It’s that time of year — or every four or so years — where the best golfers represent their country in the Olympics. Other than a trio of medals, there’s not much compensation for those involved. However, from an antiquated perspective, this is about glory and nationalism.
For this iteration of the Olympic Games, we will see the best golfers from each nation descend upon Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling, and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800 GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL) Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN only) or 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA only) or 1-800-522-4700 (CO Only) *21+. NJ/IN/WV/PA/IA/CO only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Offer not valid for users physically located in NH. Deposit bonus is in DK Dollars which have no cash value and must be used on DraftKings. Bonus requires 25x Play-Thru. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Kusumigaseki Country Club was founded in 1929. We’ll ignore the history lesson around that time and skip forward to the course today, which was very recently remodeled by Tom Fazio to fit within the guidelines for the Olympics.
These days, Kasumigaseki CC is a relatively dry course — water hazards on only three holes — with a total of 63 bunkers. The course has many tight, tree-lined fairways and large, rolling greens. Driving accuracy will be pretty important, but accuracy in general and Strokes Gained: Putting will be key for conquering this course. The course is also deceptively long and should play very soft this week.
Find out how you can watch along 👇
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 29, 2021
Last week, we went pretty hard on the card and only Louie-Louie was a hit (the second week in a row he cashes for us). Thank goodness for Louie, but the rest of our guys were awful. Patton Kizzire was inside the Top-40, but other than him, everyone else was way off.
This week, we can make up some ground in a very lopsided field. The field is spread somewhat thin, but you won’t likely see a more lopsided field throughout the course of the season, thanks to the limitations on national representation. It’s time to be aggressive once again, as we shoot for the moon again this week.
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Recent form
- Birdie percentage
Good luck this week as we take a look at some of the best value picks of the Olympics Men’s Golf competition with betting lines from the DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
On the green – Two players to finish in the top 10
Si Woo Kim +300
Kim pulled out of his last event due to a “back injury,” but it appears it was likely just to get a head start on preparing for the Olympics. In case you’re wondering why we’re going with Kim this week, there’s much more to all of this than you may realize.
As a South Korean citizen, Kim is eligible for two years of conscription into the Korean Military. For both Kim and Sungjae Im, a medal at this Olympics means they can forego their service and continue to play golf on the PGA Tour.
With that little motivating factor, we should see some inspired golf from Kim, as well as thorough preparation. Kim’s metrics don’t necessarily align very well with this course, but this course has drawn comparisons to Augusta (insert eye roll here), where Kim finished 34th in a much deeper and talented field.
I’m not so sure this course really can be compared to Augusta, but the hot/cold nature of Kim’s play could easily heat up this week, especially given the nature of his predicament with the Military.
Corey Conners +200
Corey Conners is the new pride of Canadian Golf. The 29 year-old, ranked 27th in the FedEx Cup standings, has been amazing this season. Since his third even this season, Conners has made 21 of 23 cuts and is coming off a 15th place finish at the Open Championship.
He finished 6th at his only previous Japanese event (2020 Zozo) and finished 8th at the Masters this season. Conners is another ideal player for this course, ranking 9th in Shots Gained: Approach, 9th in Shots Gained: Off-the-Tee, 11th in GIRP, 11th in Driving Accuracy, and 13th in Shots Gained: Tee-to-Green. Conners should be a formidable force in the heat this week.
Eagle opportunity – Three players to finish in the top five
Sungjae Im +600
Sungjae Im is in the same situation as fellow countryman, Si Woo Kim. We already addressed the massive incentive he’s carrying into this week for getting a medal. Taking the podium here will mean much more to him than most of the golfers here this week, so expect Sungjae to be prepared and focused.
Sungjae is much more favorable for this course than his fellow countryman, as is his recent form. Im is 16th in Shots Gained: Off-the-Tee, 38th in Shots Gained: Putting, 14th in Driving Accuracy, and 34th in GIRP. There are better plays here, but nobody has as much of a fire under their backside right now as this man and his buddy, Si Woo.
Hideki Matsuyama +230
A few things here are very interesting. For one, Hideki is the only player in this tournament to have played this course in a competition (which he won in 2010). Though the course was tweaked and partially redesigned a few years later, it is a fact.
The other interesting tidbit is the Major Hideki won this season. Hideki won the Masters, which has been listed as a similar course to this one. I get these are both pretty shaky observations, but Matsuyama is the guy with the homefield advantage here, and that should also count for something.
You know what else should matter? The advanced metrics should matter here. Matsuyama is 15th in Shots Gained: Approach, 17th in Shots Gained: Tee-to-Green, 43rd in Birdie Average, but only 180th in Shots Gained: Putting. This would be much more concerning but think about it like this. If he puts relatively well, he should be in contention down the stretch, especially considering his experience here.
Viktor Hovland +210
Hovland is purely a pick for the style of course. He’s been a little off the Radar lately, playing some European events, but Hovland is certainly not out of form (winning in Munich at the BMW and finishing 12th at the Open).
Hovland is one of the elite ball-strikers in the sport and his advanced metrics suggest he should have success this week. Hovland is 3rd in Birdie Average, 7th in Scoring Average, 19th in Shots Gained: Approach, 6th in Shots Gained: Off-the-Tee, and 9th in Shots Gained: Total.
Hole-in-One – One Player to Win
Collin Morikawa +650
I said it after the Open. “Why do I choose to ignore this man when he’s setting the Golf world ablaze?” There’s no good answer. Morikawa isn’t even 25 years-old and he’s having a very similar start to his career as Jordan Spieth.
Looking back on Spieth’s run back then, had you come out and said, “Man, I’m not sure why I didn’t bet on him much that year”, people would have a lot of questions. Morikawa is riding that same wave so why not jump on? He’s fresh off a week’s break following his victory at the Open.
He’s also finished Top-4 in his last three events. Morikawa is 1st in Shots Gained: Approach, 1st in Shots Gained: Tee-to-Green, 7th in Shots Gained: Total, 2nd in GIRP, and 1st in Birdie Average. He’s ideal for this course and the oddsmakers agree.