2013 PGA Championship Betting Preview

2013 PGA Championship
Thursday, August 8 – Sunday, August 11, 2013, TV: TNT, CBS
Oak Hill Country Club East Course – Pittsford, New York
Par 70 – 7,163 yards
Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

Tiger Woods is a heavy favorite to win the PGA championship starting Thursday at Oak Hill.
Tiger Woods is a heavy favorite to win the PGA championship starting Thursday at Oak Hill.

The 2013 PGA Championship returns to Oak Hill Country Club for the third time. Oak Hill is the only course in the country to have hosted the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Senior Open, the Senior PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup in it’s illustrious history. Cary Middlecoff (1956), Lee Trevino (1968) and Curtis Strange (1989) all won U.S. Opens here. Jack Nicklaus won the PGA Championship in 1980 at Oak Hill and Shaun Micheel came out of nowhere in 2003 to claim the PGA. It remains Micheel’s only PGA tour win 10 years later. Europe won the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill to begin a stretch of 7 wins in 9 tries at the team event.

Since Micheel won here in 2003 the 17th was lengthened to 509 yards and the 18th was lengthened to  497 yards. Both remain par 4’s though. Though players might be tempted to challenge the reachable greens with the driver, narrow fairways and tall, thick rough should give them something to think about as they could find themselves in trouble if they aren’t precise. The Rochester area has been pounded by rain the last two months, and the greens will be really soft. An early July storm led to flooding of Allen Creek that damaged all 84 bunkers on the course. It took 150 tons of sand to repair them. Some stormy weather is a possibility on Thursday but the rest of the week looks clear with highs in the low 80’s and moderate winds.

Here is a look at some of the contenders to win and also some head to head match-ups I like with odds courtesy of bookmaker.

Tiger Woods (4/1)

Woods is coming off his fifth win of the season last week at Firestone in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by 7 strokes. It was his record tying eighth win at the event and his 79th career win. He is only 3 wins behind Sam Snead’s record for career wins. Tiger leads the FedEx Cup standings by a comfortable margin. While many great golfers don’t have 5 wins in a career, Tiger Woods isn’t like most golfers, obviously.

As strange as it seems to say, if Tiger doesn’t win the PGA Championship, 2013 could be considered a disappointment even if he goes on to win the FedEx Cup and/or PGA player of the year. Tiger has 14 majors of course, but hasn’t won won since the U.S. Open in 2008. He has come close on several occasions like his top 6 finishes at the Masters and British Open Championships this season, but he needs to break through. He leads the PGA in adjusted scoring. At this point it is strictly mental as Tiger is putting so much pressure on himself. I want to pick Tiger, despite the fact that he struggled here in 2003. However, I can’t pick Tiger to win a major until he does. Tiger is -200 to beat Phil Mickelson, -185 to beat Adam Scott, and -235 against Justin Rose. All three have won majors this year.

Phil Mickelson (+1615)

Mickelson tied for 21st last week at Firestone. Before that he won the Scottish and British Opens last month. He claimed his first Claret Jug with a miracle comeback on Sunday. Mickelson was down 5 strokes entering the final round and ended up winning by 3. Mickelson also had a disappointing runner-up at the U.S. Open, his sixth second place finish at the event without a win.

Mickelson is fourth in the FedEx Standings with 6 top 10’s and an additional win at Phoenix. He has 7 top 3 finishes in his last 15 events worldwide. Mickelson won the Open by keeping his driver in the bag, but he will have to use it at Oak Hill. Like Tiger, Mickelson’s driver isn’t always accurate. That could present a problem for both. Mickelson is +170 against Woods and +120 against Scott.

Adam Scott (+1815)

Scott has 4 top 10’s this season and won the Masters for his first major title. He tied for third at the British Open, and tied for 14th at the WGC last week. Scott is 11th in the FedEx Cup Standings. He is third in adjusted scoring on the PGA Tour. He has the game to be successful at Oak Hill. Scott is +160 against Woods and -140 against Mickelson and Rose. I like Scott in all three match-ups.

Brandt Snedeker (25/1)

Snedeker is currently third in the FedEx Standings with 2 wins and 8 top tens. He won the FedEx Cup last year. Snedeker has finished 17th or better in all-three majors this season, and has wins at Pebble Beach and in the Canadian Open two weeks ago. He finished tied for 33rd last week at Firestone. Snedeker has improved his ball striking and has one of the best short games on tour. I like Snedeker to break through for his first major title. Snedeker is -130 against Dustin Johnson and -120 against Hunter Mahan.

Henrik Stenson (51/2)

Stenson has top 3 finishes in his last three starts at the Scottish Open, British Open, and WGC. He doesn’t have a win yet this season but does have 5 top 10’s. He is 12th in the FedEx Standings and is in the top 10 on tour in fairways hit, greens in regulation and adjusted scoring. Like Snedeker, Stenson has never won a major but has finished 21st or better in all three this year. I like Stenson at -120 to beat Rory McIlroy.

Justin Rose (28/1)

Rose won his first major earlier this year at the U.S. Open. He is 7th in the FedEx Standings with 5 top 10’s and a runner up to Tiger at the Arnold Palmer. Rose missed the cut at the Open Championship but tied for 17th at Firestone last week.  He might have been in contention at the WGC if not for too many missed putts. Rose is +195 against Tiger, +120 against Scott, and -145 against McIlroy. I like Rose against McIlroy.

Keegan Bradley (65/2) 

Bradley is 8th in the FedEx Standings with 7 top 10’s including 5 top 4’s. He tied for second last week at Firestone. Bradley who won this event in 2011 tied for 15th at the Open Championship but struggled at the Masters and the U.S. Open.  I like Bradley at -125 to beat Hunter Mahan and -120 to beat Luke Donald. Bradley is very accurate off the tee and should at least contend here.

Rory McIlroy (65/2)

McIlroy is the defending champion at the PGA Championship, with his 8 stroke win last year in steamy South Carolina. He has 4 top ten’s but no wins on the PGA tour. He missed the cut at the Open Championship and was never really in contention at the Masters or U.S. Open. McIlroy is +125 to beat Rose and even money against Stenson. I don’t like McIlroy in either one of those.

Lee Westwood (65/2)

Westwood hasn’t won this season but does had 6 top 10’s on the PGA Tour. Westwood has never won a major before. He has top 15 finishes at both the Masters and US Open. He ended up tied for third at the Open Championship despite leading after the third round. Westwood has 12 top 15’s in his last 16 majors.  He tied for 40th last week at Firestone.  He is too talented to not have a major title, but will get one eventually. I just don’t think it will be here. Westwood is -107 against Matt Kuchar.

Hunter Mahan (65/2)

Mahan is 17th in the FedEx Standings with 4 top 10’s and a runner-up at the WGC-Match Play. He was leading after 36 holes at the Canadian Open two weeks ago but withdrew to fly home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. He had top 10 finishes at both the U.S. Open and British Open and played in the final pairing on Sunday at both events. Mahan is even against Snedeker and +115 against Stenson. Mahan might be worth a play as a semi-dark horse.

Matt Kuchar (65/2)

Kuchar is second in the FedEx standings with wins at the WGC-Match Play and the Memorial. He also has 7 top 10’s this season, and has made 22 straight cuts. He finished 28th or better at all three majors including top 15’s at the Masters and British Opens. He tied for 27th at Firestone last week. Kuchar is -113 against Westwood and +105 against Bradley.

Other contenders and their odds include Jason Dufner (69/2), Zach Johnson (77/2), Charl Schwartzel (39/1), Luke Donald, Bill Haas and Ian Poulter ( all 81/2), Jason Day and Dustin Johnson ( both 85/2), Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson (both 91/2), Bubba Watson (101/2), Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker, and Martin Kaymer ( all 105/2), Angel Cabrera (125/2), Graeme McDowell (145/2), Rickie Fowler (161/2), Ernie Els (165/2), and the field is +545.

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