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Betting preview: The PGA Championship

3/5/2019
Can you believe it? In our Augusta Masters preview, we didn’t even mention eventual winner Tiger Woods.

Considering the hype following the 43-year-old wherever he goes, it was easy to shrug the Masters off as another damp squib in the “will he, won’t he ever win a major again?” saga. How wrong we were.

At 9/1 to win the PGA Championship, Woods is a good price for a favourite and we won’t be making the mistake of not giving him a name-check once more. He has his aura back; would anyone wager against him winning his fifth PGA Championship, considering he also won the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black?

In that Masters preview, two of our three picks finished in the top 12. That’s not a bad haul by any means, although we were let down by then-favourite Rory McIlroy, who tied for 21st and never even looked like being a winning each-way bet.

It’s difficult to view McIlroy as good value at 10/1 for that reason this time around. Unlike the Masters, he has won the PGA Championship twice, while his form elsewhere this season has been very strong indeed. The Northern Irishman however, is now without a major victory in his last 16 attempts, with his last triumph coming in 2014.

Brooks Koepka, at 12/1, looks a far more appealing proposition. The 29-year-old has won three of the calendar’s last seven majors, including last year’s PGA Championship, and tied for second at Augusta.

Two other perennial favourites are Dustin Johnson (9/1) and Justin Thomas (12/1). The duo haven’t won a major between them in a while but are consistently priced among the favourites. Thomas tied for 12th at the Masters, tied for sixth at last year’s PGA Championship and won the tournament in 2017, although a potential wrist problem could hinder him here.

Likewise, Johnson returned to form at the Masters, finishing tied for second, but his best PGA Championship run was back in 2010 – ending in a fifth-place finish.

Justin Rose (16/1) looks in worse shape, not making the cut at the Masters and not finishing higher than 19th at the PGA Championship since 2015. His record at Bethpage Black also looks uninviting.

Francesco Molinari looks a better bet at 20/1, having made the top five at Augusta, the top six at last year’s PGA Championship – and finishing runner-up the year before that.

Jon Rahm completes the bookmakers’ top eight at 18/1. Tied for ninth at the Masters and making the top four at last year’s PGA Championship, the Spaniard is certainly in with a shout.

By Tim Poole
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