2021 PGA Championship Golf Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
The PGA Championship is back and in a new spot on the calendar. This places this major in line being one that matters and not like some forgotten uncle at the back of the golf season.
With the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open having worldwide appeal, the PGA Championship is a distant fourth on anyone’s major list. However, golf fans love their favorites along with a newcomer. This tournament provides this regularly. For every Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, and Nick Price who have won at least two times in this event, we have a Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Shaun Micheel, and Rich Beem who captured the sport’s attention over four days and then for the most part returned to obscurity.
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The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is hosting this tournament a second time in the last nine years. It’s a foregone conclusion this course won’t play the same because the August date in 2012 came after a summer of humidity, wind, and rain with the temperatures higher. Though the humidity could vary, the course will play harder (in terms of the ground) with temps in the upper 70s to low 80s, with a persistent ocean breeze.
A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12 with the lowest golf odds (with ties) to win it all.
Rory McIlroy +1100 - Bryson DeChambeau +1400 - Jon Rahm +1400 - Jordan Spieth +1400
Justin Thomas +1400 - Dustin Johnson +1600 - Xander Schauffele +1800
Viktor Hovland +2000 - Collin Morikawa +2800 - Daniel Berger +2800
Brooks Koepka +3300 - Patrick Reed +3300 - Webb Simpson +3300
McIlroy won this tournament the last time it was played at this location, and he did it with a combination of length, superior iron play and finding the right tempo for the greens. The now 32-year old has played brilliantly or horribly since the November 2020 Masters, with six Top 16 finishes and three missed cuts. His last start was a win at Wells Fargo, and he could have that confident look again. Will be a heavy sportsbook choice.
Jordan Spieth lacks only a PGA Championship to complete a personal “Grand Slam”. Spieth has rediscovered his game and has posted seven Top 15s in his last eight stroke-play events. A typical reason for his lack of success in this tourney is the yardage. And while this will be the longest major ever by yards, the wind and harder conditions should benefit him.
Rahm, DeChambeau, Thomas, and D.J. all look a little off their standards. Each is capable of finding their game over a few holes and getting on a roll for four days to win. We're not saying that won’t happen for any of them, just coming in none of the four are in top form.
Morikawa is the defending champ, and he’ll look to match Koepka and go back-to-back as he did in 2018-19.
Schauffele has 10 Top 20’s in his 14 majors and was T-3 at the Masters last month. To win, he has to avoid final round overexcitement that keeps popping up.
Hovland has two Top 13’s and a pair of Top 30’s in four majors tries, and both of his PGA Tour titles have come on seashore paspalum turf, which the Ocean Course features.
Berger and Simpson are getting their games back together. And if they are sticking irons, both could be in the final three groups playing Sunday.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
The course is LONG, stretching out to 7,876 yards from the tips, making it the longest course in major championship history.
That means we will see more long iron shots, and those more skilled at keeping those shots on the putting surface will have an edge, regardless of distance off the tee.
From a hole-by-hole perspective, there are three par 3s over 205 yards. Six of the par 4s measure over 480 yards and there are three par 5s over 575 yards. For the average golfer, those are unfathomable distances. Not for these pros.
As opposed to last week’s Byron Nelson course, the greens are mainly elevated, and running a fairway wood or long iron up near the pin is very challenging. Given the various inclines and direction a ball could go based on speed and spin versus contour, that’s an unknown. That emphasizes those who can scramble around the greens and elevate shots that won’t be affected by the wind as much.
Because all 18 holes have a view of the ocean, the crosswinds are a tremendous factor. Nine years ago, when the wind was blowing 25+ MPH and gusting, the average score was over 78 in the second round. Players from Texas and those used to playing in the wind and having a lower ball flight will have an advantage.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
McIlroy is the favorite and it’s justified for golf picks. He has the certain something that all the great players have when they find a groove, they stay in it for a while. His game looks to have settled, and he’s back to having the “Rory stride” when walking the fairways. A choice to win, Top 5 and Top British & Irish player.
Spieth has played so well for so long. He knows how to play in the wind being from the Lone Star State, is a great scrambler, and regained the confidence of his putter. Definite Top 5 and Top 10 threat and solid choice in head-to-head action.
Everyone is talking about the course length. However, hitting irons on greens, putting well and scrambling will matter more. With Daniel Berger a Top 20 player in greens in regulation, birdie average and scoring, he’s quietly a looming threat.
Taking a flyer on Patrick Reed. A known grinder who usually plays well on tougher courses. Reed does his best work on courses where the winning score is -12 or lower. Top 20 play and a possible Top 10 pick.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour. Doug’s 3-1-1 in winning weeks in his last five and after more for this major.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 21 Documented No. 1 Titles - 94 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 24 Handicapper of the Month Awards. Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.