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US PGA preview

The final major of the year takes place at Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York. The PGA invites many of its members (PGA club professionals) to the tournament so there will be plenty of names amongst the tee times that you'll have never heard of. Lara Pocock, @lara_pocock, runs an eye over those you might have heard of...


PGA Preview

So here we are again, the fourth and final Major of the year and yet again the headlines all feature whether Tiger Woods can FINALLY break his Major curse and gain his 15th title. Woods won his last Major in 2008 when taking the US Open and he appeared unlucky in last month's Open Championship on a course ideally suited to him. See more on my thoughts on Tiger below.

This week we look to Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester. The course is short, with thin fairways and the rough we saw at Muirfield last month is sparse, replaced by short, spongy grass that will suck in the ball. This therefore caters to the accurate players in the field, with weaker putters at an advantage due to the slow greens.

In comparison with the Open, there are fewer betting offers available (and the Racing Post only had a betting special at the back of paper as opposed to the betting pull-out that I prefer) but Ladbrokes are offering money back as a free bet if Woods or Mickelson win and my favourite betting company Paddy Power are doing another great offer where if your player does not make the cut you get your money back as a free bet (Ed. - the logic being that with so many club pros in the tournament, the % of pros making the cut should be high).

Here are my tips to follow:

Under 30-1
Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker

Tiger Woods is short, probably too short, but his game last week was amazing. Tiger took the Bridgestone Invitational last weekend by seven shots and at times looked like he could have tried even harder and increased his winning margin. If luck plays into his hands he will be hard to beat this weekend and I do not think you will find a more popular winner. Having won the first three Majors this year, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Big Phil Mickelson are all in this category. However, no one has won two Majors in one year since Padraig Harrington in 2008 and, barring Woods, who achieved the feature four times, you have to go back to 1998 and Mark O'Meara prior to that. So history is against those players and I do not think any of them will become the 17th member of that club this week. Therefore in this group I am going with Brandt Snedeker. Snedeker is playing with Jason Day in the first two rounds, a major positive as the Australian has been as steady as a rock this year, and having two tournaments so far this year, he could put in a big performance.

31-1 to 60-1
Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Luke Donald

Poor old Rory McIlroy (35-1) is having a terrible year and has slipped out of the leading contenders in the betting and looks set to stay there. His confidence and game are in shatters but hopefully he can take the winter to recoup and come back new year, big and stronger, and win the US Masters at a big price! So for this week we will look elsewhere and instead in the capable hands of Mr Jason Dufner (40-1), who best not live up to his name. Dufner has played some great final rounds in the last two Majors and was tied fourth in the Bridgestone last week. He was second in this tournament two years ago and hopefully he can go one better this week. Zach Johnson (50-1) clearly read by last blog, upped his game in the British Open, and should do the same again, come on Zach you can do. A short course player, this could be his time. I am not particularly keen on most of the others in this group so lets talk about Luke Donald (40-1). Donald did some fine work last year, finishing fifth in the Open Championship but has been under the radar this year even though he was tied eighth in the US Open. He was tied for ninth in the Bridgestone and lets hope he make the Sunday session.

61-1 to 120-1
Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Jordan Spieth, Bill Haas

Available at 100-1 Ernie Els was tied fifth when the tournament was played here in 2003 but the South African was disappointing in The Open Championship, tying for 26th position. He handles pressure well and should enjoy the course, dismiss at your mercy. Graeme McDowell (70-1) has not lived up to expectations this year and is drifting in the odds. He was tied 33rd at Bridgestone but if he can recapture his form and remain steady, he could put in a big round and restore his confidence and the punters faith. He is worth a gamble at this price. I mentioned the young American Jordan Spieth (110-1) prior to the last Major and he did not disappoint, finishing a respectable tied 44th after being in contention for a while. With the home crowd behind him, as well as an accurate game, Spieth has the confidence to go far this weekend. My final pick of this section is Bill Haas (60-1), consistent, confident and in form.

Longer Shots
Gary Woodland, Matteo Manassero, Richie Ramsey, Matt Jones

This the first Major of the year that Gary Woodland (175-1) is playing in, hurrah! I have followed him for a few seasons but his game this year has been in and out and he has been plagued with injury. Woodland won the Reno-Tahoe Open last weekend and I suggest he is another who goes in your notebook. Richie Ramsay does not only have a cool name but could be Scotland's answer to Rory McIlroy. He is accurate to the green and this course should suit him with his putting questionable at times. Italian Matteo Manassero (175-1) was the name on everyone's lips earlier in the year after he won the PGA Championship at Wentworth but he is yet to live up to the hype. He is still worth following on the big stage. And last but not least is the Australian Matt Jones. Quietly going about his business on the US Tour, Jones has put in some good performances and although he does not look to be troubling the top of the leaderboard he could slip into the placings if he put in a lifetime best performance at 250-1.


  1. I like the way you've split the bets up by odds.. Nice


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