Europeans lead the way in final Major of the year.
This weekend represents the final chance for the world’s best to win a Major title in 2014. A strong field heads to Louisville, Kentucky for the US PGA Championship, the 96th edition of the event. Valhalla Golf Club hosts the event for the third time and there is a strong international challenge with five of the top seven in the betting not hailing from the USA.
Rory McIlroy leads the betting after back-to-back wins and his closest challengers could be some of his European Tour rivals. Keep reading for our preview of the 2014 US PGA Championship.
Valhalla will reward the game’s great touch players
Valhalla hosts the PGA for the third time and while players can afford to be aggressive from the tee, the sectioned greens featured on so many Nicklaus courses mean that it is effectively a ‘second shot’ course. Hitting greens in regulation and confidence in putting will rule the day and those players with a great short game will also do well on the par 71 course.
The favourites for the US PGA Championship
While the US Open tournament is designed to find the world’s best golfer, the US PGA is often won by the tournament’s man in form. In five of the last ten editions, the winner has finished in the top five at their previous tournament, including the last two, Rory McIlroy in 2012 and defending champion Jason Dufner.
Dufner is 24/1 to finish as the Top American at the 2014 US PGA Championship – we’ll certainly be having some of that.
After back-to-back wins at the Open Championship and the WGC Bridgestone, Rory McIlroy is back on top of the world rankings and his odds are at a level not seen since Tiger Woods in his pomp.
McIlroy has finished inside the top 25 in all but one of the events he has played in 2014 and, last weekend, added his first WGC title to his Open win. He’s won three of his last seven events and is a previous winner of the US PGA championship. The 25 year old is certainly the man to beat and is the 9/2 favourite.
McIlroy knocked Adam Scott off the top of the world rankings after his win at Firestone but the world number two is also on a great run of form. Since his win at Colonial his finishes have been T4 (at the Memorial), T9 (at the U.S. Open), T5 (at the Open) and T8 at the WGC Bridgestone last weekend.
The Australian ranks third in adjusted scoring on the Tour as well as T3 in par-4 scoring and first in par-5 scoring. He can go really well here at 10/1.
If it weren’t for Rory then Sergio Garcia would have won both the Open and the Bridgestone and the Spaniard has registered three second place finishes in his last four events.
Considering the US PGA winner in the last decade has always been a man who has recorded a good finish in his prior event then Garcia could win his maiden Major title at Valhalla. He looks terrific value at 16/1.
Some outside odds to consider in the betting
Last week we suggested that you follow the outsider Marc Leishman. The Australian had registered six top 25 finishes in his previous eight tournaments and continued his excellent form by finishing in third place at Firestone, good enough for a decent each-way payout at 67/1.
As we have said, the PGA tends to reward golfers in form and in five of the last ten years the winner has finished in the top five at his previous event. We’re happy to stick with the 30 year old for a second week at 45/1.
Ryan Moore hasn’t recorded a worse finish than his T12 at the Open in his last four starts and would have finished in the top 5 at Firestone last weekend were it not for a disappointing second round 73.
The 31 year old is another man in excellent recent form and the 45/1 on offer looks like a great each-way bet.
One final man to watch is Jim Furyk. The 44 year old has recorded eleven top 20 finishes in his last 12 starts including a second place finish at the Canadian Open and a T15 at the Bridgestone. At 33/1 he could also be a useful player to have on board.
Click here to view all our pre-tournament odds on the 2014 US PGA Championship – let’s hope it’s another epic golfing encounter at Valhalla!