Motion Community senior author Jason Sobel is again dwelling in his native Lengthy Island masking the PGA Championship at certainly one of his favourite programs on this planet, Bethpage Black. It’s the place he coated certainly one of his first main championships, the 2002 U.S. Open received by Tiger Woods, and it’s the place he shot among the finest rounds of his profession (extra on that later). However for Sobel, this week is all about Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and the remainder of the largest hitters on tour, who he’s favoring to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.
Sobel sat down with The Massive Lead over lunch at Lengthy Island’s most well-known public course and broke down Tiger’s odds to win this week, Tiger’s odds to interrupt Jack Nicklaus’s document of 18 majors, why Koepka’s mindset in majors is stronger than the remaining, and what hitting his first hole-in-one meant to him.
Brian Giuffra: Thanks for taking the time to speak Jason. How’s it been making the transfer from ESPN and Golf Channel to the Motion Community and moving into the betting facet of issues?
Jason Sobel: It’s enjoyable. It’s essentially the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had. I’m doing loads of the identical issues that I’ve been doing for the final 15 years, however now it’s constructed round betting and round fantasy. To me, it’s attention-grabbing and it pursuits the readers as nicely. If they’ve 5 minutes to click on on one hyperlink, are they going to click on on the hyperlink that’s a very good learn or are they going to click on on the hyperlink that might assist them win some huge cash this week? It’s a no brainer to me. That’s why everyone seems to be falling in line and making an attempt to cowl the sport the way in which we’re. And it’s simply going to get greater and greater. I all the time inform individuals, even in the event you’re not playing and simply need to be smarter about what you’re watching on T.V. each week, learn our stuff. It’s simply smarter. I’m doing extra analysis and looking out extra into numbers and analytics than I’ve prior to now and it’s making me smarter about what I’m writing and I hope in flip it’s making the readers smarter too.
BG: One of many large issues in betting proper now’s on-screen betting. Do you suppose that can turn into a giant factor in golf?
JS: Completely hope so. It’s the proper sport for it. Dwell betting in golf is sort of a marriage that’s ready to occur. You’ll be able to stay wager an NBA sport and by the point you get your wager within the group that was down 4 is now up one. Issues change so shortly in different sports activities. In golf, you may have 10 minutes between pictures. It’s the proper alternative for individuals to take a seat at dwelling or at a event and say, ‘right here’s what I’m seeing, right here’s what I’m betting, right here’s what I need to to make the most of’. It’s the proper alternative, whether or not it’s a two-screen expertise or one thing else, I feel it’s good for it.
BG: You wrote about 19 majors being again in play for Tiger. What are the chances that occurs?
JS: The precise odds from the e-book I noticed after he received the Masters, and granted it’s instantly after he received his 15th and it’s Tiger mania as soon as once more, and there have been precise odds within the e-book of 50-to-1. I all the time say, in the event you’re making an attempt to get me to wager on one thing that’s by no means truly occurred earlier than, you must give me higher than 50-to-1 odds. I feel it’s since gone as much as 100-to-1. Even so, I feel it’s gotta be greater than that. Look, when he was at 14 majors, he nonetheless wanted to have the profession of Phil Mickelson or of Seve Ballesteros [to break the record]. Now that he has 15, at age 43 on, he nonetheless must have the profession of Rory McIlroy or Ernie Els. And no different participant his age has received multiple. So I feel he’s up in opposition to it.
BG: This week Tiger is again at a course the place he has received earlier than on the 2002 U.S. Open. What are you inserting his odds of successful this week?
JS: I go away the chances to the handicappers who know what they’re speaking about. Look, I don’t know that he ought to be the favourite within the subject, however he’s near it. I feel most books have him at 10-to-1, 11-to-1. I feel that’s honest. If I used to be making odds, I may need him at 12-to-1 or 15-to-1, however I feel it’s about proper. And the Tiger numbers are all the time going to be decrease, like betting on the Yankees within the World Sequence. Everybody desires to wager on Tiger. So I perceive that. I ranked your entire subject one via 156, and I’ve obtained him No. 5 on my checklist. So yeah, he’ll be round, he’ll be in competition. I don’t suppose he’s going to win. I’ve 4 guys I like higher than him, however at No. 5, I’ve him higher than 151 different guys within the subject so I nonetheless like him loads this week.
BG: Who’re your favorites coming into this week?
JS: I feel, large boy golf course, large ballpark and also you’re going to see all the massive hitters close to the highest. I feel that is going to be every week the place even the massive guys can’t hit driver wedge. So the benefit goes to be greater for guys like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson as a result of in the event that they’re hitting eight irons into the greens when different guys are hitting 5 and 6 irons, that’s an enormous differential. I feel that’s a much bigger differential than in the event that they’re hitting wedges and the opposite guys are hitting eight irons. So, I feel it performs into the arms of these large hitters.
Dustin Johnson is on the prime of my checklist. He’s nearly flown underneath the radar this yr. He’s accrued extra world-ranking factors in 2019 alone than anybody else in golf and but we’re probably not speaking about him. We’re speaking about Tiger, we’re speaking about Koepka, we’re speaking about Rory. We’re probably not speaking about Dustin Johnson. However in keeping with the numbers, he’s been the very best participant on this planet this yr and he’s ranked No. 1. For a man who’s taking part in the very best and ranked No. 1 to return in right here underneath the radar is each unusual and appeals to me. He’s performed rather well on northeast golf programs, he performs nicely on lengthy golf course, and he performs nicely on moist golf programs. Put these three issues collectively and I actually like him this week.
BG: You talked about Rory in there. He’s additionally had an awesome yr, however has had some struggles on the Masters and with closing in on Sundays lately. What are your ideas on him coming into this week?
JS: He’s taking part in actually, nicely. The course ought to swimsuit his sport. However I’m nonetheless just a bit hesitant to choose Rory simply based mostly on what we’ve seen on Sundays this yr. I do know he type of removed that narrative at The Gamers Championship as a result of he was in a position to lastly win. He performed so nicely going into that with out successful on Sundays. And people Sunday closing rounds are his blip on the radar proper now. He was in a position to come via at The Gamers. We thought that narrative was finished, after which he went to Quail Hole a few weeks in the past, he’s two again going into the ultimate spherical with, actually, not too many different world-class gamers up on prime of that leaderboard, and he obtained boat raced by a few guys who’ve by no means received earlier than. So, I feel that’s not the best signal for Rory. I don’t suppose one thing is damaged. Nevertheless it would possibly have to be a bit mounted. I don’t know if that’s bodily, psychological, technical, physiological, however one thing must work higher for him on Sundays.
BG: It’s attention-grabbing as a result of he’s such an introspective particular person. Do you suppose the psychological facet, and perhaps overthinking it is perhaps taking part in a task?
JS: He’s among the many most attention-grabbing golfers on this planet if not the most attention-grabbing in that he’s spoken on a number of events about not caring about golf. And about letting it go. And I don’t essentially disagree that that’s a very good technique. I feel there’s one thing to that. Sean Foley, the teacher, informed me as soon as that he tells all of his gamers it has to imply every little thing and it has to imply nothing in any respect. That means you must really need it, however in the event you sit there and take into consideration how dangerous you need it on a regular basis, you’ll by no means go and get it. I feel Brooks Koepka has mastered the power to essentially need to go and win majors and but type of simply brush it off prefer it’s simply one other week. I feel Rory is making an attempt to speak himself into that and isn’t fairly as far into the method as he thinks it’s.
BG: It’s attention-grabbing about Brooks as a result of he completed second within the Masters, he’s the defending PGA Champion, he’s received two of the final 4 majors. The place do you rank him coming into this week? (extra…)