It’s been around a long time, The Byron Nelson. After a one-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the big-time PGA tournament is ready to get underway in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. Since World War II, it’s been held there when the great Byron Nelson himself captured the first title (1944) in a tournament that’s kept his name ever since.
With an eight-million dollar purse at stake and a big-name field planning to participate, it promises to be a key event in the 2021 tour. The early online odds favor Jon Rahm (+700), the Basque-born Spaniard who played college golf at Arizona State and lives in Phoenix.
He’s a rising star in the sport, as evidenced by the Official World Golf Ranking (Rahm is third behind Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas — neither of which will attend). Johnson withdrew from the tournament on Monday, saying he had a nagging knee injury. Are Johnson and Thomas prepping for next week’s golfing major — the PGA Championship in South Carolina?
Of course. But so is Rahm.
While Johnson and Thomas won’t be in Texas this week for the tournament, that doesn’t mean Rahm won’t have his hands full. In recent weeks, he was fifth at the Masters and ninth at The PLAYERS Championship, but Rahm needs a signature victory.
Challenging Rahm are some outstanding pro golfers. OWGR No. 4 Bryson DeChambeau (+800), Jordan Spieth (+1000), Daniel Berger (+1400), and the duo of Brooks Koepka (+1800) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (+1800) come in to round out the top five when it comes to PGA tour betting odds.
THE OUTSIDE THREAT
Who are we kidding? This guy is good. The odds may say he’s 10th best, but he’d made 14 straight tournament cuts before last weekend. He’s a youngster (24 years old) out of Wake Forest who just turned pro in 2018.
He took second at The Masters (everybody saw that) and was tied for sixth last year in the U.S. Open. He’s also a Dallas-area native. Think this guy doesn’t want to win here? Consider him an up-and-comer who would love to make a splash close to home.
Oh, and don’t forget about the defending champion, Sung Kang (+35000). It’s easy to rule the South Korean out when you look at the past 24 months, as he hasn’t had much success since his win here, but he won it the last time it was contested, right?
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has written for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All America teams, covered FCS college football for HERO Sports … and watched in person and in amazement at TPC Sawgrass in 2013 as countless pro golfers avoided water on No. 17. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.