There’s a lot of buzz about Jon Rahm winning the Zozo Championship, but I think someone who should get as much attention is Rory McIlroy. It’s true Rahm is the 10/1 favorite to win at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA, but McIlroy isn’t far behind at 16/1.

Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy Zozo Championship
Jon Rahm, right, is the favorite at the Zozo Championship, but Rory McIlroy is the better bet in a matchup wager between the two golfers. (Image: USA Today Sports)

That’s why with this week’s One Bet, $100 I’m taking McIlroy to win a matchup wager with Rahm at the ZoZo Championship. McIlroy is getting +120 at the Westgate, while Rahm is -140. I like the odds for McIlroy, especially if you consider other factors.

Last week I finally broke out of my betting slump, though the payday wasn’t great. I took four golfers, Xander Schauffele, Sungjae Im, Scottie Scheffler, and Matthew Wolff to finish in the top 10 at the CJ Cup. Only Schauffele, who had odds of +125 made it, and he paid $56.00.


One Bet, $100

This Week Last Week  Season Total
McIlroy over Rahm Won: Schauffele Top 10 1-3, Down $319

I don’t care that I didn’t even earn my money back — a win is a win. I needed it after three straight losing bets. This week, though, I might actually make a profit with McIlroy.

Rahm’s No Sure Thing

I’ve seen Rahm in this position before, and have gotten burned. When the tour came back from its 12-week hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took Rahm, McIlroy, and Brooks Koepka to make the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Rahm was the second pick behind McIlroy, and I thought of the three, he would play on the weekend. He ended up missing the cut and blowing my bet.

If you put his recent tournament results up against McIlroy’s, the two are pretty close. At last month’s US Open, McIlroy finished tied for eighth while Rahm was tied for 23rd. In last week’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas, McIlroy tied for 21st while Rahm tied for 17th.

McIlroy said he’s been working on his swing mechanics coming into this week’s event.

“I felt like I made some decent progress last week, apart from the last five holes on Sunday, and that’s really been it,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been tinkering or messing around with trying to get a little more speed; not that I could — I used it a little bit last week and I led driving distance, and I think I was No. 1 in strokes gained off the tee.”

Sherwood’s Familiarity an Edge for McIlroy

Tiger Woods held his Hero World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club from 2000 to 2013, and McIlroy played the event several times. He told reporters on Wednesday he has fond memories of the golf course.

“I’ve always enjoyed Sherwood,” McIlroy said. “It’s a great golf course, it’s a great venue for a golf tournament. Whenever this tournament was announced that it would be coming here instead of going back to Japan, I was excited. I think a lot of the guys were looking forward to playing it.”

That experience, as well as his recent finishes, should give McIlroy the edge over Rahm.

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