It’s the second major of the year on the golfing calendar as we look forward to an exciting week at Kiawah Island Golf resort for the 103rd edition of the USPGA Championship on the Ocean Course.
This stunning par 72, 7876 yards course has Bermuda rough with paspalum grass fairways and greens and has more of a British seaside links feel to it.
The Pete Dye designed Ocean course has been described as one of the hardest golf courses in America and will certainly be a test for the 156 field as they look to bag a major and the $1.98M prize money.
Colin Morinkawa returns to defend the title he won last year at Harding Park but Rory McIlroy will also remember this lay out fondly when he won his second major here at Kiawah Island back in 2012.
The event will be screened live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting on Thursday at 1.00pm GMT.
The weather is forecast to be sunny and warm with temperatures in the high 20s . Saturday will be see more clouds and winds are expected to peak at around 13mph.
With 15 of the last 21 majors going to first time major winners it going to be tricky to pick the winner at Kiawah Island and that’s before we bring the ocean breeze into consideration. The course will become even more testing with the slightest of wind.
The Ocean course is long and will most certainly suit a big hitter so the key attribute this week will be driving distance and accuracy.
So let’s get on with this weeks selections for the 103rd edition of the USPGA Championship.
For my first and main selection I’m going to advise the player who is all over my radar, Jordan Speith 18/1 EW Betfair.
I just simply cannot leave the young talented 27 year old American out at any tournament at the moment, he’s on fire once again and he’s back for sure after a few quieter years on the circuit, he was simply just far to good not to bounce back with a bang.
At only 27 year old and after having a difficult few years, we still need to remember this talented kid already has three majors to his name and was so unlucky not to win this major back in 2015 when beaten only by Jason Day on the Straits Course.
He comes here in sublime form with four Top 10 finishes in his last four tournaments and two of them were in the Top 5 including a much needed victory at the Valero Texas Open. It just seems we are witnessing the Jordan Speith of old, if not better.
In his previous nine tournaments the young American has finished inside the Top 5 on no less than five occasions and just seems to be on every leaderboard yet again.
Speith went all the way down to 92nd in the world rankings after a prolonged struggle but he is back inside the Top 30, currently ranked 26th in the World. I still see this as false advertising as he is only going one way in the rankings at the moment and I can see him at No.1 again in the not to distant future.
Jordan will be more than suited to this track and has previously stated a preference for playing on seaside paspalum courses with the added windy conditions playing into Speith's game.
He will have added incentive at Kiawah Island this week as he looks to win The PGA Championship for the first time and join a select few to claim the major grand slam. I just feel Speith will be the one they all have to beat here this week and can already see him walking up the back nine on Sunday evening with a few shots to spare over this field on his way to another major celebration.
For my next suggestion I’m going for the golfer who you already know is one of my favourites, it’s Rory McIlroy 12/1 EW Betfair.
Listen, I know the price is a tad shabby especially for a major but I just can’t leave the talented 32 year old Irishman out of my shortlist. It was almost the toss of a coin decision to have Rory as my main selection and probably still is but he’s my next best to Jordan Speith although not much in it to be fair.
I was almost as delighted as Rory last time out when he won his first title in over 18 months at the Wells Fargo Championship. It was a much needed victory for the Irishman and will have done his confidence the world of good coming into this major, proving to himself he is still one of the best golf has to offer.
That recent victory took Rory from 15th in the world rankings to back inside the Top 10, currently No.7.
He has had a mixed bag since the turn of the year since finishing 5th at The Masters back in November. He was 3rd at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 6th at WGC Workday Championship at The Concession, 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, 13th at the Waste Management and 16th at the Farmers Insurance. With three missed cuts in between and 28th at WGC Matchday, I’ve just never understood why some were already writing Rory off.
I certainly never and as you all know, I tipped him to win at Wells Fargo the other week at 20/1.
I just feel there is plenty more in the tank as Rory has found a groove and Kiawah Island will definitely suit McIlroy’s game style and he will come here this week full of confidence to make it a hat-trick of wins at this Championship after winning the 94th and 96th editions of this major. I’ll be roaring Rory on yet again this week, let’s hope it’s not in vain.
For my next pick I’m going to single out Daniel Berger 35/1 EW Bet365.
The 28 year old American is another who I feel will be suited to this course and conditions having grown up playing his golf up around Plantation, Florida.
He recently won the AT&T Pebble Beach shooting a final round 66 to claim his fourth PGA Tour victory.
Last weekend Berger finished his round with a superb 64 to finish 3rd at AT&T Byron Nelson.
He’s a man in form and if he can shoot a round or two in the 60s here on the Ocean Course then he would be well on his way to winning that elusive first major of his young career.
Berger is currently ranked 16th in the world and definitely has a major in him, possibly the USPGA Championship this weekend.
With his three top 10 finishes at seaside courses including a victory this year then this Kiawah Island track will only enhance Berger's chances to bag a major.
He is ranked 10th on the PGA Tour in total shots gained, 18th approach around the green, 19th in putting strokes, 24th shots gained off the tee and 25th tee to green. These are amazing figures to bring to any major and I can only see Berger being amongst the challengers on the back nine on Sunday evening.
Jon Rahm v Bryson De Chambeau
For my final selection it’s the customary 72 hole matchbet and I’m going for Jon Rahm to get the better of Bryson De Chambeau who I feel might just go wayward with a few monster drives, 10/11 Nap Bet365.