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The second major of the 2021 season has arrived in Charleston, S.C., at Kiawah Island.
Thanks to the COVID-19 alternated season, this will be the fourth major championship since November and the second PGA Championship since August. Last season, young phenom Collin Morikawa won his first major title out at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, and now someone else will look to claim the Wanamaker Trophy.
Once again, KSR Golf is here to get you ready for the weekend in what should be a thrilling four days of golf. This tournament will bring some unique challenges, but the best players in the world should be ready to rise to the top.
Time to get ready for this major championship and find some betting value on the board.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island was previously home to the 2012 PGA Championship. There, Rory McIlroy claimed his second major championship by posting a 13-under and beating the rest of the field by a massive eight strokes. If the wind picks up this weekend, high scores could be the case again.
This is a Par 72 course that stretches 7,876 yards -- the longest in major championship history. With 10 holes that sit on the water, wind can play a major factor. The Pete Dye design is very similar to a link course and will play like courses in the Open Championship across the pond. The fairways don't move very fast, there are plenty of hills and the rough can be tough to deal with.
Getting off the tee will be critical, but Dye has thrown in enough tricks on the layout that will call players to be accurate with tee shots. This is a unique setup that can be very difficult if the wind picks up. Thankfully for the pros, the forecast calls for winds but none bigger than 14 mph.
Advanced Stat of the Week
In any Dye design, players must have two things going for them. Length off the tee is required but golfers must combine that with solid accuracy shots. This is a 1-2 shot golf course. Therefore, strokes gained from tee-to-green
is the metric to focus on. The winner this weekend will be the individual that has the best ball-striking run of the tournament.
Collin Morikawa is the defending champ and the 24-year-old is again worth consideration. Morikawa ranks second in strokes gained tee-to-green, is eighth in driving accuracy percentage, and first in strokes gained approach. His length of the tee could be a concern, but the young phenom checks every other box and is going off the board at 30/1 at Draft Kings
Jon Rahm might be the best player in the world that has not yet claimed a major championship. The No. 3
golfer in the world is in the top-five in strokes gained off the tee and from tee-to-green. Rahmbo is in the top-20 in both driving distance and approach. Coming off consecutive top-10 finishes at the Masters to go along with a top-10 at The Players, this may be the time for Rahm to strike. The elite ball-striker is the second favorite on the board at +1450.
Morikawa was our pick in the Masters, but the value is once again just too good to pass up. This is one of the best players in the world, but yet the No. 6 player in the world is on the board behind eight other golfers while sitting at 30/1. Being No. 2 on the tour in strokes gained tee-to-green combined with being No. 1 in strokes gained approach, this is value too good to pass up.
Viktor Hovland might be the most consistent player on the tour right now. The 23-year-old sits at No. 11 in the world and has double-digit top-10 finishes this season. Hovland can get off the tee -- fourth in strokes gained -- while ranking in the top-25 in approach. Lock him in at +225 to finish in the top-10.
Patrick Reed finds himself outside the top-60 in both strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained approach. Despite being a very solid major tournament player, this feels like a weekend to fade the man everyone loves to hate. At +225 to miss the cut, it is worth a play.
Keegan Bradley is quietly having a very good season. The 2011 PGA Championship winner is in the top-40 in strokes gained off-the-tee to go along with a top-10 ranking in approach. With three top-10 finishes in his last seven starts, the 34-year-old ball striker is worth consideration. A make the cut play of -225 feels like a safe wager.