Trends abound in sports betting but the key to finding the winner of the PGA Championship may be following two of the more established patterns pertaining to the major event.
Every winner of the PGA Championship since the Bridgestone Invitational became the tournament that precedes it on the PGA Tour calendar has entered into the final major event of the year off the back of a top-22 finish at Firestone. And 14 of the last 16 PGA Championship winners had won a title of some description earlier in the season of their major triumph. The 16 PGA Championship entrants who qualify by meeting both criteria are, in alphabetical order, Steven Bowditch, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Branden Grace, Soren Kjeldsen, Brooks Koepka, Danny Lee, David Lingmerth, Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Robert Streb, Bubba Watson and Danny Willett.
Now one is going to factor in analysis of Whistling Straits, which is hosting its third PGA Championship after staging the tournament in 2004 and 2010, to eat into that 16-man short list. Whistling Straits is a long, technical course situated by the coast that is one of many Pete Dye designs in regular use for high-level competitions. So one is keen on the chances of golfers who have length off the tee, good form in windy conditions because Whistling Straits is open to the elements and decent results on other tracks that Dye created, which include the famous TPC Sawgrass layout. Plus one always gravitates to the favourites in the major events because, while shocks do occur from time to time, the cream rises to the top of the leaderboard more often than not.
Of the PGA Championship favourites – the golfers in the top 10 in the market – one likes Jason Day at odds of +1400 with several bookmakers, including Betfred and Coral, and Rickie Fowler at odds of +2200 with 888Sport
Day is the best active golfer not to win a major title but it is not because he is a choker; he has taken out two PGA Tour events this year. Day’s results in the big competitions are terrific – nine top 10s in 18 major starts – he is ranked third on the PGA Tour for driving distance this season, he finished tied for fourth in this year’s Open Championship so he can play at a high level in the wind, he has been a regular contender on Dye-designed courses and he is in excellent form having finished 12th in the Bridgestone Invitational off the back off his Canadian Open victory. Day ticks every relevant PGA Championship box and he finished tied for 10th on his event debut at Whistling Straits in 2010. Day is very likeable, both as a bloke and a bet.
Like Day, Fowler is another big-time golfer who is knocking on the door for his first major trophy. And like Day, Fowler ticks the length, wind and Dye boxes – he is averaging 297.2 yards off the tee with his driver on the PGA Tour this term, he won this year’s Scottish Open and he has gone close in a couple of Open Championships, plus he took out the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May, succeeding 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer as the Sawgrass supremo.
If one wants to have a financial interest in three off the tee in the PGA Championship then, at a longer price than Day and Fowler, the most appealing option is Brooks Koepka, who is available at odds of +4500 with Bet365 and PaddyPower.
Koepka is ranked joint sixth on the PGA Tour for driving distance this season, he made the top 10 of this year’s Open Championship and his performances in major tournaments are getting better and better. Whistling Straits features four par fives, which is an abnormally high number, and Koepka ranks highly in the PGA Tour’s par-five statistics. Koepka has posted six consecutive top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour and he has the length and short game to prosper this week.
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