Ranking the 20 golfers most likely to win the PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy, an altered version of Rory, and Adam Scott are the most likely to taste PGA Championship glory on Sunday at Valhalla.
Vegas has its odds and we have our odds for the golfers most likely to win the PGA Championship at Valhalla this week.
I'm here to cut through some of the "well, Phil Mickelson is a big name so he should be a favorite," bull and give you the 20 guys who are actually most likely to win the tournament.
Player (Vegas odds)
1. Rory McIlroy (5-1): I'm worried for the rest of professional golf that thing is just getting started. That last year really was a one-off year. That he's only scratching the surface. The hype for Augusta in 2015 already will be immense; if he wins at Valhalla, it's going to be insane.
2. Rory McIlroy with nine clubs (10-1): Driver, two long irons, three short irons, two wedges, and a putter. I'll still take him.
3. Adam Scott (12-1): If you're Adam Scott and you've finished in the top 10 in each of your past five PGA Tour events (including a win!) and you just got run over for world No. 1, what do you do?
His last 15 majors look like this:
4. Rickie Fowler (20-1): Only golfer to finish in the top five in each of the first three majors and he hasn't exactly dropped off in the non-majors, either.
5. Justin Rose (16-1): He's been incredible all summer. Won the Quicken Loans National, won the Scottish Open, and has had five other top 12s since the Masters. Write him off at majors at your own risk.
Also, this will be fun:
6. Keegan Bradley (28-1): Bradley, McIlroy, and Martin Kaymer are the only three golfers in my top 10 who have tasted PGA Championship glory. He's been top five in three of his past six tournaments, including the US Open and has all that Ryder Cup glory to shoot for. I think he shows up big-time at Valhalla.
There will be much of this:
7. Sergio Garcia (16-1): Sergio has never been better in his career than right now. His ball-striking is like something out of a Ben Hogan instructional video.
The problem: I'm still not totally sure we have the answer to: "What's older Sergio going to do with the lead in a major down the stretch?" Hopefully not this:
8. Jimmy Walker (50-1): This is a scorer's course and nobody does it better than Jimmy Walker. Well, OK, Rory McIlroy does it better than Walker, but that's it. Here are your top two golfers in birdie average per round on the PGA Tour:
1. Rory McIlroy: 4.59
2. Jimmy Walker: 4.24
9. Martin Kaymer (40-1): I have no idea why the guy who torched the entire state of North Carolina at the US Open and already has a PGA Championship is 40-1 to win this one. If they play 40 of these babies and he only wins one then I know nothing about golf.
10. Marc Leishman (50-1): The "not talked about at all because Jason Day and Adam Scott are also Australian" Australian. Leishman has been mammoth of late and like Walker is a birdie fiesta waiting to happen.
He'll be a long shot to be low Australian and one you should hit.
11. Jordan Spieth (35-1): The PGA Championship is like a glorified Players Championship and The Kid seemed to do fine there. Still a bit disconcerting he only has two top 10s since the Masters. I'm not totally sure his skill set sets up to win a PGA.
12. Henrik Stenson (25-1): I keep reading and being told Henrik Stenson is a favorite for all these big tournaments, but I never see him on Sundays. He did finish T4 at the US Open but that's his only top 10 since March.
He's still ranked in the world top 10 and you still have to respect his iron play at these big-boy events. But he's 161st on the tour in strokes gained putting so that's not good.
13. Patrick Reed (80-1): Wouldn't it be something if Reed book-ended his season with a win at the PGA Championship and catapulted his way onto the Ryder Cup team?
His T4 at Bridgestone seemed to come out of nowhere, but don't read too much into Reed's struggles at the Opens. His game was built for PGAs and the like. American golf for one of the five best on the planet.
14. Matt Kuchar (28-1): It's kind of amazing to me that for as consistent as Kuchar is in tournaments, he's never won a major. Here are his last five PGAs:
15. Ryan Moore (66-1): Moore's past four events have been tremendous and he's about to play his way onto the Ryder Cup team. He has a T5, T7, T12, and T8 over the last month plus and is a great pick to star at Valhalla this week.
16. Webb Simpson (80-1): Simpson is one of the handful of folks who could get crazy hot and duplicate Jason Dufner's 63 from last year's PGA en route to another major.
I think 80-1 is the right number because he's more streaky than the US team's underwear on Sunday at the Ryder Cup, but if anybody can drag a wild number from the bottom of the well, he's my guy.
17. Bubba Watson (33-1): I don't know how I'm supposed to trust a guy who drives the ball 424 yards on a par 5 and still makes bogey.
18. Hideki Matsuyama (50-1): He hasn't performed at the majors like I thought he would (no top 25s) but he's fourth on tour in birdies per round and if he gets hot he can run roughshod on the field.
19. Phil Mickelson (20-1): Don't be fooled by that 20-1 number, Mickelson has been poor for most of this season until his 62 on Sunday at Firestone. A harbinger or an outlier? Time will tell but I'll bet on the latter.
20. Brandt Snedeker (50-1): Has Sneds found his stuff? No missed cuts since May after a rough start to the season and played great at the US Open as well as Bridgestone. There are a ton of guys we could hear noise from at or around the 50-1 mark (Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel also come to mind) but Snedeker is my pick.
154. Tiger Woods: There are only 156 golfers in the field.
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