Olympic golf betting preview: Red-hot Morikawa favored to win gold
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While the PGA TOUR is off this week, several of the game's best will be in action at the Summer Games in Toyko.
Fresh off his Open Championship victory, Collin Morikawa headlines the 60-man field set to take on Kasumigaseki Country Club for 72 holes of stroke play. Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, and Xander Schauffele round out the Americans who are participating in the event, which begins Wednesday evening.
- Kasumigaseki Country Club
- 7,447 yards, par 71
- Tom and Logan Fazio redesign in 2016
- Bentgrass greens
- Two of the three par 5s are over 620 yards
- Water in play on two holes
Due to the condensed field, odds for the men's tournament simply aren't as appealing as golf bettors are accustomed to for other events.
Three Americans sit atop the betting board, starting with Morikawa at +700, and then Thomas and Schauffele follow close behind. However, none of those favorites offer much value.
Hideki Matsuyama at +1300 might be the only player worth considering from the top tier. But there might be too much pressure on Matsuyama with the weight of his home country hosting the Olympics, and he's playing shortly after missing The Open due to COVID-19.
The next tier
There's value in this area of the betting board, starting with Shane Lowry.
The Irishman just finished tied for 12th at The Open after recording a sixth at the Memorial and a fourth at the PGA Championship. Few in the field are playing as well as Lowry right now, and he'll be highly motivated to win a gold medal for Ireland.
There's plenty of talk about Sungjae Im this week, as the South Korean is hoping to claim any medal so he can avoid two years of mandatory military service. Im is in a solid position to earn a medal. He may not take the necessary risks to win gold, but he'll still be very satisfied with a bronze, though that makes him tough to bet at +2500.
Picks to win
Shane Lowry (+2500)
We're skipping the long shots this week because there's little chance the majority of the field will compete for a podium spot, let alone a gold medal.
Lowry fits the mold of a gold-medal winner. Three veteran players - Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, and Matt Kuchar - came away with medals in 2016, and Lowry is on the same career path. Winning in Tokyo wouldn't be Lowry's greatest achievement, but it would certainly elevate his career status, much like an Olympic victory did for Rose.
With no lack of motivation, everything is setting up really well for the proud Irishman to contend. He's playing great lately, and one of his two PGA TOUR wins (which includes the 2019 Open) came at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, another no-cut event that a long Tom Fazio designed course hosts.
Tommy Fleetwood (+2800)
None of the golfers at the Olympics are being forced to play, but some are much more excited about being in Japan than others, such as Tommy Fleetwood.
No, Fleetwood won't be able to win the gold medal with excitement alone fueling him, but it will certainly help.
And while the Englishman hasn't recorded a top-tier finish in a while, he's been playing better over his past three starts and is trending in the right direction. He flirted with contention at The Open before faltering over the weekend, but Fleetwood has made four of his past five cuts.
Plus, it would be fitting if Fleetwood - who has endured a number of close calls during his career - can call himself an Olympic champion but not a PGA TOUR winner.
Mackenzie Hughes (+6500)
Mackenzie Hughes is the long-shot selection of the week. The Canadian is playing very well and is turning into a threat whenever a big PGA TOUR event rolls around. He played in the final pairing at the U.S. Open and tied for sixth at the Open Championship in his most recent start.
There are only 59 players for him to beat this week instead of the usual 156, and you're getting +6500 odds on someone with a knack for getting into the mix on the biggest stages golf offers.