While it might seem a fool’s errand for many, there’s no doubt that it’s more popular than ever to place a wager and try to pick a winner for each of the upcoming majors. Therefore, let’s cast an early eye on the players competing in the PGA Championship on May 16-22 at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa Oklahoma.
Surely not another Lefty?
Phil ‘Lefty’ Mickelson has changed our perception of what we believe to be possible in the PGA Championship. While Mickelson might never do it again, there’s no doubt that those betting on the golf markets are more open to the possibility of a long-odds name being successful again. At the time of writing Mickelson sits at 80/1, but punters might be tempted to go for other long shots such as Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson at 125/1 and 100/1 respectively.
When an exuberant crowd swarmed the 72nd hole at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, ecstatic that Phil had reinvented himself to become a major winner just short of his 51st birthday, it truly defied belief. While it made him the oldest major champion ever, it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many other reasons. Mickelson has continually had the affection of golf fans and appears to maintain a connection with the crowd that loves to follow him. He’s simply a player who inspires emotion and that 2 strokes victory over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen will likely still be on people’s when they look ahead to this year’s tournament and are tempted to place a wager on someone not expected to win.
The PGA Championship does tend to throw up unlikely winners with Collin Morikawa going into Round 1 at odds that placed him outside of the top ten and names such as Jimmy Walker (2016) and Keegan Bradley (2011) still remembered as coming from nowhere to eventually win. Another Tiger Woods victory at the Southern Hills Country Club couldn’t possibly happen again, could it?
For those less keen on a long shot, there are some incredible golfers that are considered more likely to emerge successfully from the field. Jon Rahm is the favourite to win this year’s PGA Championship and as the world’s No. 1 golfer this is little surprise. His U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines and generally stunning performances throughout 2021 makes him the one to watch in May. Rory McIlroy is a two-time PGA Championship winner and many will be hoping that he ends his major championship drought this year. Justin Thomas has been steady with high finishes and will expect a second major championship soon. Finally, Collin Morikawa is the young gun already boasting two majors wins and he’ll conceivably be in contention on the final day.
There’s plenty to consider when picking the winner of this year’s much anticipated PGA Championship. While we mentioned some of the elite golfers that are expected to win, there remains a sentiment that someone unforeseen will shock us once again.