Claret Jug Hangover Rules Rory Out
It’s time to get to grips with the trends for the final major of the year, the USPGA Championship, ahead of tee-off at Valhalla on Thursday!
Claret Jug hangover
To win two Majors in a career is an achievement, so not surprisingly, winning Majors less then a month apart is a feat rarely seen. Only three men in history have managed to win the British Open followed and the US PGA Championship in the same year. Tiger Woods did it in 2000 and 2006, Nick Price did it in 1994 and Padraig Harrington did it in 2008. This suggests the odds are stacked against Rory McIlroy adding a fourth Major in Louisville.
It’s Hard To Defend
Tiger Woods is the exception to most trends and his name crops up again when we consider players who have successfully defended their US PGA title. He did it in 2000 and repeated the achievement in 2007. But no-one else has managed it in 56 years, so think twice about backing last year’s winner Jason Dufner at 66/1.
No Country For Old Men
Veterans seem to fare quite well at the British Open, but it is a different story in the three USA-based Majors. The last man over 40 to taste Major success on the other side of the Atlantic was Vijay Singh.
That trend would seem to rule out the chances of the 2005 winner Phil Mickelson, the in-form Jim Furyk and the man who seems destined to finish his career without a Major, Lee Westwood.
Form Is Everything
Well, almost everything. Twelve months ago, Dufner bucked this trend, but the previous nine winners of the US PGA had all won a Tour title earlier in the same season. And the last eleven champions, Dufner included, had all finished inside the top fifteen of a Tour event in the month leading up to the tournament.
This trend rules out four-times winner Tiger Woods, along with Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.
Dufner’s victory last year was his first win in a Major at the nineteenth attempt, and he became the seventeenth man in the last quarter-century to make the US PGA his first Major. If we concentrate on those without a Major title under their belt, then we can put a line through a number of players towards the top of the betting, including Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel.
Applying these trends to the main contenders in the antepost betting list gives us an interesting shortlist.
Perennial Major contender Sergio Garcia has been in scintillating form this year and the dependable Matt Kuchar can usually be relied upon to give you a good run for your money. Amongst the younger generation, Hideki Matsuyama, who picked up his first PGA Tour title in June could also fit the bill, along with 2013 rookie of the year Jordan Speith, who finished second in the Masters back in April.
Back Sergio Garcia at 18/1
Back Matt Kuchar at 33/1
Back Jordan Speith at 35/1
Back Hideki Matsuyama at 60/1