Updated: Apr 26
Predicting sports is so difficult, but the 2021 Masters might have shown the world that golf is the toughest sport to try and predict.
If you look at the odds that DraftKings had posted before the tournament began, the favorite was 2020 champion Dustin Johnson at +900. Johnson won the Masters by a very large margin last year and seemed like a strong pick to win at Augusta again. However, Johnson shot +5 on the first two days and missed the cut. The betting favorite did not even get to play on Saturday and Sunday, showing truly how difficult predicting the sport can be.
Since it is so hard to predict the winner, now let's look at the odds for 2021 champion Hideki Matsuyama. Matsuyama won the tournament by shooting –10 for the weekend and having a really strong performance on Saturday. Matsuyama entered the tournament at +5000 to win at Augusta and was not considered a true contender going into the tournament. Even after the field was cut down after the cut, the oddsmakers still did not see Matsuyama as a favorite. Matsuyama’s odds were set at 18-1 going into Saturday’s round, showing the doubt bettors had in him going into the final 2 days. Even when they cut the field down, it is still extremely difficult to predict the winner.
The Masters also sheds light on how tough it is to predict golf at any tournament. Jordan Spieth is widely considered one of the top players in the game, but he has only won one tournament since 2017. Another player who is widely considered one of the top players in the world is Tony Finau. Finau has top-five finishes in all the majors, and if you watch him, you know how good he is. With that being said, Finau only has 2 professional wins since turning pro in 2007, and only one of them is on the PGA Tour. A final player who is one of the most popular players in the world is Rickie Fowler. Fowler has been in the eyes of the audience for a long time and shows he is a great player. However, Fowler only has 5 PGA Tour wins and has never won a major in his career.
A lot of the blame for this can go to Tiger Woods. When Woods broke onto the scene, he dominated all of the competition and seemed to win every tournament he played in. Tiger’s run was unbelievable, and will probably never be duplicated by any golfer again. As fans, we need to realize that golf is a game with multiple contenders, and one man will not dominate the sport like Tiger Woods did ever again.
In closing, the 2021 Masters helped shed a light on the difficulty in betting on the sport of golf, and shows how balanced the sport of golf really is from top to bottom.