Finally we arrive at the first major of this messed up year and one thing seems certain, it will be a proper test befitting a major tournament. At seven thousand two hundred and thirty four yards, Harding Park usually plays as a par 72 but they have converted two of the par fives into par four this week, which is a definite bonus for the power merchants. However, length isn’t everything, as an ex-girlfriend used to say. A video direct from the course shared by Ian Poulter this week shows just how gnarly the rough is. It’s so thick in patches that you can’t even see your ball, so it would be better to be straight all week than long, although a combination of the two would be the perfect blend for success.

The wind could also be a big factor. Harding Park is situated just one kilometer from the coast and is anyone who has been to San Francisco knows just how much it can blow there when the offshore breezes kick up. The draw for tee off times could be very important. At the time of writing this they haven’t been posted yet but keep an eye out for who gets to tee off early doors on Thursday. They could enjoy a distinct advantage as the winds don’t usually ramp up until the afternoons in the San Francisco Bay area. This week’s PGA Championship promises to be a stern test that should provide an enthralling conclusion.

Blue Horseshoe Loves

Xander Schauffele currently at 18/1 with

Schaufelle is going to win a major sooner or later, so why not this week? His game has been trending well lately. He has an average driving distance of just over three hundred yards, so he can cope with this long layout. He ranks third on tour in greens in regulation and seventh in scrambling, both of which will be important factors here. The San Diego native is also well used to playing in the coastal winds of California. It’s a greenlight situation for a high finish for Xander as far as I can see.

Tony Finau currently at 40/1 with

Now Finau really does fall into the category of ‘Gut feeling’ for me here. He’s plenty long enough and ranks 10th on tour on strokes gained tee to green. If he does get into trouble, he has the power to get it out of the thick rough and to the green. But the one problem with Tony is that his putting is dodgy as hell. One day its great, the next its awful. Apparently though he’s been doing a lot of work on it with putting guru, Brad Faxon and its starting to pay dividends. I just have a feeling this long testing track will suit Tony and he could finally get the job done this week, or at least go close for good each way value.

Gary Woodland currently 50/1 with

Gary Woodland tends to go well on long tracks set up for Major conditions. He won the 2019 US Open at the testing Pebble Beach course in coastal California. And if he can get it into position on the green’s he’s ranked 25th on tour in strokes gained putting. He was disappointing last week in Memphis, but this course should play to his strengths far more and 50/1 represents really decent each way value here.

Dustin Johnson currently at 20/1 with

Johnson is an anomaly for me at the moment. He played with real authority to win going away from the field at the Travelers a few weeks ago, but since then he’s been all over the shop. He pulled out of the 3M Open the week before last, citing a back injury, then played solidly last week to finish in a tie for 12th. I’m going to go with Johnson again this week because if his game clicks on a layout that should suit his power game very well, he could be an extremely hard man to beat.

Daniel Berger currently at 40/1 with

Berger has been Mr. Consistency since the comeback from lockdown. He won the first tournament back. He’s tied third in top ten finishes for the season, fifth in scoring average, fifth in strokes gained total, fourteenth in strokes gained putting and second in scrambling. Going by stats alone Berger should be right in the thick of things again this week. My only concern is that if the wind kicks up, he could struggle distance wise off the tee’s. But he’s just playing too well for me to leave him out.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK XANDER SCHAUFFELE 2.5 pt each way at 18/1 with
BACK TONY FINAU 1 pt each way at 40/1 with
BACK GARY WOODLAND 1 pt each way at 50/1 with
BACK DUSTIN JOHNSON 1.5 pt each way at 20/1 with
BACK DANIEL BERGER 1.5 pt each way at 50/1 with

ew 7 places 1/5 odds

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