Dustin Johnson Withdraws at Pebble Beach: How Betting Odds Moved Following the News
Andrew Redington/WME IMG/WME IMG via Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson was poised to own the lowest odds in years for any player at a PGA TOUR event with a cut, opening at +400 for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
That is, until a late-Monday withdrawal fully shifted the board.
No official reason was listed, but a long flight after winning last week’s Saudi International was undoubtedly a factor; perhaps, too, was impending cold, wet, windy weather, which has already contributed to the withdrawals of several other players, including Matt Kuchar and Sebastian Munoz.
What we’re left with is a field that hardly conjures images of the old Crosby Clambake, instead more closely resembling one opposite a major or WGC.
There are no players in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking who are competing this week and just three in the top-20, led by 11th-ranked Patrick Cantlay, who comfortably slides into the favorite’s seat with Johnson’s withdrawal, moving from +1000 to +750 in most books.
With a win, a runner-up and nothing worse than 17th place in his last four starts, Cantlay is a worthy favorite in this field and certainly a candidate to run away with this tourney, which won’t feature a pro-am this year and will be contested on only two courses (Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill) as opposed to the usual three. If there’s a reason Cantlay’s price isn’t lower, it might be his somewhat spotty course history, as he’s played this event just four times in the past eight years and his best finishes of T-9 in 2013 and T-11 last year sandwich a pair of results outside the top-30.
Following Cantlay on the board, logically, are the other two top-20 players. Daniel Berger (+1400) is fresh off a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week, but he’s been red-hot since the PGA TOUR’s restart last year, posting a win and five other top-10 finishes in the past eight months. Paul Casey (+1400) similarly has some momentum, winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, though fatigue could be a factor, as he played in California, then two events in the Middle East and now back to California without any time off.
Johnson’s decision, of course, didn’t just impact the pricing of the next-lowest players on the board; everyone in the field moved a few notches.
Will Zalatoris (+1800), the 24-year-old ball-striking wunderkind who wasn’t even in this event late last week, now owns the fourth-lowest odds. He’s followed by Jason Day (+2000), who happens to share plenty of similar characteristics with last week’s winner, Brooks Koepka – former No. 1, recently changed coaches, started the year with a pair of MCs, returning to a place where he’s had success. Day owns top-five results in each of the past four years at this one.
Francesco Molinari (+2200), potentially in the midst of a career resurgence after playing sparingly in 2020, is next on the board. He’s followed by Jordan Spieth (+2500), who was the talk of the golf world last week, for one day at least, when he posted a third-round 61 and contended for his first title since the 2017 Open Championship.
The recent winner of The American Express, Si Woo Kim (+2800), is the only other player with odds lower than +4000.
There’s then a logjam at that price, with Sam Burns, Cameron Davis, Max Homa and Kevin Streelman each at +4000, followed by Rickie Fowler, Henrik Norlander, Brian Harman and Cameron Tringale at +4500.
That leads to a certain five-time champion of this event, with Phil Mickelson (+5000) right behind that pack. If the 44-time PGA TOUR winner is going to win a 45th title on this circuit, an inferior field on friendly confines could be the perfect formula. He owns top-three finishes in each of the past three years here, including a win in 2019.