US PGA Championship Preview

US PGA Championship

A bit earlier than usual, we have reached the fourth and final golf major of the year and Bellerive Country Club is the venue for the US PGA Championship.

The St Louis course has not been used as a Major venue since 1992 and hasn’t held a PGA Tour event for ten years, so many of the players will not have played the set up ahead of this week.

Previous PGA Winners

Defending champion Justin Thomas couldn’t be much happier about his game going into this week’s event. The American recorded his second tournament victory of the season, with a four-stroke success at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Thomas, 15.00 to win the final Major of 2018, has had a mixed time in the other three Majors – missing the Cut at the Open Championship, after securing top-25 finishes at both the Masters and the US Open.

Another former winner who definitely should be considered when eyeing the golf betting is Jason Day, who also heads to Bellerive in good form.

The Australian won the title in 2015 and his recent showings suggest he is getting back to his best. His last three tournaments (Travelers Championship, The Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) have seen him claim T12, T17 and T10 finishes.

Day (21.00 to win the event and 7.25 for a top-five finish) also has an impressive record in the US PGA Championship, finishing T8, T15, Winner, 2nd and T9 in the last five years.

Two-time champion Rory McIlroy is another who has to be considered, with the world number five another player to have recaptured his form in recent weeks.

After finishing T2 at Carnoustie, the Northern Irishman followed that up with a T6 at last week’s WGC event and an improvement in weekend scoring could see challenge at Bellerive.

Back-to-back rounds of 70 on Saturday and Sunday weren’t good enough for McIlroy (12.00 to be crowned champion on Sunday) at The Open, while a final round 73 cost him any chance at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Tiger Woods has gone two better than McIlroy, with four US PGA Championship titles to his name, although his last came back in 2007.

The 14-time Major winner has missed the cut three times in his last five appearances in this event, although he hasn’t played in the PGA Championship since 2015.

Woods though has moved back up to 51st in the world rankings, after two top-10 finishes in his last three tournaments, and can’t be ruled out at 21.00 to claim his 15th Major title this weekend.

Strong USA challenge

Five of the world’s top-10 players are American and there’s a strong chance that a US player will come out on top this weekend. Not only have four of the last seven winners been from the United States, but 10 of the last 15 Major champions have been American.

Having won three Majors in the last three years, Jordan Spieth is looking to maintain his recent fantastic record.

Spieth – 14.50 to be Top American – finished second to Day in 2015 before finishing T13 and T28 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka are looking to join the select band of golfers that have won two Majors in the same year and both are high in the betting.

It’s US Open champion Koepka who is shorter in the Outright market, at 21.00, while Masters winner Reed can be backed at 34.00.

We’ve still not yet mentioned the world number one, with Dustin Johnson the current 9.00 favourite to lift the Wanamaker trophy.

Johnson finished T13 at Quail Hollow last year and already has two top-10 finishes in the first three Major tournaments of 2018. The 34-year-old has already gained three wins on US Tour this year and current sits first in ‘Scoring Average’ and ‘Birdie Average’ stats.

European bid for success

Baring McIlroy’s two victories, the only other European to win in the last nine years is Martin Kaymer. The German though has not won a tournament since 2014 and that’s why he is as big as 151.00 to repeat his 2010 success.

The English contingent of Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter will fancy their chances of a big week at Bellerive Country Club.

Rose, 8.00 to be Top European, missed the Cut at last year’s US PGA Championship but has had two previous top-five finishes in the final Major of the year.

Fleetwood meanwhile, impressed many again on the big stage this year – finishing T17 at the Masters, second at the US Open and T12 at The Open Championship.

The man from Southport is 3.60 to finish in the Top 10 and looks a decent bet at 1.76 to beat playing partner Marc Leishman in Thursday’s first round.

Francesco Molinari is looking to build on his brilliant victory at Carnoustie and collect a second Major success in the same year.

The Italian, 5.30 to be Top Continental European, came close to his debut Major success in this tournament last year when finishing T2, two shots behind Justin Thomas. It was a third round 74 that ultimately cost Molinari the trophy.

Along with Rose, McIlroy and Molinari, Jon Rahm is the other European currently in the world’s top 10.

Many pundits had been predicting that the Spaniard would make the breakthrough as a Major winner this year, but it’s not worked out as he would have hoped.

After a 4th-place finish at The Masters, Rahm missed the Cut at both the US Open and The Open Championship and is 26.50 to claim victory on Sunday.

Far Eastern title hopes

This tournament remains the only Major won by an Asian golfer, following YE Yang’s shock victory back in 2009.

At the age of 46, he is now outside the top 300 in the world and that’s why the man from South Korea can be backed at 49.00 to finish as the Top Asian Player this week.

The best chance of an Asian victor at Bellerive looks to be Hideki Matsuyama (41.00 Outright Winner), with the Japanese star the only player from his continent in the top-20 of the world rankings.

Although Matsuyama is yet to win on Tour in 2018, the 26-year-old looks to be getting closer to a first Major title. He’s recorded top-20 finishes at the Masters and US Open and has been T4 and T5 in the last two USPGA Championships.