PGA Championship: The best bets

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The PGA Championship returns to its now customary mid-May spot after being held in August last year due to COVID-19. Rory McIlroy, the last player to win a PGA Championship at Kiawah Island (2012), is the tournament favorite at 11/1. McIlroy earned his first victory in more than 18 months with a win at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson has drifted out to 16/1 as he withdrew from last week’s Byron Nelson due to a knee injury and has been nowhere near his form last fall, having not posted a top 10 or better finish since February. World No. 2 Justin Thomas (14/1) already has a big win for 2021 at the Players Championship and World No. 3 Jon Rahm (14/1), despite not looking his best this year, has nine top-10 finishes.

Here are some best bets to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.

Jon Rahm (14/1)

Has started slowly by his high standards but his Strokes Gained stats remain one of the world’s best Off the Tee (top five in all three seasons) and he is performing better this year in Approach. If the wind blows steady, Rahm is one of the world’s best wind players.

He has been playing with new equipment this year and welcomed his first child a little over a month ago. Despite being near the top of the odds board, few seem to be picking him. McIlroy showed two weeks ago that even out of form that elite players are never too far away from winning and Rahm certainly qualifies in that category.

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm
Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau (18/1)

It seems too obvious to take the world’s longest hitter on the longest course in major championship history (7,876 yards), but his long iron approach game is as good as anyone in this field. DeChambeau already has a win this season at Bay Hill and has a very good recent record on Pete Dye designs, having never been outside the top 10 in his last three starts at River Highlands, posting three top 10s at Harbour Town and a third earlier this year at TPC Sawgrass.

Viktor Hovland (24/1)

I bet Hovland two weeks ago at 33/1 and his price has now been cut off two consecutive third-place finishes at the Valspar and the Wells Fargo. The Norwegian has yet to post a top 10 in a major for his young career, but neither had Collin Morikawa before he won last year’s PGA. He looks to be peaking at the right time though like Morikawa had last year and would certainly continue the recent trend of PGA Champions in their 20s.

Scottie Scheffler (50/1)

Tied for fourth in the PGA at Harding Park last August, was T-19th in his Masters debut and T-18th in his return there last month. In addition, he finished fifth in the WGC Workday Championship and was runner-up in the WGC Dell Match Play, which was held on a Dye design at Austin Country Club.

Tyrrell Hatton (55/1)

Has looked a bit out of form in 2021 despite having won already this year by holding off McIlroy in Abu Dhabi. Was T-6 earlier this year in Saudi Arabia on Paspalum greens. In addition, Hatton finished third last year at the RBC Heritage on another Pete Dye design at Harbour Town.

Will Zalatoris (65/1)

Led the field last week in Dallas for SG: Approach (+2.37) and was third for SG: Tee-To-Green (+2.67). However he finished T-17 due to losing over a stroke per round on the greens. Has taken a liking to coastal courses with a seventh earlier this year at Torrey Pines. Zalatoris has also shown well on Paspalum courses.

Joaquin Niemann (70/1)

Rates fifth on the PGA Tour for Driving Distance and 10th for SG: Off-The-Tee (last 24 rounds). Is a very good wind player who can use his low ball flight to his advantage at Kiawah.

Jason Kokrak (130/1)

Is just a few weeks removed from three consecutive top-10 finishes on the Florida swing.

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