By Vince Eager
Course: Valhalla GC, Louisville, Kentucky.
Architect: Jack Nicklaus.
Valhalla Gold Club hosts the final major of 2014, the US PGA Championship, and this has been a happy hunting ground for the Oddy golf team in recent years with 200/1 winners in YE Yang and Keegan Bradley the best of them.
Both of those players were selected because they were winners on the PGA Tour that season and were holding their form. This is an angle i’m keen on in this tournament, for obvious reasons.
Let’s look at the previous 10 winners and specifically their form at the WGC Bridgestone and in the months leading up to the USPGA. With no from to go on at this track since 2000 we’ll give the Oddy ratings a swerve this week and go with this trends formula.
2013: Jason Dufner – Tied 4th at the Bridgestone. T26 at the Open and t4 at USOPEN in month previous.
2012: Rory Mcilroy – Won the Honda Classic. Tied 5th at the WGC Bridgestone. 5 top 10’s in 2012 before PGA.
2012: Keegan Bradley – Won the Byron Nelson. T15th at WGC. 3 top 10s.
2010: Martin Kaymer – Won on Euro Tour. t22 WGC. 9 top 10s worldwide.
2009: YE Yang – Won Honda Classic. 3 top 10s. T19 WGC.
2008: Padraig Harrington – Won Open Championship. 5 top 10s. T20 WGC.
2007: Tiger Woods – Won four times before PGA. Won WGC.
2006: Tiger Woods – Won four times before PGA, Won WGC.
2005: Phil Mickelson – Won 3 times. T10 WGC.
2004: Vijay Singh – Won four times. Did not play WGC.
Nine of the last 10 winners had won a tournament that season prior to the PGA with the exception being Jason Dufner last year who had a top 5 in the USOPEN to his name just six weeks or so before the USPGA and a t26 at the Open in his most recent start.
The last 9 winners finished T22nd or better at the WGC tournament the week before the PGA, while 2004 winner Vijay Singh did not play at the Bridgestone.
All 10 had multiple top 10 finishes prior to the PGA.
So which players from the top 22 at the Bridgestone last week had won on tour in 2014?
Rory McIlroy: Won the Bridgestone, won the Open, 6 other top 10’s from 10 events played.
Patrick Reed: Tied for 4th at the Bridgestone. Won the Humana Challenge and WGC Cadillac Championship.
Justin Rose: Tied for 4th at the Bridgestone. Won the Quicken Loans.
Ryan Moore: Tied for 8th at the Bridgestone. Won the CIMB Classic.
Adam Scott: Tied for 8th at the Bridgestone. Won Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Matt Kuchar: Tied for 12th at the Bridgestone. Won RBC Heritage.
Hideki Matsuyama: Tied for 12th at the Bridgestone. Won the Memorial Tournament.
Thomas Bjorn: Tied for 15th at the Bridgestone. Won Nedbank Challenge on European Tour.
Lee Westwood: Tied for 19th at the Bridgestone. Won Malaysian Open on European Tour.
Sportingbet/Centrebet/Tom Waterhouse are offering top 7 places in this event so that’s where we’ll be going for our tips.
Patrick Reed fits the bill nicely here being a multiple winner in 2014 and having finished tied for 4th last week at the Bridgestone.
Justin Rose is in the form of his life and although short enough at $19 it’s hard to see him not contending this week and with 7 places on offer we’ll go each way too. Rose finished 3rd in the 2012 PGA Championship.
Hideki Matsuyama has the game to contend in Majors for years to come and he returned to form with a t12 at the Bridgestone. His win this year came at the Memorial at Muirfield Village, another Jack Nicklaus designed course, and this could be another good pointer with Tiger Woods a winner at Valhalla and also a multiple winner of the Memorial.
Ryan Moore was an each way bet for us last week and he just missed out with a tied for 8th finish at the Bridgestone. He won the CIMB Classic earlier in the year and has held his form well with his most recent finishes reading 8, 12, 7 and 5.
Thomas Bjorn has been in excellent form all year and he finished t15 at last week. he won the Nedbank Challenge on the European Tour at the start of this season.