The PGA Open Championship 2017 tees off from Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, with several strong players in contention for the title. Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy could be on track for his 23rd professional win. However, American golfer Jordan Spieth is chasing a different claim to fame.
If he manages to beat McIlroy, the 24-year-old Texan will join fellow countrymen Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in completing a Grand Slam. But is this more than a two-man race to the green? Read our betting preview to see which players are attracting the best odds, and who might be a solid long shot for finding betting value!
The favourite for the PGA Championship is attracting impressive odds of 13/2 at Bet365. This is despite being ranked fourth in the world, behind fellow contenders Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama. His performance at the recent WGC-Bridgestone Invitational showed promise and frustration in equal measure.
McIlroy failed to convert confident drivers into putts on the green, tying fifth along with Scotsman Russell Knox and Canadian Adam Hadwin. The long drives will help him at Quail Hollow and its infamous ‘Green Mile’ that makes up the last three holes, but he will require some reflection on Bridgestone to reach the top of the leaderboard.
Spieth is not far behind McIlroy, with Bet365 giving him odds of 9/1. The lure of the Grand Slam doesn’t seem to be phasing him as it did McIlroy in 2016. Spieth has been very open about his focus being on the tournament alone, saying that if he doesn’t get the Grand Slam:
"It’s not going to be a big-time bummer whatsoever because I know I have plenty of opportunities."
The American clearly isn't concentrating all his attention on the idea of securing the Grand Slam but that doesn't mean the media and fans aren't doing it for him; golf Grand Slams are fairly rare, so a lot of people will be hoping Spieth pulls off the fourth tournament he needs to achieve it.
Spieth’s fellow American is currently sitting at World No.1, having already won the Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in 2017, as well as last year’s US Open. However, he sustained a back injury during this year’s Open that has plagued him ever since. The road to recovery may be a long one, and despite not having played at Quail Hollow in over six years, his tenacity is drawing odds of 12/1 from Bet365.
The Japanese player has been consistent in form and there are hopes that he’ll earn his country its first ever Major trophy. However, apart from a victory at this year’s Phoenix Open, managing to beat rival Webb Simpson by one point, his nearest opportunity came at the US Open, tied second with Brian Harman, both four points shy of winner Brooks Koepka. He is still attracting reasonable odds of 11/1 at Bet365, and the desire to be Japan’s first Major winner could propel him to the top of the leaderboard.
Considering the non-favourites for this tournament (or the field), US Open winner Brooks Koepka has never played at Quail Hollow, but like McIlroy he has a powerful drive that should see him through the course. He deservedly took a break from golf after his surprising Open win, resting before the rush of games during the second half of 2017.
Despite this respite and his quiet confidence, Bet365 has him pegged at 22/1. Twenty-two-year-old Spanish newcomer Jon Rahm is drawing odds of 22/1 at Bet365, thanks to two wins this year at the Farmers Insurance Open and Irish Open. However, his form is rivalled only by his passionate temper, which could hinder his chances of progressing towards the top of the table.
Fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia is a solid outside shot, with Bet365 offering 40/1. The 37-year-old won this year’s Masters, a victory made all the sweeter since he had finished in second place four times in his 18-year golfing career. With a steady game and the opportunity to win both the Masters and PGA title in the same year.
This has not been accomplished since Jack Nicklaus in 1975 and 2017 could be Garcia’s grand finale. So, if you think you can judge which player is on par for a tournament win, why not visit Bet365 for all your golf betting needs? If you join now, the bookmaker is offering a 100% first deposit bonus up to £200, which sounds even better than a hole in one!