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Confident McIlroy favorite to win fall Masters

There’s room on the Rory McIlroy completing the career Grand Slam wagon in 2020, but hurry up, space is getting limited.

FILE PHOTO: Golf - European Tour - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - St Andrews, Scotland, Britain - September 29, 2019 Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during the final round Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

The Masters is the only remaining check mark on McIlroy’s career slam.

The 30-year-old has five top-10 finishes and has missed the cut only once in 11 starts at Augusta National, but he has yet to be able to claim his first green jacket.

Jack Nicklaus believes the tournament being rescheduled to Nov. 12-15 will benefit McIlroy, who has won nine of his 18 PGA Tour events after Aug. 1.

Even the world’s top ranked player acknowledged this week that the later date may be “what I need to get the (green) jacket.”

Sportsbooks clearly agree.

McIlroy would have been favored if the tournament had been held in April, but he’s a heavy favorite despite the postponed event now being seven months away.

McIlroy is being offered at +600 by FanDuel, +650 by DraftKings and +700 by PointsBet.

To put it in perspective, the next lowest odds in the field belong to Spain’s Jon Rahm at +1100 at FanDuel and +1000 at DraftKings, while PointsBet has four-time major winner Brooks Koepka at +1000 followed by Rahm at +1300.

Defending champion Tiger Woods has not played in a tournament since February, when he skipped the WGC-Mexico Championship and the Florida Swing to rehab his ailing back. With seven more months to prepare, Woods is still +1200 at FanDuel, +1400 at DraftKings and +1600 at PointsBet.

McIlroy is a four-time major winner, with the most recent coming at the 2014 PGA Championship. His best Masters finish was fourth place five years ago.

The pressure will be on for McIlroy to capitalize on the form he has shown, reclaiming the No. 1 ranking in February and reeling off seven consecutive top-five finishes dating back to the ZOZO Championship in October.

He also won the Tour Championship in August, dominating Koepka on the final day to claim his second FedEx Cup title.

“November is going to be different,” the Northern Ireland native said of the rescheduled Masters. “It’s going to be cold. The course can play very long.

“I mean, it plays long already, but it could play very long. The greens might not be as fast as they usually are in April, depending on the moisture. Obviously, they can do whatever they want with the course with SubAir and everything, but I think it’ll be a different feel as well.”

The Masters also presents a limited field to compete against, with 96 players scheduled to tee it up at Augusta National. Anyone who wins between now and November who is not previously qualified will qualify for the 2021 edition of the tournament.

And rather than being the first major of the year, the Masters is currently scheduled to be the last of three in 2020 while also following the Ryder Cup scheduled for September.

“It’s the back end of the year as two of the majors (will) have already been played -- hopefully, the Ryder Cup’s already been played,” McIlroy said. “People might be in their routines and in their flow a little bit.”

And sportsbooks are predicting that McIlroy’s routine come November will be better than the other 95 players in the field.

--Field Level Media

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