PGA Championship 2015: Last-Minute Odds, Picks and Projections

Lindsay Gibbs@linzsports Featured ColumnistAugust 12, 2015

PGA Championship 2015: Last-Minute Odds, Picks and Projections

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    Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

    Have you called in sick to work the rest of the week and cancelled all of your plans? Good, because it's almost time for the final major of the year, the PGA Championship.

    If this is anything like the last two majors, you won't want to miss a second of the action at Whistling Straits. 

    A battle for the No. 1 spot is in the cards, a snake-bitten golfer is looking for the ultimate redemption, and a bevy of great talents are hoping to make their own history by winning this prestigious title.

    It should be a fantastic four days of golf.

    Here are some last-minute odds, picks and predictions to help get you ready for the war for the Wanamaker.

Jordan Spieth Edges Rory McIlroy in the Odds

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    Ask anyone and they'll tell you that this PGA Championship is a huge one for the budding Jordan Spieth vs. Rory McIlroy rivalry.

    Spieth has, as you likely know, been a golfing god this season. He won the Masters and U.S. Open and then finished tied for fourth at the British Open. McIlroy, meanwhile, is the world No. 1 and won the British Open and the PGA Championship last year.

    One of these guys will finish this tournament as the world No. 1, and it's likely not the last time the duo will battle it out for the top spot. 

    Right now, Odds Shark has Jordan Spieth as the favorite, with 11-2 odds for the Wanamaker trophy. McIlroy is close behind with 9-1 odds. 

    It's likely that McIlroy trails in the books due to his recent ankle injury, which caused him to miss the British Open last month. He hasn't played competitive golf since the U.S. Open in June.

    The two will play together the first two days at Whistling Straits, along with British Open champion Zach Johnson.

The Aussies Will Take over Wisconsin

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    I'm expecting the golfers from Down Under to make a huge impact at this PGA Championship.

    Jason Day (14-1 odds) is having himself a fantastic summer. The 27-year-old finished tied for ninth at the U.S. Open, tied for fourth at the British Open and first at the RBC Canadian Open a couple of weeks ago.

    He finished tied for 10th in 2010, when this tournament was last played at Whistling Straits, and he's one of the favorites, right behind Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

    Adam Scott (22-1) has had a good summer as well, finishing tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and tied for 10th at the British Open. The former No. 1 and 2013 Masters champ looks ready to nab his second major.

    And don't forget about Marc Leishman (90-1), the Aussie who made it to the British Open playoff last month before falling to Zach Johnson.

    I expect all three Aussies to have an excellent week. They'll all finish in the top 10 once again.

Don't Get Your Hopes Up About Tiger Woods

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    As I wrote elsewhere, it's tough being a Tiger Woods fan these days. 

    He's currently ranked No. 278 in the world, and after finishing tied for 17th at the Masters to start the season, he has missed the cut at the last two majors.

    It will be a good showing if Tiger (40-1) makes the cut. It will be an absolute miracle if he wins.

    Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports reported that even during Tiger's press conference at Whistling Straits, reporters seemed resigned to the fact that he was no longer a contender:

    No one asked him about his chances in the year’s final major, nor did anyone ask him to diagnose any part of his swing. No one pretended that his 18th-place finish at the Quicken Loans National two weeks ago — Woods’ second-best finish in 2015 — might give him the momentum needed to win his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open.

    I'm going to be optimistic and predict Tiger will indeed make the cut, but just barely. He'll tee off early on Sunday and will be finished with his round before the big guns even get to the tee.

Bubba Watson Will Make a Splash

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Bubba Watson (14-1) has been relatively quiet at the majors this year, but that will change at the 2015 PGA Championship. 

    Watson, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, has been playing some superb golf lately. He finished as the runner-up in his last two starts at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the RBC Canadian Open and won the Travelers Championship at the end of June.

    The 36-year-old hasn't had much success at majors outside of the Masters, but he did have a good showing at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship.

    He finished as the runner-up in that tournament, falling to Martin Kaymer in a playoff after hitting his second shot on the third playoff hole into the water. 

    Watson will be out for revenge this year and will carry over his good form, notching only the fifth top-five finish at a major in his career.

Dustin Johnson Won't Be Able to Overcome His Whistling Straits Woes

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    Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

    Dustin Johnson (12-1), however, won't fare quite as well as Bubba Watson when it comes to tackling his Whistling Straits demons.

    Johnson infamously failed to make that playoff in 2010 between Watson and Martin Kaymer when he received a bunker penalty on the 72nd hole. Ouch.

    Five years later and still without his major, Johnson has racked up a resume of heartbreaking major collapses, most recently at the U.S. Open when he three-putted on the 72nd green to give Jordan Spieth the title.

    Since then, Johnson has started well at his last two events before completely falling apart on the weekends. He's been somewhat of a mess.

    I believe Johnson's day will come, but it's not this week when he'll be majorly under the microscope. It will be a surprise if he even makes the cut.

Martin Kaymer Won't Win, but He Will Contend

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Martin Kaymer (40-1) is just a delight, and it's fun to reminisce about his breakout moment at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

    Since then, of course, he's become world No. 1 and won the 2014 U.S. Open in runaway fashion, firmly establishing himself as one of the game's elite players. 

    He's still not Mr. Consistency, though. Kaymer missed the cut in the first two majors of the year before finishing tied for 12th at the British Open.

    Now, back at the site of his first big career triumph, Kaymer will put himself back in the mix once again. After all, he loves this course.

    "It's beautiful to play," he said of Whistling Straits, as reported by Mark Lamport-Stokes of Reuters. "You don't mind if you have to wait a few minutes because you can just have a look at the lake, at the dunes."

    Look for Kaymer to be on the front page of the leaderboard and nab another top-10 finish at a major.

The Dark Horses Are...

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    There is no sport where dark horses are as much of a factor as they are in golf, and no major tournament is as dark-horse friendly as the PGA Championship.

    Somehow, the end-of-the-summer calendar locale makes this major feel more wide open than the rest.

    This week, I'd really watch out for Louis Oosthuizen, who has never finished higher than tied for 15th at the PGA Championship.

    He's pretty under-the-radar for a guy who has finished as the runner-up at the last two majors, and with 33-1 odds (via Odds Shark), he's simply not being taken seriously enough.

    Also take a closer look at Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, who are all sitting at 40-1.

    The long shot I like the best is Kevin Kisner (90-1), who has five top 10s since April and will be playing in his first PGA Championship.

The Pick Is…

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    Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

    Are we really going to go a year without Rory McIlroy winning a major title? Personally, I don't think so.

    Yes, there is concern about his ankle, which will likely swell up nicely this week as he gets it fully back in action. But McIlroy is tough, and after missing out on a chance to defend his title at the British Open, I expect him to be more motivated than ever.

    Plus, McIlroy says he's "100 percent," according to Bill Pennington of the New York Times, so I'm inclined to believe him. 

    The Northern Irishman finished fourth at the Masters, tied for ninth at the U.S. Open and has notched wins this season at the Wells Fargo Championship, WGC-Cadillac Match Play and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

    Now, he'll reclaim his dominance on the major stage by winning his third Wanamaker trophy in the last four years at Whistling Straits.

    Odds are provided courtesy of Odds Shark.