There's a new man at the top of the World Golf Rankings after Justin Thomas's win at the WGC-Fedex St Jude Classic. Thomas replacing Spaniard Jon Rahm as the world # 1 after just one week at the top, with attention now turning to the first major of the year, the PGA Championship @ TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Thomas and defending champion, Brooks Koepka are joint favourites in a field that brings together the World's Top 50 golfers, including Adam Scott who returns to competitive play this week. Sadly for organisers, crowd favourite John Daly has withdrawn to due to concerns related to Coronavirus.
We're here to make a profit and binge out on a great 4 days of golf!
A look at the course first, which last hosted the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in 2015, as well as a handful of Charles Schwab Cup Championships and the Presidents Cup in 2009. This week, Harding Park will play 7,234 yards, which would scare most but is relatively short by major standards, particularly when you look at what Bryson Dechambeau has been doing since the resumption of the PGA Tour!
That said, there are seven Par 4's that at least 460 yards long, whilst there are also two other Par 4's that are potentially drivable.
What does all this tell us? Harding Park's long winding fairways give players the opportunity to be aggressive. However, shot shape will be at a premium as the cypress trees that populate much of the course will course plenty of havoc.
Recent form at this course, well it was Rory McIlroy, who defeated American Gary Woodland in the final of that Match Play event in 2015, but McIlroy has seemingly struggled over the past few weeks, what do we do with Rory here?
In terms of selections, there's some criteria I am looking for this week, trying to find a golfer that can put the ball in position off the tee, has a steady enough temperament when required and when under pressure, can make some putts. So here's my $100 betting strategy for the PGA Championship.
Like Tiger, my man Jason Day is struggling with back issues. Have you seen him try and pick the ball up out of the cup? It's a hard watch. Regardless, he keeps playing consistent golf and has found himself creeping up on the leaderboards over the past couple of weeks.
T4 @ the Memorial, followed by a T6 @ the St Jude Invitational, Day has found form and with a better start here this week, he is my top pick!
I can't help but think Cantlay will win a major this year. Perhaps it will come at Augusta? Regardless, he's in the conversation this weekend. A little inconsistent of late, but very quietly sitting 31st Fed Ex Cup standings boasting some of the best ball striking stats on tour, don't be surprised if Patrick Cantlay is in one of the final groups come Sunday.
Perhaps not the most entertaining golfer in the world but always shows up. 2 wins in 2020 already and 2nd on the Fed Ex Cup standings, the world # 7 is Mr Consistency and will be that cool head that plays smart golf when others might lose their heads.
Tiger Woods $10 to Win @ $34
I just can not let the greatest golfer of all-time go around at such big odds having witnessed what he did at Augusta last year. Sure, he wasn't at his best in the Memorial, finishing T40. There were some good signs however and if the back doesn't cause him too much trouble, he's obviously too good to rule out.
Louis is always capable of going low and has a terrific record in majors. He's huge odds to get things off to a flyer on Thursday so having a little wager on him to be the first round leader and to hold on to a Top 10 finish.
If I was forced to back someone at big odds, I'd take American Kevin Kisner. Suited by the shorter layout and is one of the best on tour with the flat stick in hand. Kis' can get hot, he'd be the blow out chance!
Enjoy 4 days of major championship golf and feel free to reach out on Twitter, @btravers88.