Predictions: 2017’s top golfers

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We are nearly a decade removed from the dominant Tiger Woods era and his last victory in a Major Championship. The page has turned to "The Big Four" and on the heels of the big four, are another 20-or-30 players who can win in any week.  In the 1970's, we had Nicklaus, Trevino, Miller, Watson, and Floyd.  This soon became Norman, Faldo, Ballesteros, Langer, and Price.  But after Tiger's run in the late 90's and early 2000's, it has become a much larger field of contenders and thus 2017 should produce another of one of the most competitive years in golf history.

With the rise in sports betting and fantasy sports, golf has seen its popularity and competitiveness increase from this angle as well.  Local sportsbooks and online sports betting sites across the world are now offering golf wagering in a plethora of forms.  With the crowd of competition at the top and gamers across the globe gearing up for the 2017 golf season, let's take a look at the top athletes in this year's golf betting market.

Jason Day – The Australian remains ranked number one in the world heading into the 2017 season and will remain the favorite at sports betting sites week in and week out.  The injury bug is maybe is biggest shortcoming but with the amount of time taken to rest in this offseason, look for Day to come up with multiple wins again this year and possibly his second Major Championship.  Jason Day is currently 8-1 (5dimes) to win The Masters.

Rory McIlroy – Ranked number two in the world, it wasn't until late in the 2016 season that McIlroy captured his first win on the PGA Tour.  He won The Deutsche Bank and then followed that up with a win at The Tour Championship to take home The FedEx Cup.  This could be a tremendous springboard for him coming into the new year but he has made an equipment change, which usually takes a little while to adjust to for most players.  McIlroy is a co-favorite with Day, also at 8-1 (5Dimes) to win The Masters.

Dustin Johnson – There was a point in the Summer of 2016 that I felt DJ was the best player in the world, having won The U.S. Open and The WGC Bridgestone in consecutive weeks.  He racked up close to 10-million dollars in earnings on the year and led The Tour in Top-10 finishes.  I see no signs of Johnson slowing down in 2017, now having the confidence that comes with winning a Major.  He is one of my picks to win The Masters this year and is currently listed at 10-1 (5Dimes).

Henrik Stenson – The Swede has replaced Jordan Spieth amongst the "Big Four" and maybe we should now be calling it the "Big Five."  Stenson, at 40-years old, won his first Major Championship last July in the most thrilling duel down the stretch on Sunday at The British Open, overcoming Phil Mickelson. He's picked up where he left off, winning a Silver Medal at The Olympics in Rio and took 2nd in November at The WGC-HBSC in Shanghai.  Some value possibly for The Masters as Stenson at 25-1 (5Dimes) is actually listed with longer odds to win than is Tiger Woods at 22-1 (5Dimes).

Jordan Spieth – After winning two Majors in 2015 and nearly all four, Spieth's game slipped just slightly in 2016 with some scrappy iron play and inaccuracy off of the tee.  Still a tremendous year had by Tour standards, it is his short game that pays the bills and this is why he remains a co-favorite for this year's Masters at 8-1 (5Dimes).  Spieth won The Australian Open again this Fall and just finished 3rd at The Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui.  Whether his game is dialed in this year or off a tick, he will rack up wins and dollars in bunches once again.

Two More Players That Are Hot Out Of The Gate…

Justin Thomas & Hideki Matsuyama – These two young guns just finished 1-2 respectively at The TOC in Maui and each have two wins already in the young season.  Matsuyama, now ranked 6th in the world, has seen his sports betting odds drop remarkably for The Masters, opening at 30-1 and now down to 11-1 (5Dimes).  Thomas, up to number twelve in the world golf rankings, is still a long shot to win at Augusta at 45-1 (5Dimes) but these two players are definitely the hottest things running as we kick off the 2017 golf season.

A Newbie To Lookout For…

Jon Rahm – The Spaniard from Arizona State University burst onto the Tour scene last Summer with a 23rd place finish at The U.S. Open and two Top-5 finishes to follow.  He is ranked 135th in the world but already has two Top-25 finishes this season.  He is of the "Bomber" mold and will need to shore up his putting in order to convert these high finishes into wins.  If it is any indication of what the future holds for Rahm, his odds to win The Masters have dropped to 70-1 (Bookmaker), putting him in the same company with two former Masters winners, Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel.

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