Golf

PGA Championship Betting Has Woods on Top Again

He hasn’t won a Major in more than two years but oddsmakers are sticking with Tiger Woods, installing the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer as a lukewarm 5/1 favorite to capture the 2010 PGA Championship at the Whistling Straights Course in Kohler, Wisconsin, Aug. 12-15.

Woods has won 14 Major championships, including four PGA titles, but blew a two-shot lead heading into the final round of last year’s PGA Championship and wound up losing to Y.E. Yang by three strokes. It marked the first time that Woods had failed to win a major when leading or co-leading after 54 holes. More importantly, the collapse lowered the veil of invincibility, convincing both other golfers and golf betting fans alike that Woods wasn’t the only name to consider in Major golf championships.

But while going against Woods might seem a prudent venture, gamblers still have to bet on the winner, a daunting task when the field numbers 125 of the best golfers in the world. Beyond Tiger, Phil Mickelson is the most obvious choice to win this 92nd PGA Championship. “Lefty,” who won his third Masters this year and has a PGA Championship trophy on his mantle from 2005, is the 9/1 second choice in future book betting. Mickelson, like Woods, is long enough off the tee to challenge the marathon, windswept terrain that makes Whistling Straits one of the most difficult courses in America.

Most sportsbooks also have Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy near the top of their future book boards. Westwood, 14/1, has yet to win a Major but is in top form, finishing second at both this year’s Masters and US Open and third at last year’s PGA Championship. McIlroy, 16/1, also is looking for his first Major title. He was third at the most recent Major, the British Open, and tied Westwood for third at last year’s PGA Championship.

Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Paul Casey Ian Poulter and Jim Furyk head a bevy of golfers offered at prices ranging from 25/1 to 40/1. Of the six-pack, only Els and Furyk have won a Major, though neither has captured a PGA Championship.

Others of note include reigning US champion Graeme McDowell at odds of 50/1, British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen at 80/1, and defending PGA champion Yang at odds of 100/1. The colorful John Daly may be attractive to longshot players at a price of 250/1.

Straight win betting will dominate the action on the PGA Championship but there also are a number of proposition bets to tempt golfing gamblers. Oddsmakers believe that a playoff is likely, making the price -333 (bet $333 to win $100) that extra holes are required. It’s +240 (bet $100 to win $240) that the championship is won in 72 holes. Interestingly, the last time that Whistling Straits hosted the PGA Championship, in 2004, Vijay Singh beat Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard in a three-hole aggragate playoff.

Gamblers also can bet on the winning margin of victory. It’s +240 for a playoff; +250 that the margin is just one stroke; +350 that it’s exactly two strokes; +450 that the champion has a three-stroke cushion; and +333 that the margin of victory is four shots or more.

You can take +150 that a European player will win this year’s PGA Championship or lay -180 that the winner represents another part of the world.

Bettors also can lay -140 that someone makes a hole-in-one at this year’s championship or take +120 that there are no aces.

The star of the 2010 PGA Championship may turn out to be Whistling Straits, itself. The course is 7,514 yards long and features three par-4 holes of at least 500 yards. Of the four par-5 holes, only one is less than 593 yards. Golfers also encounter deep bunkers, undulating greens and an unforgiving Lake Michigan.

The 2010 PGA Championship could be decided by how well the golfers play a quintet of difficult holes. No. 4, named “Glory,” is 489 yards long with a green that hangs on the dge of Lake Michigan’s bluffs. Par is a very good score here.

No. 8, “On the Rocks,” is 507 yards with a blind landing area off the tee and plenty of trouble if you go right.

“Grand Strand” is the name for No. 15, a 518-yard par 4 that is anything but a day at the beach…unless you land in one of the many sand traps.

No. 17, “Pinched Nerve,” at 223 yards is one of the most difficult par 3 holes in the country.

The finishing hole, “Dyeabolical,” is 500 yards of par-4 misery.

So, no matter how you slice it (oh, don’t do that!) the 2010 PGA Championship looks like a severe challenge for both golfers and golf betting fans.

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