US PGA Championship Tips

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Steve Bamford's Tips for the 2012 US PGA Championship

Welcome to our 2012 US PGA Championship main tips, the last Major Championship of the year which is being played on The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. For new readers, Golf Betting System is the No.1 Golf Betting resource that covers off every Major, European and PGA Tour golf tournament. Great to have you on board and why don't you get involved in our free-to-enter Punters League competition with weekly free bets up for grabs at our Facebook Group.

Who will ever forget last year's PGA tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia when Jason Dufner (250/1) had his first ever PGA Tour victory (in a Major!) in the palm of his hands and then inevitably blew up down the stretch allowing US rookie Keegan Bradley (150/1) to win in a play-off. Naturally the bookmakers were laughing all the way to the bank! Before I go into course detail, selection methodology and unveil my PGA Championship selections, I've just got to highlight a couple of ways to maximise your potential returns and reduce your actual outlay this week:

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The Pete and Alice Dye designed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island has been designated the hardest course in the US by Golf Digest but I'm not buying that. Yes, it will prove a true test especially in the forecasted blustery conditions and at 7,676 yards - if extended to its maximum format - it's the longest course in Major Championship history. The links-sytle course on the South Carolinian eastern seaboard features 10 exposed holes that run along the coast, with a front 9 that will yield birdies and a tough back 9 into the prevailing wind. After lots of recent rain the course will play extremely long favouring the longer bombers. Interestingly in 2003, Pete Dye re-laid every green with a unique strain of quick drying Seashore Paspalum grass which, although similar to Bermuda grass, actually has no grain and runs quite slowly at around 11.5 on the stimp. El Camaleon (Mayakoba) and Trump Resort (Puerto Rico Open) have similar but not exactly the same type green formats.

Putting surfaces are huge so 3-putt avoidance is key, but the Par 72 format features wide fairway landing areas hence the longer hitters who feature well in Total Driving, Ball Striking and Greens in Regulation categories will be at a real advantage. The PGA of America traditionally like a target winning score of around -8 to -9 to win their Major, and the Ocean Course format (6 tees per hole) allows them to tinker throughout the championship. However the true unknown here is of course the wind and if it proves stronger than anticipated expect scoring to be closer to Par for the leading contenders.

Our PGA Championship Preview is a great read and highlights the key rationale behind my selections below. However to summarise I've gone for players who can average over 290 yards from the tee, all of whom thrive on long Par 72 golf courses featuring medium-speed, non-grainy greens and have won a PGA or European Tour tournament in 2012. Another key here is that they can all creatively shape the ball and play well in breezy conditions. Its the most wide open Major in recent times so here is my PGA Championship squad.

Rory McIlroy 2pts EW 20/1 with Free Bet NEW GBS OFFER! bet £10 get £20 in free bets plus 6 places Each Way, get it here: Paddy Power Free Bet

People have quite rightly been questioning the motivation of Rory of late. After losing in a play-off to Rickie Fowler (we scored at 50/1 on Rickie) at Quail Hollow (Carolina located, long Par 72) the World Number 3 went AWOL. MC (TPC Sawgrass)-MC (Wentworth)-MC (Muirfield)-7 (St Jude - double bogey on the Final Hole when going for victory)-MC (Olympic Club). The UK press built aura of invincibility had slipped. However truth is TPC Sawgrass, Wentworth and Olympic Club set-ups simply don't stack up for Rory and, since the turn of July, 10th at the Irish Open and 5th at Firestone last week show the Northern Irishman's confidence is returning. Personally I think the PGA Championship is a perfect Major hunting ground for Rory as scoring is easier on wider/longer course setups (Atlanta Athletic last year was the exception) and therefore they aren't so much a test of patience. His win at a windswept PGA National in March proves he can win in difficult conditions on technical tracks and his record at long Par 72s like Abu Dhabi, Dubai GC, Doral, Quail Hollow and the Earth Course is magnificent. 3rd at The Open hosted at St Andrews and the PGA Championship hosted at Whistling Straits in 2010 highlight he can play well on wide format Links setups as does his Dunhill Links Championship result CV that includes 2nd (09 & 11), 3rd (07) and 8th (08). This price might look the steal of 2012 over the weekend.  RESULT: Winner

Dustin Johnson 2pts EW 25/1 with Ladbrokes NEW OFFER! Get a £50 free bet via this link plus 6 places Each Way: Ladbrokes Free Bet

I know the very early 33s was snapped up on South Carolina's home boy Dustin Johnson quickly and that his inclusion in this week's team isn't the most left-field selection ever, but fact is DJ is perfect for the Ocean Course and, better than that, he's hungry for his first Major for more than just one reason. 19th last week at a Firestone setup where he will always struggle was the green light for me that the World Number 18 is perfectly baked for a challenge this week, following on from a decent 9th at Royal Lytham and a great win at the technical TPC Southwind in June which features Champion Bermuda greens (not unlike this week's Paspalum carpet). Fact is that Johnson has a Major in him and his infamous 5th at Whistling Straits in 2010 and 2nd last year at the windswept plus technical Sandwich Par 70 highlight the fact that he has both the game and fortitude to keep knocking on the door - plus it's worth remembering he also led the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 after 54 holes before ultimately capitulating on Sunday. His seaside record in standard PGA Tour events isn't too shabby either: Pebble Beach: 1st (09 & 10), 5th (12) and 7th(08); Torrey Pines: 3rd (11); with a win at the classical/technical Cog Hill in 2010 also marrying up. Averaged 335 yards off the tee and was 11th in Greens in Regulation last week in Ohio and if you're looking for more motivation Johnson sits 14th in the Ryder Cup standings so needs a win this week to guarantee an automatic spot for Medinah next month.  RESULT: T48

Louis Oosthuizen 1.5pt EW 35/1 with 888 Sport NEW OFFER! Get up to £88 in free bets plus 6 places Each Way via this link: 888 Sport

The third member of my US PGA Championship team is 2010 Open Champion and 2012 Augusta runner-up Louis Oosthuizen who thrives when the sea air hits his nostrils. That's hardly surprising for the South African who grew up at Mossel Bay on the South Cape coast. A recent form line of 4(Firestone)-19(Royal Lytham)-24(Castle Stuart) is progressive and regular golf punters know that Oostie plays in pockets of form which can last for a number of consecutive tournaments. Take earlier this season when 3rd at Humble (we tipped at 66/1) was followed the next week by that legendary Augusta play off defeat to Bubba Watson and the weekend after by victory at Kuala Lumpur G&C. That win in Malaysia showed undoubted mental strength and fortitude. There is no doubt that Louis feels more comfortable in the States in his 2nd season on the PGA Tour and the wider Par 72 format on the Ocean Course will suit him down to the ground this week. It's also well worth remembering he finished 5th at the Dunhill Links Championship last October and 4th just down the coast on Seaside Course. 9th in Driving Distance and 8th in Greens in Regulation at Firestone last week is a potent cocktail for the challenge ahead this week.  RESULT: T21

Bill Haas 1pt EW 80/1 with BetVictor Free Bet Get a £25 free bet plus 6 places Each Way only via this link: BetVictor Free Bet

Regular followers of my tips will know that I've always been a fan of local Carolina boy Bill Haas as I've always thought he's a level-headed individual who has the ability and the application to make Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup teams and contend in WGC and Major Championships. Here is a 29 year-old who is establishing himself on the world scene and who importantly is extremely well grounded and motivated to use his 2011's Tour Championship and associated FedEx Cup triumph to catapult him onto greater things. Sure enough 4th at Torrey Pines (Coastal Par 72) in January was followed by his 4th PGA Tour victory at the jewel that is Riviera in February where he held off Phil Mickelson and reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley in a tense finish. Back then automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup was a real possibility after making his US debut at last December's Presidents Cup in Melbourne, but now a win this week is pretty much a requirement as Haas sits below Dustin Johnson in 16th place and won't get a Captain's Pick. Recent coastal results on the CV at Kapalua, Waialae, Torrey Pines and Sea Island show that Haas can play by the sea and he's also a wind-positive player who thrives on Par 72s with his +290 yard driving game. 19th at Bridgestone and Royal Lytham respectively were both tournament bests plus highlight a player on an up-trend, who could be a surprise contender this week.  RESULT: T32

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:15BST 7.8.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation. Author Steve Bamford, Find us on Google+

Here's some links to our US PGA Championship coverage for 2012:

Longshots | Predictor | In-Play Odds | Tournament History Stats | Current Form Stats | Preview Page | Free Bets

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