It’s the second Major week of the year and the oracle has enlisted a major special guest to accompany his own wizardry with this week’s picks supplemented by “guys to watch for” from bubbly Rich Beem.
Brooks Koepka 12/1
On paper Brooks looks primed to add to his Major Championship haul this week at Bethpage, but as we all know, golf is not played on paper. Tiger rightly got all the headlines at The Masters but had his ball broke a millimetre right on 15 it could have been Koepka pulling on that jacket!
Opened and closed with 65’s, drove it on average 303 yards and hit 59 greens on his way to a solo 4th at the Byron Nelson.
Xander Schauffele 30/1
Xander gave the field a massive head start with a 73 on Thursday at The Masters and yet battled back to finish T2. And the broadcasters hardly showed one shot. And you feel the bookies might have overlooked him here a little bit too. I make that three top-5 finishes in Majors since 2017 with a WGC-HSBC and Tour Championship win. Don’t be fooled by his small stature; Xander absolutely bombs it off the tee and if the course stays sodden, it gives guys like him a big head start.
Jason Day 25/1
An absolute each way no brainer bet at 25/1, Jason Day has everything in his armoury to win this PGA Championship. Except maybe a couple of lumbar vertebrae! Jason’s never been outside the top-20 this season, has five top-10’s including T5 at The Masters. T4 on this course at the Barclays in 2016 and has 15 top 10’s in Majors coming into this week.
Adam Scott 55/1
Loitering with intent. Adam Scott is at the stage of his career where only Majors really count and his limited schedule reflects that. As such, it’s hard to compare him to others (playing week in week out) with the same degree of precision. Having said that, six top-20’s this wraparound season to date is a decent haul and he led the Masters after two rounds before slipping to a T18 finish. It was actually wrenching to see him miss some kick in putts.
Which is why wet conditions will play to Scott’s strengths. Softer greens will suit his excellent irons and wet greens will equalise the field putting. T4 at the 2016 Barclays on this course and a great each way bet at 55/1.
Webb Simpson 80/1
Followed up a T5 at The Masters with a T16 at Hilton Head and T18 at Quail Hollow and has played his way up to this Major unlike many of the big names who rested. He’s driving it incredibly well, irons are on point and his improvement in putting has been a revelation. So why is down at 80/1? Mainly because he hasn’t handled Bethpage well in the past, missing the cut in Barclays held here 2012, and was T48 when it returned in 2016. Having said that, regular readers will know I love a guy who won “in this window last year” and that was Simpson at The Players.
RICH BEEM’S PICKS
Rickie Fowler 22/1
Coming in off two top-10’s at The Masters and Wells Fargo Rickie is in super form and would make a hugely popular first time Major Champion. T-7 at the 2016 Barclays.
Xander Schauffele & Sergio Garcia
LONG ODDS GLORY SHOTS
Matt Kuchar 65/1
Deceptively long. T7 in Texas, T12 at The Masters and second last time out at Hilton Head.
Jimmy Walker 300/1
Missed his first cut in six events at the Byron Nelson and no better than mid table mediocrity besides, but still bombs it long enough to get it round this course.
Kyle Stanley 200/1
Improved his finish from Texas through the Masters (T21) and scored an excellent T8 finish at the Wells Fargo last time out with stats top-20’s across driving accuracy, irons and putting.
Thomas Pieters 200/1
Returned to action for the first time since March last week at the Byron Nelson and after a Thursday warm up to get back into the swing of Tour life, posted impressive rounds of 66, 69 and 67.