The second major of the year tees off on Friday from South Carolina as the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island plays host to the PGA Championship.
Rory McIlroy won his second major at this venue way back in 2012, and it is no surprise to find the Irishman as the favourite this week coming off a well overdue win at the Wells Fargo Championship a fortnight ago.
Australia’s top chance looks to be Cameron Smith, who is well-rested from his triumph alongside Marc Leishman at the Zurich Classic late last month in New Orleans.
Kiawah Island is famous for its treacherous conditions and unforgiving greens, so accuracy off the tee and a consistent short game a paramount across the entire weekend.
It’s always difficult to predict these major tournaments, but with plenty of value on offer, we’re confident we’ve found a few winners in our 2021 PGA Championship Preview below.
PGA Championship Best Bet
Bryson DeChambeau – $15.00
Truth be told, I’m quite happy to fade most of the favourites this week, but I can’t deny DeChambeau’s chances given how well he’s played on Pete Dye designed courses over the years.
Kiawah Island is a difficult beast that requires players to find length and precision off the tee, but also bring a decent short game if they overshoot the elevated greens.
DeChambeau ranks second on the TOUR in Strokes Gained per round on Pete Dye designed courses, so if you have eyes for any of the favourites, he looks to be one of the best bets.
Viktor Hovland – $19.00
Americans have won the last five editions of the PGA Championship, but it appears punters fancy the Norwegian to bring that run to an end.
Hovland has been well-supported since our markets opened and you don’t have to look hard to find out why.
The 23-year-old has finished inside the top five in his last two tournaments at the Valspar and the Wells Fargo Championship, while he’s also been one of the top five guys on Tour when it comes to Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
Hovland hasn’t tackled the beast that is Kiawah Island before, but he has held his own in major tournaments recently finishing T33 at this event last year and T21 at Augusta two months back.
Nobody has been more consistent off the tee over the last 12 months than the Norwegian, and he’s definitely worth including in your bet slip this week.
PGA Championship Best Value
Louis Oosthuizen – $51.00
If recent form is anything to go by, Oosthuizen should be in for a good weekend.
The South African comes in following a T8 at the Valspar Championship two weeks ago where he finished with three consecutive rounds under 70.
More importantly though, Oosthuizen ranks Top 20 on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, an encouraging statistic given how tricky Kiawah Island’s greens can be.
Better yet, he’s also coming in off an outright third at the US Open last year and a T26 at the Masters, so his form at recent majors stacks up.
Matthew Fitzpatrick – $51.00
It would take something special for Fitzpatrick to claim his first win on TOUR at Kiawah Island, but based on his stats, he’s not without a chance.
Accuracy off the tee is a key statistic this week and it just so happens that the Englishman ranks 15th in that department.
The 26-year-old did miss the cut at the Byron Nelson last week, but the fact he landed T9 at THE PLAYERS and T4 at the RBC Heritage reads well for this.
PGA Championship Best Roughies
Charl Schwartzel – $71.00
Bit of recency bias here, but how could you argue with Schwartzel’s recent form?
He was enormous last week at TPC Craig Ranch carding 68 or below in all four rounds on the way to a T3 finish.
He’ll need to strike a hot putter again to be competitive, but the fact he’s finished Top 30 in each of his last five events appeals to me.
Emiliano Grillo – $126
Again, this is a bet based entirely on the numbers,
Grillo has burned us several times in the past with some hot and cold performances, but the fact he ranks 17th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and 16th in ball striking makes him worthy of a small wager at this price.
The Argentinian strung together a T6 at Corales and a T2 at the RBC Heritage earlier in the year, so it’s not like he hasn’t been around the mark, either.
PGA Championship Top 10 Finish
Cameron Smith – $5.00
It would be rude not include at least one Australian on our bet slip.
Smith is well-rested since his win alongside Marc Leishman at the Zurich Classic and his outstanding run of form in majors (only one missed cut in 10 appearances) makes him a very likable proposition to finish Top 10.
PGA Championship Top 20 Finish
Corey Conners – $3.00
Sticking with the international theme, I also like Canadian Corey Conners to finish somewhere inside the Top 20.
The 29-year-old has missed the cut only once in his last 10 tournaments and also wound up finishing T8 at Augusta last month.
Considered one of the top ball strikers, this course should be to his liking.