The second major of the year is upon us, and we should anticipate fireworks inside and outside the ropes.
The raucous crowd on Long Island will be a combination of loud, fun and obnoxious. If we’ve learned anything at the previously staged marquee events at Bethpage Black, it’s that the course is a beast and several players will learn that dealing with the fans is no fun.
Here we go again with our mythical $200 bankroll and betting strategy for the PGA Championship:
Tiger Woods again has grabbed the headlines in the world of golf. The 15-time major champion is back in a big way after adding a green jacket to his wardrobe and a shiny Presidential Medal of Freedom. He’s also residing in familiar territory as the 8-1 betting favorite for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, where he won the U.S. Open in 2002.
There is no denying Woods’ world-class game has made a complete resurgence. The price sends us elsewhere, but another Sunday afternoon with the guy in the red shirt will add to the luster of the event.
Other players deserving plenty of respect are Brooks Koepka (10-1), a major machine who is coming off a solid week in the Byron Nelson Classic; world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (10-1); and Rory McIlroy (12-1), a two-time PGA Champion and consistent contender.
Francesco Molinari (25-1) was my top pick for the Masters, and he looked like a winner before taking a plunge in Rae’s Creek on No. 12 at Augusta National.
Any of those players can win this weekend, but we’ll invest in the following contingent:
$50 to win $2,500 on Sergio Garcia (50-1)
Every golf major has a few noteworthy subplots. The fiery Spaniard was heckled relentlessly in the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, as his endless waggling sent New Yorkers into a rage. He’s vilified there, and he hates the fans right back. What a story it would be if he somehow won the crowd over this week. Garcia was a runner-up in New Orleans and recorded a fourth-place finish in Charlotte in his past two events.
$50 to win $1,250 on Tommy Fleetwood (25-1)
The talented Brit is sneaky long and has a second-place finish in the U.S. Open on his resume. Teamed with Garcia in the Zurich Classic, they finished second. Fleetwood was third at Bay Hill and fifth in The Players Championship. I reflect back to his final-round 63 in last year’s U.S. Open, where he finished second, and believe that can translate to this type of setup.
$30 to win $750 on Xander Schauflee (25-1)
This young gun has the game to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy. His first major win is coming soon. Why wait? It could happen this weekend.
$30 to win $480 on Jon Rahm (16-1)
He has the power to tame Bethpage Black. Rahm has risen to No. 11 in the world rankings. The Spaniard will provide great entertainment this weekend. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and will be a polarizing target for the hecklers. He might win just to shut them up. He also could unravel.
$20 to win $600 on Patrick Cantlay (30-1)
His stock is on the rise, up to No. 17 in the world rankings. A winner and runner-up in Las Vegas the past two years, Cantlay had a shot at the Masters, finishing three shots behind Woods. He’s clearly taking money at the windows.
$10 to win $1,000 on Lucas Glover (100-1)
History has a funny way of repeating itself in golf. Glover won the 2009 U.S. Open on this course and is playing well this season, with three top-10 results.
$10 to win $1,000 on Scott Piercy (100-1)
The Bonanza High School product recorded a bogey-free tournament last weekend in Texas and finished second. The length of the course could prove daunting for Piercy, but he will be playing from the short grass and mostly staying out of trouble.
More betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.
Handicapper Brian Blessing is the host of Sportsbook Radio and Vegas Hockey Hotline from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays on KSHP-AM 1400.