Odds on PGA Championship

By Chris DatresAugust 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90Well, that was a fun WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, wasnt it? The PGA TOUR has had two big tournaments since Tiger left with his knee injury in June and both did pretty well without him. Greg Norman did a masterful job stealing all the storylines at Royal Birkdale and I really wish he had been able to pull off the victory. But yes, it is Greg Norman and once again, he wasnt able to finish off a 54-hole lead at a major.
And then Sunday in Akron, we got some really good theater (if not great golf) between Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson with a late run from Stuart Appleby. If were not going to have the best player in the world able to compete, at least we can get some big names stepping into the breach. Lets hope the same thing happens this week at Oakland Hills and the 90th PGA Championship. Im sure CBS would like nothing better than to have the top 5 names on my odds board battling it out for the Wanamaker Trophy. And, of course, it would make our Live From coverage that much better, too.

Now, in honor of a comment I received about the British Open odds, I genuflect before the altar of the golfing gods at the sacred ground that is Oakland Hills Country Club. It could be a born-again moment for one lucky golfer.
Phil Mickelson (3-1): When last we saw Lefty at this golf course, he was trying to apologize to Tiger for having put him up against the fence with a drive during the alternate-shot portion of their team match at the 2004 Ryder Cup. Im going to check out the spot to see if they put one of those granite markers to commemorate the shot. But at least hes been living up to his nickname. It seems like every time Phil gets into a crucial spot late in the game, he pushes the drive left (evidence: 06 US Open; 07 Northern Trust; 08 Colonial; 08 Bridgestone).
Anthony Kim (5-1): If you take a look at the two golf courses that Kim has won on this year (Congressional and Quail Hollow), you can tell that he really likes the long, classic-type courses. Glen Abbey falls into that category, but he couldnt get it done in Canada. I think Oakland Hills also falls into that category. BUT, the greens at Oakland Hills will take down any player not on his putting game and if you saw A-K at the British Open, picking him might make you cringe (first in GIR, third-to-last in putting).
Lee Westwood (8-1): Hes so close at this point. He left a putt short that would have gotten him into the playoff at the U.S. Open. And Sunday, he never gave the putt to tie at the Bridgestone any respect on the break. But from tee to green, hes been playing at a really high level. Its about time that he gets it all put together into a championship effort.
Vijay Singh (12-1): Back in January, a GOLF CHANNEL producer (not me) predicted that Vijay would never win again. Sunday, Vijays putter tried its best to keep that prediction alive. Despite the foibles with the long stick, Vijay broke his winless string at 34 tournaments. He has won two PGA Championships. He did have a top-10 finish at the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. But he did also win last week and trying to make it back-to-back weeks with the second one being a major championship is waaaay too much to ask.
Padraig Harrington (15-1): The two-time Champion Golfer of the Year went a sizzling 4-1 in his Ryder Cup matches here in 2004, including a singles victory over Jay Haas. If he can put the John Smiths Smooth Bitter (the first drink out of the claret jug each of the last two years) down long enough to play this week, he might be able to re-create that magic. If he does, we might have our Player of the Year. My guess is hell put down that drink because he called it pretty awful the first time he had to drink it last year. Just how awful? Im hearing that it makes Milwaukees Best taste like the champagne of beers.
Jim Furyk (20-1): Like Anthony Kim and Retief Goosen, Furyk has trotted the globe in the search for golf glory these last four weeks. From Birkdale to Toronto to Akron and now to Detroit, thats one heck of an itinerary. It also makes for a tired golfer and this golf course at 7,395 yards is not one to be sleepwalking through. But even though he hasnt won a major since that breakthrough at Olympia Fields in 2003, he still cant be discounted on this classic layout.
Kenny Perry (25-1): Welcome to your first major of 2008, Kenny. Unfortunately, there isnt an opposite event this week so youre stuck with this one. But at least you didnt have to go anywhere to qualify for it. You just had to play like you have this year and earn your way in. I might have rated you a bit higher but Im not sure how you might do in a Grade-1 stakes race at this distance. But then again, Im sure youre looking forward to that press conference on Monday announcing that you officially reached your goal for the year.
Ernie Els (25-1): The Big Easy still hasnt put it all together since his win at The Honda but he did show glimpses at Birkdale. At this point, he might want to channel Roy McAvoy when he gets on the range on Thursday. He should turn his hat around, put his tees in his left pocket and maybe leave his back pocket hanging out. I just dont think Ricci has it in him to be like Romeo and demand that of him.
Sergio Garcia (25-1): Well, Sergio, I want to thank you for backing up my support at the British Open with that stirring performance. I havent seen that many missed putts from inside 18 inches since watching a fellow co-worker yak a couple of easy tap-ins. Despite his putting mastery at THE PLAYERS, he still couldnt get it to drop on the biggest stage. Sergio, you have one more chance before Anthony Kim zooms by you as the next best thing.
Robert Karlsson (25-1): If there was any way that my Webmasters could make the words VALUE PICK blink, Id have them do it for this selection. Karlsson has finished in the top 10 in every major this year. Yes, read that again: EVERY MAJOR. Thats something that no one did last year and no one else has done this year. If youre in a golf pool and youre looking for that under-the-radar pick, here ya go. You can thank me lateror curse me when he shoots 77-80 and slams the trunk on Friday.
Trevor Immelman (30-1): Its been 10 years since a man not named Tiger Woods has won two majors in a season (Mark OMeara). Trevor hasnt exactly burned up the fairways since donning the green jacket in April ' his only dent on the leaderboard was a playoff loss to Justin Leonard in Memphis. But should he connect here, hell lock up the Player of the Year title and will get closer to realizing that dream he had in the bathroom with Vijay Singh in last years FedExCup commercials.
Woody Austin (45-1): If I was taking odds on who would choke like a dog, Woodys odds would likely be as short as Big Browns at the Belmont Stakes. And like Big Brown at the Belmont, Woody has pulled up lame in the stretch of two tournaments that he could have easily won (Buick Open, Zurich). But if he does put himself in that situation again and he does choke again, itll be fun to hear him tell it like it is and maybe hell even tell us how he outplayed Tiger again. Of course, its easy to outplay a guy who just had ACL surgery in June.
Angel Cabrera (50-1): The Duck could be working in a parallel universe this week. He won at OAKmont last year and were playing at OAKland Hills this week. His fellow countryman, Eduardo Romero nabbed his second career major last week in Colorado and now the Argentinian looks to snag his second major this week. But short of hiring Patricia Arquette to make sense of this psychic mumbo-jumbo, its not likely to happen for Cabrera.
John Daly (1,000-1): 17 years ago, a mullet-sportin ninth alternate came out of further-than-nowhere to capture the seasons final major. If Big John was to pull off the same stunt this year, you could say that hes come even further-than-further-from-nowhere. And I can hear his victory speech now ' Id like to thank Butch Harmonfor believing in me. Stay tuned for Dalys prop at Oakland Hills.
Tiger Woods: PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was quoted over the weekend that Tiger has lost 10-15 pounds after seeing him at Congressional Country Club last week. That led Rory Sabbatini to comment that Tiger is as thin as ever and that he likes the new Tiger Woods. Upon hearing the news, Fuzzy Zoeller sent him a care package to help him bulk up. And a special gift basket arrived from someone who signed simply Aquaman ' it was a book titled How to Outplay the Best Player in the World and Still Lose by 7 Shots.
Quick hitters and theyre all over-unders:
WINNING SCORE ' 271 (-8 -- PAR 70)
DALYS HIGHEST SCORE ON A HOLE ' 8 (it worked so well at the British, lets try that number again)
NUMBER OF CLUB PROS TO MAKE THE CUT (theres 20 of them): 3
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."