The US PGA Championship is your last chance to find the winner of a major championship in 2017 if you have not already done so far this year. It’s been an excellent season up to this point with some fantastic stories from the three majors. Sergio Garcia finally broke his long wait for one of the four big prizes at the US Masters in August, Brooks Koepka came of age in the US Open at Erin Hills and Jordan Spieth picked up his third major in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Here are the best bets for the 2017 US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, a golf course which will be very familiar to the players on the PGA Tour as the Wells Fargo Championship has been held there since 2000.
A victory for Spieth next month in the US PGA Championship would ensure the young American becomes the youngest ever winner of the Grand Slam in the sport, beating Tiger Woods’ record by a number of months. Spieth went on a Grand Slam charge in 2015 when he won the opening two majors of that year, the Masters and US Open. In 2016, he had a quiet year by his own high standards, but on the evidence of what we have seen over the last couple of months, the 24-year-old is back to his best and that signals danger for the rest of the field at Quail Hollow.
Spieth is the player they all have to beat in North Carolina, even when he is not playing at the top of his game as we saw at in the Open Championship. His mental resolve is so tough that he is able to forget very quickly about bad shots. Not many players in the history of the sport would have been able to come away from the 13th hole at Royal Birkdale on the final day with just a bogey-five and then respond in the manner he did with birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. He simply did not give his playing partner Matt Kuchar a chance to get away from him on the final holes of the tournament.
As with most golf courses around the world, the player who produces their best short game at Quail Hollow is likely to walk away with the trophy. Spieth is rarely far away from the top of the putting and scrambling rankings in any tournament he takes part in. Even when his driver is a little wayward, he is able to get out of trouble with fantastic approach shots and with a red shot putter. No player in the game makes as many 200-feet and above putts than the current Champion Golfer of the Year. Even when he misses, he gives the ball every chance of going in.
At 8.0 in the outright betting, it is worth riding the Spieth wave as he looks to make history in Charlotte, not that the Texan needs any more incentive to win a tournament. It is a surprise that the current world number two is not topping the betting for the event. Rory McIlroy, who has not looked himself since switching clubs, is the market leader and that is likely down to the fact he is a course winner. On current form, the preference has to be with Spieth so if you want to back him in a straight match bet with the Northern Irishman, that could be another way of playing the tournament.
With seven top-ten finishes in major championships to his name, it is only a matter of time before Rickie Fowler breaks his maiden. Fowler is a four-time winner of the PGA Tour so he has no problem seeing out tournaments. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, he has just not been able to come out on top just yet in one of the four big events.
As we saw with Garcia back in April at Augusta, if you are good, your day will eventually arrive. Like Fowler, the Spaniard had consistently been at the top end of the big tournaments for a number of years before his playoff success against Justin Rose in Georgia. Fowler has to take some inspiration from Garcia’s win and believe his big major victory is not too far away, The American has played in three Ryder Cup tournaments, won the Players Championship (golf’s unofficial fifth major) and has been as high as number four in the world rankings so he has all the experience of playing high-pressure golf.
The closest Fowler has been to a US PGA Championship win was in 2014 where he ended the week in a tie for third place. Fowler was only two shots behind the champion McIlroy at the finish that year. He shot a final round of 68 but he had to settle for another near-miss.
Fowler knows Quail Hollow very well so he will be aware of exactly which holes he can attack and those which require a cautious approach. At 22.0 in the betting for the 2017 US PGA Championship, he looks to be an excellent each-way proposition. Look out for the generous placing concessions by the bookmakers before the event to make sure you pick up the best terms.
Australian Marc Leishman consistently gets overlooked by the bookmakers in the Major Championships despite his excellent record in the events. The Victoria-born golfer has finished inside the top 20 at all four of the big tournaments now and is an excellent each-way play at 100.0 at Quail Hollow.
Leishman ended the week at Royal Birkdale in a tie for sixth, to the delight of each-way backers earlier in the month. That was his third top-10 finish in the tournament in the last four years. If it wasn’t for a round of 76 on the second day, when conditions were tough on the course, the 33-year-old could have been much closer to Spieth at the finish.
Earlier this year Leishman won the second PGA Tour event of his career in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His margin of victory was one stroke as he finished ahead of Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner ay Bay Hill in Florida. His other previous success was in the Travelers Championship in 2012. He is a much better player now though than when he broke his maiden in the USA.
The former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is very relaxed in the big events and plays every tournament as if they are the same. If he gets a little luck along the way at Quail Hollow he could join the likes of Adam Scott and Jason Day as Australian players who have won a Major Championship over the last 10 years. If you are looking for an alternative bet involving Leishman in the tournament, another way to back him is for him to finish as the top Australian as Scott and Day have been really inconsistent so far in 2017.
Jordan Spieth to win @ 8.0
Jordan Spieth to beat Rory McIlroy in a 72-hole match bet @ 2.0
Rickie Fowler each way @ 22.0
Marc Leishman each way @ 100.0