The Super Bowl provided every imaginable angle and outcome the most watching sporting event in the world could produce. Football junkies got incredible plays and strategy. Talking heads got GOAT performances and hot-take choking headlines. And, like every year, the casual viewer got the side action.
Luke Bryan held onto the last note of the National Anthem just long enough to make your uncle sweat that over-under. The coin toss was tails! Lady Gaga did NOT change hair colors. All of this, to somebody, was important.
Yes, the prop bet has become such an ingrained part of the Super Bowl, there is more conversation about it around the water cooler on Friday than which team might actually win, you know, THE GAME.
If it works for football, it can work for golf, so let's look at some prop bets for the year.
Over/Under 29.5, the average age of the top 10 in the world at year’s end – If you missed the recent news, history was made when Justin Thomas replaced Bubba Watson in the Official World Golf Ranking top 10. For the first time since the ranking started in 1986, the average age of the top 10 is below 30. (Sergio Garcia is back in the top 10 this week after his win in Dubai, replacing Alex Noren, bringing the average age to 29.8.)
The question: will it go lower?
The youth movement isn’t going away, and there are 5 players (Fowler, Willett, Grace, Hatton and Koepka) currently ranked in the 11-20 range who could work their way into the top 10. By the end of the year, the top 10 could be even younger. Of course, every player will be a year older too.
+650, Sergio Garcia will win a major – No creative license here. This bet actually exists in Vegas right now if you want it. Garcia was a trendy pick to win a major by many at the start of the year. After his play this past weekend, coupled with the happiness in his personal life, the bet is feeling even safer. Where can he win? It’s easy to like him at both Opens. Erin Hills will be unique for the U.S. Open, and Royal Birkdale requires more precision than anything else. Sergio’s creativity and ability to drive the ball could be bigger advantages there than other stops.
+1000, We take Tiger Woods at his word about his health - “I wasn’t in pain at all. I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job,” Woods said after his first round in Dubai last week. Less than 24 hours later, he was out of the tournament because of back spasms. There is a chance Tiger was not in any discomfort on Thursday. He told us so. Watching his walk and how he bent down to pick up tees, however, told a different story. There is a physical reality here that many see but one man hasn’t admitted to yet. Will he? Do we want him to?
Over/Under 14, number of celebrity interviews on CBS this Saturday – The last remaining true celebrity pro-am is on the docket this week, and while die-hard fans want to see real golf, Saturday at Pebble Beach remains the throwback tribute to celebrity golf. If the weather is nice, expect more one-liners from Ray Romano, Bill Murray, Chris Berman, Wayne Gretsky and others than shots of the leaders. Embrace it. It’s all we have left of the old mix of entertainment and golf.
+125, International team wins Presidents Cup – It’s been done only once, not since 1998 and never on United States soil. The United States is getting younger and deeper in terms of talent. While the International roster has always had talent, depth is often the issue. Ben An led going into the final round yesterday in Scottsdale. There’s been a recent surge of great Canadian play. Jason Day is on the team. This may be foolish to call them favorites, but with so much attention on the USA, don’t be surprised if there is International momentum heading to New Jersey this fall.
The Other Winner
Each week during the season, I will offer up one player who, while not winning, escaped unnoticed with a big finish.
The Top 10 in Dubai: Sergio’s win was certainly special, but in a week where the media attention swelled around Tiger’s second tournament of the year, did you notice the lineup that finished behind Garcia? Stenson, Hatton, Fitzpatrick, Uihlein, Coetzee, etc. The depth of the game rarely allows for all of the best players in the field to rise to the top, but that was the case. How will it transfer to the major season? Time will tell, but the results have to create a lot of optimism for what’s still to come.