After Tiger Woods demolished a high-class field in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last week, bookmakers are taking no chances with the world number one in this week’s US PGA Championship.
Tiger hasn’t won a Major in more than five years but has already won the US PGA four times and the Oak Hill Country Club would be a fitting venue for him to end his barren run. The East Course at Oak Hill, in upstate New York, is staging the year’s final Major for the first time since 2003 and Woods is a best 9/2 to come out on top even though the winners of 2013 first three Majors – Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson – are also taking part. Open winner Mickelson is a best 16/1, while Masters victor Scott is a general 18/1 and US Open champion Rose is 28/1 with a number of layers. Defending champion Rory McIlroy is 35/1 with Coral and Stan James to end his slump in Rochester but the Irishman’s confidence looks shot at the moment.
I’d be very interested in Keegan Bradley at 37/1 on betfair as this is clearly the American’s favourite tournament. He showed up well at Kiawah Island last year after winning the US PGA as a rookie in 2011. Second to an inspired Tiger at Firestone last week and close to home (he was born in nearby Vermont), he’s clearly in good nick and seems certain to give each-way punters a run for their money (Betfred are paying seven places on the tournament). Henryk Stenson has been in superb form and deserves a change of luck having gone close in both the Open and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The Swede is right back among the world’s elite and can be backed at a general 25/1 at Oak Hill but supporters of Ian Poulter will also be anticipating a good show from their man. He tends to reserve his best for the really big events and has been thereabouts in two of the last four Majors. He’s managed six top-10 places in total in the last 21 and could be the best of the British players this week at the general 55/1 ahead of Luke Donald (40/1 in most places).
However, the US PGA has a propensity for providing the unexpected and Oak Hill, by no means a monster in comparison to other championship courses, will give everyone a fair crack of the whip. Scott Piercy has limited experience when it comes to Majors but has generally acquitted himself well when qualifying, though failed to make the cut in either the US Open or Open earlier this year. The 34-year-old from Las Vegas has certainly improved his game over the last two years and won last season’s Canadian Open so this may be his time of year. He’s a general 250/1 and that must be worth a small bet.