Justin Rose won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games when golf returned to the global sports spectacle for the first time since 1904 when it was played in St. Louis. None of the medal winners from Rio de Janeiro are in the 59 player field from 30 countries, but the individual 72-hole tournament still has a major championship feel.
One of Japan’s premier layouts, the East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club, about an hour from Tokyo, underwent a makeover by Tom Fazio in preparation for the event, and the par 71 track should provide a good test at 7,447 yards. Unfortunately for fans in the golf-crazy nation of Japan, fans won’t be allowed on-site to cheer on national hero Hideki Matsuyama, who became the first Asian man to win a major championship with his victory earlier this year at the Masters.
Another compelling story is the attempt by South Korean golfers Si Woo Kim and Sungjae Im to avoid two years of mandatory military service by winning an Olympic medal. Their country is also golf crazed, and in addition to those two male standouts, it has produced a steady stream of women that consistently occupy the top spots in the game.
Canadian Corey Conners, with odds of +2200, has been enjoying a solid year…and is coming off a tie for 15th in the Open Championship.
Betting Odds Favorites
The United States is the only country to qualify more than two golfers for the Olympics, with four players in the field, including Patrick Reed, who was a last-minute replacement for Bryson DeChambeau, who was forced to withdraw following a positive Covid-19 test. The favorite in the betting odds is Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa at +700, the fourth-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
Two other American players are next, with numbers three and five in the OWGR Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele at +900. Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is at +1100 with Matsuyama and Norway’s Viktor Hovland at +1200, followed by Great Britain’s Paul Casey, who is looking to follow countryman Rose to the gold medal, at odds of +1600.
Underdog Betting Picks at Kasumigaseki Country Club
Canadian Corey Conners, with odds of +2200, has been enjoying a solid year on the PGA Tour and is coming off a tie for 15th in the Open Championship. The winner of the 2019 Valero Texas Open has seven top-ten finishes, has missed only four cuts in 25 Tour events in the 2020-2021 season, and is currently ranked 27th in the FedEx Cup point standings.
Mexico’s Abraham Ancer has had a very consistent PGA Tour season, with a ranking of 23rd in the OWGR and 18th in the FedEx Cup point standings. The 30-year-old out of the University of Oklahoma has yet to win on the Tour, but he has six top-ten finishes on the season, including coming in fourth in the recent Travelers Championship.
Marc Leishman, who resides in Virginia Beach but is playing for his native Australia, appears poised to make some noise on the global stage. The six-time winner on Tour, most recently with fellow Australian Cameron Smith in the Zurich Classic, has odds of +2800 is definitely worth the wager.