Well, it’s already time for the last major of the year; and it’s the turn of the USPGA Championship which is held at the well known Whistling Straits course held on the banks of the Lake Michigan course. The course plays to a long yardage of 7501 yards, and has staged two Championships already, where Vijay Sing and Martin Kaymer won respectively in 2004 and 2010. Probably best for Dustin Johnson to stay away from any previews, as it was in 2010 when he threw away his chance when he grounded his club in an unmarked bunker and the ensuring penalty effectively robbed him of his first major. But he should know the rules, and he won’t make the same mistake if he lands in any of the 1000 bunkers on this course. It’s another course, which will play like a links course, and from past contests it appears to suit all sort of players. Also this last major has a long history of delivering a win for players with no majors to their name, so it would not be a surprise to see a big priced winner go in.
A slightly disappointing betting week at the Bridgestone, where are tip Jim Furyk had the halfway lead but could not convert, but still E/W odds of 40/1 give punters a decent return. It’s a shame Jordan Spieth is not going for the Grand Slam, but he will no doubt go close, and all eyes will be on Rory to see how his enforced layoff will affect his game. With the depth of the field, I am more than happy to look elsewhere, and two players stand out for me this week.
Rickie Fowler was backed of the boards at the Open, and went off around the 14/1 mark with a lot of bookies. I can see no reason not to think he can win here this week at a much juicer price, as he makes no secret of his liking to links courses. He converted his chances into winning chances at the Players and the Scottish Open, and had a very nice finish in the Bridgestone without taxing himself to much. Chances have come and gone for him to land a major, but he’s still young and doesn’t carry to much scar damage, unlike someone like Dustin Johnson who has enough to keep the local A&E busy for the weekend, probably the local shrink as well! Though I would love to see him win, he’s starting to go in the choker column of golfers who can’t be trusted to convert.
Jason Day is another who keeps knocking on the door, but at least his near misses have not really come down to any ‘bottle’ issues. At the start of the season, I wrote that I expect him to go close to adding a major this year, and I’m not deserting him at this point. He a real steady competitor who played some nice golf last week, but appeared to lose a little momentum when he realised he was not going to win, and looked happy enough with his tied 12th position. Expect bigger and better things this week.
Branden Grace odds have gone out to a very nice price. Another player who showed in the US Open that he has a real liking for Links courses. It’s a little baffling to know when he will play well, as he tends to crop up with big finishes without much sign that he is going to contend. Though he does seem to be finding a lot more consistency this year, and if this course suits his eye this week it would be no surprise to see him prosper this week. Enjoy the last major!