Backing last week’s PGA Tour winners, Patrick Reed and Viktor Hovland, was difficult for different reasons, but it might be time to think about wagering on them more often. The two golfers won the two PGA Tour events last week, and each paid bettors well.
Reed won the WGC-Mexico Championship, while Hovland claimed victory in the second-tier event, the Puerto Rico Open. Reed opened at 40/1 in Mexico, while Hovland was the favorite in Puerto Rico at 10/1.
Even though Hovland was the top pick at Grand Reserve in Coco Beach, Reed was probably the safer pick despite his longer odds. Hovland is in the midst of his first full season on the PGA Tour, and the 2018 US Amateur winner has been struggling as a professional.
He finished tied for 10th in September at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, but didn’t sniff a top-20 in his next five events. His best finish in that span was a tie for 31st.
Dramatic Wins for Hovland, Reed
That ended in Puerto Rico. The 22-year-old canned a 35-foot putt on the final hole to win by a stroke. He became the first player from Norway to win a PGA Tour event. Norwegian announcers went ballistic when he sunk the winning putt, as evidenced by the video below.
Viktor Hovland's win, as heard in Norway. 🎙🇳🇴 pic.twitter.com/mEcDvGXePI
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 24, 2020
Hovland wasn’t quite as emotional as the two announcers from his country, but he did tell reporters how much it meant to win.
“It is incredible,” Hovland said. “I don’t even know. I couldn’t quite believe it.”
Reed’s victory was far more believable. The 2018 Masters champion won seven times before Mexico, but had been mired in controversy since a December incident at the Hero World Challenge.
Reed Comfortable in Villain Role
At the limited-field event benefitting Tiger Woods’ charitable foundation, Reed was caught on camera in the third round moving sand in a bunker to improve his lie. Reed’s explanation was that it was a bad camera angle, and he didn’t mean to break the rules.
Several fellow professionals and golf commentators said they thought Reed was cheating. The cheater moniker hung around Reed’s neck in Australia during the Presidents Cup, where he was constantly heckled by fans.
If it bothered Reed, he didn’t show it. At the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii a month later, he finished tied for second. Three weeks later, he tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Reed’s victory in Mexico just proved to him that he can block out the noise. He told reporters after his victory that it really doesn’t affect his play.
“I’m used to it,” Reed said. “Honestly, it’s one of those things that at the end of the day, all I can control is me and what I do on and off the golf course. And if I feel like I’m improving each day on and off the golf course, and setting a good example for the next generation coming up … then that’s all I can do, and I feel like I’ve been doing a good job of that.”