The Masters – The U.S. Open – The Open Championship – The PGA Championship. One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. The PGA Championship has always struggled to live up to the prestige of the three biggest tournaments in golf. The $10,500,000 prize fund is the largest of any of this year’s majors and yet it still feels like it’s on a lower level than the rest.
The Olympics has not helped matters this year. The schedule has been upset and as a result the gap between the Open and the PGA has been minimal. When the first tee shot is struck on Thursday, less than eleven days will have passed since Henrik Stenson’s name was etched on the Claret Jug. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of markets to dig our teeth into this week. Let us not forget. This. Is. Major.
The first bet I’m keen to look at in these markets is a treble. Grégory Bourdy for Top Frenchman, Emiliano Grillo for Top Argentinian and Søren Kjeldsen for Top Dane. At just 2.65/1 on Ladbrokes, the odds are hardly mouth-watering but they’re very fair. The three men are essentially in match bets with less than stellar opposition.
Bourdy only has Dubuisson to beat. The ‘Mercurial Frenchman’ tag has never fit anyone so well as Victor Dubuisson. This week could end with him holding the Wanamaker Trophy or having missed the cut by sixteen shots. Neither would surprise me. The latter seems much more likely at the moment though. Gomez and Olesen are in similar boats. Both are struggling for form and coming up against in form rivals. I think all three should be their country’s best at the end of the week.
I was desperate to oppose Hideki Matsuyama in some market this week. The Japanese superstar has all the talent in the world but seems absolutely lost right now. A scoring average of 73.8 since the Players Championship shows just how poor he has been. Still as short as 1/5 in the Top Japanese golfer market, you can see why he needs to be bet against.
Though I had a good look at the Top Japanese golfer market, it’s the Top Asian market that I’ll be playing. Si Woo Kim looks a bit too big at 12/1. The 21-year-old has a great chance here as almost every other golfer in this market is playing poorly at the moment. Kim followed his playoff loss at the Barbasol with a Top 25 in Canada and is looking sharp coming in this week. With 3 Places at 1/4 Odds, an each way bet at 12/1 will pay off double your stake for a place and that seems very fair to me.
First Round Leader
The man behind Baltusrol GC, A.W. Tillinghast, also had his hand in Firestone CC, the host of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The two courses align quite nicely and if it weren’t for the Olympics then we would’ve had a brilliant guide. The return of golf in Rio has moved the WGC up the schedule away from the PGA Championship. The leaderboard will still have some helpful pointers though. William McGirt was three shots clear after Thursday that week and despite an afternoon tee time at Baltusrol, I fancy him to stake his claim early once again.
At 125/1, McGirt is definitely worth chancing with his solid Tillinghast form and recent successes. The 37-year-old hasn’t been the picture of consistency of late but he has played enough good golf to convince me that at a course that should fit, he’s a very decent bet. Paddy Power are offering seven places in their First Round Leader market and at the price, any decent round on Thursday should give us a chance of a nice return.
Rocco Mediate is a name that hasn’t been seen in a regular major tournament since 2011. The 53-year-old won this year’s Senior PGA Championship to earn his spot in this field and at 50/1, I’ll be betting that he can turn back the clock and manage a Top 20 finish.
The Pennsylvania native has only appeared once on the PGA Tour this year, finishing in the Top 25 at the Barracuda Championship. That event is the very definition of a birdie fest and I think the score staying closer to par will help Mediate. It is probably well beyond his reach to win but it’s worth noting that the guys in T18 at the Open were twenty shots back of the leader, that’s definitely in Rocco’s wheelhouse.