Recent history at the PGA Championship might suggest the winner of the season’s final major will be someone who’s young-ish, has a win this season and is playing well of late.
Dustin Johnson, the U.S. Open champion, is the favorite at +800 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com heading into the showdown at Baltusrol Golf Club, followed by the two most recent winners, Jason Day (2015) and Rory McIlroy (2012 and 2014), who are listed at +900.
No one has ever gone 10 under par or lower in a major at Baltusrol, which is long for a par-70 layout at 7,462 yards. The last time the PGA Championship was played there in 2005, Phil Mickelson won with a 4-under 276.
Over the last 10 years, nine PGA Championship winners had won a tournament earlier in the season. Nine also had a top-10 finish in at least one of their previous two starts. Seven of the 10 had a previous top-10 finish at the PGA Championship. Seven of the last 10 winners had also posted a top-10 score in at least one of that season’s first three majors.
Five of the 10 were golfers who were in their twenties. The last champion who was over 40 years was Vijay Singh, 41, in 2004. That does not mean, of course, that whoever hoists the Wanamaker Trophy will check off all of those boxes, especially given the current run of first-time major winners.
Johnson has finished fifth or higher in five of his last six events. McIlroy, whose only win this season is the Irish Open, has had an up-and-down year, but his strength off the tee gives him a fighting chance. Day has the status of being the world No. 1 and the defending champion after his 20-under 268 at Whistling Straits, but he has finished outside of the top 10 in his last two events.
Jordan Spieth’s recent slip has led to him receiving +1400 odds. Spieth was runner-up to Day at the 2015 PGA Championship, but it was his first time making the cut in the event. The 23-year-old has three wins this season, but believers in recency might put more stock on Spieth having finished 37th and 30th at the past two majors.
Henrik Stenson, the British Open champion, is also listed at +1400. Based on the profile of past winners, Stenson being 40 years old might count against him.
Farther down the board, Brandt Snedeker (+4900) is coming off a fifth-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open, and has a 2016 tournament win to his name. Hideki Matsuyama, the 24-year-old from Japan who finished seventh this spring at the Masters and The Players Championship, is listed at +6600 on the golf betting lines due to a recent slump.
At Baltusrol, there’s always a capacity for one of the bigger hitters to muscle his way into the mix in the final round. Two of the Tour’s leaders in driving distance, J.B. Holmes (+6400) and sleeper pick Tony Finau (+10000) are each available at a good price. Holmes has finished in the top five twice in majors this year, but he has never finished in the top 20 at the PGA.
The 26-year-old Finau was 10th in the tournament last season, and has finished in the top 20 in each of his first four majors.