US PGA Championship Tips: Best bets from Steve Rawlings, Dave Tindall, Ben Coley and more

  • Max Liu
  • 4:00 min read
A likeness of the US PGA Championship Wanamaker Trophy
Who will lift the Wanamaker Trophy this Sunday?

The US PGA Championship 2021 starts on Thursday so read in-depth previews and get the best bets from our golf experts to take you from first tee to final green on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island...

"The Englishman is a quite brilliant links exponent (won back-to-back Dunhill Links Championships), he won the Abu Dhabi Championship in January, he has form on paspalum (Saudi International) and he finished third at the RBC Heritage last year at the Pete Dye designed Harbour Town."

US PGA Championship 2021: The Punter's preview

The US PGA Championship returns to the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, this week, where Rory McIlroy romped to victory nine years ago. And there's no better way to prepare yourself than by reading Steve Rawlings' in-depth preview ahead of Thursday's start.

Steve says: "As an Open Champion with a victory in the Travelers at the Pete Dye designed TPC River Highlands, Jordan Spieth should take to Kiawah Island like a duck to water but there are a couple of negatives.

"Since finishing third at the US Masters he's contracted Covid and so he's missed a few weeks of preparation but the main reason I'm reluctant to side with him is that this is the major he needs to complete the Grand Slam and that will bring significant added pressure.

"Justin Thomas has lost his way slightly after his off the pace success at the Players, failing to progress out of the group at the WGC Match Play before producing form figures reading 21-13-26 and Dustin Johnson hasn't been firing since he won the US Masters in November.


"I backed Alex Noren over the weekend as he put in a challenge in Texas and I've backed a couple more big outsiders which I go into detail on in the Find Me a 100 Winner column but my only other pick is the world number nine, Tyrrell Hatton, who ticks every single box apart from red-hot recent form.

"The Englishman is a quite brilliant links exponent (won back-to-back Dunhill Links Championships), he won the Abu Dhabi Championship in January, he has form on paspalum (Saudi International) and he finished third at the RBC Heritage last year at the Pete Dye designed Harbour Town."

Steve's bet: Alex Noren @ 360.0359/1

US PGA Championship 2021 Each-Way Tips: Hatton can be king of Kiawah

Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the US PGA Championship so find out who he's backing at the year's second Major.

Dave says: "At 45/1 Tyrrell Hatton could represent outstanding value as he seeks his first Major title. So far, his Major career has been somewhat curious. After a T25 in this event in 2015, the following year he defied expectations by finishing T5 in the Open Championship and T10 in the US PGA.

"In 2017 he missed the cut in all four but hit back in 2018 with T6 at the US Open and another T10 in the US PGA. For the second season running he made the cut in all four in 2019 and rounded off with T6 at the Open Championship. However, then came another dud year, with three MCs out of three in 2020.

"The main negative in a Majors career that clearly had big moments of promise was his Masters record: up until this year his results read MC-44-T56-MC. That was unusually poor for a player who had climbed into the top echelons.

"Thankfully, a corner was turned this time and last month he battled away to finish T18: not an amazing performance on one level but quite a breakthrough on another. That said, his best Majors are the Open Championship and the US PGA as four of his five top 10s have come in those. The other was that US Open top 10 which came at links-style Shinnecock.

"So, if only he could get to play a US PGA by the coast. That would be perfect right? Well, Hatton is granted that wish this week: welcome to the 2021 US PGA, played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort."

Dave's bet: Back Tyrrell Hatton E/W @ 46.045/1

Sporting Life's Ben Coley: Big Phil a sporting bet in battle of past champions

Delighted to have the thoughts of Ben Coley from our friends at Sporting Life ahead of the USPGA and he's got his eye on a veteran operator for his selection for B.B.

Ben says: "Backing Phil Mickelson with confidence in any market isn't really possible any more, but there's definite value in taking him to be the top former winner.

"Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas quite rightly dominate the market, but then we've Collin Morikawa, who faces the huge task of defending his title. He's risen to most challenges so far but suffered a post-PGA lull last year and a similarly low-key performance here wouldn't surprise me.

"With Brooks Koepka plainly not fit, Keegan Bradley into what appears to be a very skinny price and Jason Day playing poorly, we get to 25/1 shot Mickelson as one of the handful of realistic options to upstage those above him in the betting.

"Mickelson has been playing quite nicely, though. He started in blistering fashion at Quail Hollow, defied a slow start for 25th in the Masters, filled the same spot in the Honda and was better than he usually is at Sawgrass. Two missed cuts both came with second-round 69s and there's been a lot of good stuff in amongst the odd catastrophe.

"He'll have to avoid big numbers here but played reasonably when mid-pack in 2012, producing his best golf during the worst of the weather on Friday, and he'll be buoyed by receiving a special invite to the US Open next month. Generally strong with his approaches and with the putter firing, he's capable of a top-20 finish and should he manage it, we won't need much help to at least land the place part (paying at a quarter the odds, first three).

"Certainly, he looks too close to Martin Kaymer and Jason Dufner in the betting and anything bigger than 14/1 is good value for a small, speculative play in a market which contains plenty of deadwood. Mickelson says the only thing missing is focus, and Kiawah Island should hold his attention."

Click here to read Ben's full event preview over on Sporting Life

Ben's bet:Phil Mickelson to be best former champ @ 26.025/1

US PGA Championship European Tour Each-Way Tips: Lowry can revive Por on the shore

Our European Tour tipster Matt Cooper has three European player each-way selections for the US PGA Championship with the Betfair Sportsbook paying 10 places.

Matt says: "First up for my bets is the 2012 winner of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro, the Irishman Shane Lowry.

"In addition to enjoying that track he's also always thrived in Spain and has four top 20s at Valderrama, including a fourth and second.

"What about his form this season? His two top ten finishes came at TPC Sawgrass and Harbour Town (he was also third there in 2019) and what do they have in common? Both Dye designs.

"Don't overlook his T21st at the Masters, either - it was his best effort there. If it's windy, as it tends to be, the 2019 Open champion is likely to enjoy that factor rather than fear it, and he's had plenty of practice on Paspalum grass since he joined The Bear's Club in Florida."

Matt's bet: Shane Lowry each-way @ 51.050/1

US PGA Championship Player Guide: Profiles of the top 50 in the betting

Matt Cooper provides a guide to the leading players chasing Major glory at Kiawah Island this week.

What Matt says about the favourite: "If Rory McIlroy can go from averaging 76.00 for the five strokeplay rounds ahead of Quail Hollow to victory there and also here this week (what would be a first major triumph in nearly seven years), it would be one of the great form transformations and unquestionably a career-defining effort.

"Once a Pete Dye course sceptic, McIlroy explains: 'I turned a corner at Whistling Straits in 2010. I hated it, but told myself to embrace it. I finished one shot outside the playoff and since then I've won at Kiawah (by a mammoth seven shots), Crooked Stick and Sawgrass. I've started to quite like them.' Beware his nemesis, high wind, on this week's coastal track."

Rory McIlroy 12.5 to win the US PGA Championship

US PGA Championship 2021: Ten year trends point to...

Dave Tindall takes a close look at the make-up of the last 10 US PGA winners to see which player is most likely to lift the Wanamaker Trophy in 2021.

Dave says: "One of the key pointers for this event is that most winners had posted a victory earlier that season and Collin Morikawa added to that trend last year.

"Morikawa had captured the Workday Charity Open just three starts before winning the US PGA. He also continued a trend for this being the best Major for players aged under 30."

DeChambeau at Sawgrass.jpg

"Bryson DeChambeau is 27-years-old and won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He's world number four, was tied fourth at Harding Park last year and posted tied ninth at Wells Fargo before teeing it up in the AT&T Byron Nelson so is guaranteed to have a top 20 in one of his last two starts. He's not won the event before and has played in it just four times previously.

This year's venue, Kiawah Island, measures in at a record-breaking 7,876 yards. The game's longest hitter winning at the longest course in major championship history would certainly make for some pleasing symmetry."

Dave's bet (based on 10 year trends): Back Bryson DeChambeau to win at 16.015/1

US PGA Find Me a 100 Winner Special: Max can make his mark

Steve Rawlings has trawled the stats in search of a monster-priced winner at this week's USPGA Championship and top of his list is Si Woo Kim. Read who else makes the team and who came close...

Steve says: "Having celebrated his 30th birthday in November, world number 40, Max Homa, doesn't quite tick all four boxes but I'm more than happy to overlook that slight misdemeanour and I really like his chances, despite a missed cut last time out...

"Homa's weekend off at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago can be very easily forgiven. He'd won the event two years earlier so given the tournament was cancelled in 2020, he had the pressure of being the defending champion, and that was just days after a disappointing final round at the Valspar Championship.

"Homa had entered the final round at the ultra-tough Copperhead track trailing by a stroke but a 74 on Sunday saw him slip to sixth. That could be construed as a negative but he was tied for the lead at the American Express (won by Kim) in January before a poor final round saw him fall outside the top-20 and he picked himself up after that to win the Genesis Invitational four starts later.

Homa wins at Riviera.jpg

"Both Homa's wins have come at tough tracks (Quail Hollow and Riviera) that have staged major championships and he's a player that's been overlooked this week. He's a fabulous putter and I like his chances at odds in excess of 200.0199/1."

Steve's bet: Back Max Homa 1 ½ u @ 220.0219/1 Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

US PGA Championship 2021 First-Round Leader Tips: Make it MacIntyre

Who's going to light up the leaderboard on Thursday at the US PGA Championship? Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Kiawah Island.

Dave says: "I want to be with Robert MacIntyre in some capacity this week and this looks a good way to do it.

"The Scot has made some fast starts in the last six months. He was first-round leader at the Cyprus Showdown, an event he went on to win, second after 18 holes of the Golf in Dubai Championship and fifth following Thursday's play at the Dubai Desert Classic.

"He's also burst out of the blocks in a major before, sitting tied third after day one of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

"The left-hander has charged into the top 50 of the world rankings after winning his group at the WGC-Match Play (on a Pete Dye course), finishing a superb tied 12th on his Masters debut and adding another top 10 in last week's British Masters where he was leading at halfway.

"Golf didn't happen last May due to COVID. But the previous May his R1 leader positions were 10-6-5. He finished runner-up twice that month so it's a good time of the year for him.

"MacIntyre should feel right at home on the coast and can shine at 100/1. He's a morning starter at 07:49 (from 10th)."

Dave's bet: Back Robert MacIntyre E/W for First Round Leader @ 101.0100/1

US PGA Championship 2021: Pick of the Betfair specials markets

Steve Rawlings had a good look at the plethora of side markets and picked out five bets ranging from 6/4 to 50/1.

Steve says: "In the To Miss the Cut market, I'm quite happy to play the two-time winner, Brooks Koepka, at 6/4. I backed him modestly in Texas last week in the hope that he'd recovered after his knee operation but his movement was severely restricted still and he failed to make the weekend. He can't get down to read putts and a third missed cut in-a-row is on the cards.

"In the Top 20 market, Daniel Berger at an industry wide best of 6/4 looks a very solid bet. He played really nicely last week in Texas where he improved day-by-day to eventually finish third, he's won on a blustery seaside links already this season at the AT&T Pebble Beach, and he has some very solid form at Pete Dye designed courses. He's a very consistent sort and I expect him to contend."

Steve's bet: Back Daniel Berger for Top 20 @ 2.56/4

US PGA Championship 2021 Top 5/10 Finish Tips: Thomas can show class at Kiawah

Dave Tindall assesses the mood of the players and arms you with the stats that matter for a punt on the Top 5 and Top 10 Finish markets ahead of the 2021 US PGA Championship.

Dave says: "Justin Thomas arrived at Kiawah Island early and said of his practice rounds:

'I played 18 on Sunday and played nine the last two days, so I've seen the golf course in two completely opposite winds. I think that's definitely helpful for me as I didn't play in 2012. You definitely are going to have to strike your ball solid and consistently to be able to control the flight and the distance to at least keep it on the golf course at some times but be able to hit fairways and greens.

'It's a great golf course. It's an unbelievable venue. In terms of my golf game, I feel really good about it. I've been practising hard. It's been close. My results have been very average, to say the least I would say, but that's the thing about this game. I feel like I've been close but just not quite putting it together.'

"It makes sense to look for an elite iron player who can show some magic around the greens. Looking at the stats this season, Thomas ranks second for Strokes Gained: Approach and is 10th for SG: Around The Green.

"Add in the fact that he got to the course early on Sunday and he has some extra edges in his favour. A winner at Pete Dye's Sawgrass, I'll take Thomas at 5.24/1 to finish in the Top 5."

Dave's bet: Back Justin Thomas for Top 5 @ 5.24/1

US PGA Championship 2021: Check out current form ahead of this week's Major

Check out the current form of those teeing-up at Kiawah Island as Andy Swales goes in-depth on the latest key stats and provides some history to show that this hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Americans.

Andy says: "Since America triumphed at the 1991 Ryder Cup, this has generally been an unlucky venue for US golfers.

"In 1997, when the World Cup of Golf was staged here, the tournament was won by Ireland, with Scotland runners-up. Colin Montgomerie won the individual event while the United States, represented by Justin Leonard and Davis Love, joined forces to finish third.

"Leonard and Love had both won Majors that year, but were unable to prevent European golfers from occupying the top four positions in the individual competition.

"Six years later the World Cup of Golf returned to Kiawah and was won by South Africa. England, France and Germany came next, with the hosts - represented by Jim Furyk and Leonard - finishing in a tie for fifth, alongside Ireland. The format had changed by then, and there was no individual event."

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