We don’t have a PGA Tour event this week, but we can still take a look at some golf action because the Olympics Men’s Golf Tournament begins on Wednesday night in the United States and Thursday morning in Japan. Representatives from around the world will attempt to take home gold, silver, and bronze for their respective countries after four days of play at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
We’ve already seen some pretty big golf news, as Jon Rahm once again tested positive for COVID-19 and so did Bryson DeChambeau, so Team Spain and Team USA have both lost key players.
This is not a team event, it is an individual event, as the players will play four days worth of stroke play to determine the podium.
BETTING ODDS FOR THE 2020 MEN’S OLYMPIC GOLF COMPETITION
|Si Woo Kim||+4000|
|Guillermo Mito Pereira||+8000|
|Joachim B Hansen||+20000|
|Kristian Krogh Johannessen||+30000|
We lost a couple of the favorites in Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau, but there are still a lot of recognizable names on the betting board. The Open Champion Collin Morikawa is the favorite at +750 and what a treat it would be for Morikawa, who is of Japanese descent, to win gold.
Xander Schauffele is always around the leaderboard on the PGA Tour, but hasn’t finished off many events. He’s still the second favorite at +900, ahead of Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland at +1000. There is a lot of pressure on Hideki Matsuyama, though probably not as much as if spectators were on hand. He’s +1200 along with Rory McIlroy.
There are a lot of recognizable names in here, including some interesting long shots, like Alex Noren at 66/1 and C.T. Pan at 125/1.
Kasumigaseki Country Club Profile
Obviously this is the first exposure to this course for most guys. Some of the Asian players may have played there, including Matsuyama and Japan’s other entrant, Rikuyo Hoshino. Matsuyama actually won an Asia-Pacific Amateur event here back in 2010 and also the Japan Junior in 2009. For the most part, guys are taking their practice rounds this week and that is about it.
The golf course is about 90 minutes from Olympic Village, so a lot of players have probably made accommodations out by the course and are tried to get as many rounds in as possible.
The course has bentgrass greens and zoysia everywhere else. A tropical storm is coming, so the course is going to likely get some wind and water heading into the weekend. Zoysia grass can take a lot of water, but the fairways probably won’t have a ton of roll this weekend. Players are obviously very familiar with bentgrass greens.
It is a Tom Fazio re-design and some have likened the course to Quail Hollow. Others say it feels like Monterey Peninsula, which is used during the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It will measure around 7,500 yards and bunkers and trees are the primary defense mechanisms for the course.
Course form seems irrelevant because Hideki is the only player with a lot of it there. Certainly Collin Morikawa tops that list with his win at Royal St. George’s in The Open Championship. Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship and had a couple of Korn Ferry Tour wins prior to that. He is +5000 and has missed four of his last five cuts.
Xander Schauffele was 26th at The Open and has four top-15 finishes in his last five events otherwise. Rory McIlroy won the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, so he may be a guy to watch this week at +1200. Recently, he’s been kind of all over the place, but that seems to be a course comp a lot of people like this week.
Viktor Hovland and Shane Lowry were both 12th at The Open. Hovland also had a European Tour win a few weeks prior. Mackenzie Hughes was a solid sixth in The Open as he represents Canada this week. Abraham Ancer did not play well at The Open, but was in the top 15 in four of six previous events. Sebastian Munoz has a couple of recent top-five finishes.
Olympics Golf Picks
This is certainly a tricky handicap with no prior data and not much truly known about one of Japan’s most exclusive golf clubs. Consider that Marcus Fraser was the 36-hole leader in 2016 down in Rio. It was a weaker field with a lot of dislike for the course, but still. Fraser would ultimately finish fifth behind Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, and Thomas Pieters.
Tommy Fleetwood is +2800 and he seems to really be taking to the whole vibe and environment. He’s a big hitter and a strong player to be priced that low.
With wind in the forecast, Marc Leishman really comes into play at +3500 as a strong wind player and a guy that can mold and shape the golf ball to the conditions.
Among the short prices, you have to like the way that Viktor Hovland has been playing at +1000. He’s a great iron player, long enough off the tee, and a good putter.
Those are the three players on the list for this week.