Will Spieth Make History at the PGA?

In case you turned off your TV sometime after Jordan Spieth’s tee shot at 13 (and you would be absolutely forgiven for doing so) you should know that he won The Open Championship somehow, and is now the favorite to win the 2017 PGA Championship and become the youngest player to win a career Grand Slam.

There are a lot of fun odds pertaining to Spieth’s bid to make history and enter the pantheon of golfing greats. Not only has his win at the PGA Championship set him up for the career slam, it’s raised questions about whether the 23-year-old will wind up winning more majors than Tiger Woods and surpass Rory McIlroy as the player of his generation. He’s not likely to best Tiger’s 14 major championships, nor is it plausible that a human can best Jack Nicklaus’s 18; but if you were going to do it, you would start young, winning three majors before your 24th birthday. If anyone on tour right now has a chance, it’s the “Golden Child” (a nickname he hates, by the way).

Speaking of Tiger, and we’re always going to talk about Tiger when a new young American golf phenom comes along, we’ve set some odds on his career, as well. The chances that Tiger continues to play are awfully good; he does run a few tournaments, after all. The chances that Tiger wins, and wins big, becomes increasingly unlikely with each successive scandal, comeback, and surgery. The ghost of Tiger’s Sunday inevitability, which used to haunt the entire tour, has become whispers and myth. Those who weren’t around to see it first hand scarcely believe it ever existed.

Spieth isn’t the only player on tour tantalizingly close to the career grand slam at the moment. Phil Mickelson has won every major except the US Open, where he’s finished second every year since the tournament was first played in 1895. While he’s frequently the class of the field, falling asleep on Sunday afternoon and waking up to learn how Phil lost is becoming a summer tradition. With so many young and talented players cleaning up these tournaments, Lefty’s window may be closed, but that’s also what we said about Sergio Garcia before he won the 2017 Masters.

Rory McIlroy is just a Masters-win short of the career slam, and when it comes to the final major of the 2017 season (PGA Championship), he shared the top of the betting table with Spieth thanks to a solid showing at The Open. The Northern Irishman went into the week of his home major just hoping to make the cut and emerged T4 and with a renewed sense of confidence and a whole lot of hype behind him. Of the two, Spieth is the better value at the PGA; after seeing what he did on Sunday at The Open, I would have trouble betting against him blindfolded and in front of a firing squad. While Rory has clearly found some of his old form, I’m not sure he’s there yet. But that’s not to say McIlroy won’t get back to his very best, in time, and potentially complete the career slam before Spieth, a question I address numerically, below.

Getting back to Quail Hollow, there’s some great value available. US Open-champion Brooks Koepka is listed at 25/1, which doesn’t really compute. Koepka finished one stroke back from McIlroy at The Open and tore big, ugly holes at Erin Hills during the US Open, a course that was supposed pose much of the same difficulties as Quail Hollow. He’s certainly got the form to win, as does (relative) newcomer Jon Rahm, who’s listed as long as 24/1. The two have played some spectacular golf this year, and while the name recognition isn’t there yet it will be soon.

But we’ll leave the best bets for the 2017 PGA Championship for another day. The topic du jour is the future of the Spiethian One, both immediate and long-term, and how he’ll stack up against the greats when it’s all said and done.

Jordan Spieth Odds

  • Odds Spieth wins the 2017 PGA Championship: 8/1
  • Odds Spieth ever records career grand slam: 2/3
  • Odds Spieth matches/passes Tiger’s 14 major wins: 20/1
  • Odds Spieth matches/passes Jack’s 18 major wins: 25/1
  • Odds Spieth wins more Majors in his career than Rory McIlroy: 3/5
  • Odds on which major Spieth wins next
    • Masters: 5/2
    • The Open Championship: 3/1
    • PGA Championship: 3/1
    • US Open: 7/2
Spieth has proven he can dominate at Augusta, and his game is better suited to links courses than the usual PGA Championship/US Open styles of course. So even though he’ll get his first crack at the PGA, it’s not actually the best bet for Jordan’s next major.

Tiger Woods Odds

  • Odds Tiger ever starts another PGA tournament: 1/9
  • Odds Tiger ever wins another major: 100/1
  • Odds Tiger ever wins another PGA tournament: 19/1

Phil Mickelson Odds

  • Odds Mickelson completes the career grand slam: 16/1
  • Odds Mickelson wins another major: 4/1

2017 PGA Championship Odds

  • Jordan Spieth: 8/1
  • Rory McIlroy: 9/1
  • Dustin Johnson: 21/2
  • Rickie Fowler: 18/1
  • Jason Day: 19/1
  • Brooks Koepka: 20/1
  • Jon Rahm: 22/1

FedEx Cup-Winner Odds:

  • Jordan Spieth: 11/2
  • Dustin Johnson: 7/1
  • Jon Rahm: 9/1
Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.