2017 US PGA Championship Betting Tips & Predictions
Although our golf winners have dried up in recent weeks, we certainly don’t lack healthy returns as we hit the places with both Charley Hoffman (70/1) and Rory McIlroy (10/1) last week in the Bridgestone Invitational. It’s good to know that our selection process is working and all we need is that little bit of luck to get back to the winners enclosure. Huge congratulations to Hideki Matsuyama who won at Firestone last week with an exceptional final round of 61, on what is a very tough golf course. We move on to the final major of the year and boy it promises to be an exciting one.
USPGA Championship Course
This is the first time Quail Hollow will have hosted a golf tournament since the Wells Fargo Championship in 2016, when James Hahn went on to taste success. In that time there have been some interesting changes to the track which should make it an exciting week, to say the least. Firstly, the rough is up and the course will be playing faster than normal so high scores are expected.
Measuring 7,600 yards in length, this Par 71 course has been updated by Tom Fazio over the past 12 months. There are three new holes which include an opening Par 4 measuring 524 yards, a proper beast of a hole to get the players under way. This was done by merging the old first and second holes. Holes four and five are also new, made from the old Par 5 fifth hole. Thankfully they didn’t touch the famous “Green Mile”, the toughest finish in golf.
The greens will play a pivotal role in determining which player will come out on top this week and it’s interesting that they have changed the greens to a type of grass called Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda. This will ensure that the greens will be lightning quick and will have a true roll. I think this is a very wise move because the greens were absolutely atrocious in 2013 on the old bentgrass greens.
Interestingly and surprisingly, thousands of trees have been removed from the golf course. This was done to allow more sunlight on the fairways and greens which should in turn make them quicker. The flip-side is it may make the course a touch more forgiving but as already mentioned, they have let the rough grow to compensate this. All in all, it will be a very tough test for the players.
The weather forecast is NOT GOOD! Thunderstorms are hitting Charlotte in North Carolina as we speak and are forecast to continue for the week. Hopefully this won’t spoil what promises to be a terrific tournament and we really hope play doesn’t get suspended but it looks 50/50.
The good news for Rory McIlroy this week is the weather! The forecast thunderstorms have hit. But why would this be good for Rory? His record around here is exceptional and he has a habit of winning on week’s where there are storms and soft conditions. Off the top of my head, he won at Kiawah Island in 2012 and Valhalla in 2014 when both events were severely disrupted by storms. It suits his game because he is so long and straight off the tee so it gives him a distinct advantage. His recent split from long time caddy JP Fitzgerald may have been a good thing for him too. There’s nothing wrong with a change of scenery when things aren’t going to plan. He has shown enough in the past two weeks to suggest he could win again at Quail Hollow, but at 8/1 we will have to pass.
Only five golfers have won the Career Grand Slam of majors; Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. This makes this week a big ask for current Open Championship winner Jordan Spieth, who has also won the Masters and US Open. He wouldn’t be the straightest man off the tee which could spell trouble for him here but as the saying goes it is “putting for dough” and no player putts better than this man. He will need another great week with the short stick to stand a chance. Let’s move on to our selections for the big tournament this week!
Enough is enough. It is time Hideki got this major hoodoo off his back. We all know he probably is the best golfer in the world right now when it comes to an all round game and if he can handle the pressure this week, he has a huge chance. He arrives here off the back of an emphatic victory in the Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied the course record on Sunday, shooting a stunning 61. Although it wasn’t here at Quail Hollow, he finished 4th in the USPGA last year at Baltusrol Golf Club and played well around here last year in the Wells Fargo, where he finished 11th. His win at the weekend was his sixth in his last twenty events which is simply remarkable golf , considering how competitive the sport is nowadays and hopefully he can land his first major this week before going on to win many more and put Japan firmly on the golfing map of the world.
This is going to be some group to watch and I can’t wait! Rickie will play along side Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm! Looking at the ten year trends, Rickie simply has to have a massive each way chance this week and at 18/1 he looks a nice price. He won here in 2012, which is a huge box ticked, as course form on such a tough track is so important. He was third in this event in 2013, is in the world’s Top 25 players, has won in 2017 and has a Top 10 in one of his last two starts. These are the typical trends for the winner of the USPGA winner so it’s nice to know he ticks all the boxes. His driving accuracy and length off the tee will make life a bit easier for him this week, he is a superb iron player and a very solid putter who thrives in difficult conditions.
It was nice to see PGA Tour English journeyman Greg Owen finally break his duck on the tour in America last weekend, which just shows there’s hope for any player. I am not for one second saying Paul Casey is a journeyman because he is one of the world’s most consistent and best players at the moment but he does lack that killer instinct, which is the difference between a fat pay cheque and the winners circle. There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about his chances this week though. He is a great driver and hits it a long way. He had his best USPGA finish last year when he finished 10th, which should give him some confidence. He arrives here in great form; 11th in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and 5th at Firestone last weekend. His record at Quail Hollow is a slight concern; two missed cuts from three but he is a much more accomplished player now and we’re expecting a big tournament from him.
We are sticking with the long hitter theme this week and Tony is another man that has to enter the equation. We’re expecting the fairways and greens to soften up a bit this week due to the forecast thunderstorms so players will have to carry the ball a long way off the tee if they want to create a decent birdie opportunity for their approach shots. Tony hits it miles so this is a huge asset. He has two Top 30 finishes at Quail Hollow which is no disgrace and arrives here off the back of two Top 10 finishes from his last three events, which also include a Top 30 in the Open Championship. He was 10th in the USPGA two years ago so at 100/1 he is well worth a punt.
We need to pick one player who is on the European Tour this week and one player who may surprise a few this week is Dane Thorbjorn Olesen. The World No. 86 really caught my attention in the Bridgestone Invitational last week, the final WGC event of the season. He shot a very impressive final round 65 on Sunday to surge into the Top 10, which should give him the world of confidence heading to Quail Hollow this week. He is long off the tee which again is a plus and people forget the talent this man possesses. Sadly he has not gone on to the great heights expected of him seven or eight years ago but when he is on song he can mix it with the very best. He is a four time winner on the European Tour and he was 6th in the 2013 US Masters and wouldn’t be a a shock winner for me if he did go on to be successful.