PGA Championship Ranking
August 06, 2018

PGA Championship 2018: The top 13 picks to win the PGA at Bellerive

BMW Championship - Round Two

BMW Championship - Round Two

LAKE FOREST, IL - SEPTEMBER 15: (L-R) Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth approach the 11th hole during the second round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on September 15, 2017 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Photo by: Stan Badz

Stan Badz

Although Francesco Molinari picked up his maiden major title at the 147th Open Championship, it certainly was not a major surprise. Molinari arrived at Carnoustie as the game's hottest player with two wins and two runner-ups in his previous five worldwide starts, and teed off as a 25-to-1 pick — the same odds given to Tiger Woods, the man he took down in Sunday's third-to-last pairing. But now the time has come to examine the betting odds for the PGA Championship, which will be the year's final major one last time before moving to May in 2019.

The 100th edition of the tournament will be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, which hosted the PGA in 1992 and more recently, the BMW Championship in 2008. Camilo Villegas won that week, holding off a leader board that included Dudley Hart, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Aaron Baddeley, Tim Clark, and Anthony Kim (sigh). Most of those names won't be teeing it up Aug. 9-12, but that sampling (other than AK) shows it's a course that can be tamed by the shorter hitter. With that as a backdrop, here's who we like at Bellerive.

1. Dustin Johnson (10/1)

dustin-johnson-wgc-dell-match-play-2018-wednesday.jpg

dustin-johnson-wgc-dell-match-play-2018-wednesday.jpg

during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 21, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Photo by: Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Reason to pick: Forget about the short hitters, this big-driving World No. 1 is the man to beat in St. Louis. In addition to his prodigious power, DJ is No. 3 on the PGA Tour in three-putt avoidance, something that should come in handy on Bellerive's huge greens.

Cause for concern: We said it before the British Open and we'll say it again: Having just one major with that many PGA Tour titles (now 19 following his latest victory at the RBC Canadian Open) is an odd ratio.

2. Justin Thomas (14/1)

justin-thomas-players-2018-friday-signing-autographs.jpg

justin-thomas-players-2018-friday-signing-autographs.jpg

during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Reason to pick: The defending champ is enjoying another great season, but probably needs a major to win a second consecutive PGA Tour Player of the Year Award. At No. 4 in strokes gained tee-to-green and No. 7 in approach, Bellerive sets up well for his strong iron game.

Cause for concern: After four consecutive top 10s in February and March, Thomas has just one (a T-8 at the Memorial) since.

3. Jason Day (20/1)

jason-day-wells-fargo-2018-sunday-hands-up-18th.jpg

jason-day-wells-fargo-2018-sunday-hands-up-18th.jpg

during the final round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 6, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photo by: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Reason to pick: The Aussie is equipped to handle Bellerive's plentiful and deep bunkers better than just about anyone. Day ranks 1st in scrambling from the sand on tour, and he's second on tour in sand saves from 20-to-30 yards, which could be a key stat when factoring the size of the greens.

Cause for concern: Day has cooled down since a T-5 at the Players that followed a win at the Wells Fargo. The 2015 PGA champ's T-10 at Firestone was (barely) his first top 10 since, but he still leads the tour in both strokes gained putting and strokes gained around-the-green.

4. Tommy Fleetwood (25/1)

 tommy-fleetwood-masters-2018-saturday-waving.jpg

tommy-fleetwood-masters-2018-saturday-waving.jpg

during the third round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia.

Photo by: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Reason to pick: The Englishman has been a fixture on leader boards at the past two majors, and his accuracy should pay huge dividends at a tree-lined course with thick rough.

Cause for concern: As much as he's contended both in majors and regular PGA Tour events, he has yet to win yet on American soil.

5. Jordan Spieth (16/1)

THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round

THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 13: Jordan Spieth of the United States lines up a putt during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Photo by: Jamie Squire

Jamie Squire

Reason to pick: Spieth renews his pursuit of the career Grand Slam at a course that should reward the two best parts of his game, his irons and his scrambling.

Cause for concern: That final round at Carnoustie was rough. And as quickly as Spieth, who just turned 25, has piled up major trophies, he's also starting to build a rather lengthy list of major Sunday disappointments. Also, we've now gone more than 12 months since a Spieth win. Surprising to say the least.

6. Rory McIlroy (12/1)

Wells Fargo Championship - Round One

Wells Fargo Championship - Round One

during the first round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 3, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photo by: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Reason to pick: McIlroy gave Molinari a late scare at Carnoustie before finishing runner-up. It was his eighth top 10 in a major since the start of 2015.

Cause for concern: None of those top 10s has produced a win as Rory remains stuck on four career majors since his last win at the 2014 PGA. He also has just one win since the start of 2017 despite being a constant lurker on the leader board like he was at Firestone.

7. Francesco Molinari (25/1)

francesco-molinari-british-open-2018-claret-jug.jpg

francesco-molinari-british-open-2018-claret-jug.jpg

during the final round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Photo by: Warren Little/R&A

Warren Little/R&A

Reason to pick: With three wins, including a major, and two runner-ups in his past six worldwide starts, Molinari is still the hottest golfer in the world. And despite his relatively short stature, the Italian has plenty of pop to hang at a bigger course as evidenced by last year's runner-up at the PGA at Quail Hollow.

Cause for concern: Could a well-deserved rest following his breakthrough major have stalled his momentum? Molinari finished T-39 (out of 71) at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

8. Tiger Woods (20/1)

tiger-woods-players-2018-sunday-walking-by-crowd.jpg

tiger-woods-players-2018-sunday-walking-by-crowd.jpg

during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Photo by: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Reason to pick: Woods had the lead at the Open on the back nine in the final round. He was right there. . . until he wasn't. Still, the T-6 is the latest indication that he's close to getting back into the winner's circle — even at majors.

Cause for concern: Those two tee shots with irons once he took the lead — one right, one left — showed shakiness under pressure that was rare during his heyday. And an up-and-down performance at Firestone left even more questions.

9. Patrick Reed (30/1)

reed-rock.jpg

reed-rock.jpg

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Masters Champion Patrick Reed and his wife Justine are visited by comedian Chris Rock during the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game during the Masters winner media tour throughout New York City on April 9, 2018 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Photo by: Stan Badz

Stan Badz

Reason to pick: If Bellerive is going to put a premium on scrambling, there aren't too many guys with better short games than Reed. His chance at pulling off the PATRICK SLAM came up short at Shinnecock, but he still has a chance to win bookend majors in 2018.

Cause for concern: Reed has a missed cut and a T-28 since the U.S. Open on the PGA Tour and a final-round 76 in Germany that cost him a chance at last week's European Porsche Open.

10. Tony Finau (50/1)

U.S. Open - Final Round

U.S. Open - Final Round

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 17: Tony Finau of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the 13th hole during the final round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 17, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Photo by: Mike Ehrmann

Mike Ehrmann

Reason to pick: The only golfer to finish in the top 10 in each of the year's first three majors, it's time to start taking Tony more seriously in the big events. In other words, 50-to-1 odds sounds pretty juicy. . .

Cause for concern: Finau's one PGA Tour title remains an opposite-field event, the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. Claiming a major for win No. 2 would be quite a jump.

11. Jon Rahm (20/1)

U.S. Open - Round One

U.S. Open - Round One

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 14: Jon Rahm of Spainplays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 14, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Photo by: Streeter Lecka

Streeter Lecka

Reason to pick: Rahm already has five worldwide wins since turning pro just over two years ago and his solo fourth at the Masters indicates he's ready to start winning majors.

Cause for concern: His missed cuts at the season's two ensuing majors indicate otherwise. Rahm seems to fare better at birdie-fests and Bellerive — unless rain softens the course — doesn't appear to be that.

12. Rickie Fowler (16/1)

rickie-fowler-bay-hill-2018-swinging.jpg

rickie-fowler-bay-hill-2018-swinging.jpg

during the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

Photo by: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Reason to pick: Fowler has assumed the unofficial title of "best golfer without a major," and has three top 5s in his past six starts in golf's four biggest events. If this was a list of top picks to contend at the PGA, Fowler would be at the top.

Cause for concern: It's a list of top picks to win the PGA. And for a player who turns 30 this year, that part has proven to be elusive.

13. Justin Rose (20/1)

The Masters - Final Round

The Masters - Final Round

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08: Justin Rose of England plays his second shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Photo by: David Cannon

David Cannon

Reason to pick: Rose added a runner-up at the Open Championship to a T-10 at the U.S. Open and a T-12 at the Masters. He's arguably the most consistent golfer on the planet and he can adapt as well to different conditions and styles of play.

Cause for concern: Everyone talks about Tiger's major drought, but Rose's has now reached more than five years. Having recently turned 38, his prime years to pile up titles are starting to run out. And there's that bad back that caused him to pull out of Firestone. If he can't go. . .

13. Kevin Na (150/1)

180713-kevin-na2.jpg

180713-kevin-na2.jpg

Kevin Na holds the trophy after winning the tournament at A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier held at the Old White TPC course on July 8, 2018.

Photo by: Rob Carr

Rob Carr

Reason to pick: He's got a great short game, a great price (150/1), and he's in great spirits still following that long-awaited second PGA Tour title at the Greenbrier last month.

Cause for concern: In 31 major championship appearances, Na has never finished better than seventh and has just seven top 25s.


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