Unlike the way the Capitol keeps sarcastically telling Tributes in The Hunger Games that the odds are “ever in their favor,” that might really be the case this week for Rory McIlroy.
The newly re-crowned No. 1 player in the world, fresh off back-to-back wins at The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone, has been installed as a 5-to-1 favorite to win the PGA Championship which begins tomorrow at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.
By comparison, World No. 2 Adam Scott is just 12-to-1.Sergio Garcia, the runner-up at Bridgestone and new No. 3 is 15-to-1, no other player is better than 20-to-1.
Defending champion Jason Dufner is just 60-to-1, no surprise given the disappointment that his 2014 season has been. Dufner missed the cut at both The Masters and the US Open, finished tied for 51st at The Open Championship, and has just four top-10 finishes and no wins in 16 starts this season.
In all, 15 former champions are in the field, including winners of the last 17. Also in the field is John Daly, who won this tournament once upon a time in 1991.
If McIlroy were to win, he’d be the first man since Ireland’s Padraig Harrington to go back to back with Major wins, and the first to win The Open Championship and the PGA Championship in the same season.
Other than Harrington, only two players have ever won The Open and the PGA in the same season: Tiger Woods, who did it twice (2000, 2005) and Walter Hagen, who accomplished it in 1924.
The age range in the field goes from 21-year-old Jordan Spieth to 64-year-old Tom Watson. Spieth, despite being ranked 11th and in the Top 10 of the FedExCup standings, has not won a tournament yet this year.
Watson, on the other hand, won 37 of his 39 PGA titles and all eight of his Majors, before Spieth was even born.