PGA Championship Preview and Picks to Win

by Evergreen of

Dates: August 12th15th, 2010
Course: Whistling Straits Kohler, WI

Its time for the years final Major Championship as the PGA Tour heads to the shores of Lake Michigan for the PGA Championship. Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin plays host to the best golfers in the world this week and all are looking to highlight their season at what is often called glorys last chance. Y.E. Yang shocked the world by upsetting Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA and all eyes will be on Tiger to see if he can solve the troubles that led to his worst finish as a professional last week. Vijay Singh won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2004 and he along with all the other stars on Tour will be tested by the very difficult design at the Straits.

Whistling Straits is like no other course in the Midwest. Its perch alongside Lake Michigan and old English style layout make it seem more British Open than anything and it remains one of the more visually interesting tracks on Tour. The 7,507 yard, par-72 course features a dramatically rolling layout and something to the tune of 200 sand traps, depending on who you ask. The bunkers come in the large and shallow variety and the deep, pot style but the players will want to avoid as many as possible as none can be taken lightly. The greens are massive and undulating and much of the scoring will depend on the weather, especially the winds, associated with the lakeshore. For those of you not familiar with the Great Lakes Region, the weather can be drastically on the water than just a few miles inland and while the forecast is favorable, drawing the morning or afternoon tee time may be key to shooting a good score.

Each week, we take a look at the online sportsbooks and highlight the players that we think will be in contention. We give you a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches that youd find at any offshore golf betting site. Here are our picks for the 2010 PGA Championship.

Short Favorite: Steve Stricker (22 to 1 odds to win)
Tiger and Phil remain atop the board just about everywhere, but how can you feel good about putting money on a duo that went +15 at Firestone on Sunday alone. Fear not, let us just focus on a good value that will also be the clear fan favorite. Stricker is having a very solid year with no missed cuts in 14 starts and his second win of the year came just down the road in Illinois a few weeks back. The Wisconsin native didnt qualify for the 2004 PGA due to some serious poor play so this will be his redemption from the lowest point in his career. Steve isnt the longest on Tour, but hits the 24th most fairways and is in the top-10 in both putting average and putts per round. The putter should keep him in touch with the front page and the winning score from 2004 of 8-under is the type of pace that he prefers. Handling any anxiety and emotion will be important for Stricker with all the fans pulling for him, but hes about as cool as they come.

Middle of the Road: Hunter Mahan (33 to 1 to odds to win)
As a rule, I like betting on guys that are coming off a win and still this far down the board. Golfers are prone to streaks, especially with the putter, and Mahan proved his putter was working while winning at Firestone. Hunter is the 2nd best ballstriker on Tour with the best overall driving stats so it really has just been his play on the greens that has kept him to only two wins this year. Mahan is in the top-30 in both fairways and greens so there should be no trouble negotiating the Straits from tee to green and another hot week with the flatstick could mean two in a row.

Longshot: Nick Watney (50 to 1 odds to win)
Watney is another player on an upward trend with two top-10s in his last three starts and six top-10s on the year in sixteen made cuts. Nick is solid off the tee, ranking 22nd in distance and 25th in total driving with 10th best greens hit mark to boot. The length will help tame the course and should come in handy if the winds pick up. The PGA Championship has been kind to players with a strong overall game and Watneys stat sheet also includes top-10 ranks in birdie average and ballstriking.

Head to Head Matches (our pick) *picks are for entire event. Check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches and prop bets.

Jim Furyk (-115) v. Retief Goosen (-115) (Goosen)
Both players fared well at Firestone so the length at Whistling Straits shouldnt bother either but you have to give an edge to Goosen as the longer player when weather could play a part. That little extra off the tee could mean the difference of going for a par-5 or simply having a bit better club in hand for the par-3s. The stat sheets for both are pretty even, but Goose is making just a few more birdies than Furyk right now.

Matt Kuchar (-115) v. Jeff Overton (-115) (Kuchar)
This is a really nice match between two players having breakout years. Both have had such solid seasons but you should go with Kuchar here as he hits significantly more fairways. Overton is longer and that could play out, but Jeff is outside the top-150 in fairways which is a red flag at any Major. Both putt well and have made a ton of birdies on the year, but Kuch is the better ballstriker and should take this match.

Good Luck!