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PGA Championship Betting News and Notes

PGA Championship Betting News and Notes

PGA Championship Preview and Picks
By Matt Fargo

This week we have the final Major of the season as the PGA Championship will be contested from Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. This is the first major for Oak Hill since the 2003 PGA Championship when Shaun Micheel stunned the field and brought home the Wanamaker Trophy as the 169th ranked player in the world. Because of the lack of experience here for a lot of the players, it evens out the field in that regard so there are not many advantages from a history standpoint.

This is the third time the East Course at Oak Hill has hosted the PGA Championship. Of all the players that teed it up in 2003, 37 of those are back this year which is roughly 24 percent of field that has seen the course under tournament conditions. In addition to 2003, it was contested here in 1980 with Jack Nicklaus winning by seven shots over Andy Bean to capture his 17th Major victory. The East Course has also hosted three U.S. Opens and a Ryder Cup so it is not a stranger to big events.

The East Course is a par 70, 7,163-yard track designed by Donald Ross. It has gone through several modifications throughout the years but Ross' trademark small greens and course routing are still present. It takes pride in its namesake oak trees which can cause trouble for errant tee shots. Making matters even worse, the fairways are less than 30 yards wide and the rough this week is long and dense so missing the short grass will force a lot of layups as advancing the ball will not be an option in most places.

While the course itself is a challenge, parity remains constant in the majors as of the last 20 Majors, there have been 18 different winners with Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson being the only two-time Major winners over that span. Since 1993, there have been 16 different winners of the PGA Championship with only Tiger Woods (4) and Vijay Singh (2) being repeat winners which adds even more complication to the scenario. This tournament is known for its surprising winners.

The favorite this week is Tiger Woods (+350) and a big one at that. He is coming off his fourth victory of the season at the Bridgestone Invitational this past week and that was his eighth win at Firestone. Woods last won the PGA Championship in 2007 which was his fourth and his 13th Major championship at the time. He played in 2003 at Oak Hill and it wasn't pretty as he shot 12 over, good for T39.

The defending champion is Rory McIlroy (+2,500) who ran away with an eight-shot victory at Kiawah Island - The Ocean Course. He later won at the Deutsche Bank Championship and the next week at the BMW Championship but he has not won since. An equipment change could be part of the problem but any way you look at it, something is not right. He does not have a top 25 in his last four starts.

Because of the short price on Tiger, we are catching great odds on others including Matt Kuchar (+2,500). He has yet to win a Major but he looks ready as ever. He has two wins on the season to go along with five other top tens including two runner-ups. He has not missed a cut this season and in the first three Majors, he has a T8 at the Masters, a T28 at the U.S. Open and a T15 at the Open Championship.

We used Henrik Stenson (+2,500) last week and if not for Tiger's runaway, he would have been right in the mix. I do not see a reason to get off him as he has been on a roll. He is coming off his third runner-up of the season and has two other top tens while being around in contention at all of the Majors. He is second on tour in greens hit, fourth in total driving and second in ball striking.

It has not been the best season for Luke Donald (+3,000) but it hasn't been horrible either. He is ranked ninth in the world and is still gunning for that elusive first Major. He missed back-to-back cuts at the Open Championship and the RBC Canadian Open but he came back with a T9 at the Bridgestone last week, his fourth top ten of the season. He is accurate off the tee and still one of the best scramblers in the game.

Keegan Bradley (+3,000) won the PGA Championship in 2011 and finished T3 last year and while the venues are different, I think he keeps his success going. He is coming off a T2 at Firestone last week so he was right there once again if it wasn't for Tiger. He has not won since last year's Bridgestone Invitational but he does have eight top tens including four top threes.

This week's longshot will be Graeme DeLaet (+15,000). If there is a Major that can produce a longshot, this is the one as we have seen it before and we have seen it on this course. DeLaet disappointed us at the Canadian Open with a missed cut but his stats prove to fit the bill here as he is first on tour in greens hit and first in total driving. His five top tens shows he can contend.

Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at the PGA Championship (all for One Unit)

Matt Kuchar (+2,500)
Henrik Stenson (+2,500)
Luke Donald (+3,000)
Keegan Bradley (+3,000)
Graeme DeLaet (+15,000)

2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 30 events: -35.4 Units

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Re: PGA Championship Betting News and Notes

PGA Championship Preview

It's the final major of the year, as Oak Hill Country Club hosts the PGA Championship for the first time in a decade. The 2003 tournament featured a lack of star power at the top, as Shaun Micheel, entering the tournament 169th in the world rankings, edged out Chad Campbell. Only three players broke par that week. Here are the Best Bets for what's shaping up to be another wild week at a major...

Tiger Woods (7/2): There are two problems with betting Tiger. First, there's the fact that as a significant favorite the payout is meager. And second, he hasn't won a major since limping through that playoff with Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open (not to mention, he didn't shoot par in any of his four rounds en route to a T39 finish at Oak Hill in 2003).
Adam Scott (15/1): The last three years at majors has included four top-3's, six top-10's, and nine top-25's over 13 events for Scott. That includes a win at Augusta. He's also coming off a solid T14 showing at the Bridgestone Invitational, and went T3 at the other WGC stroke play tournament, the Cadillac Championship in March. In other words, he's consistently played his best golf in the biggest tournaments.

Zach Johnson (40/1): It's happening a little bit later than it did last year, but Johnson seems to be heating up. He's coming off three straight top-6 finishes, a playoff loss at the John Deere Classic followed by a T6 at the British Open and a T4 at Firestone last week. He's made four straight cuts at the PGA Championship (including two top-10's) and seems poised to contend at Oak Hill.

Henrik Stenson (30/1): It's been a year of surprise winners, and while Stenson has moved into the Tour's upper echelon, he's never won a major. That almost changed a few weeks ago, when he had a solo runner-up finish at the British, and he followed it up with a T2 at Firestone last week (his third runner-up of 2013).

Ernie Els (60/1): Even though he's in a late-career slide, Els has made the cut in six straight majors and finished no worse than T26 (including a T4 at the U.S. Open) in the first three of 2013. He's also one of the few players in this year's field who had a good week at Oak Hill back in 2003, when he finished T5.

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Re: PGA Championship Betting News and Notes

Picking the PGA Winner

The fourth and final major of the golf season gets going on Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York and after his dominating win at the Bridgestone Invitational over the weekend; Tiger Woods comes in as the favorite to claim the PGA.

Having Tiger (+300) as the favorite to win any major isn't exactly out of the norm the past few years but after how well he played last week it's tough to think he's not rounding into form for the PGA Championship. He spent the early part of the week before the Bridgestone last week playing a practice round or two at Oak Hill to get a feel for what to expect this week. He publicly blasted the greens as "patchy" and said the grounds crew would have a lot of work ahead of them to get the course up to PGA Championship standard. He prefers to play on tricky greens that run fast so we will have to see how quickly they are running come Thursday.

Phil Mickelson (+1200) is listed as the next favorite on the list but after he grinding out such a draining win at the British Open last month you've got to wonder how much he's mentally got in the tank. He came off yet another grueling 2nd place in the US Open in June and somehow managed to re-energize himself for a win at the Scottish Open and British Open in back-to-back weeks. Needless to say I think he's a bit drained and he won't be topping my list of potential winners this week.

However, two golfers that are high on my list are Hunter Mahan (+2500) and Lee Westwood (+2800).

Westwood was in contention all week at the British Open until a rough Sunday left him standing there and watching guys like Mickelson pass him for the win. Westwood is arguably the best golfer in this field yet to win a major and with him being on the wrong side of 40, he knows his opportunities are limited. He's had two top 10's in the three majors this year (British, Masters) and finished 15th at the US Open at Merion. He's always stepping up at Majors these days and it would be quite a shame if he can't eventually get over the hump and eventually win one.

Mahan has got to be fully energized after pulling out of the Canadian Open a few weeks back to be with his wife during the birth of their 1st born. Mahan had the lead at the time and was striking the ball wonderfully before he withdrew.

Like Westwood, Mahan has also had some great success in recent Majors, finishing 4th at the US Open and 9th at the British. Those two results are part of his best year at Major tournaments in a season and he would love to bring a trophy home to his newborn. He's got the skills to do it, was rounding into great form before he withdrew and his energy/excitement level to get back on the course and compete has got to be through the roof. Those are the types of players' I have no problem backing.

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Re: PGA Championship Betting News and Notes

PGA Championship Preview
By Dan Daly

I will be a guest on KVCE 1160 AM in Dallas during the Texas Links on the Air show this Saturday Aug. 10 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST breaking down the PGA Championship (right before Saturday leaders tee off) and all things golf.  You can also Listen Live at  Be sure to tune in, it should be an entertaining hour.

Before I get to Tiger and the PGA I have to go somewhere I never go…women’s golf.  First of all, just when I thought the LPGA couldn't be any worse, they cancel a round at the Old Course because of high winds. Are you kidding me? I honestly thought that was a joke at first. That’s like canceling the Winter Olympics because it’s snowing. Google the 2002 British Open at Murfield, watch the videos from their Saturday round, and tell me I’m still supposed to take women’s golf seriously.  On that note, I’m so glad that horrible story has gone away about the Park chick and her quest for a fake Grand Slam.  Surely the Golf Channel will now go back to regular golf coverage and stop wasting my time.  Moving on.

It sure was nice to bet on Tiger for the first time in a while and watch him win me all of my money back (and then some).  It was just like old times.

As for his week at Firestone, people by and large are idiots.  I really don’t know how else to say that any nicer.  Tiger shoots 61 Friday, wins the WGC by 100 shots and he gets criticized.  Are you kidding me?

“The old Tiger would have shot 59.”

Really?  The “old Tiger” never shot 59 in his heyday, in fact his 61 tied his career-best on tour back when he was the “old Tiger.”

“He really struggled over the weekend compared to Thursday/Friday just like he always does.  He’s not a closer anymore.”  Seriously?  He had a frickin’ seven-shot lead going into Saturday, still had a seven-shot lead going into Sunday and won by seven.  Yeah, total meltdown over the weekend…idiots.   

“Who cares, it’s not a major, wake me up when he does it in a major.”  Dude has won five times this year, including two World Golf Championships and The PLAYERS.  While I agree majors are what really matter, and Tiger definitely feels that way, every player on Tour would sign up for that résumé in about .0001 second. Hell, that’s a career for a lot of players.  As I said a few weeks ago, he will win a major sooner or later and when he does the pressure will be off and he will win a handful.  The question is when, not if.   

And yes, I saw Tiger use his son Charlie as a prop after he won this weekend to show that he is a father just like Phil.  It all needs to stop ASAP, we get it.

Tiger’s win this weekend leads to several good subplots going into the PGA Championship.

First, I might be the only person that sees the irony here but I will point it out anyway.  The week of the British Open, Mickelson was asked if he thought winning the Scottish Open would make it even harder to win the British.  Mickelson responded, "It's difficult to win the week before a major then the week after. Then again the last person to do're looking at him."  Again, Tiger was actually the last to do it when he won the WGC and then the PGA the following week in 2007.  And then after winning the Scottish Open and British Open Mickelson actually does hold that distinction.  The irony of course being that he might not even last a month with that distinction now that Tiger once again has won the WGC and is heavily favored to win the PGA this weekend.

The other subplot is the PGA Player of the Year is very much on the line this week between Tiger and FIGJAM Mickelson.  If Tiger wins, he locks that up.  If Mickelson wins, he locks it up.  If neither win the PGA Championship it will be very interesting to see who it goes to between the two of them (assuming Rose and Scott don’t win).  Pending the FedEx Cup playoffs of course.  Mickelson would seem to be the favorite, but again people are quick to write off Tiger’s year because he hasn’t won a major despite his overwhelming résumé otherwise.  More on both of them in a minute.

As for who to bet on this week (or not to bet on):

Justin Rose (15/1) and Adam Scott (20/1) – I think both will play well but I just don’t see either of them winning two majors in the same year.       

Rory McIlroy (30/1) – In my 2013 Preview I thought Rory would have it figured out by now and repeat this week.  Now…I wouldn’t take him at 30/1 to win the Oak Hill CC Club Championship, much less the PGA Championship.  He did show signs of improvement at Firestone this week, just like he did last year before he went off at the PGA, and no one flips a switch like Rory…but not this year.

Brandt Snedeker (25/1) – He will be a popular choice this week and rightfully so.  The putter is the greatest eraser ever made when it comes to a scorecard, and outside of Tiger at Firestone no one has putted better on tour as of late than Sneds.  He was one nine-hole stretch away from seriously contending at the British Open.   

Jason Dufner (40/1) – I still can’t believe he didn’t win the 2011 PGA Championship, and he won’t win the 2013 version either but I fully expect him to be near the top of the leaderboard.  I just want him to win the Wanamaker Trophy at some point to see how long it takes to fill it up as a spittoon.

Rickie Fowler (50/1) – Last I checked he still only has one win on tour, wake me up when he actually contends in another tournament, much less a major.

Henrik Stenson (50/1) – I actually think his odds are way too high.  He’s playing too good to be that long on odds and I have to imagine they will go down quite a bit during the week.  He won’t win of course because he no longer has Fanny Sunesson on the bag, but if you want to throw your money away on someone with inflated odds he’s your guy.

Lee Westwood (25/1) – This is still a major and he is still Lee Westwood right?  Fool me once shame on you, fool me 62 times, shame on me.   

Sergio Garcia (30/1) – This is still a major and he is still Sergio Garcia right?  I repeat, fool me once shame on you, fool me 60 times, shame on me. We are long since removed from the lovable Sergio we met at Medinah Country Club at the 1999 PGA Championship. 

Jason Day (25/1) – He’s like Angel Cabrera, only not nearly as cool.  He just shows up in majors.  He hasn’t broken through yet and probably won’t this week either, but he will be up there come Sunday and sooner than later he will win a major or two.

Shaun Micheel (A Trillion/1…or close to it) – He may be the defending PGA Champion at Oak Hill CC (2003) but I think it’s safe to say he won’t win again this week.  On Sunday he actually said, “They always talk about the best players to never win a Major.  I’m just glad they never talk about the worst player to ever win a major because I would be on the top of that list.”  Well said Shaun, well said.     

John Daly (N/A) – Former PGA Champion not able to compete this week due to injury.  Missed but never forgotten.  See you next year at Valhalla old friend.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have Woods at 5/1 (and sure to go down) and Mickelson at 12/1 as the two clear-cut favorites this week at PGA Championship.  In fact, I’m calling my shot right now. Tiger and Phil will be paired together in the final group on Sunday at Oak Hill.  At some point it has to happen right?  We are owed that as fans.  While I always hoped it would take place at Augusta, I actually think this week would be even better with all the side plots that would come with it.

One vs. Two…
The not so secretive rivalry…
Player of the year up for grabs…

The list goes on.  Not to mention it would be the highest rated golf round ever (unless it was Tiger and Sergio, which would actually top it).     

At 43-years-old, Mickelson is somehow playing the best golf of his life and his weekend at Firestone means nothing to me.  He has never played well there and his whole career at this point is all about majors.  As for Tiger, he clearly has his swing in check, his short game is back and more importantly he is making everything in sight.  Of course that has been the case almost all year and he has yet to close the deal over the weekend at a major…but I like his chances this week to break through (again, I know).

May the best father that uses their children as props win.   

In case you were curious, in the 2003 PGA Championship held at Oak Hill CC, Mickelson finished T23 after having a share of the first round lead while Tiger finished T39 playing all four rounds over par.

Finally this is a big week off the golf course as well.  It’s Shark Week and they have aired this commercial for two weeks on the golf channel and it makes me laugh every time.   
Wishing everyone a happy final major week of 2013.

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