Sam Tremlett analyses the chances of the USPGA Championship favourites ahead of the year's final Major at Bellerive Country Club.
USPGA Championship favourites to consider backing
This year, the USPGA Championship heads to Bellerive Country Club in Missouri as the world’s best players seek to end their Major seasons on a high.
It’s always a fiercely contested event, with eight months between the USPGA and the subsequent Major, The Masters, in April 2019.
But which of the USPGA Championship favourites have the best course form and who does the layout best suit? Below, we’ve looked at some of the favourites and assessed their chances…
Dustin Johnson – 9/1 with SportNation
Considering he is the current world number one and has won three times this season already, it is no real surprise that Dustin Johnson is the bookmakers favourite. He may have missed the cut at The Open, but he has had 10 top-tens from 15 tournaments on the PGA Tour and appears to be in good recent form after winning the RBC Canadian Open at the end of July.
In relation to the course itself, measuring at 7,547 yards, it should favour the longer hitters and Dustin definitely fits into that bracket. With four par-5’s to get his teeth into and several long par-4’s, Dustin, provided he is driving well, could be tough to beat. The evidence suggests he is too as he leads the PGA Tour in both strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained tee to green. Do not be surprised if you see him hoisting the trophy on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy – 12/1 with SportNation
Rory McIlroy is next up in our favourites. He has had an up and down year in 2018 largely because of the inconsistency of his putting. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a stunning 64 on the final day and yet has failed to convert on good positions in several other tournaments, such as the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
However despite this inconsistency, it is always difficult to bet against him. He did not putt well at Carnoustie during The Open Championship and yet still came second which proves he is capable of scoring despite having a cold putter. Additionally, the length of the course should help him. One of the longest hitters on tour, McIlroy should be able to fire at some pins when the tournament starts. But having not won a Major since 2014, can he find a way to add to his tally of four Major championships?
Justin Thomas – 15/1 with SportNation
Like Dustin Johnson above, Thomas has also won three times this season, at the CJ Cup, Honda Classic and most recently at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. With no recognisable weakness to his game Thomas is always a threat on the leaderboard because his scoring ability is incredible especially if his putter is hot. He missed the cut at The Open but is the defending champion at the PGA and is more than capable of repeating his 2017 success. The main issue with that is we haven’t had a repeat winner in the tournament since Tiger did it in 2006 and 2007. History is not on the young Americans side but we doubt that will have any effect on him whatsoever.
Tiger Woods – 21/1 with SportNation
He may have missed the last two cuts in the PGA Championship back in 2014 and 2015, but Woods then was simply a broken down shell of the player he once was. Now however he has shown on more than one occasion this year that he can play at the top of the game again. His last Major result was a tied-4th at The Open Championship and he also had the lead going into the last eight holes. Sadly he could not get the job done, but it was further proof that Tiger is capable of winning a Major again. One of the bookmakers favourites heading to Bellerive, Tiger will be desperate to get that 15th Major win on the board.
Jason Day – 21/1 with SportNation
Day, after a poor 2017, is on the up once again this year. He has had two wins at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Wells Fargo Championship this season and was within touching distance of winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational too until a final round 73 ended his chances. The clear strength in his game this year is his putting as he leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained and Total Putting. He is also in the top-5 for scoring so the Aussie will be one to look out for in Missouri.
If I had to bet my entire life savings on any of the USPGA Championship favourites, it’d have to be Justin Thomas at the moment. When he gets on a hot-streak he looks at times unstoppable and his win in Ohio could kickstart another run.
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