- Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins game on Sunday (May 17th, 2 pm EST)
- McIlroy and Johnson opened as -200 favorites to win the most money, but the line has moved slightly in Fowler and Wolff’s direction
- See below for why there’s value on the underdogs and a breakdown of the best props to bet
TaylorMade Driving Relief is bringing televised golf back into our lives this Sunday (May 17, 2 pm EST) after a two-month layoff. The event, which takes place at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, pits Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a charity skins game to support COVID-19 relief.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2020
To no one’s surprise, McIlroy and Johnson opened as big favorites, but the line has shifted slightly in the underdogs direction.
TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Game Match Odds
|Rory McIlroy/Dustin Johnson||-180|
|Rickie Fowler/Matthew Wolff||+145|
All odds taken May 17th
At first glance, most people would expect the team made up of the World Number one and five golfers to coast to victory, but there’s a good case to be made for betting Fowler and Wolff.
Rust Will Be a Factor
If we’ve learned anything from the mini-tours over the last few weeks, it’s that not even PGA Tour regulars are immune to rust. That should hold especially true for DJ, who prior to last week hadn’t touched a club since the Players.
— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) May 5, 2020
McIlroy is definitely the class of the foursome, but how much help will Johnson provide? The 2016 U.S. Open winner was off to a sluggish start in 2020, gaining strokes tee-to-green in just half of his events, and he’s only played four competitive tournaments since the Tour Championship in August.
DJ can often appear unmotivated with millions of dollars on the line. With all of Sunday’s prize money going to charity, it’s safe to wonder how serious he’ll be taking his game.
Fowler and Wolff meanwhile, must be sick of hearing about how bad they’re expected to lose on Sunday. Ever since the parings were announced, the underdogs have been written off. You have to believe all that negativity will motivate them to silence their critics.
‘Dog or Pass
Flying under the radar this weekend is the advantage the underdogs have on the greens. Over the past 100 rounds, Fowler is by far the best putter in the foursome, and he and Wolff have a big advantage over their opponents when it comes to holing putts inside 15-feet.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2020
Seminole is a short course by PGA Tour standards, which should mean plenty of makable birdie looks for everyone. This favors the better putters, and the underdogs should also benefit from all four Par-5’s being 555 yards or less.
McIlroy is the most efficient Par-5 scorer in the foursome, but Fowler and Wolff aren’t far behind. They rank 34th and 9th on Tour in Par-5 efficiency on holes between 500-550 yards, well ahead of DJ (106).
Considering the underdogs have a putting advantage and that the four most scoreable holes play to their strengths as well, there’s plenty of paths to victory. +155 is too good a price to pass up.
Pick: Fowler/Wolff (+155)
Favorite Prop Bets
If betting the outright winner isn’t enough action, there’s also plenty of props to wager on. We detailed all of the prop bets here, and below are two of our favorites.
1. Folwer/Wolff to Win Most Money Won From Skins on Holes 7-16 (+150): This nine hole stretch features four Par-4’s that are 430 yards or less and three Par-5’s. That means a lot of short irons and wedges into the Par-4’s for everyone which should lead to a putting contest. Advantage Fowler/Wolff.
As mentioned above, the underdogs are also excellent Par-5 scorers, making this stretch of holes ideal for them to take advantage of.
2. Folwer to Hit Closest to Pin on Hole 8 (+260): The 8th hole is a 225 yard Par-3. Over the past 100 rounds, Rickie Fowler has not only the best proximity stats from 200+ yards in this foursome, but on the entire PGA Tour. Don’t overthink this one.
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