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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Spieth is Masters favorite eight months ahead of next golf major

Jordan Spieth is listed as the early 5-1 favorite to win golf’s Masters Tournament in 2016 after a five- month stretch in which he claimed two major titles, finished second in the other two major championships and climbed to No. 1 in the world ranking.

“You only get four a year, to have an opportunity to win all of them is so cool,” Spieth said after finishing as the runner-up to Jason Day at the PGA Championship. “I hope to have a season like this one at the biggest stages again.”

The Masters, held in April in Augusta, Georgia, is by far the most popular golf event among bettors, generating about twice the total handle of the U.S. Open, said Jeff Sherman, assistant sports book manager at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The book offered the odds Monday, the day after the season’s final major concluded.

“It has the longest shelf life of any tournament, at eight months, and will draw novices in a similar fashion to the Kentucky Derby or Daytona 500 as someone tries their hand at golf wagering,” Sherman said. “People also have more confidence in handicapping the Masters as it is the only major played on the same course each year.”

Spieth, 22, in April became the second-youngest Masters winner in history by tying Tiger Woods’s record for the lowest score in the event’s 79-year history. He then won the U.S. Open in June, missed a playoff by one stroke at the British Open in July and finished three shots behind Day at the PGA Championship in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Spieth played this year’s four majors in a combined 54 under par, breaking the previous record of 53 under set by Woods in 2000, and his performance at the PGA Championship pushed him past Rory McIlroy atop the Official World Golf Ranking. McIlroy is the 6-1 second-favorite at the Masters, where the 26-year-old Northern Irishman will again be seeking a win to complete the career Grand Slam of all four major titles.

Day is listed at 10-1 odds to win the Masters, followed by two-time champion Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson at 15-1.

Tiger Woods is given 25-1 odds of winning at Augusta National Golf Club, where he’s claimed four of his 14 major titles. Woods, who has dropped to 286th in the world, tied for 17th in this year’s Masters and then missed the cut for weekend play in the next three majors. Also at 25-1 are Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott.

Spieth said he relishes the excitement and pressure of playing major championships, but joked that one of the reasons he has a receding hairline is because of the stress they create. Yet eight months away from golf’s next major championship, bettors can already wager on whether they think Spieth can continue his record-setting run.

“I’m tired from the majors this year because of what it does,” Spieth said. “It really does wear you out mentally, trying to grind that much.”

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