Golf's first Major event of the year is in the book following a stunning finish to the US Masters in Augusta. Under pressure from Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matusyama held on to claim victory by one stroke and record a first ever Major success for his native Japan.
Matsuyama was an unexpected winner and his success suggests that the remaining Majors may be more open events than they have been for some years. With world number one Dustin Johnson missing the cut and several top golfers finishing outside of the top 10, could the remaining three big tournaments follow a similar pattern?
With The Masters done for another year, attention is switching to the second Major of 2021. The PGA Championship will be played from May 20 to 23 in the dramatic surroundings of the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.
Hideki Matsuyama's win in Augusta in a tournament where he was run so close by Will Zalatoris suggests that there may be another surprise in store when the PGA Championship is run. The bookmakers might not see it that way with the usual suspects at the head of the outright winner markets.
With PGA Championship odds provided by sources listed by asiabet.org, we see that Dustin Johnson leads the way with Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas all coming in as second favourites in places. With several weeks until the first tee shot is hit in anger, those odds will adjust and be updated by asiabet.
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It's a predictable market but the PGA Championship will not be as clear cut as the betting suggests. Kiawah Island is a punishing course in places and one where the top players can fall foul of sand traps and water hazards. In tough conditions, the tournament will be far more open than those odds suggest.
The US Open
The 2021 US Open golf tournament will be held at Torrey Pines from June 17 to 20. The competition was last held on this course in 2008 when Tiger Woods claimed his third US Open title.
This is a monster course that comes in at a shade under 7,700 yards and it's one where the big hitters can have an advantage. Bryson DeChambeau will certainly be looking for his monster drivers to earn an edge over the competition.
However, Torrey Pines is also a links course and is therefore open to all the challenges from the weather that a coastal location provides. Once again, this could be an open contest with many outsiders in contention.
The British Open Returns
The British Open was the only Major to drop off the calendar in 2020. With golf having to reschedule, the tournament was postponed but it makes a welcome return this year. The organisers have not changed the intended location so the players will be heading down to Royal St George's in Kent.
The Open was last held here in 2011 when Darren Clarke won by three shots from Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. As with many courses used for the Open Championship, Royal St George's is another links venue where strong winds off the sea can play havoc with any promising rounds.
This is the only Major not to be played in America and, as such, it's the one event where US golfers are perceived to have less of an advantage. Since Darren Clarke's victory in 2011, only three Americans have won the event in nine years so this is another competition where the favourites will have plenty of challenges from among the chasing pack.
In general, golf is a sport where many surprises can occur. Clarke was a 100/1 outsider when he won at Royal St George's while few expected Hideki Matsuyama to enjoy Masters success 10 years later. In 2021, the signs are that this could be a very open year and, with three more Majors to follow, we're all set for a thrilling and eventful golfing year.