The world’s top golfers will head this week to the famed Whistling Straits course in Kohler, Wisconsin for the 97th edition of the PGA Championship. An incredible $10 million is at stake for the 156-man field with the champion taking home the $1.8 million top prize.
Read on below for our in-depth breakdown of the year’s final golfing major and while you’re at it, you can check out our sleeper picks for this prestigious tournament.
For even more coverage and a closer look at TopBet’s Top Ten contenders in this year’s PGA Championship click here.[sc:MultiSportArticles ]
2015 PGA Championship Betting Preview
Where: Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
When: August 13-16
Favorites – Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy
Jordan Spieth’s Grand Slam bid may already be over but history still beckons for the talented Texan when he tees off at Whistling Straits in just a few days’ time. No player in the history of golf has ever swept all three U.S. majors in a single year. If there’s one golfer, though, who can achieve that improbable feat, it’s got to be Spieth.
[sc:Golf240banner ]Spieth has been on fire this entire season, finishing in the top-10 in 12 of his 20 starts this year. He already has four tournament wins this year, grabbing victories at the Masters, US Open, Valspar Championship and John Deere Classic. To illustrate Spieth’s dominance, he has finished first or second, a whopping seven times on the PGA Tour this season. With the form that he is in right now, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Spieth dominate again this coming weekend. He is pegged at +500 to do just that.
Spieth might be the world’s hottest golfer right now but he’s still not the game’s no. 1 player. That distinction belongs to Rory McIlroy who will make a shock return at the PGA Championship this week. He suffered ligament damage in his left ankle during a July 4 soccer kickabout with friends that forced him to withdraw from the Scottish Open, the Open Championship and the ongoing WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
It looks like McIlroy’s fit to play, though, for the year’s final major and that’s great news for sports fans all over. He arrives this week as the defending champion, having won this event in spectacular fashion last year. He shot a stunning 32 on the back nine on Sunday to beat Phil Mickelson by a single stroke and capture his second PGA Championship crown. He is priced at +800 to add a third PGA title to his trophy collection this week.
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High-Value Sleepers – Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer
One guy who’s primed for a major victory this week is Dustin Johnson. He’s had at least a share of the lead in four rounds at the majors this year. He came agonizingly close to winning the US Open last June, losing to Jordan Spieth by a single shot after a disastrous three-putt in the 72nd hole. Johnson has been the victim of some cruel finishes in major tournaments in the past with Whistling Straits the site of one of those infamous heart-breaks. He was assessed a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a hazard in the final hole of the 2010 PGA Championship as he missed the playoff by one shot.
Johnson’s main edge against the competition this week is his extreme length off the tee. He leads the PGA Tour in driving distance, averaging 318.2 yards per drive. That will come in handy when tackling the long 7,501-yard, par-72 Whistling Straits course. He is also third in the PGA Tour in par-5 scoring, averaging 4.49 strokes per hole this season. If he can take advantage of the par-5s this week, he stands a great chance of finally grabbing that elusive major win. He is pegged at +900 to do just that.
One golfer who loves playing here at Whistling Straits is Martin Kaymer. He was the main beneficiary of Johnson’s final-round meltdown five years ago, winning the 2010 PGA Championship in a three-hole playoff over two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. To date, the German has won a total of 22 professional golf tournaments. He has struggled, though, with his golf swing this season, as he has yet to record a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this year.
That being said, Kaymer will take heart in the fact that his game is slowly rounding into form heading into the year’s final major. He had his best finish this season at the Open Championship, ending up in a tie for 12th with a nine-under total of 279. Look for Kaymer (+3,000) to contend this Sunday afternoon.
Long Shot – Camilo Villegas
Another golfer who has fond memories of Whistling Straits is Camilo Villegas. The Colombian finished tied for eighth the last time the PGA Championship was held here back in 2010, shooting an eight-under-par total of 280. He has racked up two top-10 finishes in six PGA Championship starts.
After struggling mightily at the start of the season, Villegas looks to be getting his form back. In fact, he had the 54-hole lead at the RBC Canadian Open last month before eventually settling for a 22nd-place finish. Don’t count Villegas out this week despite his astronomical +20,000 odds.
Dustin Johnson (+900) finally wins his first ever major title.[sc:Golf490baner ]
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