Golf betting futures: Will four-time major winner Brooks Koepka nab the career grand slam in 2020?
The odds are not great for Koepka to get it done, but if anyone can do it, it's him
The last time somebody completed the career grand slam was at the turn of this century when Tiger Woods grabbed the 2000 Open Championship for his fourth major (and second of three that year). He went on to complete two more career slams. Ever since Woods, several golfers have gotten close, but nobody has been able to pull it off.
Just this season, Rory McIlroy failed at the Masters, Jordan Spieth failed at the PGA Championship and Phil Mickelson failed at the U.S. Open. All three of those golfers will have another crack in 2020, but they could soon be joined in the grand slam whack-a-mole by another man.
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka has two PGAs and two U.S. Opens, but he has never won the Masters or Open Championship. However, he finished second and fourth respectively in those two tournaments in 2019 and is currently the 9-1 favorite to win at Augusta National in April 2020. If he does that, then we'll get a long string of majors in which at least one golfer is trying for the slam.
But will Koepka win all four where others have failed? His talent and recent history say yes, but it's obviously not inevitable given how much luck plays a role. This year, one of his talent contemporaries -- Rory McIlroy --. Dustin Johnson was 16-1! Obviously, DJ didn't even win one, but it does prove that even Las Vegas has concern about the upper echelon golfers in the world winning multiples in the same year.
"I think that Brooks gets ready for the majors better than any other player," said SportsLine expert Sal Johnson. "He has ice in his veins, and nothing bothers him. Yes, he looked bothered in the last nine holes of the PGA Championship, but like Tiger came up with the goods. He finished fourth at the Open but ... he was terrible with the putter, he could have easily won it."
The other thing that's working in Koepka's favor? A condensed major schedule.
"The schedule has been tough this year," fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood told the AP. "If you're not playing great, you actually don't have time this year to develop your game because you don't have that time to take periods off, really. You're constantly playing, and you always have to turn up and perform with the way that it goes."
A counterpoint: If you're playing great, you can reel off a pair (or more!) over the course of 100 days. Koepka has already had a season in which he's beaten over 99 percent of golfers at majors. One or two more doesn't seem like a huge stretch.
Koepka also experienced his best-ever finish at both the Masters and the Open Championship in 2019. It's not as if he's struggled at either place; it only seems that way because it seems like he wins every PGA and U.S. Open he looks at.
So that leaves us with the potential that Koepka could top last year's Augusta performance and slide a green jacket over his beefy arms in April with only Royal St. George's remaining later in the summer.
"If I could bet today on who would win the Masters, I would say it will be Brooks hands down," added Johnson." To go a step further and say he can also win Royal St. George's at the same time, I would say right now the odds I give out would be 25-1."
Only seven golfers have ever pulled off the Masters-Open double, and to do it in this era is unfathomable. But Koepka is probably, who is coincidentally the last man to win both in a calendar year.
- 1953: Ben Hogan
- 1962: Arnold Palmer
- 1966: Jack Nicklaus
- 1974: Gary Player
- 1977: Tom Watson
- 1990: Nick Faldo
- 1998: Mark O'Meara
- 2005: Tiger Woods
It's easy to envision Koepka fitting onto that list.
"The problem with predicting now that now is we don't know the journey things will go down for Brooks," said Johnson. "Will he be healthy in the next eight months and happy? Will he be motivated to do all the work necessary to be the best come the second week in April?
"At the same time, even if Brooks does the right thing and plays great at Augusta, will there be another Tiger Woods story in which Tiger was a shot better? Will someone find themselves on the streak of their lives like Sergio [Garcia] was in 2017 or Patrick Reed was in 2018? So many things will play into the equation in order for Brooks to win the Masters let alone win both."
That part is true. So many things have to fall Koepka's way for him to take a Masters and an Open in the same season and join Woods, Nicklaus, Hogan, Player and Gene Sarazen as the only golfers to win the career grand slam. But at this point in his carer -- with four major wins in his last 10 starts and just one finish outside the top 13 in that period of time -- I'm not going to be the one to bet against him.
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