The major championship long dubbed “Glory’s Last Shot” becomes Glory’s second shot as the PGA Championship begins its second century, like its first, on Long Island, but this time moved up from August to May.
With the betting handle higher for major championships versus weekly tournaments, sports books are more willing to offer alternative markets instead of the usual futures and matchup options.
TOP 10 FINISH
Jon Rahm 9/5
Rickie Fowler 2/1
Xander Schauffele 3/1
Hideki Matsuyama 4/1
Adam Scott 4/1
Patrick Cantlay 4/1
Bubba Watson 5/1
Keegan Bradley 11/1
Rahm ranks second on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. Finishes of fourth at last year’s PGA and ninth at the Masters indicate that he could be closing in on his first major championship. The 24-year-old Spaniard has won seven times worldwide in the past 28 months.
Fowler was the 54-hole leader last time the world’s best played Bethpage Black at the Barclays in 2016. He already has a win under his belt this year in Phoenix. He currently ranks seventh in Strokes Gained Putting (0.78 Strokes per round). Rickie has eight top 5s in his major career including three in the past two years.
Xander Schauffele has finished in the top 6 in three of his past four majors. His well-rounded game makes him a slightly under-the-radar threat in almost every major of late.
Matsuyama ranks third on the tour in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (1.81 per round) and seventh in Strokes Gained: Approach (0.94 per round). Putting, as always, has been the Achilles’ heel (165th and losing 0.3 strokes per round). However, he may take a liking to these slightly slower greens this week. The ball striking is always on point. Cantlay got his first taste of major contention at the Masters, where he took the lead on the back nine on Sunday. He ended up T9 but definitely made a positive impression. Cantlay is another well-rounded player who ranks in the Top 30 in SG: Tee to Green, Off the Tee, Approach and Around the Green.
Bubba Watson has never really contended at Bethpage but he’s finished Top 20 in all three of his appearances. Five top 20s in his past eight events shows that he’s in solid enough form and we know he has the length to compete here. He has the potential to be very much overlooked this week and be right there come Sunday.
Bradley ranks fourth in Strokes Gained Approach (1.05 per round) and 15th Strokes Gained Tee to Green (1.21 per round). His putting has been atrocious (211th losing 0.86 per round) but the 2011 PGA Champion, like Matsuyama, could take to these poa greens a bit.
TOP 20 FINISH
Sergio Garcia 7/4
Yes, he’s missed six straight cuts in majors but there have been positive signs in his game of late. He has four top 10s in his past seven events (T6 WGC Mexico, T9 Honda Classic, T5 Dell Match Play, T4 Wells Fargo Championship). That excludes his finish of second with partner Tommy Fleetwood at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Sergio finished fourth and 10th in the two U.S. Opens held at Bethpage Black.
Tony Finau 2/1
Finau has finished in the Top 20 in four of the past five majors and in seven of his 12 career majors.
Adam Scott 14/5
At the top of the Aussie market is Jason Day at around 5/4 or 6/4, but I’m going with secondchoice Scott, who looks to be a good under-theradar play on the futures board at 50/1, as well. He’s well-rested after a disappointing Masters where he finished 18th after being the co-leader through 36 holes. He putted poorly on that weekend but his putter has been excellent this season (15th SG Putting at 0.68 Strokes Gained per round). However, it’s his short wedge game that has been the best on the PGA Tour this year. Scott ranks 1st in approach shots from 50-125 yards, 75-100 yards and 100-125 yards. Last time at Bethpage Black (2016 Barclays), he finished T-4th along with Day. Of course, Day will get the public backing but I like the way Scotty has been hitting the ball all year and his ballstriking will pay off this week.