The US PGA Golf championship starts at the Kiawah Island Golf course in South Carolina tomorrow (August 9 – 12). After the excitement of Ernie Els’ last-gasp victory at the British Open in July, the world’s top players will be vowing to win the last major of the year at a course that has not held a major tournament since 1974.
Twelve months ago, American Keegan Bradley was the surprise winner of his first major title, and once again the competition is fairly open. For the last three years this major has been won by a first time major winner, but it would be a surprise if this trend continued this time around.
The course is set to favour long hitters, as it measures an astonishing 7676 yards, and in the blustery conditions that have been forecast, scoring could prove a real challenge.
For the Europeans the wait goes on for a major title for Lee Westwood (25/1 for this tournament) and Luke Donald (18/1). For Donald especially, the course this week will probably play too long for him to have a chance of winning and he will be content with yet another top 20 finish.
Westwood had yet another disappointing British Open, but what better way to finish an excellent year for the Englishman than to win his first major. Westwood has a chance, but not as much as he has had in previous years.
This course will likely favour the big-hitting Americans such as Bubba Watson (30/1), Dustin Johnson (25/1), Webb Simpson (40/1) and the recently-returned Tiger Woods (9/1 betting favourite). Watson and Simpson especially have had great years in winning their first major titles, and especially Watson should be suited to this hugely long course.
Simpson who won the US Open this year in a play-off has showed the golfing world that he has the mental durability to win a major, and after winning his first major, his second may not be far behind. After a tough first half to the year Johnson finished 9th at the British Open, and is a renowned big-hitter, he had two top 10 finishes at the US PGA in 2009 and 2010. Johnson’s renowned power with the driver will give him every chance for victory this week.
Then there is the bookies’ favourite Tiger Woods. After coming back to the game only recently, he has showed that, although not back at his best, he is still a threat. He has not won a major since 2008 and that will be hurting. The PGA is a major that he does well in, and having won it four times before. He has a great chance this week to make it five.
US PGA Betting Tips
The only man that could challenge the Americans this week is Rory McIlroy (18/1), although he has endured a poor year, his game is suited to long American courses. He should be fully rested after taking some time off since the British Open.
In what promises to be a great final major of the year, I can see the Americans dominating. It could even be a second major of the year for Bubba Watson or Webb Simpson, but my tip is the local, South Carolina-born DUSTIN JOHNSON, available at 25/1:
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