-- LAS VEGAS -- With American Pharoah winning horse racing's Triple Crown and Serena Williams marching toward a Grand Slam in women's tennis, it looked like this could be the year of the sweep when Jordan Spieth was attempting to force his way into the playoff at The Open in July. However, Spieth came up just short at St. Andrews -- and it was a great effort, as he missed the playoff by just one stroke.
So, the PGA Championship that starts Thursday at Whistling Straits maintains its status as the last major of the year, but without a historic Grand Slam on the line. Still, there are plenty of storylines and interest from bettors.
Spieth is the clear favorite at 6-1 at the Westgate SuperBook as of Tuesday morning. Rory McIlroy, who missed The Open because of an ankle injury, is tied as the second choice with Jason Day and Bubba Watson at 12-1.
While I certainly respect Spieth and agree that he's the favorite, I'm not willing to back him at such a low price in such a big field. There's also too much uncertainty about McIlory and whether he's back to 100 percent. That being said, I'm not going to take a flier on any extreme long shots like I did in The Open (though I believe I got my money's worth as Marc Warren was in early contention at 150-1 and Eddie Pepperell was tied for the lead on Day 3 at 200-1). The PGA Championship is usually more formful than that. ESPN Stats & Info points out that the past 12 major winners have come from the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, so we'll take a more conservative approach.
Tuley's Take for 2015 PGA Championship
For grading purposes, I'll split up $100 in wagers and try to find the winner. We'll use the odds from the Westgate SuperBook as of Tuesday morning. As always, shop for the best price available.
Dustin Johnson ($50 at 15-1)
With the obvious exception of Spieth, it can be argued that no one has been playing better in majors this year than Johnson. He has only one win to his credit -- in the WGC-Cadillac in March -- but he has been right in contention in the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open before fading late. A lot of people are calling him a choker, but that's helping us get a little better price on him. I'm willing to take a shot that this is the week he puts it all together. For those who like him but think he'll come up just short, his over/under finish position at the Westgate is 20.5, so that could be seen as the safer play. The under 20.5 was even money as of Tuesday morning.
Adam Scott ($30 at 25-1)
Scott finished in the top 10 in the past two majors and at times looked like the best player on the course, but was failed by his anchored putter. This could be his last time using the controversial club, which has been very good to him since first using it in the 2011 Masters, when he finished second. Since then, Scott has had 11 top-10 finishes in majors, best among active players. If his short game returns to form, I think we have a really legitimate shot at 25-1.
Tiger Woods ($20 at 50-1)
Just like in The Open, I know this pick will be met with a collective rolling of the eyes. However, I'm not siding with those who say Woods is done and will never win another major. Tiger might be "just another golfer" at this time, but I'm convinced we're going to see him win a few more majors in his career. It's a long shot for any pro to win a major, but at least Woods has his incredible track record to fall back on when he's in contention. He won't be in the running every time, but he's worth a shot at 50-1 (I know I can be "wrong" a lot of times, but hopefully he makes it worth my while). I have cut my wager size because Woods has missed the top 20 in his only two appearances at Whistling Straits. For those looking for a more conservative approach, the Westgate has Woods at minus-130 to make the cut and over/under 60.5 for his finish position.
Even without a Grand Slam on the line, this should be an exciting tournament with all the storylines in play. Hopefully we have at least one of our picks in contention on Sunday. Enjoy the tournament.