Early Odds to Win the 2014 PGA Championship Post-British Open
With the British Open in the rearview mirror, it's time to look forward to the final major of the year, the PGA Championship.
Next month, all of the best golfers in the world will meet up at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. So far, there has been no first-time major winner on the PGA Tour, but guys such as Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth will be trying to change that.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson will be trying to win a second major in 2014. Of course, don't overlook Jason Dufner, who will be trying to defend. Or the No. 1 golfer in the world, Adam Scott. Or that guy Tiger Woods. He'll be there too.
Predicting golf majors is a difficult task at best, but after an exciting week at Royal Liverpool, it's time to look at the very early odds for the PGA Championship.
Odds to Win: 35-1
Jason Dufner hasn't won a tournament since taking the PGA Championship trophy last year, but the defending champion has to be in the conversation.
Dufner has had his most career success in majors at the PGA. He's been in the top five for three of the last four years, and in addition to winning the Wanamaker in 2013, he was a runner-up in 2011.
The 37-year-old has not done well at the majors this year, though. He's missed two cuts and tied for 51st at The Open Championship. But his game and his personality seem to be well-suited for the PGA, and he'll want to hold on to that trophy so he can do some more Dufnering.
Odds to Win: 30-1
Martin Kaymer did not play well at the British Open, shooting a 79 on Sunday to finish at eight over par. But after running away with The Players Championship and the U.S. Open this year, Kaymer has to be looked at as a contender.
The German won the PGA Championship back in 2010, and this year he is playing his best golf since winning that title and later ascending to No. 1 in the world.
His measured and accurate game could do some damage at Valhalla.
Odds to Win: 22-1
Tiger Woods has not had a miraculous comeback so far. The 14-time major champion missed the cut at the Quicken Loans National and floundered at the British Open, finishing 69th.
Woods will be plenty motivated for the PGA Championship, though. He will want to stake his claim to the Ryder Cup team, and he's running out of time to do so.
Though it didn't work out so well at Royal Liverpool last week, Woods will be back on a course where he has great memories. He won the PGA Championship the last time it was played at Valhalla Golf Club, way back in 2000.
After his disappointing finish at Hoylake, Woods was still able to see his comeback in a positive light. Via ASAP Sports:
The fact I was able to play a few weeks ahead of time, and I'm only getting stronger and faster, which is great. I just had to get more game time. I think we did the smart thing by not playing too much leading into this event, just want to assess how my back was. And where I need to strengthen, how I need to go about it, how to gain my explosiveness again, and all that's come along.
Like it or not, as long as Tiger is around, he's a big part of the conversation. Being one of the best golfers of all time earns you permanent membership in that category, no matter your current form. He's no longer the automatic favorite, but he's always in the picture.
Odds to Win: 20-1
There will always be a lot of focus on Phil Mickelson. Of course, he's always a big factor at the Masters. At the U.S. Open, he was trying to complete the Grand Slam at the site of one of his most famous misses. Last week at the British Open, he was the defending champion.
At the PGA Championship, Mickelson is simply one of the contenders. He won the title back in 2005, and he'd like to win another one.
Lefty found his game as the rounds went on at Royal Liverpool, finishing with a 68 and a fist pump, tying for 23rd.
As he looks to improve on his rough season and qualify by points for the Ryder Cup team, Bob Harig of ESPN.com reports that Mickelson's feeling confident. That should help him at Valhalla:
To that end, Mickelson feels good about the PGA venue.
"I love it," he said. "I played well there in '08 at the Ryder Cup. I played well in my first PGA there in '96, as well as did okay in 2000. I love (Jack) Nicklaus courses. They've been good to me. As high as I'd like to hit it and aggressive with the iron shots, you can take advantage of a lot of the holes there."
It's worth noting that the course being used for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was designed by Nicklaus.
Odds to Win: 18-1
Sergio Garcia had a great week at Hoylake, finishing in a tie for second place and playing some of the best golf of his career. He's finished in a disappointing second place at other majors, but this one left a smile on his face.
According to James Riach of The Guardian, Garcia was able to take positives from his close call at Royal Liverpool:
"It was close, it was close," said García. "At least I’m proud of the way I played. I wanted to at least make him [McIlroy] feel a little bit and see how he would respond. He obviously responded well. I got within two but every time I got closer he kept making one birdie and not letting me get any closer than that. Overall I thought it was a great week.
"Everybody looks at you as second and they want to make it a negative. Not at all. I felt like I played well, I felt like I did almost everything I could. There was a better player, it’s as simple as that. You don’t have to look at other things, it’s just that simple."
Garcia now brings that confidence in himself (and his putter) to the PGA Championship, where he hasn't fared well since finishing tied for second back in 2008. But with a swagger in his step, the Spaniard should be able to get back into contention this year and, just maybe, finally win that long-awaited major.
Odds to Win: 18-1
Even though he hasn't won a major yet, no golfer has impressed at the big events in 2014 as much as Rickie Fowler has.
The 25-year-old has been a model of consistency this year, finishing tied for fifth at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open and tied for second at the British Open.
Ian O'Connor of ESPN.com looked at Fowler's performance at Hoylake:
Fowler also earned a piece of history he'd probably rather give back: Ernie Els (twice) and Jesper Parnevik are the only other players to score in the 60s in all four rounds of the Open Championship and fail to win.
"It's hard to be disappointed about it because it was such a great week," Fowler said. "And with the way I had been playing in the majors, there was some pressure to play well this week. But with how comfortable I've been ... it doesn't feel like a big stage. It feels like I should be here. ... There's plenty more to come. I'll take 15 under in a lot of majors and sit there and wait in the clubhouse."
Fowler has never had success at the PGA Championship, but he's also never played as well as he has this season. Keep an eye on the brightly colored 25-year-old at Valhalla. It might finally be his week to take the next step.
Odds to Win: 10-1
Don't forget about No. 1.
Adam Scott is still the top-ranked golfer in the world, and though he hasn't won a major since (or before) the 2013 Masters, he has been remarkably reliable on the biggest stages of the sport. In the last 15 majors, Scott has finished in the top 10 in nine of them.
Scott has had a good summer too. The Australian finished tied for ninth at the U.S. Open and snuck in a final round of 66 to tie for fifth at the British Open. It's only a matter of time before he gets his second major victory.
The 34-year-old finished tied for fifth at the PGA Championship last year, and there's no reason to think he can't beat that in a few weeks.
Odds to Win: 7-1
After Rory McIlroy won the British Open at Royal Liverpool, all eyes turned to the 2015 Masters, where the 25-year-old will be trying to win his Grand Slam.
But there's another big event coming up before that, and McIlroy is so professional that there's no doubt he'll come into Valhalla ready to win the second PGA Championship of his career.
"I want to be the guy that goes on and wins majors and wins majors regularly, wins tournaments," he said after his big win Sunday, as reported by Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post. "I’d love to be in that position.”
Nobody is positioned for domination as well as McIlroy is right now—he was simply unflappable in Hoylake. The Northern Irish golfer won the BMW PGA Championship in Europe a couple of months ago, and now he will be looking to bring his good form across the pond and win two straight majors for the first time in his young career.