Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are the current superstars of world golf. Having collected 5 of the last 8 major championships between them, the trio are expected to dominate again this year. Indeed, Sky Bet came straight in with a special market, offering inflated odds for the new ‘Big 3’ to land all four major titles between them in 2016.
But are they starting to panic about this? The selection is now available at 28/1, in from the original 40/1, after Jordan Spieth’s dominant display in Hawaii last week. We caught up with Sky Bet to get their thoughts on the offer.
Sandro Di Michele, Head of PR at Sky Betting and Gaming, said: “2016 has the potential to be a phenomenal year in the world of golf. To have three great players at the top of their game is superb for the sport and only generates more interest for punters as well.
“However, as a bookmaker we go into the New Year slightly apprehensive. If Spieth, McIlroy and Day continue their imperious form of 2015 we’ll be in for a bit of a kicking from our customers!
“We started on 40/1 for Spieth, McIlroy and Day to win all four majors and this has already been popular with our customers. After Spieth’s dominant victory at the weekend in Hawaii we’ve seen more money for this, and it will only continue to get more popular as we get closer to the first major of the year at Augusta.”
Sky Bet may feel less apprehensive after reducing the odds for this market, but realistically when are the big 3 going to fail? SBC News takes a closer look at the 2016 major championships:
In the past 5 years, no one inside the world’s top 3 has landed the first major golfing prize of the year. You have to go back to Phil Mickelson’s 3rd green jacket in 2010, when ‘Lefty’ entered as the world number 3 and defeated perennial major bridesmaid Lee Westwood by 3 strokes.
However, Mickelson’s series of wins typified a modern trend of multiple winners at Augusta National. Tiger Woods won his 4th Masters in 2005, and Bubba Watson collected the title in both 2012 and 2014.
On Sunday, Jordan Spieth recorded a -30 winning score, only the second time this has been achieved on the PGA Tour. At the time of writing he has a cumulative score of -65 for his last 3 tournaments; surely the Texan is ready to retain his Masters title?
During Tiger Woods’ second coming as golf’s dominant force between 2005 and 2007, the US Open was the scene for a number of surprise major winners, including Michael Campbell, a man said to be earning less money than Tiger Woods’ caddie Steve Williams, and 2007 Oakmont champion Angel Cabrera.
The US Open returns to the notoriously difficult Oakmont in 2016. Since 2000, only Geoff Ogilvy (US Open 2006) has recorded a major victory with a par score as high as Cabrera did in 2007; both players finished on +5.
Spieth will be back to defend the title he won at Chambers Bay in 2015, after a thrilling Sunday duel with Dustin Johnson. Jason Day, who fell last short last year despite a brave battle with vertigo, will be hoping to join Spieth and McIlroy as US Open winners. The Australian has 3 top 5’s in his last 5 appearances at the US Open.
A few years ago after a wild round of 80 at St Andrews, Rory McIlroy was written off as a potential Open winner. Fast forward 4 years and the Northern Irishman blew away the field to win on -17 at Royal Liverpool golf club.
However, the Open Championship has shown its propensity for an upset in recent years, most famously with the victories for Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton in 2003 and 2004. In fact since Tiger Woods won in 2006, no one inside the top 3 of the world rankings has gone on to win the Claret Jug.
Double major winner Zach Johnson will be the defending champion at Royal Troon, but Jordan Spieth will get a chance to avenge the failure of his major hat-trick attempt at St Andrews. The world number one will still be cursing himself for not getting up and down from the Valley of Sin to force a play-off with Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
For the final major championship of the year, the golfing circus will head to Baltusrol, New Jersey. The PGA Championship is renowned for being the major with the best scoring conditions, which often means the cream rises to the top.
In fact, 3 of the last 4 PGA Championships have been won by McIlroy or Day, with totals of -13 in 2012 (McIlroy), -16 in 2014 (McIlroy) and -20 in 2015 (Day). It is also interesting to note the quality of winner thrown up by Baltusrol hosted majors; the most recent list of winners here reads Nicklaus, Nicklaus, Janzen and Mickelson.
SBC News will be watching the golfing majors with great interest in 2016. Sky Bet may be watching with baited breath if this special market continues to attract attention.