US PGA Championship Tips

Steve Bamford's Tips for the 2017 US PGA Championship. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf

Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina welcomes 156 players this week for the 99th PGA Championship. For new visitors, Golf Betting System is now into its 9th season and we provide free statistics, predictor models and previews across every Major Championship, PGA and European Tour event. We also have a thriving 3,800+ member golf betting community with constant betting chat and insight from golf punters 7 days a week on our Facebook Group. Welcome and don't hesitate to get involved!

The PGA Championship traditionally has the strongest and deepest field of all Major Championships and 2017 is no exception. We're also in for a real treat as the PGA of America takes their Major Championship to Quail Hollow, which despite its short history is one of the most revered courses on the PGA tour.

We enter the PGA Championship after a couple of play-off defeats 2 weeks ago at both the Canadian Open (Hoffman 25/1) and Porsche European Open (Levy 25/1). But Paul Williams scored at the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday with Hideki Matsuyama at 20/1 to give us some momentum as we enter this week.

Paul Williams has also looked at some longshot and first round leader bets for this year's event - you can read his thoughts on that here.

For the latest bookmaker offers and extra each-way places for the US PGA Championship read our latest bookmaker offers page.

2017 US PGA Championship Promotions: We saw a step-change in Major Championship each-way betting at the Open Championship and that added value for golf punters continues at the 2017 US PGA Championship where historically 7 places each-way was the best offer on the table. Star bookmaker of the week is Coral who have gone with a record-breaking 10 places each-way, 1/5 odds at the 2017 PGA Championship for both existing and new customers. All offers listed are for bets placed pre-event.

Punters shouldn't be surprised by the extra value on offer with Coral this week as they offered 8 places each way 1/5 odds at this year's Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. They also offer 7 places at 1/5 odds most weeks on both the European and PGA Tours. This consistent approach across 2017 makes them a must-have bookmaker for your golfing portfolio:

8 places each way at 1/5 odds is also readily available with bet365, Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power. The Betfair Sportsbook new customer offer is interesting as you can access a boosted £100 Welcome Bonus, plus they've been offering a standard 7 places each way 1/5 odds on the PGA Tour pretty much each and every week:

Course Guide: This year's PGA Championship renewal gives punters a slight advantage with Quail Hollow being the first Major venue since Congressional in 2011 to be a regular PGA Tour host course. Yes, the course has undergone Tom Fazio-inspired changes since the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship and it will play as a stretching 7,600 yard Par 71, but in reality Quail Hollow is a very typical PGA Championship venue where power will always be an advantage. It's a classical golf course which since its introduction to the PGA Tour in 2003 has always received exceptional reviews from many of the world's very best golfers. 2014 saw the course re-designed with the biggest change being the introduction of hardier MiniVerde Ultradwarf Bermudagrass green complexes which replaced the old A1 Bentgrass surface. However we'll see new Champion Bermudagrass green complexes for the first time this week as part of Fazio's most recent re-design work which took place last summer. A Champion's list which includes Vijay Singh (2005), Jim Furyk (2006), Tiger Woods (2007), Anthony Kim (2008), Lucas Glover (2011), Rickie Fowler (2012) and Rory McIlroy (2010 & 2015) highlights that quality has generally risen to the top here at Quail Hollow.

Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina: Designer: George Cobb with 2013 & 2016 Tom Fazio re-design; Course Type: Classical; Par: 71; Length: 7,600 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 4; Fairways 419 Bermudagrass; Rough: 419 Bermudagrass 3"; Greens: 6,500 sq.ft average featuring Champion Bermudagrass; Tournament Stimp: 12.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 71.84 (-0.16), Difficulty Rank 25 of 49 courses. 2013: 73.04 (+1.04), Difficulty Rank 10 of 43 courses. 2014: 72.55 (+0.55), Rank 13 of 48 courses. 2015: 71.92 (-0.08), Difficulty Rank of 20 of 52 courses. 2016: 72.95 (+0.95), Rank 9 of 50 courses.

Quail Hollow Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Quail Hollow and how they compare to recent courses that we've seen on the PGA Tour:

Course Overview: Quail Hollow is very much a classical golf course with Carolina connotations. When I say Carolina think Pinehurst Number 2, Harbour Town Golf Links, Sedgefield and even the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook which despite being in Florida has the feel of a Carolina golf course - so traditionally tree-lined with narrow sight lines from the tee. Quail Hollow will play to 7,600 yards from its tips this week and we haven't seen a longer Par 71 since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. For the record, Congressional in 2011, which hosted the U.S. Open, was a 7,574 yard Par 71.

After James Hahn won the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship, Tom Fazio-inspired work started on the course with a 90-day window allowing significant changes to the very start of the front 9. The 1st is now a 524 yard dog-leg right par-4, which was previously a sub-420 yard birdie opportunity. The 178 yard par-3 2nd hole is no more (it's been used to lengthen the 1st) and a new 184 yard par-3, namely the 4th hole, has been built to replace it. As a consequence the 5th has now been shortened from a 570 yard par-5 to a 450 yard par-4. A 100% new green complex has also been built at the 11th and the par-4 has been lengthened by 35 yards.

The key to winning at Quail Hollow has always been to score heavily on the par-5s and play the other holes at around -3/4 or slightly better. Clearly the emphasis on the par-5s will be even greater at the PGA Championship with players now only getting 12 looks across the week at the easiest holes. Below I've listed the par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring splits of Wells Fargo winners here since 2014 when the course received its first Tom Fazio re-design and Bermudagrass greens:

So to contend this week a player will need to master the 7th, 10th and 15th holes. From the par-5s the course naturally gets tougher: for a start, 3 of the 4 par-3s measure 208, 223 and 249 yards. A number of the par-4s are just as difficult with the closing 'Green Mile' stretch of the 16th-18th featuring a newly extended 508 yard par-4, a 223 yard par-3 and the famous uphill closing hole which is a 494 yard par-4. It's hardly a surprise therefore that 17 and 18 are traditionally one of the hardest set of closing holes on the Tour. With the freshly extended 524 yard 1st hole, 8 of the other par-4s measure over 450 yards. However as with most PGA Championship set-ups, the course does render birdies so players will have to take advantage of birdie opportunity par-4s such as the 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th.

From a detail perspective, it's also important to note that in 2016 the greens were changed from MiniVerde Bermudagrass to Champion Bermudagrass. Similar Champion Bermudagrass greens can be found across PGA Tour stop-offs at Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St Jude Classic), the Country Club of Jackson (Sandersons Farms Championship) and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (Barbasol Championship). The 2011 PGA Championship hosted at Atlanta Athletic Cub and won by Keegan Bradley also featured Champion Bermuda putting surfaces.

Winners: 2016: Jimmy Walker (-14); 2015: Jason Day (-20); 2014: Rory McIlroy (-16); 2013: Jason Dufner (-10); 2012: Rory McIlroy (-13); 2011: Keegan Bradley (-8); 2010: Martin Kaymer (-11); 2009: Y.E. Yang (-8).

Tournament Stats: We've published some key player statistics for the 2017 US PGA Championship that are well worth a look. Naturally they'll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Top 20 Finishes | Recent Majors Form | Quail Hollow Form

Published Predictor Model: Our published PGA Championship predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 5 of the predictor are Hideki Matsuyama (No.1), Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These rankings are based on a 10-tournament window that stretches back to The Memorial / Nordea Masters and includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 main Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

Winners & Prices: 2016: Jimmy Walker 150/1; 2015: Day 14/1; 2014: McIlroy 5/1F; 2013: Dufner 40/1; 2012: McIlroy 20/1; 2011: Bradley 175/1; 2010: Kaymer 50/1; Average: 61/1.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Charlotte, North Carolina is here. 17mm of rain fell here on Friday, following on from a moist July. With more rainfall on Monday morning and a forecast which suggests likely thunder activity across Thursday evening, Friday evening and during play on Sunday, we're likely to see softer conditions than the PGA of America would ideally like. That's sure to help scoring, especially as wind conditions look particularly light. Humidity will be a factor across all 4 days play, especially over the weekend where we'll see temperatures which will feel like 33 degrees Celsius.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the last 7 winners of the US PGA Championship since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this type of test:

Tournament Skill Averages:

With this being played at Quail Hollow, we also have masses of data from the Wells Fargo Championship to look back upon to see what key skill sets have been key to victories here in the recent past. Here's a look from 2010 through 2016:

Tournament Skill Averages:

Here's some recent comments on the new Quail Hollow re-design course and how it sets up differently:

Jimmy Walker: "We're used to playing it with rye grass everywhere. It has a potential, with the pure Bermudagrass layout, to play really firm and really fast. That's when golf gets really hard, when you start losing control of the golf ball. Bermuda rough tends to fly a lot, or it could come out where you get some horrendous lies. Guys are going to have to deal with that: 'Am I going to get the big jumper?' Or 'Will I get the really soft shot that comes out?' "Even around the greens, Bermuda rough is very hard to chip out of. The greens ought to be fast, and that's the biggest variable, I would think.

I thought the new holes were great. The 1st has got a beautiful look to it. It's reminiscent of the original tee shot and it opens up nice down there to the right, and the green, you can see the entire green. I love being able to see kind of where you're going. All the new green complexes are very nice. They are not too tricky. They have got a lot of flat spots. They have got some movement in them but they have got flat spots where you like to put the pins and there's plenty of room. Just I thought it looked really good. It's going to be fun playing with all Bermuda. It will be a completely different test."

Rory McIlroy: "The changes are good. It definitely makes the start of the golf course more challenging. The first hole, now instead of it being 3 wood and a wedge, it's a driver and a good mid iron. I think you won't really see guys getting off to the hot starts that they used to. You see guys maybe, especially those first six holes, you'd see guys 3 or 4 under par. I don't think that's going to happen now. And then the rest of the golf course is pretty much the same. Obviously they have lengthened 11 a little bit. But what they have done on 16, 17 and 18 over the years has stayed pretty much the same.

I like the changes. I mean, I obviously like the golf course the way it was before. My record around there is pretty good. I fancy my chances around there. But it's always been, I guess, a modern player's golf course. You've got to, if you can drive it a long way, there's an advantage there, especially coming in with the driveable par-4, 14th and in; the par-5 15 and the long holes coming in. So yeah, I think people will really enjoy it this year. It's a great venue for a tournament and it will be a great venue for a Major, as well."

Kerry Haigh - Chief Championships Officer for the PGA of America: "The players love the golf course. The feedback from them is nothing but positive, so with the course changes continuing to improve the golfing test, it was the perfect setting for the PGA Championship. In terms of the changes that have been made, we couldn't be more excited about them. A lot of people talk about the closing 'Green Mile,' but now I think the first 3 holes will be all the players can handle. So with a tough start and finish, players will need to make their scores across the 12 middle holes.

The biggest changes to the course over and above the standard Tour event here, is that we haven't overseeded the rough with Ryegrass. In August the rough will be tougher, the Champion greens ideally will be firm and fast. It's ideal growing conditions for the 419 Bermudagrass, so the course should be in immaculate condition to thes the best players in the world. We will set it up where it will be a great test for them, but one where they can score and where good shots are rewarded."

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 7 US PGA Championship winners:

Incoming form of winners since 2010:

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their group and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

For the record, here's the breakdown of Bermudagrass PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

Winning prices in the PGA Championship vary significantly. Short prices such as Rory McIlroy - who's won this title twice at 20/1 (2012) and 5/1 (2014) - and Jason Day at 14/1 (2015) have had much recent success. Throw in Jason Dufner at 40/1 in 2013 and 4 of the last 5 PGA Championships have been won at 40/1 or less. The exception of course is Jimmy Walker who played brilliantly at Baltusrol 12 months ago to lead from start to finish and capture his first Major title at an unbelievable (after the tournament) 150/1. He joined Keegan Bradley (2011) and Y.E. Yang (2009) who won at 175/1 and 150/1 respectively.

Quail Hollow will play extremely long and likely on the soft side this week. For me that places the advantage into the hands of aggressive bombers who can gain some serious strokes gained numbers both off the tee and on approach through aggressive utility and iron play. It's also hard to ignore some key facts: 13 of the last 16 PGA Champions (81%) had already won a tournament in the same season prior to winning the PGA Championship. On top of that, the Bridgestone Invitational cannot be overlooked. Since the Akron-based tournament became the PGA 'warm up' event in 2006, the winner of the PGA Championship has always been in the Bridgestone field and has always finished in the Top 22 of the tournament. With a disturbed schedule in 2016 due to the Olympics, Jimmy Walker also finished 16th at Firestone South and 15th the week before at the RBC Canadian Open hosted at Glen Abbey.

My selections are as follows:

Hideki Matsuyama 3pts EW 12/1 with Bet £/€10 get £/€30 in free bets using code C30 and this link (7 places, 1/5 odds):

If there's one thing we've learnt with Hideki Matsuyama it's to stick with him when he's playing at his very best - and last week at the Bridgestone Invitational his play was simply outstanding. Take last autumn when Hideki played well to finish 5th at East Lake at the Tour Championship then proceeded to win the Japan Open, finish 2nd at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, win (at 22/1) the WGC HSBC Champions at Sheshan International, win the Taiheiyo Masters back in his homeland and then when win (at 8/1) the Hero Challenge at Albany in the Bahamas defeating a high-class short field. 2nd at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a further win (11/1) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in the first week of February meant that in 10 appearances he delivered 5 wins, finished runner-up twice and added a further top-5. Those kind of results across high-class tournaments is elite-level golf at its best and in reality it's no real surprise that Hideki finds himself at Number 3 in the Official Golf World Rankings with the opportunity to surpass Open Champion Jordan Spieth this week in North Carolina.

It's also worth recognising that the back-to-back win culture is nothing new in modern day top-level golf with Rory McIlroy (2014 - Open Championship/Bridgestone Invitational/PGA Championship), Jordan Spieth twice (2015 U.S. Open / John Deere Classic & 2017 Travelers Championship / Open Championship), Jason Day twice (2015 PGA Championship / The Barclays & Arnold Palmer Invitational / WGC Dell Match Play), Dustin Johnson twice (2016 U.S. Open / Bridgestone Invitational & 2017 Genesis Open / WGC Mexico Championship / WGC Dell Match Play), Justin Thomas (Hyundai Tournament of Champions / Sony Open) and of course Hideki himself all performing such feats since mid-2014.

Hideki, who tops this week's published Predictor Model from Quail Hollow specialist and favourite Rory McIlroy, is undoubtedly the next logical first-time Major Champion. Long, straight and aggressive with his approach shots, it was also well documented by Paul Williams last week when he successfully tipped up him at 20/1 that Florida-domiciled Matsuyama is also putting beautifully at the moment. Trending Quail Hollow form of 38th (2014), 20th (2015) and 11th (2016) excites and undoubtedly the Japanese star has been performing far better on Bermudagrass greens since his move to Orlando.  RESULT: T5

Brooks Koepka 1.5pts EW 28/1 with Bet £/€10 get £/€30 in free bets using code C30 and this link (7 places, 1/5 odds):

Two Quail Hollow debutants interest me at what I think are strong prices when compared to their chances. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka must be licking his lips when it comes to Quail Hollow. Aggressive (3rd in Going for the Green) and potent on the par-5s (2nd in par-5 Birdie or Better), Koepka won at Erin Hills which played pretty-much to a PGA Championship format back in June. 5th at Whistling Straits in 2015 and 4th at Baltusrol last year summarise perfectly that Koepka's power-packed game is ideal for the PGA of America's premier title.

What really sells his chances to me this week though are a few results on his CV that jump from off the page and his red-hot putter of late. A winner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015 (Quail winners in Hahn, Fowler and J.B. Holmes are all TPC Scottsdale positive), Brooks has also performed exceptionally well on Champion Bermudagrass greens in his early PGA Tour career. 3rd (2015) and 2nd (2016) at TPC Southwind plus 6th (2015) at Sedgefield highlight a player more than competent on these putting surfaces. Koepka also sits 10th in Strokes Gained Putting this season and ranks 3rd behind Jonas Blixt and Hideki Matsuyama across my 10-week Putting Average tracker. Finished 13th last week in Ohio where he ranked 9th for Total Driving, 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting and 10th in the All-Round category.   RESULT: T13

Jon Rahm 1.5pts EW 28/1 with Bet £/€10 get £/€30 in free bets using code C30 and this link (7 places, 1/5 odds):

For once you feel that the spotlight is finally off Jon Rahm who was a 25/1 shot at The Masters, 22/1 at the U.S. Open and 18/1 for the Open Championship. So I'm more than happy to see 28/1 about the Spaniard on a scoreable course that will be far more suited to his driver off the tee mentality. From what I've gleaned of the World Number 6 (absolutely amazing!), he's far happier on golf courses where strong driving is a key as he can naturally gain stokes off the tee with his power. He also likes soft golf courses and PGA Championship winning totals around the mid-teens are really his trademark. 3rd at Congressional (-13/271), 2nd at Glen Abbey (-11/277), 1st at Torrey Pines (-13/275), 5th at Pebble Beach (-12/276), 3rd at Club de Golf Chapultepec (-12/273) and 2nd at Colonial all show an aptitude for classical golf courses and scoring levels which won't be too far away at a PGA Championship.

His last visit to Carolina generated a 4th at Eagle Point and you just get the feeling that Quail Hollow will seriously play to his strengths this week. He undoubtedly has Major Championship business to attend to this week and the fact that he'll desperately want to contend in a Major for the first time will only drive his determination this week. 12th in Going for the Green, 6th for par-4 Birdie or Better Conversion and 24th in par-5 Birdie or Better Conversion are fantastic season-long numbers to articulate Jon's chances at Quail Hollow, who tellingly was 2nd for Total Driving and was the only player to out-rank Rory McIlroy last week at Firestone when it came to Strokes Gained off the Tee.  RESULT: T58

Watch these tips on YouTube with Steve Bamford: Golf Betting System YouTube Channel

Paul Williams has also looked at some longshot and first round leader bets for this year's event - you can read his thoughts on that here.

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:55BST 7.8.17 but naturally subject to fluctuation. Author Steve Bamford, Find us on Google+

             

 

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