2021 Olympics Golf Odds Preview

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2021 Olympics Golf Odds Preview

Setting the scene

Golf returns to the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, after a year away. On the East Course at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, a strong field competes for the gold medal. However, COVID has caused a few high-profile names to withdraw at the eleventh hour. Both Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau have opted out of the Olympics due to COVID. Patrick Reed for Team USA replaced Bryson DeChambeau. Jon Rahm’s replacement is yet to be determined.

Despite their departures, the field of players competing for the gold medal remains very strong. Overall, it’s a lot better than it was in 2016. Many elite athletes opted out of the 2016 Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus and security concerns in Brazil. Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, and Patrick Reed lead a solid American team on the field. All of them are serious contenders for the gold. Team South Korea, led by Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim, is another intriguing team. Unfortunately, both golfers will have to serve in the military for two years, which will cost them two years of their professional golf careers. However, if they win, they will be exempt, so perhaps they have more to play for than anyone else in the field.

Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, and Tommy Fleetwood are among the other notables in the field. There will be 60 players from 35 countries competing, with each country permitted to send up to four golfers as long as they are in the top-15 in the world rankings. Aside from that, each country is limited to only two golfers. The format is the same as it is on the PGA Tour most weeks, with 72 holes of stroke play. As is customary for practically every golf tournament, each golfer will play 18 holes per day.

Odds Outlook

With Rahm absent, Collin Morikawa, the newly crowned Open champion, is the favorite at +700. This course should be ideal for him, so if he can avoid a severe hangover, he’ll be a serious contender for a gold medal to go along with his Open victory. Xander Schauffele is next at +900, followed by Justin Thomas at +1000. Thomas would be my choice among the top Americans. This is more of a second-shot course, and Thomas is among the top irons players in the world. Next in line are Rory McIlroy (+1100) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1200). Matsuyama is the only one who will be familiar with this location. He’d probably be the favorite if he had any form coming in.

The leading players are completed by Viktor Hovland (+1400), Paul Casey (+1600), and Patrick Reed (+1800). Casey is undoubtedly the most intriguing; however, I’d bet on him to medal rather than win. Even for Casey, his ball-striking has been superb for the entire year of 2021. He’s finished in the top ten six times this year, losing strokes in three of them. In 2016, none of the medalists were under +2000. Therefore it’s probably best to concentrate on this region and select one play.

Horses for courses

The East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club was restored in 2016 by Tom Fazio, with his son Logan in charge of the design. The fairways are bordered with trees, and there are deep bunkers and punitive rough. To add more strategic features to the East Course, it was lengthened and re-contoured. Trees were moved to help with that plan, and a lot of the earth was moved to add more curves and elevation variations. This allows for a broader range of lies and stances from which to hit shots.

The two-green arrangement used on most Japanese golf courses, including the prior East Course, was replaced with a single green for each hole, which was also done on the West Course lately. The East Course’s bentgrass greens range from medium to large, and several putting surfaces are raised with bunkers beneath them to allow for different shapes and angles into the green. Although rain would soften the greens and make the course play a little longer, the greens have been cut very short and will be lightning quick.

New turfgrass (Zoysia) was planted across the course to enable better water management and promote excellent turfgrass playing conditions. The ball sits up higher in the fairways on Zoysia, providing for improved contact and spin control into the greens. Quail Hollow, Shadow Creek Country Club, and Conway Farms are among the PGA TOUR’s Tom Fazio-designed courses. Rory McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow twice, most recently in 2021, by one stroke over Abraham Ancer and two shots ahead of Viktor Hovland in third place.

Where’s the money?

Let’s now look at the betting for the week ahead:

Collin Morikawa 7-1
Xander Schauffele 9-1
Justin Thomas 9-1
Rory McIlroy 11-1
Hideki Matsuyama 12-1
Viktor Hovland 12-1
Paul Casey 16-1
Patrick Reed 18-1
Cameron Smith 20-1
Shane Lowry 20-1
Joaquin Niemann 20-1
Corey Conners 22-1
Abraham Ancer 22-1
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 28-1
Sungjae Im 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood 28-1
Marc Leishman 28-1
Guido Migliozzi 45-1
Garrick Higgo 45-1
Alex Noren 50-1
Si-Woo Kim 50-1
Carlos Ortiz 60-1
Thomas Pieters 60-1
Jhonattan Vegas 66-1
Thomas Detry 66-1
Mackenzie Hughes 66-1
Sebastian Munoz 80-1
Antoine Rozner 80-1
Mito Pereira 100-1
Ryan Fox 100-1
Rasmus Hojgaard 100-1
Rikuya Hoshino 100-1
Matthias Schwab 100-1
C.T. Pan 125-1
Henrik Norlander 125-1
Jazz Janewattananond 125-1
Rory Sabbatini 150-1
Anirban Lahiri 150-1
Adri Arnaus 150-1
Sepp Straka 150-1
Yechun Yuan 200-1
Romain Langasque 200-1
Adrian Meronk 200-1
Sami Valimaki 200-1
Kalle Samooja 200-1
Joachim B Hansen 200-1
Scott Vincent 200-1
Rafael Campos 250-1
Maximilian Kieffer 250-1
Ashun Wu 250-1
Fabrizio Zanotti 250-1
Kristian Krogh Johannessen 300-1
Hurly Long 300-1
Gunn Charoenkul 300-1
Juvic Pagunsan 300-1
Ondrej Lieser 400-1
Gavin Green 500-1
Udayan Mane 500-1

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