Dan Roebuck’s US PGA Preview: Zach Johnson a strong outsider
The fearsome East Course at Oak Hill Country Club is the venue for the final major of the season – the USPGA Championship – with 99 of the world’s top 100 teeing up at the Rochester layout that has hosted six grand slam events in the past.
Those half dozen tournaments have permitted a mere 10 golfers to finish with a sub-par total, which gives you some indication of just how tough it can play.
Tiger Woods is the short price favourite – available to back at 4/1 with Ladbrokes – as he bids once again to close to within three majors of Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18, with an easy win in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last week a chilling reminder of how good the world number one can be.
But Woods hasn’t really challenged in the Majors this term and at current odds he is readily taken on, especially given he finished only 39th the last time the USPGA Championship was staged at Oak Hill in 2003, won by 300/1 shot Shaun Micheel.
The New York course isn’t long but, with punishing rough, it demands accuracy from both tee and fairway and no-one found the short stuff with his driver at Firestone last week more than 40/1 PGA outsider, Zach Johnson, who has finished in the top six in each of his last three starts, including in the Open Championship.
Adam Scott – third favourite for the tournament at 16s – perhaps should have run Phil Mickelson at lot closer at Muirfield – where he eventually finished third after ranking second in driving accuracy – and the current Masters champion, who was fifth at halfway at Oak Hill in 2003, is taken to make another bold show.
Lastly, it’s impossible to ignore 25/1-rated Henrik Stenson, who has played brilliantly from tee to green in collating form figures of 3-2-2 heading into this week. A little luck on the putting surfaces could see him become the first Swedish major champion.
My three off the tee – Johnson, Scott and Stenson.
Don’t forget, if Woods or Mickelson are victorious at the US PGA Championship, Ladbrokes will refund all losing punts as free bets.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date