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Tiger Back: PGA Championship Run Buoys Masters Odds

Alex Kilpatrick

by Alex Kilpatrick in Golf

Updated Apr 13, 2020 · 6:45 PM PDT

Tiger Woods
For the first time in years, Tiger Woods contended a major championship on Sunday. How will he fare at the 2019 Masters? Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License].
  • After an inspiring round on Sunday, Tiger Woods is a favorite to win the 2019 Masters
  • But what about Brooks Koepka, the winner?

In case you missed it, Tiger Woods played some unbelievable golf on Sunday and set the world on fire. How did his play at the 2018 PGA Championship affect his odds at the 2019 Masters?

Tiger Woods 2019 Masters Odds

Player Odds
Jordan Spieth +900
Rory McIlroy +1000
Dustin Johnson +1100
Justin Thomas +1100
Tiger Woods +1200

After his performance at the PGA Championship, Tiger’s odds fell precipitously. He’s now at +1200 to win the 2019 Masters, after sitting at +2000 since the odds opened.

That places Tiger among the top golfers in the world. He’s ahead of Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, and Brooks Koepka on the odds sheet. These are obviously very short odds, and impacted by the enormous amount of money that backs Tiger Woods wherever he goes, but they’re not the craziest odds we’ve seen.

He’s playing measurably well, he’s among the best in the world in Strokes Gained, and he obviously knows how to win at Augusta National. Tiger was +600 to win the Masters after finishing top 10 in last year’s Hero World Challenge, so at least we’re moving in the right direction.

Tiger’s PGA Championship Performance

I’ll be honest with you: I was not particularly impressed with Tiger’s performance on Thursday and Friday. Heading into the weekend, I didn’t think much of Tiger’s chances, and had mostly written him off.

Things started changing on Saturday, as Tiger put together a nice round. Golfweek called it “electric.” Despite some disappointing putts, Tiger was able to score a 66, move to 8-under for the tournament, and gave himself a look at Brooks Koepka at 12-under. Four strokes was a big lead, but Tiger had a real shot on Sunday to make up that gap.

Things got wild on Sunday. Determined to open strong, Tiger shot 32 on the front nine despite missing every fairway. He made wild recovery after wild recovery, and made incredible approaches with his irons.

YouTube video

Altogether it was inspiring (if hopeless) stuff. Tiger put in one of the best rounds of his life, but Brooks Koepka was just too far ahead and too consistent to ever really be challenged.

If we’re nitpicking: the driver cost Tiger this championship. His struggles off the tee were obviously still present, and if Rory McIlroy had taken all his drives Tiger would have shot 57 on Sunday.

Not Brooks Koepka’s Last Major

That should be the takeaway here: Brooks Koepka is going to win a lot of majors. He won two of the three he played in this year, and if I was Patrick Reed I’d be thanking my lucky stars that he missed the Masters.

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Koepka’s length solves so many of his problems. Although he’s not terribly creative with the ball, most courses don’t ask him to be. Bellerive mostly bends the wrong way for Koepka, but he was able to play cuts on dogleg lefts anyway. It’s tough to imagine a course that would present insurmountable challenges for Koepka, and even tougher to imagine that course becoming a PGA Tour venue.

If the PGA Tour maintains its dedication to long target golf, Koepka will keep winning tournaments. If the tour decides to change directions, roll back the ball, and only play on hideously difficult tracks, Koepka will probably still win anyway.

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