The PGA Championship | Thursday 13 August - Sunday 16 August | Whistling Straits
Yesterday we provided a bit of an idea as to what to expect this week at Whistling Straits and we’ve been contemplating the betting ever since. Before we get into it, remember that this is a tough course and it is more than likely that the marquee names will fare well. They’re the most well known golfers for a reason and when the chips are down they’re the guys who know how to handle the pressure. Having said that, there are one or two outsiders who deserve to be given a chance of posting at least a Top 6 finish so we’ve tried to find some value for those not keen on backing short prices. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have a look at who has what it takes to go all the way in this year’s PGA Championship.
To Win Outright:
Jordan Spieth 13/2
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Jason Day 13/1
Bubba Watson 15/1
Dustin Johnson 16/1
Brooks Koepka (50/1 a win, 10/1 a place)
Koepka will arrive at Whistling Straits confident in his game after a solid all round performance at Firestone last week saw him finish just outside the Top 5 in the Bridgestone Invitational. He got his season off to a bang with a win early on in the Phoenix Open and hasn’t really slowed down since then, posting a number of decent finishes against tough competition. Although he didn’t really show up at the Players Championship he bounced right back and almost won the St Jude Classic and since then has been as consistent as ever. I’m certain that Koepka will win a Major one day and at this price he can’t be left out. Hollywood are paying six places this week so the 10/1 is huge, get on before the betting closes.
Henrik Stenson (28/1 a win, 56/10 a place)
We tipped Henrik Stenson last week and although he finished inside the Top 10, he never really looked like winning. He was impressively consistent though and it’s that kind of play that will stand him in good stead on one of the trickier courses this field will have to navigate this season. We mentioned yesterday that hitting greens in regulation will be vital and there are few players in this field who can hit their irons like Stenson. At this price he’s difficult to ignore and if he putts well he’ll be in the mix come Sunday. Back Stenson each way this week.
Much like Jason Day, every time Dustin Johnson tees off in a Major the golfing world wonders if he will finally claim his first Major title and almost every time he comes close but doesn’t quite manage to go all the way. That could all change this week though as he arrives at a course that will suit his game to a tee. Johnson hits the ball a mile and is accurate too, a combination that will prove deadly on this track. The last time Johnson teed off at Whistling Straits he grounded his club in a bunker, was penalised and missed a spot in a playoff, so let’s hope he’s learnt his lesson as it’s inevitable that he’ll find himself in one of the 900+ bunkers sometime this week. If he avoids costly errors like that I’m confident he’ll go close so I’m backing Johnson each way this week.
Justin Rose (18/1 a win, 36/10 a place)
Justin Rose has had the perfect run up to this week with a solid performance at Firestone which saw him finish an impressive T3 against very stiff competition. That finish came a few weeks after a T6 in the third Major of the year, the Open Championship, and a T4 in the Quicken Loans National and proved that Rose isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He’s one of the better players on the Tour with his irons and hits more greens than most but more importantly, he is a great scambler and should save a lot of shots around the greens. Rose is in great form at the moment, if he can get around Spieth he’ll come close.
Seeing as this is the last Major of the year we’ll be looking for winners in some of the other markets Hollywood are offering and the first bet that looks appealing is Rory McIlroy to be the first round leader. He arrives at Whistling Straits after injuring himself playing football and by all accounts his practice rounds have gone well. He may not be ready for four days of golf but he always comes out swinging early on so we’ll be taking some of the 16/1 available on Rory to be in front after day one.
I also like the look of Branden Grace in the Top South African market this week at 33/10. He has the ability to play well on these tough links courses and will go low in at least one round. If he can avoid that one poor round that always seems to let him down there’s no reason he won’t be able to edge out Oosthuizen, who seems to pose the only threat.
Finally, and this may seem like a bit of a cop out, I’ll be taking Jason Day to be the Top Australasian. He’s only available at 12/10 in that market but he will definitely be worth throwing into all of your weekend multiples.