PGA Tour Picks: Wyndham Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/14/2014
The first three Grand Slams of the 2014 season frankly were rather boring. Bubba Watson (Masters), Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Rory McIlroy (British Open) each deserved to win, no question, but there was no drama. The 2014 PGA Championship more than made up for that and it had to be the most exciting final round of a major in at least a few years.
McIlroy looked like he would roll to a second straight major and third consecutive tournament win but he struggled at the outset Sunday, perhaps because of a long weather delay that didn't have the final groups teeing off until late afternoon and had long waits on the tees. That brought the likes of Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson into play, but on the back nine McIlroy showed why it's his world these days in winning by a shot over Lefty -- that final hole was spectacular with the players hitting shots into near total darkness and with another storm brewing. No. 18 was played as a foursome, not a twosome, as PGA officials let the final grouping of McIlroy and Bernd Weisberger hit into the group ahead of Mickelson and Fowler so they could finish if at all possible. If there had been a playoff, it would have been Monday morning.
McIlroy is now the fourth-youngest player to win four major championships (Tom Morris Jr., Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods) and the first player to win back-to-back major championships since Padraig Harrington took The Open Championship and the PGA in 2008. Woods, Harrington, Nick Price and Walter Hagen are the only other players to win The Open and the PGA in the same season. McIlroy is also the first player since Tiger in 2007-08 to win three straight tournaments. McIlroy has won his four majors since Woods won his last at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Alas, I did not pick McIlroy, who obviously will be PGA Tour Player of the Year, because I never thought he would three weeks in row, but when the guy is on he's as good as Tiger was in his prime. Maybe McIlroy is done having a few lows and he will totally control the game for the next 5-10 years. Next April at Augusta will be something as he goes for the career Grand Slam. I thought Sergio Garcia might win but I did recommend taking a Big 4 that included McIlroy (and Garcia) against the Field and that paid off at +165. I also hit on McIlroy at -250 for a Top 10 along with Fowler (+175), who finished in the Top 5 of all four majors.
There is definitely a letdown this week with a very weak field at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield CC in Greensboro, N.C. The event is really in a lousy spot in the schedule: following the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship and before the start of next week's FedEx Cup playoffs. So, yep, this is the end of golf's 2013-14 regular season. Thus the highest-ranked player in the world entered is only No. 18 Hideki Matsuyama. The key here is to be inside the Top 125 in FedEx Cup points to qualify for next week. That's where the drama will be, with those guys right on the bubble. It should be noted that no player in the last four years has come to Greensboro lower than No. 135 in points and played his way into the FedEx Cup. If you are wondering, Paul Casey is at No. 125 right now with Sang-Moon Bae No. 126. Every player from No. 126-136 is in the field as you would expect.
Patrick Reed introduced himself to the casual golf fan last year at this event by beating Jordan Spieth in a playoff for his first Tour win. Reed's wife was his caddie that week. This tournament moved to Sedgefield in 2008 from Forest Oaks CC.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Wyndham Championship Favorites
Former FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker is the 14/1 Bovada favorite. He has great history in Greensboro with his first Tour win in 2007, a T5 in 2009 and T8 in 2010. Snedeker has only two Top 10s this year but is playing better. His T13 last week was his sixth Top 25 in his past seven events.
Matsuyama, Reed and Webb Simpson are all 18/1 at Bovada. Matsuyama has played here once, finishing 15th last year. He won the Memorial in June and hasn't missed a cut since April. Reed has added two more wins since his first here and will play on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He finished T4 at the Bridgestone but otherwise hasn't played very well since his victory at the WGC-Cadillac in March. Simpson won here in 2011 and was T11 last year. He usually plays well in his native North Carolina. Ernie Els, a late entry, rounds out the favorites at 22/1. Els made his own early charge Sunday at Valhalla and finished T7.
PGA Tour Picks: Wyndham Championship Predictions
On the Top-10 props, let's go with Snedeker at +135, Tim Clark at +250 and Simpson at +185. I like Clark at 7/4 over Els (3/2) as the top South African and Carl Pettersson at 6/1 as the top European. Take Casey as the top Englishman at -200 as he's going to be very motivated to play well. I'm not overly high on Matsuyama this week so I like Snedeker (-130) and Simpson (-115) against him head-to-head. Ditto Clark at -115 over Bill Haas (-115), Pettersson at -115 over Charles Howell III and Casey (-115) over Martin Laird (-115).
I'm a bit torn between two guys to win: Clark at 28/1 and Pettersson at 40/1. Clark was second here in 2012 and T6 in 2008. And for good karma, he won the last tournament following a major, the Canadian Open. He has struggled since then but he knows this course well as a former NC State player. Pettersson also played collegiately at NSCU. The Swede hasn't played since the Canadian Open and has missed 10 cuts. However, he won here in 2008 and was T4 in 2011 & '12. Let's go Clark.
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