The G & A stand for gambling addiction
It’s PGA Championship week and we return to Oak Hill in Rochester, New York for the first time in 10 years. Jason Dufner won it that year but his absence won’t be as nearly as important or as noticeable as the recent renovation to the course. Greens were rebuilt, making them large, undulating and providing a lot of variance for hole length and difficulty. Bunkers were rebuilt, taking them from havens to hazards and the around the green areas have been remodeled to provide a true challenge that require a variety of short game skills. Over 600 trees were removed from the grounds, opening up the course for additional distance off the tee and variety in approach shots.
If each major has it’s own feel to it, where The U.S Open is the toughest test in golf, the Open Championship is the return to golf’s roots, and the Master’s is closest thing to perfection found amongst 18 holes, then the PGA feels like a reflection of what the professional game has become. The renovation to Oak Hill turned it into the epitome of the pro game today where distance off the tee and approach play will reign supreme without neglecting the around the green aspects of golf. Birdies will be sparse, but the bets won’t be. Let’s look at my favorite people for the week and see if we can find a champion (we will as we always do).
Rory McIlroy +1400
Rory’s recent play has turned a big three into a big two in both the minds of the people (me) and the odds boards. With Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler slotting onto the board at +700-800 favorites to win this week, Rory’s number has fluctuated from +1100 all the way up to +1800 and is currently sitting at +1400. I have personally locked that number in at +1900 using a +1600 with a +300 boost thanks to our friends at draftkings and also took that +1600 and parlayed it with Rahm and Scottie to both finish in the top 40 for a +2200. If Rahm or Scottie flounder this week and cost me so be it but -750 Rahm and -350 Scottie to add +600 is worth the risk to me. That being said, this is not just a value thing. This course could not fit Rory’s eye better if he was the one who designed it. Long off the tee? Rory ranks first in driving distance. Excellent iron play? Rory is at almost a half a stroke gained per round on approach this year. While there are definite concerns, stemming from missed cuts in the two biggest tournaments this year, there’s two top five finishes in there as well, including a T3 at match play that ended with him taking down Scottie in a head-to-head match up. And for those of you who like a good story line, he spent last week with Tiger after Tiger “saw something in his swing”. If the big cat is committed to “fixing” Rory’s swing, then you should commit to Rory winning his first major in nine years. I think the course fit and the heavy discount on Rory relative to his ceiling counterparts make Rory my best bet of the week.
Tony Finau +2200
There is one golfer on the PGA Tour averaging over a stroke gained on approach per round this year. If the header didn’t give it away, it’s Tony Finau. In fact, so far this year, he’s gained at least 3 strokes in approach in every tournament this year except for one (and he finished T7 in that one). While not as long as one would hope for this course, Tony is plenty long, with wins coming at courses where driving distance is key like Vidanta in Mexico three weeks ago. Finau finished T8 at the PGA and T10 at the Masters in 2021, but does not have much major success other than that. But Finau is a different and better player than he even the last time the PGA Championship was held. There’s four additional trophies in his case and while a PGA win would be the clear standout, he took down the likes of Rahm and Scheffler to get his wins so he can clearly compete with the best, he just needs to compete with all the best. A win like this can change the way we talk about Tony Finau and this is his best shot at one. I already said Rory was going to win but golf betting isn’t about picking one winner out 150 players. It’s about picking at least 7 golfers a week at heavy plus odds and knowing that if you do the research and take the time, you’ll have a Sunday with a lot of guys vying for that top spot on your card. It is time for Tony to compete in a major and if Rory doesn’t take it home, I expect Finau to be there winning in the wings.
Bryson Dechambeu +11000
Alright let’s get nuts. Of the LIV boys, Bryson is my favorite of the bets. Not necessarily because he has the best chance to win, but because 110-1 is too high. Bryson won the US Open at Winged Foot in September of 2020 where he used angles and bombed drives to be the only guy to finish under par for the weekend. That was the moment that broke golf and Bryson has the chance to break it again this week as Oak Hill has the chance to be played in a similar fashion. He will be on my card or DFS lineup this weekend but this is really more of a chance to talk about all the LIV guys. Brooks wasn’t the only LIVer to make a statement at the Masters earlier this year. Patrick Reed finished T4 and and Phil Mickelson demolished my phade Phil strategy with a head banging second place finish along Brooks. I don’t expect Phil nor Patty Reed to have the same success this week given Augusta National’s familiarity complex (it is “easy” to compete at Augusta if you’ve always been successful there) LIV is showing every week that what they took from the PGA was important and their league has talent. I expect to see Brooks and Bryson in the mix this week as well among a few other LIV guys. Dustin Johnson is another guy who this course was made for, and he is coming off a win in Tulsa last week. Taylor Gooch won back to back LIV events and is looking to make a statement to qualify for the US Open and guys like Harold Varner III and Joaquinn Neiman are poised to have good weeks. I don’t and won’t respect LIV as a league ever but with the exception of my Phade Phil I won’t be disrespecting the players as much. But seriously fade Phil.
Winning bets of non winner bets
Adrian Meronk Top Debutant +1200
The Italian Open winner has been playing good golf but has not gotten the attention because most of it happens in Europe. +1200 is good value. He is flat out better than Taylor Montgomery who is 10-1 and there is more value than erratic Saheeth Thegala who sits at 6-1.
Hideki Matsuyama Top 20 +180
Hideki has the neck injury but other than that his game has been in excellent form with a 4 top 25s in his last 5 tournaments including a 5th place finish at THE PLAYERS and t16 at the Masters. His strokes gained profile looks as it should and if he can be a little better with the driver top 20 will be a cake walk for him
Wyndham Clark Top 30 +130
Wyndham would have been my long shot bet to win if he didn’t up and win the Wells Fargo two weeks ago. Clark has really found the iron game since the Amex earlier this year and his great play was rewarded with that Win where he gained 11 strokes ball striking and 7 putting. He has been one of the 10 best players on Tour this year and a solid performance in a major will go a long way to solidifying a breakout season. It will also help your wallet.
Cam Davis Top Australian +1200
This is a dart throw. He is not as good as Jason Day, Cameron Smith nor Adam Scott. Butttttt, he can absolutely bomb it and betting him to beat 6 people is a lot more comfortable to me than anything else I could find for him. This has been a frustrating year for Cam Davis backers but he has shown flashes sandwiched between too many missed cuts. He has shown up at THE PLAYERS and RBC heritage. Maybe he can show up again.
The Jesster’s Laughably good pick of the week
Rory and Finau to finish one and two in either order is +18000. I like them both to win so why the heck not. Bet your lunch money on this and turn lunch into cold hard cash.