The US PGA Championship gets underway at Quail Hollow, Charlotte on Thursday and the world's elite will be hoping to land the last major of the season. Rory Mcilroy (15/2) leads the betting in the Tournament Outright market but second favourite Jordan Spieth (9/1) will be hoping to become only the sixth player ever to win all four majors.
Last year's champion, Jimmy Walker is currently 80/1, but who'll emerge victorious come Sunday? Join us as we run the rule over what is sure to be an exhilarating four days of golf and pick out our tips for the title in our US PGA Championship preview, below:
THE US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP | SS1, 12:30
Favourite: RORY MCILROY 11/1
TOURNAMENT & COURSE OVERVIEW
Last year the competition was held at the Lower Course, Baltusrol in New Jersey and Jimmy Walker tamed both the course and the field to claim the title. Now in its 99th year, the 'Ugly Duckling' of the four majors in showing no signs of fading into obscurity gracefully as the competition switches to Quail Hollow, Charlotte, North Carolina for this year's inception.
Opened in 1961, the course was originally designed by golf course architect George Cobb and has subsequently been redesigned by Arnold Palmer in 1986 and Tom Fazio in 1997 and 2003. Universally recognised to be the prettiest course in the southeastern United States, this beast is as challenging as it is picturesque.
The course itself is 7,442-yards and is a par-72. It has been aggressively revamped for this year's competition with a switch from Rye to Bermuda grass, which will lend itself to a faster, firmer playing experience.
Two holes claim 'signature' status, the 14th and 17th. The former is a par-4 dogleg left that measures 346 yards. Protected by a lake on the left and undulating rough on the right, the green itself is rather small and uncompromising, with bunkers guarding front and left. The 17th is a 217-yard par-3, which is played over water. There is a rock wall ringing the lake and a bunker protects the centre. The 6,500-square-foot green is undulating, and on the left side, there are only six-feet between the edge of the putting surface and the lake. Expect caddies to come armed with snorkels and flippers as any errant shots will surely end up in the drink!
PRIZE POOL: The prize pool is $12 Million, with $2,160,000 up top for the winner!
WEATHER: The weather could be a HUGE factor this weekend as thunderstorms are predicted throughout and will certainly make the course play faster than anticipated. Thursday lunchtime should see a small respite, so shrewd followers may choose players who tee-off times mirror this. As well as Eight Places 1/5 odds overall, StanJames.com's popular In-Play ACCA INSURANCE offer is also live. We're also paying 6 places 1/4 the odds In-Play during the first day. In fact, there are a whole host of specials on site, including enhanced 2/3 balls and much more! Golf Specials
PRAYING IN KEVIN'S CHAPELL
No Hollow Victory, this!
The weather could be a huge factor here and on a course which demands driving accuracy and precision, this could be doubly so. As we mentioned las week, the WGC Bridgestone plays like this course and, interestingly enough, seven of last 10 US PGA winners had registered a top 10 in the event previously, whilst two of last winners had won the event previously...
So, where does that leave us then? Well, all things considered, we could be looking at a repeat of the WGC Bridgestone leaderboard. Of those at the top of the betting, Hideki Matsuyama is probably the best value. Regular readers will know that the 25-year-old Japanese professional has dug us out of a few holes in recent times and he comes into this one in good form, having WON the WGC last week. In fact, all of his four PGA wins have come on similar courses and in setting a new course record last weekend he's not done us any favours! On a course that demands accuracy, one of the best drivers in world golf can be yours at 12/1.*
Next up is the 31-year-old Fresno native, Kevin Chappell. Since being cut at the Open he has responded in brilliant fashion, with a T8 at the RBC and a T13 at the WGC Bridgestone. He has length and is adding consistency to his game, especially in the bigger events where winners are forged from the fires of adversity and mental fortitude will be called upon in huge measures, and he will enjoy the fact that Quail Hollow promises to reward the ball hitters this weekend. A punt, we agree, but he seems to like the course and at 66/1 there's certainly enough wiggle room there to take advantage of the EIGHT PLACES on offer at StanJames.com.*
Lastly, we'll have a look at one of those players who can sometimes flatter to deceive, but who can also reward patience and belief. The 25-year-old Belgian Thomas Pieters is that man. He looked impressive last week at Firestone, leading for 54 holes as he lasered onto the greens with unnerving accuracy. His short game can be amongst the best as well and our only concern, really, is his temperament, which can get the better of him. Since a T4 at the Masters, he fell away a little, being cut twice and finishing T44 last week. However, he has been on social media this week claiming to be up for the challenge ahead and he seems to have a real glint in his eye. Again, there is the buffer of the eight places on offer, which gives us some confidence for a small each-way dabble at 66/1.*
More, you say? More demanding than the ex you lot!
Okay, we've explained how length, precision and accuracy will come into play here, and we've also described the similarities with the WGC Bridgestone, which is why we're a little perplexed to understand quite how a 41-year-old, with 12 victories on the PGA Tour including two Majors who finished second last week is a 66/1 shot. Step forward Zach Johnson, who shot a -11 last week when finishing runner-up at the WGC Bridgestone. Consistency is always a factor, of course, but T5 at the John Deere and T14 at The Open suggests he's ready to take a big step forward this weekend.*
Lastly, we'll have a sneaky each-way on the 36-year-old Ross Fisher. He has length and height and seems to enjoy playing here, finishing tenth in his last outing. He's six top-10s this season and is one of the best drivers on the European Tour. True, he's been struggling of late, but if he can start like he did last week (an opening round 67) then the momentum may just see him over the line! 150/1.*
- 2016 Jimmy Walker - 80/1
- 2015 Jason Day - 25/1
- 2014 Rory McIlroy - 13/2
- 2013 Jaso Dufner - 100/1
- 2012 Rory McIlroy - 13/2
- 2011 Keegan Bradley - 150/1
- 2010 Matin Kaymer - N/A
Whoever you're backing, don't forget StanJames are offering our famous ACCA Insurance on the USPGA
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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