PGA Championship Picks with Betting Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/7/2013
I can't exactly pat myself on the back too hard here, but I did predict my second winner of the year -- I'm saying two-and-a-half because of Hunter Mahan's withdrawal at the Canadian Open -- last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It's now pretty clear that Tiger Woods simply feels incredibly comfortable at a handful of courses, maybe none more so than Firestone.
Tiger nearly shot a 59 in the second round and was in total command going forward. He won by seven shots for his eighth win at the WGC-Bridgestone, tying his own record for most victories at one tournament (Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill; Sam Snead also has done it). Tiger's fifth win of 2013 gives Woods a huge lead in the FedEx Cup standings and all but locks up the PGA Tour Player of the Year honors and assures he will stay No. 1 through the rest of the year.
Woods paid out at 9/2 with the victory. I also took him at -250 for a Top 10 and -110 for a Top 5. I recommended throwing some long-shot money on Henrik Stenson, and he finished T2. I also hit on Stenson (-120) over Luke Donald head-to-head, Tiger (-175) over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley (-115) over Sergio Garcia.
I wonder would Tiger give up all five wins for one major this year? The drought remains since the 2008 U.S. Open, and his final chance for 2013 is this week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. at the PGA Championship. You know my feelings about players winning the week before a major -- it's never a good thing. However, Mickelson won the Scottish Open this year the week before taking the British Open. For what it's worth, Tiger has won the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in the same year three times: 2000, 2006, 2007. Woods has won 19 times in his last start before a major and has come back with another win only four times, last at the 2007 PGA.
This is the 21st major since Tiger's last win. He has missed four. It's not like Woods isn't competing. He has had nine Top-10s in his 17. He's usually among the leaders heading into Saturday. But his stroke average is 71.7 on the weekend in those 17 majors. In the past two years, he has yet to shoot in the 60s of any weekend major round. Putting has been the primary issue.
When the PGA Championship visited Oak Hall last in 2003, Shaun Micheel was a surprise winner, finishing at 4-under 276. Only two others finished under par. Tiger finished 39th at 12 over. Lefty was 23rd at plus-8. Incidentally, Mickelson will not have a driver in his bag this week just like at the British Open. He will go with two 3-woods. I don't expect Oak Hill to play as hard as in 2003, but don't expect double-digits under par, either.
It's a stellar field as expected, with 99 of the Top 100 in the world playing. The PGA usually does have the deepest fields of the majors. Mahan is back after taking two weeks off -- well a week-and-a-half -- to be with his newborn daughter. The only Top-100 player out is injured Louis Oosthuizen.
Rory McIlroy is the defending champion, crushing the field by a PGA Championship-record eight stroke at Kiawah Island in 2012. His golfing life has gone downhill since for the most part. No one has repeated as PGA Championship winner since Tiger in 2006-07. McIlroy was the third European winner of this event in the past five years. Those are the only European champions since the PGA switched from Match Play.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: PGA Championship Favorites
Tiger is back to being an obscene favorite, 4/1 at Bovada to win. I think that's silly. I mean, I get it, but I think Tiger's problem might be mental in that he so badly wants to win a major it's giving him problems with the putter. For example, in Tiger's past 13 majors, he has a combined 13 three-putts in the final round. In the 13 majors he played before that stretch, he had only four.
Masters winner Adam Scott is 16/1, and I automatically don't like him because it's so hard to win two majors in a career, much less a season. He finished 23rd in the 2003 PGA. Scott has been playing much better of late following a Masters hangover with a T3 at the British and a T14 last year.
Mickelson is also 16/1. He will be the fan-favorite, not Tiger. For some reason, Lefty has a bond with New Yorkers. Mickelson started slow last week, which was no surprise, but was better on the weekend. I don't see him winning back-to-back majors. His lone PGA came in New Jersey in 2005.
Stenson (22/1), Brandt Snedeker (25/1) and Mahan (25/1) round out the favorites. Stenson is playing as well as anyone right now with three straight top-three finishes. Snedeker seems due to win a major but didn't play great last week. I think it would be terrific if Mahan won after giving up a potential $1 million at the Canadian Open, but I'm guessing he hasn't gotten much sleep.
PGA Championship Picks and Betting Predictions
I do like Tiger (-350), Scott (+150) and the two Johnsons, Dustin (+300) and Zach (+400) for a Top-10 finish. There is a prop on Woods' winning margin, which is crazy. I'd take “not to win” at 1/7. I don't like the big guns -- Woods, McIlroy, Mickelson, Justin Rose, Scott, Snedeker and Stenson -- at +120 against the field at -162.
Definitely take Tiger at -300 against McIlroy (+220). I like Scott (-115) over Mickelson (-115), Snedeker (-125) over McIlroy (-105) and Bill Haas (-120) over Martin Kaymer (-110).
Haas to win seems like great value at 55/1. Yes, he has missed the cut at the British and U.S. Opens this year, but otherwise hasn't finished outside the Top 10 in his past seven starts. But I'm going with Jason Dufner (35/1), who seems to have shaken his early-season struggles. He was T4 at the U.S. Open and again last week. You may remember Dufner coughed up the 2011 PGA Championship to Keegan Bradley. Perhaps karma is on his side. Take an American as the winning nationality at -175.
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