If some of the European golfers participating in this week’s PGA Championship appear to feel at home on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, it’s probably because it plays much more like something you’d find on the other side of the pond.
With the way the course is designed, 10 holes run alongside the Atlantic Ocean and are subjected to inconsistent winds. In fact, it’s said that a player’s club selection on the par-3, 17th hole can range anywhere from a 7-iron to a 3-wood depending on the direction and gusts of the wind.
Figuring out the course conditions might be a walk in the park, however, compared to trying to pick a favorite to win the tournament. Unlike some courses, golfers will have to rely on every club they put in their bag — including drivers, woods, hybrids, irons and wedges.
Those who can’t choose the appropriate club or manage the course properly, not only won’t be in contention Sunday but will be hard-pressed to make the cut.
Tiger Woods is always going to be mentioned when discussing possible favorites (see the odds below), and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he is hoisting the trophy at the end; but I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that he will come up short. (He will tee off in today’s featured threesome at 8:30am ET with fellow former PGA champions Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer.)
Because this is a links course that requires precision and the ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions, I think the favorites have to include guys like Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Louis Oosthuizen.
We would never condone betting illegally, but here are the odds as set by the site sportsbet.com:
Tiger Woods: 8 to 1
Rory McIlroy: 18 to 1
Luke Donald: 19 to 1
Dustin Johnson: 23 to 1
Jason Dufner: 26 to 1
Lee Westwood: 28 to 1
Adam Scott: 32 to 1
Bubba Watson: 34 to 1
Justin Rose: 36 to 1
Louis Oosthuizen: 36 to 1
Matt Kuchar: 38 to 1
Steve Stricker: 40 to 1
Keegan Bradley: 42 to 1
Graeme McDowell: 44 to 1
Phil Mickelson: 45 to 1
Photo: Credit: Lee Smith/ZUMA Press/Newscom