With 2020 upon us, it's time for the golf world to start thinking about the first major of the year.
A trip down Magnolia Lane is just approximately three-and-a-half months away, and it's already time to start thinking about the favorites.
In fact, let's start thinking about our 2020 Masters favorites in terms of another sport just hitting its season-long stride: the National Basketball Association. The NBA season just started in October, but Christmas often marks the real beginning of the meat of the season. As the season is really getting going, there are just a trio of favorites to win the NBA Finals in June.
The two Los Angeles teams -- the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers and the Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers -- and the Milwaukee Bucks, are all at 3-to-1 (+300) betting odds (visit this site for full odds) to walk away with the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
One other team, the Philadelphia 76ers, has odds shorter than 10-to-1 to win the title.
That sounds a lot like the 2020 Masters futures at this point.
There are three golfers with odds of 10-to-1 or shorter to win the 2020 Masters.
Brooks Koepka, who has won four major titles in the last three years, is the favorite at 8-to-1 to capture his first Masters title and fifth-career major title. Koepka has improved in his Masters finish every single time he has competed at Augusta National Golf Club. However, Koepka had off-season knee surgery and had to withdraw from the 2019 Presidents Cup after re-aggravating the injury in South Korea in October 2019. Where will he be health-wise come next April?
Tiger Woods is, incredibly, the defending Masters champion. He completed one of sport's greatest comeback stories last April when he won his 15th major title on an unprecedented early Sunday at the Masters. He has since tied the PGA Tour wins record with an 82nd official win in October 2019 at the Zozo Championship in Japan. He was the best player on the course at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia -- all while serving as American team captain. In Year 3 of his comeback, Woods has a schedule he likes. Can he win again?
Rory McIlroy was the most consistent player in the world in 2019. He won the PGA Tour's two biggest trophies: The Players Championship for the first time and the FedEx Cup for the second time in four years. McIlroy won the player-voted PGA Tour Player of the Year award, rewarded for a Tiger-like season of consistency. McIlroy needs the Masters to complete the career Grand Slam, and Augusta National has been home to several heartbreaks in pursuit of the green jacket. Is this the year McIlroy gets the job done?
There are so many more possibilities, but with three heavy favorites, the Masters could come down to an epic battle.