The 2020 USPGA Championship: Steve Rawlings' pick of the specials

Golfer Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy - worth opposing in the Top Irish market

From 5/2 to 200/1 Steve has taken a good look at all the side markets for the US PGA Championship and come up with a host of tips. Read Steve's last-minute round-up here...

"Just three Irishmen line up at Harding Park this week – Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell – and I’m keen to go against Rory."

The top nationality markets are always worth a good look at a major and the smaller the market the better. If you're trawling through the list looking for the Top American, the chances are you're looking for the winner of the event itself given it's 4/9 with the Sportsbook that the victor will be from the USA, so I like the much smaller ones, and a market I very often get involved in is the Top Irish.

Just three Irishmen line up at Harding Park this week - Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell - and I'm keen to go against Rory.

McIlroy's struggled a bit since the restart, offering up the absence of fans as one of his issues. He was on a run of seven straight top-five finishes before everything came to a shuddering halt but his 11th place finish in the Travelers Championship at the end of June is his only top-30 finish in his five starts back.

With form figures before last week reading MC-MC-60-39-MC, it would have been almost impossible to make a case for taking Rory on with Shane Lowry but the Open Champion improved considerably last week, finishing sixth at the WGC-FedEx St Jude, and 5/2 looks a very fair price with only one other Irishman to worry about. And he looks to have been hamstrung by the draw.

The weather forecast suggests that the early starters are going to enjoy much the better conditions tomorrow, with the wind predicted to rise considerably in the afternoon and that could be a big negative for Graeme McDowell. Even so, taking on Rory by backing Lowry at 5/2 and G-Mac much more modestly at 15/2 makes sense.

Thursday's weather could have quite a bearing on the tournament and an afternoon start time could transpire to be a considerable disadvantage so I've considered that with each of my last four wagers.

In the Top Lefty market, Brian Harman, who has a fair record in US majors (second to Brooks Koepka at the 2017 US Open), is in the first group out tomorrow. The other three lefthanders - Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Robert McIntyre - all start tomorrow afternoon. This is McIntyre's first major in the states and the other two are inconsistent anyway so the draw is the extra tick to make 4/1 about Harman worth chancing.


Rafa Cabrera-Bello has rewarded backers in the Top Spanish market on numerous occasions and even though he's not playing at his best at present, at an industry-wide best of 9/1 he's worth a very small interest given he too is the only one with an early start in that market. Jon Rahm, who has understandably drifted in the outright market on the exchange since the draw was announced, Sergio Garcia and Jorge Campillo, all start on Thursday afternoon.

History suggests a fast start is a big plus in this championship, which is why I'm so eager to oppose those drawn on Thursday afternoon, and it's why I was also keen to look at someone winning wire-to-wire. Brooks Koepka was in front after every round last year and Jimmy Walker led from start to finish four years ago so having collected on their being a wire-to-wire winner last year at 9/1, I was hoping for a similar price this time around.

Unfortunately, but perhaps understandably, such a market doesn't exist anymore but you can back individual players to achieve the feat so I've aimed for the stars and had a small bet on Jason Day to Lead After Every Round and Win at 200/1. I was quite keen on Day but missed the big price on Sunday when he finished so well in Memphis but with a morning tee-time on Thursday, I thought this was a sporty way to get him onside. Wire-to-wire winners aren't especially common but Day did it three times in nine months a few years ago, at the BMW Championship in Sept 2015 and the Arnold Palmer and Players Championship in the spring of 2016.

And finally, Bryson DeChambeau is someone I wanted to be against this week, and that was before he was assigned an afternoon draw on Thursday. His best ever finish in a major is 15th and since winning the 3M Open, he's missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament and finished only 30th in the FedEx St Jude. He's almost certain to attack Harding Park with gusto on Thursday afternoon, regardless of the conditions, and his chance could be derailed in no time. I thought 3/1 about him missing the cut was decent.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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