PGA Championship betting: Steve’s top tips
It’s very creative of me to be on Rory McIlroy (7/1) two weeks in a row I realise, but I didn’t see anything at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone that makes me doubt he could lift a third PGA Championship.
Epic as always off the tee, McIlroy’s putting looked much more decisive than in recent months. They’re still not quite going into the hole, but they’re much closer – and struck with much more authority.
Following his display last week, maybe people will stop chirping up about the JP effect as well. Changing caddie has had no detrimental impact on his game at all – rather as I suspected.
In between, he’s also finished 2nd, 10th, 8th and 4th. There can be no doubt this is a track that suits his game in every way. The recent changes – particularly to the start – may only enhance that.
He’s the favourite here for a reason.
If McIlroy’s record at Quail Hollow is part of the reason why he’s getting so much attention, then it would be folly to ignore the merits of Rickie Fowler (22/1) at more than three times the price.
There’s a suspicion that Fowler is brittle under the spotlight of major contention – and his US Open final round struggles won’t have alleviated those concerns.
He’s continued, though, to be in relatively good touch and put together some excellent stuff in the final round at Firestone.
Having won at Quail Hollow in 2012 as well as recording a fourth place last year, it would be no surprise to see him in the frame.
PGA Championship betting: Steve’s each-way tip
It’s been a tough old season for Jason Day (22/1). The early part saw the Australian coping with illness to his mother and injury stalks him at every stage. That’s why I was interested to see him around the fringes of the leaderboard at Firestone.
There have been pockets of good form for the former world number one in recent weeks – most notably a runners-up finish at the Byron Nelson and first and third rounds of 69 and 65 at Royal Birkdale.
He was very frustrated with how he closed round three at the Bridgestone and spurned some easily attractive opportunities over the first couple of days. But what I really took out of it was how much better his game looked in general – not only tee to green but on the dancefloor as well.
Day’s often quoted as a potential US Open winner in waiting but I firmly believe the PGA is much more his event. Obviously, he won in 2015 but he also finished second to Jimmy Walker last year and can look back on a further top ten in 2013.
If Day’s running into form, and the PGA Championship is on the horizon, it makes sense to have a dabble.
PGA Championship betting: Steve’s outsider tips
First, the bad news. Unlike McIlroy’s switch to Harry Diamond, Phil Mickelson (70/1) has not had quite the smooth transition from from Bones to brother Tim. A missed cut at the Open and an under par display at Firestone isn’t the ideal way to go into the year’s final major.
Consider also that Mickelson hasn’t won anywhere since lifting the Claret Jug in 2013 and you might be asking why I’ve got him anywhere near my betting slip.
It’s mainly because his record at Quail Hollow is fantastic. People bang on about McIlroy – me included, see above – but Phil’s performances at this North Carolina track in the last four years read: 3rd, 11th, 4th, 4th.
I feel like I’m late to the party with Charley Hoffman (80/1) but, given he’s still a big price, I’ll be popping a few quid his way.
Hoffman’s worst finish in this year’s majors is tied 22nd at the Masters. That was only after a final round 78. A top 10 followed at Erin Hills and it feels like he’s in the frame at every tournament at the moment.
It’s got to be only a matter of time until the American wins another tournament. Could it come at Quail Hollow?
With some firms offering place markets down to 10th, I’m happy to be including a form horse in my portfolio.
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