Rory McIlroy starts as tournament favourite
Rory McIlroy returns to Kiawah Island, the scene of one of his most famous triumphs, as a firm favourite to lift the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time.
It has been seven years since the Northern Irishman last won a major, however, an impressive victory at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month saw him recapture some of his best form and few players share such an affinity with The Ocean Course.
It was in 2012 that McIlroy, then just 23 years old, blitzed the field to win by a record-breaking eight shots. He may have endured more difficulty at the majors as of late and the margin is unlikely to ever be so grand again, but few would bet against him winning the fifth major of his career.
There are plenty of challengers seeking to stand in his way, though. Justin Thomas won the tournament in 2017 while Jon Rahm is attempting to clinch a maiden major. Bryson DeChambeau, when on form, has already shown that he can bludgeon most courses into submission and Jordan Spieth remains a resurgent force after a near-miss at Augusta.
World No 1 Dustin Johnson has not been in his best form, however, he can never be ruled out, especially in his home state of South Carolina. Nor can Xander Schauffele, who saw a chance to win the Green Jacket slip through his fingers last month, when his tee-shot at the 16th found the water. Here are the odds and our picks:
What are the odds?
- Rory McIlroy 10/1
- Jon Rahm 12/1
- Jordan Spieth 12/1
- Bryson Dechambeau 14/1
- Justin Thomas 14/1
- Dustin Johnson 16/1
- Viktor Hovland 18/1
- Xander Schauffele 18/1
- Collin Morikawa 25/1
- Brooks Koepka 28/1
- Patrick Reed 28/1
- Daniel Berger 30/1
- Hideki Matsuyama 30/1
McIlroy has so often come unstuck under the pressure of breaking his major drought and, even with success at the Wells Fargo Championship, that burden of being favourite will still be a challenge to bear. However, with the improvements already evident since teaming up with Pete Cowen, and the mental benefits reaped from working with revered sports psychologist Dr Bob Rotella, he appears somewhere close to recapturing his best form. Add to that his imperious history at Kiawah Island and it is hard to look past the Northern Irishman.
The American has been in terrific form as of late, finally shedding the scars of a torrid few years on Tour. He ended his drought in Texas ahead of The Masters, was in contention at Augusta, and played well at the AT&T Byron Nelson, too. He is attempting to complete the career grand slam and should be right up there come Sunday evening.
A less obvious bet could come in the shape of Viktor Hovland. The prodigious Norwegian already has two wins on the PGA Tour at just 23 years old and has been in brilliant form in recent weeks.
For those seeking out longer odds, Daniel Berger could well be a strong choice. The American finished in a tie for third at last week’s AT&T Bryson Nelson and only narrowly missed out on the top-10 at the RBC Heritage a week prior.
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