Handicapping the PGA Championship is always tough because, for some reason, some unknown player who hasn’t performed well for awhile jumps up and gets themselves in the mix. It happens every yea, and it has happened again this year as Gary Woodward has the second round lead halfway through Friday.
Looking down the road to Sunday, there are some really intriguing scenarios as some of the stars of the tour are looming large. Brooks Koepka, who won back-to-back US Opens, has shot himself into the mix at -7. He is six under par today. Ricky Fowler and Zach Johnson are both sitting there near the top of the leader board. Fowler shot an opening round 65 to make his customary first round charge.
Dustin Johnson, the World’s No. 1, is lighting up the board today and Kevin Kisner, who had a legit chance to win the British Open, is playing well again sitting at 9-under with five holes to play today.
And, of course, we have our main man Tiger Woods, who everyone bets a lot of money on when he shows glimpses of his old self, which he did in the British Open. Tiger went from 70-1 to 15-1 to win the PGA after his gutsy performance overseas.
I think the intrigue lies in a couple of players. Lets start with Fowler.
The dynamic Fowler, arguably the most popular player on tour, always takes a lot of money during the major championships. I have always felt the guy just simply doesn’t close the deal. We are never going to see a closer like Woods in his hay day, but Fowler has had plenty of chances late but just is missing the one mental ingredient that separates good players from greatness. I wouldn’t be on him to win the tournament because, quite frankly, he is the weakest closer of those in contention. Fowler currently sits at 6-1 to close the deal.
Kisner is interesting too. His personality is quirky on the golf course in the sense that he shows virtually no emotion at all. One of the things that captured the world’s imagination with Woods was his fiery temperament, his fist pumping ways made him endearing to fans everywhere. Kisner is the polar opposite. This guy just doesn’t look like he is ever having any fun. While he hits good shots and can be a very steady player, he doesn’t have the dynamic game to dominate a major at the top.
Woodland, surprisingly, is a bigger favorite than Koepka to win at Bellerive. Woodland is currently 14-1 while Koepka is 25-1. Those odds are skewered heavily because Woodland played well opening day, but I just don’t think his game is top quality to get it done in a major. Koepka has the firepower and the demeanor to light up the scoreboard at anytime. At 25-1 to win it all, he is probably the best bet, in terms of managing your money, than any other wager I have seen in golf this year. This kid can flat out play, and when he gets you on the mat he keeps you there.
So remember I said this. If Koepka gets the lead in the final round, go stand in line to cash your ticket.