2023 Masters Tournament - Final Round
Credit: Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

The sequence of events that unfolded down Magnolia Lane last week tells a very vivid story. From the reemergence of Brooks Koepka to the perfectly aligned Jon Rahm victory on Seve Ballesteros’ birthday, the Masters did a wonderful job of opening the 2023 major championship season.

Next up, the 105th PGA Championship being contested at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.

Although it was a beautiful scene on Sunday evening in Augusta for all Rahm backers, the truth is the Masters was over by Friday evening for most of us in the betting community. As a result, there are a couple lessons we can all learn from as we prepare for the PGA.

Two months before the Masters began, Koepka’s odds to win were +9900 (99-1). With a little more than five weeks until round one at Oak Hill, what should we be looking for on the outright betting board? Sure Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler will be the prohibitive favorites, but betting futures can be a huge opportunity. Over the next five weeks leading up to the year’s second major, I will be taking a deep dive into the out rights, Oak Hill, PGA Championship history, and betting biases.

We can begin with Brooks because he represents the reason for this narrative. The two-time PGA Champion had officially fallen off everyone’s radar due to injuries and only six professional starts since the Open Championship. Popular sentiment can be a dangerous bias towards future performance. Brooks Koepka won in Orlando on the weekend before the Masters but still the betting community believed in the big three.

Rahm went on to win, but at much lower odds (pre-tournament +900 (9-1)). Betting golf is the four-day lottery. Grab great odds on an eventual winner leading up to the tournament and win big. No other professional sport offers such long shot odds in such a short pay window. Just before round one at Augusta you could still invest in Koepka at +3500 (35-1). By Friday night those odds were reduced to +100.

The futures market in golf is extremely active just for this reason. Koepka’s clinic over 54 -holes shows just how close we can get to a huge pay day if we pay attention.

If you are just starting to wager on golf, that’s okay. The futures board is very similar to investing in the stock market. Our goal is to buy the highest odds we can for a golfer leading up to a major tournament. All betting operators offer betting boards year-round. Our goal is to catch a great golfer trending toward a major win. It can be very compelling to watch your bet grow in value. If you bought Brooks at +9900 in February versus his +3500 pre-Masters you would win 60x more!

Unfortunately, the Koepka boat has sailed. His odds for each of the remaining majors sit in the low +2000’s on Fanduel. What this week showed us is that great golfers are still great no matter what tour they compete on. Does this mean after reading this article I go out and buy Cam Smith stock? Maybe, but it does get bettors excited that investing in futures is still a very rewarding enterprise.

Each week, I will continue to explain the futures trends for the PGA Championship. I’ll point out interesting bets like Viktor Hovland sitting in the mid +3000’s. He finished fourth at St. Andrews last summer and seventh at Augusta yesterday. If he continues playing this way, his odds will drop before Oak Hill.

Fans are far more engaged week after week watching the futures. Embrace the entertainment and education I’m delivering and play along. Looking ahead, I will recap the RBC Heritage and begin to break down Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course. Host of three prior PGA Championships (1980, 2003, 2013) and a Ryder Cup (1995), this layout has been recently renovated by architect Andrew Green. His work is unique and will require some serious research.

I saw Green’s work on the grounds last summer at Congressional Country Club for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. I love taking my PGA Professional expertise and breaking down the course and the board. Begin the journey to Oak Hill each Monday with me and let’s see which “Brooks type bet” we can all cash in on!

Read the Line is the leading golf betting insights service led by 5-time award winning PGA Professional Keith Stewart. The weekly newsletter covers the LPGA and PGA Tour, raising your golf betting acumen.

The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (“PGA”) is not an online gambling operator, and PGAChampionship.com is not a gambling site of any kind. Odds are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. Odds were sourced from FanDuel and last updated 11 PM EST April 9, 2023. PGA makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of information given.

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