We are only about 4 months late but golf is giving us our first major event of the season. We get a San Francisco treat this week with the PGA Championship from Harding Park just half a mile or so from the Pacific Ocean.
Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and world #1 Justin Thomas share a spot at the top of the betting board at 10-1 for a victory. These two young guns are responsible for the last 3 PGA Championship wins.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be in a group with JT, who won last week’s WGC event at TPC Southwind. Rory isn’t far back at 14-1 and Tiger comes in at (+2800).
Historically, a more or less straightforward golf course, Harding Park is rumored to be tougher than ever this year for players. It will have to be because the field, as you might imagine, is thicker than a Snicker. The course is mostly straight off the tee but rather narrow.
The greens are notoriously fast and breezy conditions on Thursday and likely continuing into the weekend should keep ‘em quick.
Proper approach play will be paramount as it has been in years past at this course. The same can be said about driving distance, though, as the last 9 winners have all been 300+ off the tee on the season.
The online sportsbook BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for this week’s PGA Championship. Let’s take a look and make some picks.
Daniel Berger: +140
I almost picked this killer to get the W but he isn’t super strong off the tee and I really think the winner is going to be a bomber.
Daniel is playing out of his mind right in 2020 and averages just 1 yard below the 300-yard mark in driving distance.
His approach and putting, though, outstanding.
(+140) for a top twenty finish in a major aren’t the best odds but I will take it still.
Minus a missed cut at The Memorial, here are Daniel’s previous six finishes: 2,3,1,4,5,9…
Viktor Hovland: +175
It doesn’t get more long and straight off the tee than the play of the young Norweigian, Viktor Hovland.
He would have won the 3-man playoff between himself, fellow super soph Colin Morikawa, and Justin Thomas at the Charity Open just over a month ago if the hole placement was more centered to the tee.
Hovland was out-driving them but had a couple of errant drives when the leg started to dog.
He still came within one shot of winning that tournament and that was played on Jack’s course, Muirfield Village which is extremely tricky.
Sneaky tricky is harder than obvious tricky. Jiu-Jitsu taught me that.
A high level submission grappler, especially BJJ, will make you feel comfortable and confident enough to where you hang yourself.
A catch wrestler is going to make you uncomfortable enough to where you hang yourself.
Both methods work but I would much rather someone provide discomfort and give me a chance than to completely fool me as my approach shot bounces over the hole, the green, and into the water.
Listening to Nicklaus commentate during that tournament giving details on the intricacies and nuances of each hole and shot was such a treat and I learned quite a bit.
I like Vik to hit it long and far giving himself continued opportunities at birdie through the weekend.
Brooks Koepka: +1000
He has won the tournament two years in a row and this particular course benefits him on paper better than the last two.
He’s also back!
He looked great last week at the St Jude finishing second. He did fade in the 4th round, though, only shooting 1 under for the day while the winner, JT, pulled away shooting 5 under for the round.
He is more powerful off the tee than JT, though, and I think that is going to give him the edge on a lot of the other top guys.
Then he will pull ahead of the Viktor Hovland’s and “D-Bol” DeChambeau’s of the world by dropping dimes on fast greens over the weekend.
If it was that simple then…
It is that simple and history could repeat itself for the third straight year for Brooks.
Nobody was expecting him to play well in the tourney right before a major but he did.
That tells me he is locked in.
This looks to be a really fun tournament.
I keep hearing officials warning players that the course is going to play so difficult but I just don’t see it.
I think this extended break really helped a lot of the golfers on Tour get not only the physical breaks they needed to heal up but an extended mental break like that one is invaluable.
This is especially true when we are talking about the best players in the world in a sport that is mostly mental.
Let’s hope Brooks outduels Rory for the win.
It would be pretty special to see them too go at it down the stretch.
I know some people that are on DJ and I know he looks great on paper but I don’t know where his form is.
Daniel Berger, on the other hand…
He has been outstinkingstanding since the break.
Get your bets in now, guys, and enjoy the first major tournament of the year!