USPGA Championship Preview

The era of Tiger Woods’ dominance in the world of professional golf is over – we’ve heard it before, and we’re witnessing it again. Even after surgery to repair back injuries, he’s been performing poorly and withdrawing from tournaments (such as this year’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) left and right. In fact it isn’t entirely clear whether the sport’s one-time Messiah will even suit up for this year’s PGA Championship.
The golf world is abuzz about Rory McIlroy, after a masterful British Open performance followed up by a dominant show at the WGC-Bridgestone. If any player is an across-the-board favorite with golf betting sites to win this weekend, it’s McIlroy, sitting pretty at number one in world golf rankings. The young Irish player has experience in this tournament before, having already won a PGA championship at the tender age of 25. Clearly, he’s the odds-on pick for bettors who follow trends.
Rather than ramble on about McIlroy’s current dominance of the game, here are three golfers who have a more-than-decent chance of upsetting the world’s number one player for the Wanamaker trophy.

Adam Scott

adam scottBettors who find Adam Scott available at 10-1 or longer have found a high-value wager, regardless of the lack of spotlight on the young Australian.
Adam Scott is not just one of the top-ranked golfers in the world, he performs extremely well in the sport’s majors; Scott has finished in the top ten in nine of game’s last fifteen major tournaments. Scott is having an excellent summer – he tied for ninth at the U.S. Open and scored a remarkable (and under-reported) 66 in the final round of the British Open to move up into fifth place. Scott finished last year’s PGA tourney in fifth place as well, painting a picture of a golfer who is always within striking distance.
As for his downside – he hasn’t actually won a major besides his famous performance at the 2013 Masters. The pressure may be too much for him. He could remain stuck in his “also-ran” rut. Or Rory McIlroy could just be too far into the peak of his game for a player like Scott to overcome consistently.

Sergio Garcia

sergioThere was a time when the only name you heard in golf besides Tiger Woods was Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard regularly chased Tiger as Woods accumulated title after title. Punters who find the right odds could be placing a shrewd bet on Garcia – some books are listing him at 18-1 or lower. Here’s why, at those odds, a wager on Garcia may make sense.
Garcia has new confidence in his putting game, the handicap that kept him from truly competing with Tiger Woods in Tiger’s heyday. The knock on Garcia is that he underperforms at the PGA Championship, except for tying for second place in 2008.
His recent second-place finish at Hoylake, combined with the fact that he looks like he’s having fun playing golf for the first time in years, makes this longshot pick a respectable wager for the 2014 PGA tourney.

Rickie Fowler

FowlerAnother longshot that provides good value to PGA bettors is the 25 year-old Rickie Fowler, an American beginning to attract serious attention. The fact that oddsmakers are laying numbers for Fowler for this tournament at all would have been a surprise to a PGA fan before the start of this season, but Fowler’s numbers are scary-consistent and show a player on the rise toward a major tourney win.
In fact, no single player has turned in numbers as impressive as Fowler in this year’s major events.

The American tied for fifth place at the Masters and for second place at the U.S. Open. Combine that with a career-best showing at the British Open (for which he won second place outright) and you’ve got an athlete with some serious upward mobility. Books are listing Fowler around 20-1 as of this writing, and his high upside makes that investment worth a second look.