Golf makes an early move ahead of a projected return for the PGA Tour with a fascinating Skins game sponsored by TaylorMade. This two on two competition is confirmed for Sunday May 17th with Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy taking on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
With money pledged to go to Covid-19 charities, this is an important event for many reasons and it’s a welcome announcement for golf-starved fans all over the world. To accompany the sport’s return, there is a small set of betting markets so let’s take a look at how the TaylorMade Driving Relief competition works before we look to pick out some winners.
Location and Format
The remote location for this tournament looks to be ideal in a game where no spectators will be allowed access. The Seminole Golf Club is way out on Juno Beach and while it’s been voted into the top 100 courses in the US, it is rarely mentioned in connection with the official Tour.
All of the action takes place on one day – Sunday May 17th – across all 18 holes. Skins golf sees teams compete on each hole and the winner claims the skin. If the hole is halved, the skin carries over to the next hole and the process continues.
Holes will be decided on a better-ball basis and that’s really all there is to it. The live TV cameras will be in place but what do the leading USA sportsbooks make of it all?
Moneyline Match Odds
The McIlroy / Johnson pairing features the current World Number One and a recent, former Number One and it’s no great surprise to see them head the markets. In terms of the straight win, Rory and DJ can be backed at -250 with Bovada while BetOnline improve on those numbers with their odds of -200.
Rory has the form to justify that -200 price for his team but with Johnson having recently made his way back from injury, will the Northern Irishman be expected to win this contest on his own?
There’s only one prop available at the time of writing and that’s the market for ‘which team will win the first skin’. The Johnson and McIlroy axis maintain their place at the top of the betting at odds of -150 while Fowler and Wolff are out to +120. BetOnline is the only sportsbook carrying prices at the moment.
A day or two before the first tee up, we should see one or two more props come into play. At the very least, there should be an option on which individual player will win the most skins. Expect Rory McIlroy to start as favorite and he should go on to convert.
Those potential options are for the near future so let’s now make a verdict based on what we do have.
Our Preview’s TaylorMade Driving Relief Predictions & Golf Betting Picks Verdict
It could be argued that there are two unknown quantities in this tournament: Despite making a spectacular breakthrough with an opening Tour win at the 3M Open last July, Matthew Wolff remains largely unknown outside of the US. At 21 he’s raw, and has an unconventional swing but he does have a big future ahead of him and was expected to add to that solitary victory this season.
Some observers are unkindly placing Wolff as the weak link but, anyone who has ever watched a Ryder Cup will know that team golf will often upset the odds. Both Fowler and his playing partner are Oklahoma State University men and will be decked out in orange on the day. The outsiders will have a clear team ethic but will that be enough to get them over the line?
Over in the opposing camp, there may also be concern over Dustin Johnson who was struggling to maintain any level of form following his long injury lay off. Had this been played a few weeks back when golf started its enforced hiatus, we might have been focusing more on the outsiders but that additional rest should aid DJ’s recovery.
We have therefore concluded that the Johnson and McIlroy pairing will deliver so take the favorites for a modest return. As for the first skin winner, this could go either way and those odds of +120 on Fowler and Wolff might just offer the best value of the day. So these are our TaylorMade Driving Relief predictions for this preview against the bookies: