We analyse five of the favourites to land this week's PGA Championship title
PGA Championship Favourites 2021: Five Players To Watch
With the strength in depth of the modern game, gone are the days when only a handful of golfers could realistically challenge for one of golf’s most prestigious prizes.
So, choosing who to back can be a bit of a minefield. Do you trust that the bookies know what they’re talking about and commit to a favourite, or do you take a punt on an outsider?
Related: PGA Championship betting tips
Ahead of the 2021 PGA Championship, we analyse the five favourites to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.
PGA Championship Favourites 2021
Rory McIlroy – 11/1 with Bet365
It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Rory McIlroy‘s odds are so short ahead of the 103rd PGA Championship. Not only did he snap an 18-month winless streak at the Wells Fargo a couple of weeks ago, but the Northern Irishman also romped to an eight-shot victory the last time Kiawah Island hosted this tournament.
That and the fact that the majority of those above him in the world rankings aren’t coming into this week in the finest of form makes him an appealing option.
Playing 7,876 yards, there’s no doubt it’s a course that could play into the hands of the long-hitting McIlroy, provided he can turn in an improved showing with the driver that has been a little wayward of late.
However, it has been almost seven years since he last won a major and, despite the impressive performance at Quail Hollow, one win at a course that suits your game isn’t as significant as some might think.
That being said, the omens are certainly in his favour and 11/1 isn’t a bad price for a favourite.
Jon Rahm – 14/1 with Bet365
It’s been a strange season for Jon Rahm. Despite some good finishes, he has appeared out of sorts at times on the course, something which could be explained by the recent birth of his son Kepa.
Another reason could be the 26-year-old’s decision to leave TaylorMade at the beginning of the year and become a member of Callaway Golf’s tour staff. As we’ve seen when Sergio Garcia made a similar move, it can take some time to fully adjust.
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Surprisingly, it’s been around and on the greens where he’s lost a little bit of performance compared to previous years. But that’s not to say it’s been all bad. The Spaniard has still notched up an impressive six top-10 finishes in 2021.
At the Wells Fargo, his streak of 22 consecutive cuts made came to an end before he turned in a solid, albeit unspectacular, performance at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week.
“A true ball striker’s course” was the Spaniard’s description of this week’s South Carolina venue, and if that’s the case, they don’t come much more equipped than the current World No. 3.
Justin Thomas – 16/1 with Bet365
One of the game’s most consistent performers, Justin Thomas will be one of the favourites at every event he plays for the foreseeable future.
After a stunning win at the Players Championship, the 28-year-old let a great chance slip at Augusta to challenge for his first Green Jacket. He’ll be keen to make amends and lift the Wanamaker for the second time.
His ability to shape the ball both ways could come in very handy on Kiawah’s Ocean Course but he’ll need to sharpen up on the greens as that’s the area of the game that’s held him back recently.
Jordan Spieth – 16/1 with Bet365
How good has it been to see Jordan Spieth return to form? The three-time major winner attributes it to the total reset he had during the off-season, where he took a month off before going all the way back to basics.
And looking at the stats behind his recent upturn, every aspect of his game has improved from where it was in 2018 and ’19.
However, his strokes gained: off-the-tee still makes for fairly unpleasant reading. The Texan is losing 0.1 shots per round against the field, which doesn’t sound like much, but at the longest course in major championship history, it could be his undoing.
It’s hard to imagine the eventual winner won’t have a stellar week with the driver in hand, so Spieth will likely have to turn this around somewhat if he wants to complete the career Grand Slam at Kiawah.
Bryson DeChambeau – 16/1 with Bet365
Although not in the kind of form that made him a US Open champion last year, you can never write off the big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, especially at a course as demanding as this.
Off the tee, DeChambeau has been as effective as ever, but a slight dip in his approach game recently has been the difference.
However, there are signs that it is back to the same sort of level it was at Winged Foot, and we all know what happened there.
Although intimidating visually, the landing areas off the tees at Kiawah are actually quite generous, and given he’ll likely be approaching the greens from closer than anyone else, DeChambeau could be a steal at 16/1.