2020 Houston Open Odds: Johnson Tabbed Favorite in Final Tournament Before Masters
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka, left, and Dustin Johnson.
Welcome to golf’s ultimate lookahead spot.
The 2020 Vivint Houston Open — the last PGA TOUR event before the Masters — gets underway Thursday at Memorial Park Golf Course in Space City, Texas.
This will be a peculiar tournament to handicap for a couple of reasons. Most notably, the looming trip to Augusta presents bettors with the unenviable task of trying to figure out which players — especially those who fancy their chances at donning the Green Jacket — are just taking the trip to Houston to get their game in order ahead of the Georgia trip.
This motivational quandary could create some chaos near the top of the oddsboard as three of this week’s favorites — Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Brooks Koepka — have all missed a considerable amount of time over the past few months and will be hoping to shake off some rust at Memorial Park.
Dustin Johnson hasn’t played since the U.S. Open because of a positive COVID-19 test. Brooks Koepka is still working his way back from a knee injury that kept him out of action for two months from August to October. Adam Scott, who also is making his first start since testing positive for COVID-19, has only played in four tournaments since March, though the dapper Aussie is no stranger to taking long breaks in between starts.
Adding more fuel to the variance fire is the fact that Memorial Park hasn’t hosted a TOUR event since 1963 and I’m pretty sure they didn’t have shot-link data back then. With no course history to go off of and Augusta just over the horizon, the Houston Open could be bizarre. Or maybe Johnson just runs away with it and we’ll all look foolish for thinking that TOUR golfers get distracted by what’s happening next week.
Speaking of Dustin Johnson, he’s the clear favorite this week at a staggering +650 ($10 bet wins $65) and opened as the only player under 15-1. I say staggering not because DJ shouldn’t be the favorite, but this is a pretty top-heavy field and the World No. 1 hasn’t played in a month and a half.
Things immediately bunch up after DJ, with seven golfers priced between +1600 and +2200, including Russell Henley, who believe it or not, has the same odds as Tony Finau, 2020 breakout of the year contender Tyrrell Hatton, and next-gen star Viktor Hovland. That’s right, Henley is above Hideki Matsuyama (+1800), Brooks Koepka (+2000) and Scottie Scheffler (+2200).
This is no slight against Henley, who has back-to-back, top-5 finishes at the CJ Cup and the ZOZO, but it’s hard to imagine many people betting the former Georgia Bulldog at these odds in this field when he was +9000 at the CJ Cup and +5500 at the ZOZO last month. But then again, what do I know?
Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Sungjae Im and Adam Scott start things off in the Mid-Tier at +3300. Day and Im have each had their ups and downs during the last six months, but ZJ is the form man of this quartet with a T8 at the U.S. Open followed up by a T23 and T19 at Sanderson Farms and The Shriners, respectively. Like Henley, Johnson is usually offered at much bigger odds so you’re paying a pretty hefty form-tax on the Iowa native at Memorial Park.
The quartet of players at 50/1 all fall under the same umbrella: Players that your golf-betting friend loves to bet every week. Brian Harman, Corey Conners, Emiliano Grillo and Lanto Griffin all have shown flashes of brilliance over the past few months but none of them have been able to put it all together to hoist a trophy.
Griffin is actually the defending champion at this event, though that tournament was played on a different course and featured a much weaker field.
Everything seems to be in order as we head down the board, though I’m a sucker for Shane Lowry at good prices and the 66/1 on the Irishman feels like just the type of bet to sucker me in, until we get close to the triple digits. That’s where you’ll find Henrik Stenson at +9000 in the company of Wyndham Clark (who is coming off a playoff loss in Bermuda), fellow Swede Alex Noren, Luke List, Sam Burns, Mackenzie Hughes and Lucas Glover.
Remember when Glover was listed at 30/1 for a bunch of tournaments in the summer and it seemed like a matter of time before he won? Because I do.
Golf is a funny game.
2020 Houston Open Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+6600|
|Harold Varner III||+6600|
|Erik van Rooyen||+8000|
|Ted Potter Jr.||+50000|
|Dawie van der Walt||+50000|
|Bo van Pelt||+100000|