Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson big favorites in skins match to benefit pandemic relief

We are just over a week away from real, live golf. And with real, live golf comes actual wagering on golf, which for some may be as fun as watching the event itself.

The “TaylorMade Driving Relief” event, which will take place at Seminole Golf Club on Sunday, May 17, will feature a skins game between a team of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson going against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. Here’s a brief, simple explanation of how the match will work.

For skins, each hole is worth a certain monetary amount, and the team that wins that hole collects that amount. If both teams notch the same score on that hole, that amount rolls over into the next hole.

Fowler noted recently that he and Wolff are probably the underdogs in the event. This should not be a huge surprise given the fact that McIlroy and Johnson are ranked in the top five in the world.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Fowler recently told NBC Sports. “Actually seeing some fan reaction saying how much of a favorite Rory and DJ are. So Matt and I are going into this as underdogs. We’re ready to bring the upset.”

It’s not just fan reaction either. According to William Hill Sportsbook, McIlroy and Johnson are the -210 favorite while the Oklahoma State duo of Fowler and Wolff are a +180 underdog. What this means in layman’s terms is that you have to bet $210 on McIlroy and D.J. to win $100. If you bet $100 on Fowler and Wolff, you win $180.

This sounds about right. Even though Johnson hasn’t had a great last 12 months, McIlroy is by far the best player in the world right now. Wolff is a bit of a wild card, though. Ranked No. 110 in the world, he already has a win under his belt at the 3M Open last summer but doesn’t have any other top 10s since then. He’s an immense talent, and in a short 18-hole event like this one, he could catch a little fire.

To me, the best bet in exhibitions like this is on whoever is the underdog. When you condense the number of holes played, you tilt the odds toward the less-talented team. That is, if 10,000 holes were played, there’s almost no way McIlroy would lose to anyone based on how he’s playing right now. But if one hole is played, theoretically I could even beat him. Playing 18 is a lot closer to playing one than it is to playing 10,000, therefore I’m riding with Fowler and Wolff. 

Also because I have to support my fellow Pokes.

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