Great ending at the final major of the season at Whistling Straits on Sunday as Aussie Jason Day won the PGA Championship for first Grand Slam title after coming close so many times. It clearly overwhelmed Day as he was very emotional after taking his final putt on Sunday. The title of best active player not to win a major now leaves his back and probably jumps on Dustin Johnson's.
In Sunday's final round, Day shot a 67 to win by three strokes over Jordan Spieth. Day's total of 20 under par was the lowest in major championship history, supplanting Tiger Woods' total of 19 under at the 2000 British Open. The PGA was the third major this year that Day either led or co-led after 54 holes. Well deserved indeed. Five of the last seven PGA Championship winners have now made the title their first major victory. As for Spieth, what an amazing year as to go with his Masters and U.S. Open wins he was one shot out of a playoff at the British and in the final pairing on Sunday at the PGA. Great stat: Spieth faced a total of 561 players this year at majors and was only beaten by four of them. Spieth has supplanted Rory McIlroy as No.1 in the world.
I hit on Spieth at -150 for a Top 10 and Day at +130. Missed on Bubba Watson (T21) and Hideki Matsuyama (T37), who was my best value to win. Also hit on Day at +110 as the top Aussie and a "rest of the world" winner at +350. Won on Jim Furyk (-150) over Zach Johnson (+115), Matsuyama (-130) over Sergio Garcia (even), Rickie Fowler (-115) over Adam Scott (-115), and Martin Kaymer (-170) over Tiger Woods (+120). I did take Tiger to make the cut at -165 but he didn't, missing for a third straight major.
You won't see many big names this week at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., because they all have played the previous two weeks at the PGA and the WGC-Bridgestone and expect to be playing the next four weeks in the FedEx Cup playoffs. And that's what this tournament is all about: those players outside the Top 125 trying to get in and qualify for the playoffs. All but 12 players from Nos. 85-185 in the points are entered
That's why Woods is playing this event for the first time, but he needs a minor miracle for his 2014-15 PGA Tour season not to end here. Woods is 187th in the points and needs no worse than a solo second to move into the Top 125. The current No. 125 is Charl Schwartzel, he's playing this week and needs only a 48th-place finish to guarantee entry into the playoffs. No. 126 is Scott Langley and he's playing as well. Former world No. 1 Luke Donald is at No. 124 and also playing.
Over the previous eight years, 19 players have crossed from outside the playoff cut line into the first playoff event thanks to their result at the Wyndham Championship. Some other notable names on the outside looking in are K.J. Choi (No. 147), Martin Kaymer (149), Ernie Els (170), Davis Love III (186) and Justin Leonard (191). They are all playing. Choi and Els have never missed the playoffs. No one in the past five years has played this tournament outside No.135 on the points list and left with a playoff berth.
The defending champion here is Camilo Villegas and he's currently 129th in the points. Last year, Villegas shot a 7-under 63 on Sunday and finished at 17-under 263 for his first PGA Tour win since 2010. Villegas has never moved from outside the Top 125 into the playoffs at Sedgefield, however.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Wyndham Championship Favorites
I believe this is the first time I've written this sentence, but Brooks Koepka is the Bovada favorite this week at +1200. Koepka is a good player, but that tells you all you need to know about the strength of the field. Koepka was T5 last week and 38th here in his debut last year with a final-round 64.
Brandt Snedeker and Matsuyama are +1600. Snedeker's first PGA Tour win was at this tournament eight years ago and he was T5 last year. Snedeker comes off a T12 at the PGA. Matsuyama missed the cut here in 2014.
The favorites are rounded out by Scott (+1800), the highest-ranked player in the field, and Branden Grace (+2000). I'm honestly surprised Scott is playing. Maybe he was peeved with his missed cut last week. It's his first trip to this event. Ditto for Grace, who was T3 last week and has six Top-20 finishes in his last seven worldwide starts.
PGA Tour Picks: Wyndham Championship Betting Predictions
For a Top 10, I like Koepka (+115), Grace (+167) and Justin Thomas (+205). I have no expectations for Tiger this week; I don't think he much cares if he makes the playoffs but at least wants to look he's trying. Head-to-head, go Paul Casey (-115) over Ryan Moore (-115), Donald (-125) over Harris English (-105), Jason Dufner (-120) over Nick Watney (-110), Grace (-125) over Billy Horschel (-105), Webb Simpson (-115) over Kaymer (-115), and Matsuyama (-120) over Scott (-110).
I'll go with Donald as the top European at +450 as he has to play well to ensure he doesn't fall out of the Top 125. Give me Schwartzel as the top South African at +260 because he's in the same boat. Yes, over Grace even.
Bill Haas is tempting at +2800 to win as he went to school in the area (Wake Forest) and has three straight Top 20s here, including a runner-up last year. But I'll go with Simpson at +2500. He won here in 2011 and even named his daughter, born last year, Wyndham. Simpson hasn't been worse than 22nd here in the past five trips.
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