There are four major championships each year on the PGA Tour: The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. The Masters is held annually at the same Augusta National course so it makes that tournament a bit easier to handicap than the other three because those events shift locations each year.
The PGA Championship usually has the best field of the season and that’s the case this weekend at Quail Hollow Club, a par 71 measuring 7,600 yards outside of Charlotte. It’s the first time Quail Hollow has hosted a major tournament, but perhaps we can learn from the annual Wells Fargo Championship held there.
The 2017 version was not at Quail Hollow – it was moved to Eagle Point in Wilmington, N.C. because the course was being prepared for the PGA Championship. It had hosted the Wells Fargo Championship every year prior since 2003.
That said, the golfers who know the course might not recognize it as it underwent major renovations after the 2016 Wells Fargo. A new type of bermuda grass was installed at every green, thousands of trees were taken down or moved and four holes were changed – No. 1 and 2 were combined into a new 540-yard par 4. The new second hole is a par 3.
The betting favorite this week according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at +700. He won the PGA Championship in both 2012 and 2014. In addition, he won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010 and 2015. McIlroy was T2 in 2013, T10 in 2013, T8 in 2014 and T4 in 2016 in that tournament. So it’s clearly a course that suits his game, at least pre-renovation.
McIlroy is playing well currently with a fourth-place British Open finish, after which he split with his long-time caddie, and a fifth last week at the WGC-Bridgestone.
American Jordan Spieth is +800 as he looks to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen to complete the career Grand Slam. Spieth added the Claret Jug at the British Open last month to his 2015 Masters and U.S Open victories. Spieth’s best result in the PGA Championship was a runner-up to Jason Day in 2015.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Rickie Fowler (+1600) round out the favorites on the 2017 PGA Championship odds. Johnson, who won three straight tournaments earlier this year, largely hasn’t been the same since a fall caused him to withdraw from the Masters.
Matsuyama tied a course record with a 61 on Sunday at Firestone in Akron to win last week’s WGC-Bridgestone. While that was Matsuyama’s second career WGC title, he’s looking for a first major. So is Fowler, who did take the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
No player has repeated at the PGA Championship since Tiger Woods in 2007, and Jimmy Walker is a +10000 longshot to do so at online gambling sites. Walker finished 14 under last year at Baltusrol in New Jersey, besting Day by a shot.