Off The Fringe April 14, 2024

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Masters Odds and Long Pants
Before the first ball was struck at Augusta National there was speculation that LIV Golf players, who are no longer able to compete on the PGA Tour, would likely be this year’s winner. I thought it would be fun to look at the pregame odds of fan favorites Scottie Scheffler at 4 ½ -1 and Rory McIlroy at 10-1 and compare them to LIV players who were somewhat handicapped since Augusta assumes they are adults and makes them wear long pants. They got partial revenge though since many of them wore LIV-logoed shirts.

Here are late pretournament odds for some of the top names playing now on the LIV circuit with their 2023 finish in paratheses. Jon Rahm 16-1 (1), Brooks Koepka 29-1 (T2), Joaquin Niemann 25-1 (T16), Cam Smith 28-1 (T34), Dustin Johnson 40-1 (T48), Bryson DeChambeau 35-1 (cut), Patrick Reed 70-1 (T4), Sergio Garcia 60-1 (cut), Phil Mickelson 100-1 (T2), Bubba Watson 200-1 (cut).

Korda at the Top
It may be a tossup who is the best player in the world, Scottie Scheffler or Nelly Korda. Though direct comparison is impossible both are number one on their respective tours. However, making a case for Korda, she has won her last four starts which hasn’t been done since Lorena Ochoa 15 years ago. Going into the first LPGA major of the year, next week’s Chevron Championship, Korda couldn’t be in better form. Her four wins involved two playoffs, an match play almost blowout and a ho-hum three strokes. Can’t imagine smart money betting against her.

Shinnecock Doubles Up
Come 2036, Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, N.Y.) will host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. It will also be the venue for the 2026 U.S. Open and in 2018 saw Brooks Koepka win his first U.S. Open. Pinehurst Country Club was the venue for consecutive week opens in 2014 and will also be again in 2029.

Short Putts
Greg Norman, LIV Golf CEO, had to enter Augusta National grounds on a purchased ticket since he was not extended an invitation. Evidently the Green Jackets at Augusta are as fed up with his posturing as we are.

Fan favorite Ricky Fowler after winning the pretournament par-3 contest should have packed his bags and gone home. He was another victim of the superstition that since its beginning in 1960 no par-3 contest winner has ever won the Masters in the same year. Of course, winning the Masters is tough anyway especially if you make the cut right on the number which Fowler did.

PopStroke Golf’s slogan is, “Eat. Putt. Drink.” which pretty much tells it all. The five-year-old company who has Tiger Woods and TaylorMade Golf as investors is opening their thirteenth location on April 22 in Las Vegas. The company is at the cutting edge of the mushrooming golf entertainment business along with such national corporations as Five Iron Golf and Topgolf.

Ed Travis

Ed Travis is a national award winning golf journalist and has carried on a lifelong love affair with the game. His work covering the business of golf, equipment, golf personalities and travel is regularly seen in numerous print and electronic publications. He has competed in tournament golf both as an amateur and senior professional and though his competitive days are behind him, Travis still plays regularly. He and his wife live on a water hazard in suburban Orlando.

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