by Alastair Bull
For the final golf major of the year, the question for most punters is the same as it was for the previous two: what chance does Tiger Woods have? Well according to the oddsmakers, Woods has +1600 odds win the 2018 PGA Championship, making him one of the top-5 choices on the market. A win by Woods would be a fitting end given that this is the final time that this tournament will run at this point in the year. The PGA Championship will shift to May next season.
After his fantastic effort at Carnoustie in The Open Championship, Woods confirmed he was back as a force in the golfing world, if not quite the dominant figure that won 14 majors in his prime. Though without a victory this year, he’s done enough to put himself at 20th on the Ryder Cup rankings, and a victory would ensure he earns a Ryder Cup ticket without needing a wild card selection.
Undoubtedly, Woods will attract plenty of support given his +1600 odds in the 2018 PGA Championship – a price well above what he would have been quoted in his prime. Whether he’s good value at Bellerive Country Club is another question. He’s been playing well, but whether the absolute belief that he once had is there given he hasn’t won a tournament this year is hard to know. Tiger fans might be better taking him to finish in the top-10.
At his most recent start, Woods finished tied for 31stin the Bridgestone Invitational, 15 shots behind runaway winner Justin Thomas (+1400 to win 2018 PGA Championship). Thomas is defending the PGA Championship title, and his form in Akron suggests he must be considered. However, only one player has won back-to-back PGA Championship titles: a certain Tiger Woods, who’s done it twice.
Bellerive Country Club is a long course where power will be important. For that reason, you have to look at world number one Dustin Johnson (+900 to win 2018 PGA Championship), tied for third in Akron and a winner in Canada the previous week. The nagging doubt is that he seems to come up short rather too often in major tournaments. He’s a great prospect for a top five finish, but odds around +900 to win are a little short.
The course should suit Jason Day (+1800 to win 2018 PGA Championship), while solid efforts can be expected from Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka (all in the +1500 range).
Punters should also remember Tony Finau (+3300), who’s finished in the top 10 of each major so far this season. Jordan Spieth (+2000) feels a lifetime removed from his 2nd place finish in the 2015 PGA Championship but will garner some consideration for sure.
Three players who could be worth a bet are a trio of Europeans. Jon Rahm (+2200) has all the ability in the world, and the length in his game to be suited by Bellerive. Tommy Fleetwood (+2200) has also featured prominently in majors this year, and another solid effort can be expected.
The third is perhaps the best bet of the tournament, especially for a top 10 finish. Henrik Stenson (+4000) often slips under the radar, but his record in majors is outstanding. His only victory was the 2016 Open Championship, but he has four finishes in the top six at the PGA Championship, and he’s had two top six finishes in majors this year. At odds in the +400 to finish in the top-10, he’s well worth a thought.