Early Odds to Win the 2015 PGA Championship Post-British Open Edition
The 2015 British Open at St Andrews has concluded, and a victor has been crowned in Zach Johnson. Now that that’s old news, it’s time to look ahead to the final major of the year: the PGA Championship.
The 2015 PGA Championship kicks off on August 13 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, where we can hope to see low scores and far fewer weather delays involving 30-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rains.
It’s no surprise that Jordan Spieth is the inarguable Master of Majors this year. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, last year’s winner, has won two of the last three PGA Championships, giving him serious credibility in the sportsbooks. Naturally, those young pros are two of the favorites at Whistling Straits, but who else is keeping them company in the early odds?
Let’s take a look at Oddschecker to see who’s favored to win the year’s final major.
Odds to win: 33-1
The 2005 winner reminded us all how brilliant his short game can be at times at St Andrews, but is the five-time major winner past his prime?
The oddsmakers don’t seem think so.
Lefty made a number of head-scratching mistakes this year at the Old Course (most noticeably his bunker play). At the same time, though, he was able to work up momentum with streaks like going six-under par through 16 holes in Round 4 before spoiling it with a triple bogey on infamous No. 17.
He wasn’t low enough consistently to really break onto the first page of a congested British Open leaderboard, but he put together solid rounds of 70, 72, 70 and 69 to remind critics there’s a lot of life left in his career.
Mickelson was runner-up to McIlroy at the PGA in 2014 and followed that up with a tied-for-second finish at the 2015 Masters. Since 1993, Lefty has recorded nine top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship and only missed the cut once.
Odds to win: 33-1
Bubba Watson was never in contention on Monday at St Andrews. In fact, thanks to opening rounds of 71 and 76, he didn’t even make the cut.
Those rounds come off as an anomaly, though, when you expand your lens to look at Watson’s season as a whole. This year, he has earned three top-five finishes, including a playoff victory at the Travelers Championship, a tie for second at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and a third-place finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Understandable skepticism comes into play, though, when you focus on his major results this year: a T-38 at the Masters followed by two missed cuts. There’s not a lot of confidence to be found in that record.
Historically, Watson hasn’t fared badly at the PGA Championship—he even came in second in 2010—but his proponents will be leaning heavily on his 2012 and 2014 Masters victories as supporting evidence for favorable odds at Whistling Straits.
Odds to win: 25-1
Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open, so he’s no stranger to closing out a major. When it comes to the PGA Championship, though, he’s been something of a wild card.
As recently as 2012, Rose finished tied for third. A little farther back in 2008, he was tied for ninth. Between those two finishes, however, he missed three straight cuts.
This year, Rose claimed a tie for second at the Masters and tied for sixth at the British Open. He put together impressive (and consistent) rounds of 71, 68, 68 and 70 at St Andrews in spite of many wacky weather fluctuations.
There’s no telling what iteration of the Englishman we’ll see this year’s PGA Championship, but the oddsmakers trust it will look more like the 2008/2012 version.
Odds to win: 25-1
Rickie Fowler wasn’t able to ride the momentum of his Scottish Open win to a Claret Jug. He was, however, able to refute the tag of “most overrated player of tour” by collecting two victories since May—and that’s long-term momentum that could translate to a strong PGA Championship performance in August.
Looking back even farther to 2014, it starts to seem ridiculous Fowler hasn’t yet won a major, given his consistent finishes at all four tournaments. He tied for fifth at the Masters, tied for second at the U.S. Open, tied for second at the British Open and tied for third at the PGA.
He failed to continue that wild tear this year when he finished tied for 12th at the Masters, missed the cut at the U.S. Open and tied for 31st at the British Open. However, there’s no reason to doubt he could get back to his winning ways at Whistling Straits.
At least, that’s what the oddsmakers believe.
Odds to win: 25-1
Jason Day came painfully close to earning a playoff berth at the British Open when he narrowly missed his birdie putt on 18. Finishing at 14-under par with rounds of 66, 71, 67 and 70 isn’t bad, though.
He may not have recorded as many birdies as a certain playing partner named Jordan Spieth, but the Australian secured his low scores with three bogey-free rounds. In fact, he only carded three bogeys all week (all in Round 2).
So far this year, Day has collected five top-10 finishes, including a playoff victory at the Farmers Insurance Open and a tie for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
That record, combined with his British Open and tour-leading birdie average, mean he is a more than respectable pick for the PGA Championship in less than a month.
Odds to win: 25-1
The Swede didn’t have his best British Open—that would be 2013, when he finished second—but he did put together four respectable rounds of 73, 70, 71 and 69.
So far this year, he has three top-10 finishes, including a second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Over the past eight years, Stenson has collected nine top-10 finishes at the majors. Four of those have come at the PGA Championship, where he finished third two years ago and tied for third last year.
Stenson has had a generally consistent upward trend at the PGA over the past decade. Though he hasn’t had a stellar 2015 season, the Swede always seems to muster a charge at the majors.
The oddsmakers are projecting a future for Stenson rooted deeply in his tried-and-true history, and there’s every reason to believe the PGA will pan out like any other major in which he’s played.
Odds to win: 20-1
Adam Scott has not had an outstanding season—only two top-10 finishes (and none in the top three)—but his record at majors is impressive.
Scott has one major win under his belt at the 2013 Masters. Add to that 14 top-10 finishes, and it would seem absurd to ever overlook the pro from down under.
Looking specifically at the PGA Championship, Scott has cracked the top 15 in each of the last four seasons. Overall, he has four top-10 finishes at the year’s final major, meaning he is no stranger to contention.
Does he have what it takes to make that critical jump from contender to champ in August? Well, if he can improve his putting (ranked 169th on tour), then there should be nothing holding back the man who ranks third in driving distance and seventh in greens in regulation.
Odds to win: 14-1
Despite falling woefully off the pace while trying to cope with Saturday’s wind and Sunday’s pressure, Dustin Johnson is still gravitating near the top of most oddsmakers’ books.
The American has never won a major tournament, even though he has nine top-10 results in the biggest tournaments since 2009 and claimed T-6 and T-2 finishes at this year’s Masters and U.S. Open, respectively.
In five outings at the PGA Championship, Johnson has three top-10s and only one missed cut.
Back-to-back rounds of 75 may have dropped Johnson out of contention at the British Open, forcing him to settle for T-49, but his 65-69 start cannot be ignored. He’s still ranked No. 1 on tour in average driving distance and No. 2 in putting average, and he certainly showed he can turn those stats into red numbers in Rounds 1 and 2.
It seems like only a matter of time before the man who has been knocking on the door for years finally gets his first major.
Odds to win: 7-1
Rory McIlroy was going to be a favorite for every major this year, no matter what happened with his game. For comparison, consider Tiger Woods has been hovering around 50-1 odds for the PGA Championship despite his atrocious form at both the U.S. and British Opens.
After McIlroy suffered ligament damage in his left ankle while playing soccer on July 4, the Northern Irishman dropped from British Open favorite to...British Open second favorite, just behind Jordan Spieth.
Though he eventually withdrew from the Open, McIlroy’s camp remained hopeful he would return to the field this season. As it stands, his agent still cannot confirm when McIlroy will be able to come back, but the oddsmakers seem optimistic he will recover both his health and his winning ways.
Odds to win: 11-2
Jordan Spieth just failed to complete the third leg of his Grand Slam, missing a chance at a playoff on the final hole. That historic dream is over, at least for this year.
It’s a missed opportunity many will be dwelling for some time to come, but Spieth likely won’t be among them.
On six occasions at the 2015 British Open, the American from Texas immediately responded to a bogey by carding a birdie on the very next hole. Spieth is not a player to dwell on the past. The 21-year-old has the mental fortitude of a player twice his age, and the odds reflect that.
In addition to that intangible asset, of course, are Spieth’s victories at the Master and U.S. Open to go along with his close finish at the British Open. No one has played anywhere near that well at the majors this season—and that’s why he is the deserved early favorite for the PGA Championship.
All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.