Rory McIlroy has stolen Tiger Woods’ status as golf’s perpetual major danger after following up his first Open Championship win last month with a second US PGA victory, and is now just 4/1 to become the second-youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam at the Masters next April.
Woods was just 24 when he managed the feat by taking the 2000 Open at St Andrews, while Jack Nicklaus held the record for the previous 34 years after completing the set at the age of 26 at Muirfield in 1966.
McIlroy could sandwich himself between those greats with a first Green Jacket next April a month before his 26th birthday, but getting behind the admittedly-phenomenal Northern Irish swinger at such short odds smacks of lunacy.
Bubba Watson has won two of the past three Masters, including this year’s. The Miami native’s criminally long at 16/1 to retain the title on a course he clearly loves.
Rickie Fowler tied for fifth or better in each of this year’s four biggest tournaments and will learn from the experience of leading the field outright during the last day at Valhalla.
Lest we forget, McIlroy’s first major win only came after he blew a four-shot third-round lead at the 2011 Masters with a final-round 80, which is another reason to be reluctant about backing his 4/1 odds for Augusta.
Fowler is obviously gifted and has made the top 40 in each of his four appearances at the Masters, finishing just two back in a share of fifth this year. 25/1 odds on the 25-year-old going a couple better in Georgia next April are baffling.
One contender who should be avoided like the plague is Tiger Woods, the bizarre second-favourite at 10/1 to win his first Masters for a decade next year.
Woods looks likely to miss next month’s Ryder Cup due to issues with his back, although the 14-time major winner’s head seems unfixable at this point.
Europe are 8/13 to win their third Ryder Cup in a row, with the visitors at 6/4, and while the form of Fowler and Phil Mickelson will have heartened Azinger, the presence of McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and US Open champion Martin Kaymer gives the hosts plenty of appeal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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