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USPGA Betting Preview

4/8/2014
The 2014 edition of the USPGA takes place at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla golf course in Louisville, Kentucky.

Named after the great Viking hall of Norse legend, the course is long – the average hole is 418 yards – and could play longer if the expected rain and bad weather materialises.

After winning two consecutive tournaments, including the British Open, Rory McIlroy is priced like Tiger Woods in his peak at 5/1.

Most golf punters will blanche at those odds in a 156-man field, but Rory's form is impeccable, and any bad weather should favour long hitters who can power their ball through stodgy fairways.

After his win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week, McIlroy proclaimed he was in the best form of his life.

"When I say mentally it's the best I've ever been, I didn't get ahead of myself. I didn't start to think about my score. I didn't think about where I was in the tournament. I just kept playing my shot after shot after shot."

"I feel like the run of golf courses we've got coming up are going to suit me. I haven't seen Valhalla, but from what I heard you need to hit it pretty long and drive the ball well."

Trends Analysis

• The last 8 winners have finished inside the top 22 of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, which has become somewhat of a warm-up for the final major

• Apart from 2013 every winner since 2004 had averaged 290+ yards per drive on Tour before their victory

•11 of the last 13 winners have already won a tournament that season.

• 8 of the last 10 winners have ranked in the top-ten on the Tour in Greens in Regulation

• 14 of the last 17 winners were ranked inside the top-21 in the world

• The past 4 winners at Valhalla have had a top-3 at Muirfield Village, another course designed by Nicklaus, with "striking similarities" to Valhalla

Sergio Garcia fits into all six categories, so may be well worth an e/w bet at 18/1

Rory McIlroy fits into five of these six categories. He doesn't have a top 3 finish at Muirfield Village. However in the 2014 tournament in May he played exceptionally well except for a second round 78. If all players had their second round scores removed, he would have won the tournament by two shots.

Outsiders with a chance

JB Holmes – 80/1 – Like Valhalla itself, Holmes is a Kentucky native, and is therefore intimately familiar with the course. He was unbeaten here in 3 matches at the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Last week he showed some quality if not consistency, for 26th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and should improve on that at the USPGA, with some massive odds.

Matt Kuchar – 33/1 – This selection is based on Kuchar's success at Muirfield Village. Kuchar has 5 top 10s in his last 6 outings there, including a win in 2013.

He also closed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a -5 round on Sunday, proving he is capable of posting low scores and handling a long course.
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