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PGA Championship 2019: Odds for Sleepers and Favorites at Bethpage Black

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2019

Tiger Woods will try to follow up on his Masters victory at the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods will try to follow up on his Masters victory at the PGA Championship.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The victory in the Masters was transcendent for Tiger Woods and the sport of golf. It has thrust the game's brightest star back into the favorite's role in this week's PGA Championship at the challenging Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, New York.

That was a role Woods was quite familiar with from the start of his professional career in the late 1990s through his 14th major championship victory in 2008. However, after a nearly 11-year gap between titles in the game's top four tournaments (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship), it is a role he hasn't had in a while.

When Woods dropped his winning putt on the 72nd hole of the Masters last month, the ground shook in Augusta, Georgia, and the reverberations were felt throughout the golf world.

While Tiger had won the Tour Championship last fall, winning a major and earning the green jacket that goes with the Masters represented a huge achievement. Tiger celebrated in exultant fashion, and the golf world joined him.

Now he is back in the spotlight in the second major championship of the year. The PGA Championship had been the fourth of the four majors, both in stature and on the calendar. But this year's tournament has been moved to May after years of August competition, and it has the feel of something new.

Tiger, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are the favorites going into the PGA Championship, and while they are all capable of dominating, there are several sleepers who have a chance to play exceptional golf and win the Wanamaker Trophy that goes with winning the tournament championship.

Here's a look at the top-15 ranked betting choices in the field, the full odds (via VegasInsider) as well as a look at the favorites and sleepers worth following in this tournament.

   

Odds to win 2019 PGA Championship 

Tiger Woods 10-1
Brooks Koepka 11-1
Dustin Johnson 11-1
Rory McIlroy 12-1
Jon Rahm 20-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Justin Thomas 20-1
Rickie Fowler 20-1
Francesco Molinari 25-1
Jason Day 25-1
Xander Schauffele 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood 33-1
Tony Finau 35-1
Bryson DeChambeau 40-1
Jordan Spieth 40-1

     

Favorites

Tiger Woods, 10-1

The release of emotion after the Masters win was palpable, and it was clear that it was a victory that Tiger would savor. He is bound to be in a strong emotional position as the tournament gets underway Thursday. 

While Tiger should be able to play solid golf at challenging Bethpage Black and its punishing and deep rough, wouldn't he have been better off playing in one tournament since the Masters? When he tees off Thursday, it will be 32 days since his final round at the Masters.

Tiger's ability to hit pristine iron shots should give him a good chance in this tournament, but the key will be hitting his tee shots straight and staying out of the rough. Tiger ranks first in greens in regulation, but he is 70th in driving accuracy percentage. 

He will have the crowd on his side, and if he can avoid the disastrous holes that are common at Bethpage Black, he should be a contender on Sunday.

    

Brooks Koepka, 11-1

Koepka's greatest strength is his ability to rise to the occasion in the biggest tournaments. Koepka won two majors last year, including the PGA Championship, and he has three of the majors in his career.

Koepka is a powerful man who can overpower many of the courses on the PGA Tour, but he has to concentrate on accuracy off the tee at Bethpage Black or he could be a disappointment. Koepka is averaging 308.1 yards off the tee, but he is 88th in driving accuracy.

The other factor is his putting, which has been exceptional in his three major championships. However, he missed some key putts in this year's Masters, and he must show he can make those putts in this tournament.

Dustin Johnson, 11-1

There has never been any doubt about Johnson's talent and skills on the golf course, but it's hard to believe that Johnson has just one major championship to his credit.

Johnson's length off the tee should work to his advantage at Bethpage Black, and there's no reason he can't set the tone in the early rounds of the tournament and see his name at or near the top of the leaderboard.

However, his finishing ability has hurt him badly. He struggled to a final round of 77 in the RBC Heritage Classic and that came just a few weeks after his 74 in the final round of the Valspar Championship. 

   

Rory McIlroy, 12-1

Nobody puts together all aspects of the game like McIlroy, and he is capable of running away from the field and hiding nearly any week.

However, he finished 20th at the Masters, and he doesn't always play to his massive potential. McIlroy ranks first in shots gained off the tee and tee to green. 

In addition to the deep rough, Bethpage Black is a long course, and that plays to McIlroy's strength. If he can get off to a strong start in this tournament, he should be a factor on Sunday.

    

Sleepers

Tony Finau, 33-1

Finau finished in a tie for fifth in the Masters, and he has four Top-10 finishes in major championships. He does not get overwhelmed on golf's biggest stages, and that should allow him to hold up will at Bethpage Black.

Finau is averaging 311.2 yards off the tee, and that ranks sixth in driving distance. However, if he is going to have a problem, it is probably going to be with his approach shots. He ranks 143rd with his around-the-green play.

    

Louis Oosthuizen, 65-1

Oosthuizen has also shown he can rise to the occasion on the biggest stage, as he won the 2010 British Open, and he has finished second in four other majors.

Oosthuizen has proven his ability as a shotmaker, as he ranks second in shots gained around the green.

He has one of the most picture-perfect swings in the game, and a sharp start could allow him to have a major influence on the leaderboard.

Kevin Kisner, 100-1

Kisner is clearly not getting the respect he deserves as he goes off at huge odds even though he ranks 14th in FedEx Cup points. He has three top-10 finishes this season and has won more than $2.7 million.

Kisner's strength is on the green as he ranks 12th in total putting, and 15th in three-putt avoidance.

Kisner was at his best earlier this year when he won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. The ability to beat opponents one-on-one should give him the confidence to play contending golf here and worth consideration as a betting proposition.

    

All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.

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