PGA Championship 2011 Odds: Why Phil Mickelson Is a Vegas Favorite to Win

Kevin PahlauContributor IIIAugust 9, 2011

Phil Mickelson likes the course set-up at the 2011 PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson likes the course set-up at the 2011 PGA ChampionshipAndy Lyons/Getty Images

This week, the 93rd PGA Championship will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. Often referred to as "Glory's Last Shot", the 2011 PGA Championship should provide plenty of storylines based on the present and the past.

One story from the past that is sure to be mentioned frequently this week is David Toms' 2001 PGA Championship victory, which took place at the site of this year's championship.

Toms' win that year was determined by one stroke, ultimately denying Phil Mickelson his first major.

A lot has transpired for Mickelson, though, since 2001.

He is now a four-time major champion, with three wins at the Masters and one PGA Championship win in 2005. He has won a total of 47 times in his professional career including 39 wins on the PGA Tour.

Before he won the the Masters in 2004, many thought that Mickelson might never win a major. In fact, it was a story and question which was brought up before every major Mickelson entered.

Now, Mickelson is often viewed as one of the favorites in each major that he enters. Even at times, a Vegas favorite. 

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 05:  Phil Mickelson hits an approach shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on the South Course at Firestone Country Club on August 5, 2011 in Akron, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

One of the reasons Mickelson is looked at as a favorite in majors is because of his aggressive style of play. His willingness to take risks has often come under scrutiny. It is those risks that have allowed him opportunities to win, such as the memorable shot out of the pine straw on 13 at Augusta in 2010.

Mickelson's 2011 season can be viewed as a successful one so far. He won the Shell Houston Open in April and was runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open. He tied for second at this year's British Open and is currently ranked fifth in the FedEx Cup points race.

Another item in Mickelson's favor at this year's PGA Championship is course. Changes have been made since 2001 and it is now longer and faster, favoring players who drive the ball long like Mickelson. Keeping the ball out of the Georgia Pines is another thing.

The course is not set up that different from most PGA tournament courses. The fairways are long and open up in some areas. The rough is thick, but fair and not completely impossible. The greens have Ultra Dwarf Bermuda making them firm and fast. Putting will have to be an item of focus for any player.

Yes, the course will most certainly be difficult, but the course will favor players like Mickelson who are familiar with a course layout like this and play the PGA Tour regularly.

Mickelson admittedly likes the course set-up and took time to play a practice round last Tuesday. He found the course to be challenging, but straightforward in presentation.

The greens will be one of the more challenging features of the course and Mickelson will have to make it a priority to become familiar with them.

2011 has already been a successful year for Mickelson. Taking into consideration his style of game, the course set-up and his experience performing and winning in majors, it is difficult to believe he will not be a Vegas or fan favorite during the 2011 PGA Championship.