PGA Championship 2013

FINAL PREVIEWpga2013feat

Location: Rochester, New York (USA)

Course: Oak Hill Country Club – East Course

Date: 8-11 August 2013

Current Champion: Rory McIlroy

If you get a chance do check out our article for Golf Monthly on their website all about Tiger Woods and how he wont win this week!

‘Tiger Woods Still Lacking Major Mentality’

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The majors have brought about some fascinating contests and winners this year and now it is time for the final one to take centre stage.

Often called ‘Glory’s Last Shot’, the 2013 PGA Championship will be another fine test for the field of 156 players at a course which has consistently proved too much for many.

We have had a successful year in terms of betting for the majors, with a win and two 2nd places, so lets hope we can create perfect symmetry and add another win!

In the previous 5 majors that Oak Hill Country Club has hosted, only 7 players broke par. In 2008 the Senior PGA Championship was held here and nobody finished below par, meaning that only 10 out of 1,074 entrants in six major championships have finished in the red. That is less than 1%.

The Famous Leaderboard of '03

The Famous Leaderboard of ’03

In other words this is not an easy course and its rich history has provided some fine winners. Legendary amateur Charles Coe won the US Amateur in 1949, Cary Middlecoff, Lee Trevino and Curtis Strange all won the US Open, whilst Jack Nicklaus became PGA Champion here in 1980.

However the last major held at the East Course in 2003 warranted a shock champion in Shaun Micheel – not to be confused with Shaun Michael, the heroic wrestler. His 2 shot victory still baffles many people and remains Micheel’s only PGA Tour career win.

TRENDS

As with all the majors we have tried to find some trends that could help us narrow down the field and pick a winner. We initially struggled with this PGA Championship, until we looked at the astonishing similarities the winners have since it was last held here.

2012 – Rory McIlroy, Kiawah Island Golf ResortRory

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – T5

Tournaments won (during the season) – 1

Top 10s (during the season) – 8

2011 – Keegan Bradley, Atlanta Athletic Club

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – T15

Tournaments won (during the season) – 1

Top 10s (during the season) – 3

2010 – Martin Kaymer, Whistling StraitsKaymer

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – T22

Tournaments won (during the season) – 1

Top 10s (during the season) – 9

2009 – Y.E Yang, Hazeltine National Golf Club

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – T19

Tournaments won (during the season) – 1

Top 10s (during the season) – 3

2008 – Padraig Harrington, Oakland Hills Country ClubHarrington

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – T20

Tournaments won (during the season) – 1

Top 10s (during the season) – 7

2007 – Tiger Woods, Southern Hills Country Club

WGC Bridgestone (the week before) – 1st

Tournaments won (during the season) – 4

Top 10s (during the season) – 8

2006 – Tiger Woods, Medinah Country ClubWoods

WGC Bridgestone– 1st

Performance at the tournament before PGA – Buick Open, 1st

Tournaments won (during the season) – 4

Top 10s (during the season) – 7

2005 – Phil Mickelson, Baltusrol Golf Club

Performance at the tournament before PGA – T10

Tournaments won (during the season) – 3

Top 10s (during the season) – 8

2004 – Vijay Singh, Whistling Straits

Performance at the tournament before PGA – Buick Open, 1st

Tournaments won (during the season) – 4

Top 10s (during the season) – 11

So, after researching this information, we can find certain trends that keep cropping up

  • 3 out of the last 4 winners won their first major at the PGA.
  • The last 7 winners were inside the top 22 at the WGC Bridgestone prior to the PGA.
  • Winners since it was last held here in 2003 won during the year of their PGA victory.
  • Winners since it was last held here in 2003 recorded at least 3 top 10s.
  • Every winner since it was last held here made the cut in the tournament before the PGA.
  • The last 17 winners made the cut in the tournament before the PGA Championship
  • 13 out of the last 17 winners finished inside the top 20 in the tournament before the PGA Championship

THE COURSE

In short, this will be one of the toughest tests you could wish to face. Everybody talked about the rough at Merion for the US Open, well the rough at the USPGA is meant to be just as bad, if not worse.

Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York will be playing 7,163 yards. Knowing this yardage, we are already casting our minds back to Merion where Justin Rose claimed his first major and the sort of players we were looking at for the US Open.

The key is don’t miss it one foot in the rough,” Woods said. “And that’s what I did a lot of times. I missed a chip barely in the rough and that’s the worst part to be in” Tiger Woods on his last time at Oak Hill ESPN

Just one of the 18 tough greens!

Just one of the 18 tough greens!

You would expect nothing less from Oak Hill where anyone who wants to win a major will be tested to their absolute limit. But combine the rough with lightning fast greens, narrow undulating fairways and horrible pin locations and these four days are going to be one hell of a scramble. Looking a little more in depth at the greens, we found that the greens Donald Ross initially designed have been reduced in size and shape by as much as 25% on the whole. And these greens are renown for being the most slick surfaces in world golf. If you are not good with the short-stick, it could be a LONG week. If you want to know what these greens will feel like, have a few practise putts on your dining table at home.

So what statistics are we going to be looking at?

Well we know Oak Hill will be all about course management, playing the percentages and plotting your way around each hole. The main areas that we believe will be vital are:

Driving Accuracy

PGA Tour Driving Accuracy Leaders 2013

With the rough at Oak Hill worse than Merion, it will be crucial you keep the ball in the fairways this week! One venture into the long stuff and a bogey would be a good achievement. And of course, keeping it in play allows for a better approach into these tough greens.

Greens In Regulation (GIR)

PGA Tour GIR Leaders 2013

Of all the people in the USPGA 2003, everyone towards the top of the leaderboard came into the week with impressive GIR statistics. And it makes sense. Good GIR means you can putt your way to victory, or 2-putt as the case may be this week!

GIR % – 125-150 YardsPGA TOUR

GIR % – 125-150 Yards Leaders 2013

Based on our calculations of the average drive, there will be 4 holes that will leave this yardage. This is good to know and looking at these statistics filters out some very interesting names.

GIR % – 150-175 Yards

GIR % – 150-175 Yards Leaders 2013

Same as before, our calculations show 2 holes will leave this yardage around Oak Hill, with a further 2 at the 180 yard mark. The players knowing their yardages this week could be the difference.

Ball Striking

PGA Tour Ball Striking Leaders 2013

The term essentially means who is swinging the club the best and making the cleanest connections on the ball. It is a great way to filter out, excuse the pun, the ‘ball-strikers’ out there who will thrive on this course.

Strokes Gained – Putting

PGA Tour Strokes Gained – Putting Leaders 2013

These greens could be the toughest most will play on in their careers and if you are not putting well, the cut will look very far away. With the pressure of it being a major and big crowds, emphasis on putting has never been higher.

3-Putt Avoidance

PGA Tour 3-Putt Avoidance Leaders 2013

This could be massive this week. It is often those 2 putts for par that make the difference on courses like Oak Hill. If you 2-putt your way around the course this week, you will be up there. Don’t get frustrated if the putts are just not going in, avoiding those 3 putts will be everything.

Other areas that you also need to consider for sure are: Proximity To Hole, Scrambling, Scrambling from the rough, Putts per Round

OUR PICKS

Brandt Snedeker (28/1 BETFRED)

We have shown this picture before, but blimey does he not look incredible?!

We have shown this picture before, but blimey does he not look incredible?!

Before you read the reasons why Brandt Snedeker is our main man, please do check out our weekly write-up for Golf Monthly all about the man himself.

‘The Wonderful World Of Snedeker’

Snedeker will win a major. There is no doubting that he is far too good not to, but it is just the matter of when. The obvious hope is that we have lumped our hard earned cash on him when the moment finally arrives and this last major of 2013 looks like an ideal chance for all parties to end Sunday evening with a smile.

On a course that is relatively short with 10 par 4s offering the opportunity to use a mid to short iron approach shot, Sneds becomes the ideal candidate. When he has been firing this year his irons have been incredible, especially from short distances – arguably the best in the world.

And then when he reaches the dance floor there is an even stronger argument that he is right up there with the best putters. His stroke is so effortless and when the pressure is on you will not find Sneds struggling with bottle because everything flows in the way only a major champion flows.

Plus, as we have said before the recent form going into the PGA has been a critical factor in previous winners and he is certainly in fine fettle. Winning the RBC Canadian Open a few weeks ago at pretty much a canter, whilst a steady performance at Firestone will give him an extra boost.

Many experts have been stating how this is a ‘Drivers Course’ and Sneds is one of the most accurate off the tee and when you add in his all round natural abilities, Oak Hill could be the place that lives long in all of our major memory.

As the man who started it all off for us at the end of the 2012 season, it would be perfect symmetry for him to win this final major of 2013.

PGA Tour Stats 2013

Snedeker PGA Tour StatsFinish in Previous 5 Tournaments

WGC Bridgestone RBC Canadian Open The Open AT&T National US Open Best USPGA Finish
T33 1st T11 T8 T17 T18 – 2007

Hunter Mahan (40/1 Coral)

Hunter’s name has been on our lips for quite some time now; his game will be perfect for Oak Hill. Often regarded as one of the best iron players and ball strikers in the game, Mahan will be looking to prove that this week. Despite a winless 2013, he will be more than happy with the way he has played.

It's just written for Daddy Mahan to win this week

It’s just written for Daddy Mahan to win this week

A 2nd place at the WGC Accenture Match Play, T25 WGC Cadillac, T19 the PLAYERS, T4 the US Open and T9 at the Open shows he has a taste for the big events. Statistically he also ticks all the boxes for us. His best finishes in the PGA have been T16, T18 and T19. But in this kind of form he will certainly be looking to push on from them!

And we have to mention the events at the Canadian Open two weeks ago. 2 shots clear going into the third day, playing some incredible golf and the American gets the call telling him his wife has gone into labour. Without hesitation, Mahan withdrew and was on the next flight out to be at the bedside of his wife Kandi. It shows what a great guy Mahan is and more importantly puts him in a perfect frame of mind for the PGA. You can argue the break will have not given him enough preparation, but he will be coming to Oak Hill off the back of a T9 at the Open and a withdrawal at the Canadian Open where many think he would have gone on to win. 3 of the last 4 winners of the PGA have also been first-time winners which also makes for good reading. Mahan will have a great chance this week.

PGA Tour Stats 2013

Hunter PGA Tour StatsFinish in Previous 5 Tournaments

RBC Canadian Open The Open AT&T National Travelers Champs US Open Best USPGA Finish
W/D T9 MC T24 T4 T16 – 2009

Matt Kuchar (33/1 Various)

Kuchar needs no introduction now, he has well and truly cemented his place as one of the best golfers in the world with two wins in 2013 including the WGC Accenture Match Play. The all-smiling American is getting better with age, only starting to really pick up wins and contend in majors over the last four years. And in those years he has now recorded five top 10’s in majors including a T10 at the 2010 PGA Championship. 2013 has seen him miss no cuts on the PGA Tour and claim 7 top 10’s including 2 wins and 2 runner-ups.

Admittedly, we did struggle to decide between Kuch and Henrik Stenson who is simply flying on all cylinders at the moment.

Kuchar sporting the rugged look for what will be a rugged test at Oak Hill

Kuchar sporting the rugged look for what will be a rugged test at Oak Hill

We just thought that someone with his quality will win a major, and his game is perfect for the way major courses are setup. Accurate and methodical is the way he plays, and will look forward to the tough prospect that Oak Hill will inevitably prove to be. Just like Mahan, Kuchar will take confidence from 3 of the last 4 winners being first-timers.

Interestingly, a 20-year old Matt Kuchar came to Oak Hill 15 years ago and finished in the final 8 of the US Amateur Championship where a young Sergio Garcia overcame him in the quarter finals. So if you are after a bit of course form, there you have it. We know Kooch has the game, but now he needs to prove it on the biggest stage!

PGA Tour Stats 2013

Kuchar PGA Tour StatsFinish in 5 Previous Tournaments

WGC Bridgestone RBC Canadian Open The Open US Open The Memorial Best USPGA Finish
T27 T2 T15 T28 1st T10 – 2010

Zach Johnson (66/1 various)

Zach Johnson is always found sporting delightful sunglasses.

Zach Johnson is always found sporting delightful sunglasses.

Johnson has been plugging away recently, finding some very good form at just the right time. Finding yourself inside the top 10 3 tournaments in a row is impressive and at the WGC he was unerringly consistent across the 4 days. It is the unerring ability to be consistent that makes us like his chances at Oak Hill even more.

You will not find him missing many fairways – so crucial here, whilst the abilities he possesses with irons are well known and probably the reason he already has a cheeky major trophy in his cabinet. He has a knack of knowing when to attack pins and sit back and take a par, which may seem like boring golf but in a major tournament on a difficult course that is vitally important.

He did also look very useful at Muirfield, where he lead after round one and did remain in contention throughout the week. He never fully pushed himself forward but on this sort of course where there is a mixture of all round golf, he has the tools to grind out birdies at the right moments and he could become a double major winner.

PGA Tour Stats 2013

Zach Johnson PGA StatsFinish in 5 Previous Tournaments

WGC Bridgestone The Open John Deere Classic The Travelers US Open Best USPGA Finish
T4 T6 P2 T58 MC T3 – 2010

Jordan Spieth (125/1 Coral)

Unbelievably this photo was only taken a few years ago.  That is how young he is...

Unbelievably this photo was only taken a few years ago. That is how young he is…

The young American rookie has an abundance of talent and has remarkably been very consistent throughout his debut year. He has only missed 4 cuts, found 6 top 10s and won his first PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic a few weeks ago. All at the ripe-old age of 20. (Considering he celebrated his birthday just over a week ago as well…)

Of all the very talented youngsters the game has been lucky enough to witness this past year, Spieth is most definitely one of the elite and alongside Japanese maestro Hideki Matsuyama, will be challenging many majors for years to come.

So why do we feel money should be put on him now for what will be his first PGA Championship?

Because this a talent who has absolutely no fear and nerves are not part of his DNA. Just a few weeks ago, whilst still a teenager, he managed to beat seasoned pros Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a playoff to become the first teenager in 82 years to win a PGA Tour title. Even Tiger didn’t manage that feat…

We have also noticed how precise and accurate he is from tee to green, which will be key to this course. His mid and short irons have looked sublime at times and when you look at the trends of previous winners, it is bizarre that he actually fits most of them.

We are not saying that Spieth will win the PGA, but he could be a surprise outsider who could be an interesting run for your money, especially at such high odds where place returns are still very healthy. Beware though, most bookmakers have him at 66s, so the Coral worker who priced the tournament clearly has no idea the talent of this kid. Take advantage while you can!

PGA Tour Stats 2013

Jordan Spieth PGA StatsFinish in 5 Previous Tournaments

The Open John Deere Classic Greenbrier Classic AT&T National US Open Best USPGA Finish
T44 1st T23 6th MC DNP

Paul Casey (150/1 SportingBet)

Just like last week, this feels great backing Casey once again. We backed Paul at the WGC Bridgestone and he came in with a very respectable T27. After a mixture of injury, swing difficulties and loss of form, the Englishman dropped off the golfing radar.

Casey is back and he means business!

Casey is back and he means business!

The once 3rd ranked player in the world was struggling to make cuts and his career was in doubt. But 2013 has seen the arrival of the Paul Casey we know and love, and a player whose game is a great fit for Oak Hill. Just over a month ago he stormed to the very prestigious Irish Open title and confirmed to the world he was ‘back’. We watched all 4 days and what impressed us the most was his driving, an area that will have to be in top shape if you are to contend this week.

With 15 professional wins to his name, his quality at those sorts of odds is unbeatable. His major track-record is more than respectable with five top 10 finishes and T12 in 2010 and T15 in 2008 at the PGA. And he does have vital experience around Oak Hill, making the cut here in 2003. Definitely worth a gamble if you have a bit of spare change on you!

European Tour Stats 2013

Casey StatsFinish in 5 Previous Tournaments

WGC Bridgestone Scottish Open Irish Open BMW International Open US Open Best USPGA Finish
T27 T24 1st T53 T45 T12 – 2010

John Merrick (250/1 Ladbrokes)

Only a quick mention to John Merrick, who is just an interesting outsider considering his recent form and consistent stats which will be needed for this course.

The times we have seen Merrick, he has looked useful and obviously he picked up a victory at the Northern Trust Open earlier in the season by defeating Charlie Beljan in a playoff.

On the day his tee to green abilities were outstanding and he has recorded 3 top 10s in majors previously, so he certainly is no slouch! If you have any spare coppers floating around the house or in your account, it could be worth chucking them on Merrick!

PGA Tour Stats 2013

John Merrick PGA StatsFinish in 5 Previous Tournaments

WGC Bridgestone RBC Canadian Open AT&T National Travelers Champs FedEx St.Jude Classic Best USPGA Finish
T19 T6 MC T30 T63 T10 – 2009

MAIN BOOKMAKERS

Most will be offering 6 places this week at 1/4 odds, but those who are only doing 5 will have some very tempting odds!

Paddy Power – PGA Championship Outright Betting (6 Places)

Stan James – PGA Championship Outright Betting (6 Places)

Coral – PGA Championship Outright Betting

Bet365 – PGA Championship Outright Betting (6 Places)

William Hill – PGA Championship Outright Betting

Ladbrokes – PGA Championship Outright Betting (6 Places)

Bet Victor – PGA Championship Outright (6 Places)

3 thoughts on “PGA Championship 2013

    • We just feel Johnson is due a big finish and it is hard to see Stenson contending 4 weeks in a row! But Stenson could quite easily do well and we would not put anyone off backing him!

    • Ye we have done based on the fact he has been on the very top of his game for 3 weeks now and although Zach has as well,we feel the near misses could take their roll.Plus putting on these greens are horrendous and out of the 2 Zach has been much better recently!Hope that answers any of your queries!

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