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Bettors take a hit in The Players Championship

Rule number one of sports gambling: you pays your money and you takes your chances.

I didn’t make that up, and whoever did might have been illiterate or sour after losing a bet.

You’ve got all these betting sites popping up like weeds with celebrities endorsing them with fancy commercials that are designed to draw in customers with bonuses.

If it were that easy to win bets, everybody would be gambling on sports and cashing.

Look what happened at The Players Championship. Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x) was the favorite at +850 (8.5-1), followed by Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1) at +1000 (10-1) and Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) at +plus 1100 (11-1).

McIlroy doesn’t make the cut, Scheffler won and Rahm withdrew just before the start of the second round because of stomach sickness.

Rahm was not in contention after the first round, while Scheffler heated up on the weekend, taking advantage of the course after it rained the day before and caused a suspension of play.

WHAT A GAMER: Min Woo Lee (Callaway Chrome Soft X) started the tournament +15000 – that’s a whopping 150-1. He cramped up in his left leg during the first round and needed a physiotherapist for the final hour holes. He said it was the result of not ingesting enough electrolytes as he normally does because of a reaction to a sports drink. He overcame that and played well enough thereafter to start the final day two shots back of Scheffler, who had the lead. Lee climbed ahead to take the lead after the third hole, but he stumbled at times thereafter and shot four-over par on the round, tying for sixth. His odds had dropped to +600 (6-1) for the fourth round. This was his biggest tournament so far of his career and only the 24th on the PGA Tour. He starred on the DP Tour. Suffice to say, this was a hint of what could be in store for Min Woo on the PGA Tour.

OH, BROTHER: Lee is the younger brother of reigning LPGA champion Minjee Lee (Srixon Z-Star).

The Golf Channel contacted her in Australia, where they were born and raised, to ask for her thoughts on her brother’s chances heading into the final round. She said it was more nerve-wracking watching him play than what she experiences playing in tournaments.

THE RORY STORY: I was one of many people in my pool who picked McIlroy to win. So did many of the pundits who make weekly PGA Tour predictions.

I thought tying for second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational set McIlroy up perfectly for The Players.

I’m beginning to wonder if all the time McIlroy is spending trying to protect the PGA Tour brand from LIV affects his performance. He said as much after failing to make the cut.

“I’d love to get back to being purely a golfer,” he told a reporter. “Look, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Honestly, it’s been a busy sort of sort of six to eight months.”

Give him credit for standing by what he believes, including taking a verbal shot at James Hahn (Titleist Pro V1) for missing a players meeting two days before The Players began. Hahn has been a critic of the PGA Tour’s 2024 schedule that in some ways has elements of LIV with restricted fields and no cuts.

“Like you say all this s--- and you’re not even in the meeting,” McIlroy said of Hahn.

SEASON TWO OF FULL SWING: Last week Netflix announced it is doing a second season of Full Swing.

I thought it was one and done, which made the final episode of the first season so compelling with McIlroy winning the Tour Championship.

I think it’s going to take something monumental to top last season’s finale, and as I said in my previous blogs I thought the series was a huge letdown.

Will it be more of Rory in season two? Well, it makes for interesting drama.

SCOTTY TOO HOTTIE: Scheffler showed again that when he gets hot with his putter it’s hard to stop him, though he made a birdie from the bunker during the tournament that was outstanding. It was shades of Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x).

Scheffler is one of those players who rarely says anything that can be considered a hot take. He simply does his job and lets his play do the talking.

THOSE ELEVATED EVENTS: All of the elevated events since the start of 2023 have been compelling, but for the most part they’ve been won by the best players on the Tour.

On the one hand there is a greater assembly of the Tour’s premier stars competing more often, which is great for the fans, but for the players outside of the top-20, maybe even outside of the top-10, it’s really going to make it hard for the lesser lights to make a name for themselves.

Then again, Scheffler was one of those players who scuffled his way into becoming a world-class competitor.


Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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