Well, it isn’t the return of the PGA Tour by any means, but we’ve got some live golf action to wager on during the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match on Sunday May 17. The team of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson is a -195 favorite over the team of Matthew Wolff and Rickie Fowler at DSI Sportsbook.
The skins game format is quite a bit different than traditional stroke play and it is extremely important to understand the difference before you go placing your bets. The grand prize here is $3 million that will go to the charity of the winning team. Rory and DJ are playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Wolff and Fowler are playing for the CDC Foundation.
The two teams start with $500,000. Holes 1-6 are worth $50,000 each. Holes 7-16 are worth $100,000 each. The 17th hole is worth $200,000 and the 18th hole is worth $500,000. It is entirely possible that the winners of the 17th and 18th holes swing the entire match, so this could be a real sweat all the way until the end.
Additional skins money is available for birdies, eagles, holes-in-one, or double eagles. Birdies are worth $25,000, eagles are worth $50,000, and holes-in-one and double eagles are worth $150,000.
The players will not have caddies and the cups could be filled with pool noodles that prevent the ball from having to be dug out and also keep the players from having to touch the flag stick. Current rules in Palm Beach County, Florida state that golfers cannot arrive more than 20 minutes prior to the start of the round, so this thing could go off the rails in a hurry. The players won’t have a bunch of time to hit balls on the range or anything. I’m sure that they’ve been practicing, but this is going to be extremely unique and challenging in a lot of ways.
On the plus side, all four guys have places of residence in Jupiter, Florida, so they should know the course in question very well. Seminole Golf Club is not a familiar course to most fans, but this is believed to be a top-15 course in America. The Donald Ross design features a lot of wind, with shots into the wind, with the wind, with crosswinds, and with stiff ocean breezes. The course is also littered with bunkers and water hazards.
Each player is going to play his own ball and the lowest score among the team members wins the skin.
One wrinkle about Seminole Golf Club is that par 5s for the members are going to play like long-ish par 4s for the professionals. We could see some really low numbers on some of these holes. This course plays as a par 72 at 6,836 yards from the tips for members. It would be more like a par 70 or even a par 69 for the PGA Tour pros.
It looks like the players will luck out in that the wind is expected to calm down on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and the skies are supposed to be clear. Rain on Thursday into Friday will soften up the greens a little bit before they firm up in the Saturday sun.
The worse the weather, the better the chances would have been for Fowler and Wolff. Fowler has a well-rounded game and is the best active player not to win a major. Wolff is a 21-year-old kid who won the 3M Open last year along with a NCAA National Championship, becoming just the third player in golf history to win a Natty and a PGA event in the same year.
The problem for Wolff here is that he is a monster off the tee, but rates average or below on approach, around the green, and in putting. Fowler is going to have to shoulder a lot of the load with the irons and wedges.
We know what Rory and DJ are capable of. They can both hit it a country mile off of the tee. DJ’s ball flight may be hard to contain on some of these holes if the wind picks up, but timid conditions are going to really improve his chances of hitting fairways and greens. Rory was arguably the hottest player on the planet before COVID-19 shut everything down. I’m not sure how much that matters now, but we know he’s a world-class talent that can play well anywhere. His dad is a member at Seminole Golf Club, so he’s probably seen his fair share of this course with his old man.
Ultimately, with the weather conditions looking tamer than they did with the long-range forecast, this is Rory and DJ’s event to lose. The -195 is the pick here, but I prefer to attack this event with the props instead.
While you can bet the odds to win the match at DSI Sportsbook, other betting hubs have additional prop bets available for the event. BetOnline Sportsbook is one of them, offering some different specials.
Who will win the longest drive on Hole #14?
Unlike a lot of longest drive competitions, the shot does not have to land in the fairway to be the winning distance. Rory heads into this event ranked second on the PGA Tour in average driving distance. Wolff is 21st. DJ is T28th. Rickie is T150th.
There could be some strategy in play here. Do you go for the big bomb or do you play it a little safer in hopes of winning $100,000 for the hole. Wolff should have the chance to haul off and hit one as far as he can because Rickie can dump something safely in the fairway and attempt to put together a good shot at eagle. Wolff may have the risk-reward option, depending on how his partner is playing.
Also, if the match is playing out as expected, Rory and DJ may be looking to protect a lead as opposed to hitting a big bopper as far as possible.
Strategically, Wolff at +400 may be worth a try.
The odds are the same for Hole #2, but that handicap is a lot different. I think Rory wins that one at +125.
Will any player register an Eagle or better?
The yes is a good bet here at -250. You’ve essentially got 72 holes for this to come through, since all four players will be playing their balls over the 18 holes of the event. Given that this course comes in well under 7,000 yards from the tips, somebody is going to get an eagle here. A -250 price implies a 71.43% chance somebody gets eagle or better. I don’t want to ever call something free money, but this sure seems like it. I know these guys are a little rusty, but I cannot see how nobody gets an eagle. These par 5s are easily reachable in two shots and somebody might drive a green on a par 4 if they are downwind.
There are going to be a lot of different betting opportunities for this event and also for The Match with Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Have some fun with these two golf events. That’s what we’re doing here at BangTheBook.