rahm, with Tiger checking in at 14 and Thomas 20. That number on Thomas at first glance seems very enticing, just because I’m not sure he should be that high at any major until further notice. So that would in all likelihood be one of my plays there. But blokes like Dechambeau, Matsuyama and Fleetwood, to bring up just three, are also listed at prices that may force you to put something on one or even all three.

Oops, almost forgot. I took Schauffele in the PGA and Koepka in the U.S.Open. So as always, don’t say you weren’t warned. Which brings us to the British Open, where I have McIlroy. I had him last year when he missed the cut in Northern Ireland, so … you can get him at 9-1 as the low bloke on the board. And I think that’s not bad, especially for him. So I might go there, and I’m not a chalk guy. Tiger is 16-1, the fifth betting choice.

You can also bet on the Solheim Cup, where the United States women are -190 and the Europeans +188. The tie bet would get you 12-1.

Likewise, in the 2021 Presidents Cup (now that’s going way out there) Team USA is -335 to Team International’s +335. Since it’s playing played in America, where the Internationals have never won, but then again, they’ve only won once anywhere. A tie is worth 14-1.

For some reason, though, there are no lines on this September’s Ryder Cup. Why ask why. Keep looking. And hopefully at some point we will be back to some semblance of normal and we can also get on with betting the Pensacola Opens of the food chain. At least in this country. They could be playing in Asia or elsewhere before that. Stay tuned. And by all means, please stay safe.

Thanks for the continued support in these uniquely difficult times. I’ll be back soon with a look at some options you might not even know existed with college football, because I sure didn’t. Sometimes it’s all about those unexpected little things.

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