Tuesday, 6 August 2013

PGA Championship 2013 - Oak Hill CC, Rochester, New York

Oak Hill CC hosts a major for the first time in ten years, where Shaun Micheel burst through to surprise everyone and win in 2003. Rory McIlroy will defend this week. The final major, known as “glory’s last shot”, may well be an appropriate term for Mssrs Woods and McIlroy as they try to win a major in 2013.

The East course is a par 70, 7100 yds, which requires straight long driving and excellent short game. Scoring will be very difficult as the stats show in the previous five majors played here; only 10 players have finished under par! Those that played well at Firestone will be well suited to Oak Hill. The PGA has often produced a first time Major winner and there are plenty knocking on the door this time round too. Since 2006 when the WGC Bridgestone was held the week before the PGA, the winner played in and finished inside the TOP25 at Firestone.

The surprising statistic is that in the last 11 PGA Championships since Micheel’s victory, the winner had already won that year. Shaun Micheel hadn’t.

I’ve looked long and hard at who might win this week. I don’t think Tiger will. He played awful here in 2003, a year that he had already won 5 times. He complained that the greens were too slow last week when practicing but acknowledged they would be a lot quicker this week, suggesting that he hasn’t been comfortable in his preparation. I won’t mention you know who, but also considered Rose and Westwood again. The latter is sure to go well again and whilst I’d love to see him finally win a Major I can’t back him. Stenson is the in-form player at the moment but cannot get the WIN. He was backable a couple of weeks ago but at 28s, he’s not for me. I really really wanted to back Martin Kaymer this week! He's almost back to his best...but not quite. Oak Hill apparently will suit someone who likes to fade it off the tee, someone like Martin Kaymer. I liked Kaymer's play at The French Open but he pushed too hard. He had a TOP10 at Firestone and that result suggests his game is in fine shape but I'd rather he had more consistency lately before diving in. He's definitely one to watch out for an in-play investment. Brandt Snedeker I just couldn't pull the trigger on due to his lack off length and Zach Johnson and decent odds was considered but was happy to settle on my shortlist of ten.


Keegan Bradley @ 35/1 – The 2011 PGA champion has been in fine form all season and produced yet another excellent performance at Firestone the weekend in finishing T2nd to Tiger Woods. That makes seven TOP10s from 20 starts this season. He is ranked 8th in driving distance and 5th in GIR for 175-200yds, which augur well for this tough course.

Bill Haas @ 66/1 Haas, winner at Congressional this year at the AT&T National, a course where Rory won his US Open and coming off a good showing at Firestone is still overpriced for me. From his nineteen starts in ’13, he has produced nine TOP10s from the fourteen cuts made. Questions can be asked whether Bill can handle the pressure on Sunday, but a solid season can finally pay off and follow in his father’s footsteps that won the Senior PGA at Oak Hill in 2008.

Hunter Mahan @ 35/1 – Mahan has been on my shortlist for this one for a while and following strong Major performances this year this could be a good week for him. The “nappy factor” could also help him in his quest for his first major as he recently withdrew form the Canadian Open when leading after 36 holes to be at the birth of his daughter, Zoe. Mahan comes to Rochester in good form. Beaten in the WGC matchplay final, Mahan has also been in contention at the previous two majors finishing in the Top 10 in both. Game is peaking and is well suited to Oak Hill.

Adam Scott @ 18/1 – The Masters champion has been quietly compiling decent results lately and put in a strong weekend performance at Firestone also. Has performed well on Donald Ross designed courses in the past and comes here with 7 TOP25s from his eleven starts. Almost won at Muirfield and his ball striking will be a big advantage at Oak Hill.

Webb Simpson @ 66/1 - Webb shared 14th place at Firestone after a superb opening round and fine closing round. That makes four top 10s and another six top 25s on the season. One of the best at finding thefairway, which is crucial here, Simpson has yet to win this season but could do it here at another price that appears too big to ignore.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w K.Bradley @ 35/1

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w B.Haas @ 66/1

TIP 3:  1 pt e/w H.Mahan @ 35/1

TIP 4:  1 pt e/w A.Scott @ 18/1

TIP 5: 1 pt e/w W.Simpson @ 66/1

* 6 places available with most bookmakers