It’s the week of the last major of the golfing season with the PGA Championship heading to Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. The course will be playing quite long, especially compared to the 2008 BMW Championship, which is really the only course history we have of PGA players at Bellerive. That said, there is plenty of rain in the forecast leading up to the start of the tournament, so even though the course will play even longer, the shorter hitters should still be able to stick the longer irons onto receptive greens, at least early in the weekend. I’ve also noticed that Bellerive is a right to left hitters golf course, so the big drivers off the tee who can move the ball right to left should have an advantage.
I have 3 picks for my outright winner for the PGA Championship below. As I mentioned above I’m looking for decently long hitters who can move the ball off the tee from right to left to stay in the fairway and shorten these holes to allow attacking approach shots.
I’m using the odds from Bovada.lv for my picks.
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Justin Thomas +1400 @ Bovada.lv
Thomas is coming off a big win last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, and he’s also the defending PGA Championship winner from 2017. Some players have an adrenaline dump and play poorly after a win, but that has not been the trend in Justin Thomas’ career. When he wins a tournament he normally stays hot for at least a month and has even gone back to back in his career already.
This year he won the CF Cup and followed it up with an 11th place finish at the Hero World Challenge. He won The Honda Classic in March and followed it up with a 2nd place finish at the Mexico Championship, and then a 4th place finish at the Dell Technologies Match Play. Last year he went back to back in January winning the SBS Tournament of Champions and then the Sony Open, and also stayed hot after his PGA Championship win, coming 6th at the Northern Trust and then winning the Dell Technologies Championship the following tournament. All of these examples are meant to show that I fully expect Justin Thomas to continue to play elite level golf this week and be in the mix on Sunday.
Add in the fact that he can bomb it off the tee and he moves the ball right to left with ease and I think we have a player who is in the perfect spot to win this tournament.
Bubba Watson +5000 @ Bovada.lv
Bubba has not found much success in majors outside of The Masters. This includes the PGA Championship where he’s missed the cut twice in the past five years and his best finish is T21 in that span. That said, he did finish 2nd in 2010. He’s also missed the cut at both the US Open and The Open Championship this year. Bubba doesn’t play difficult conditions and set ups very well. That said, this week the conditions should be good and the only set up, which should really affect players in a negative way is the distance, which is a place that Bubba excels.
Bubba is also a master of moving the ball right to left off the tee and after looking at the holes, the majority of the difficult holes require a long right to left moving tee ball, which should play right into Bubba’s game. Bubba has stated in the past that he performs his best on courses that fit his eye. This has shown true in that he continues to have success at the same tournaments year after year. That said, I think this tourney could fit his eye and the fact that he did play in the 2008 BMW Championship, and put down two great weekend scores after a rough time getting used to the course (the course was also much shorter at the time) should pay dividends this week.
Ollie Schniederjans +30000 @ Bovada.lv
Schniederjans has the talent to compete in these top end fields, he just often makes a few mistakes which really set him back. Take for example the fact that he made the most birdies of the first two rounds at the RBC Canadian Open last week, but a stretch of 5 bad holes kept him from even making the cut.
If Schniederjans can keep it together for all 4 rounds he has a real shot to win. He can move the ball off the tee from right to left and has the distance to shorten some of these long par 4’s. At this price I figured he’s worth a small punt play.
The PGA Championship is often looked at as the weakest of the four majors, but this week the course layout is a lot of fun and it’s going to make for some very watchable television. I’m excited and hopefully one of these guys gets the W for a big cash. Good luck guys.