Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
It's time for the second major of the year, the US PGA Championship, which starts this Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The virtual pot is at €1080 from €1000, a profit of 8% for 2022.
In contemporary times, Southern Hills staged the 2001 US Open, won by Retief Goosen over Mark Brooks in a play off after both players finished on 4 under par in regulation. In 2007, Tiger Woods won the US PGA Championship at this course, finishing with a 72 hole total of 8 under par. Southern Hills has undergone renovations since then, with a lot of trees removed and slopes now commonplace around the greens. The increased exposure of the course means it gets windier, and decent chipping around the small green surfaces is essential. It's also quite a long course for a par 70 at 7,556 yards.
The tournament starts at Noon Thursday, Irish time.
Be sure to shop around with bookmakers such as Paddy Power and Betfair offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top ten places and SKY Bet going to 12 places. Other firms are offering less places, but better odds.
I highlight the best terms and bookmakers offering them beside each recommendation below.
Our headline selection is Patrick Cantlay for €7.50 each way at 22/1. (1/5 the odds the first 9 places, William Hill).
I have marked Patrick Cantlay down as the next big thing - a major champion - a world number one - and I am not wavering from that view. The world number five won four times on the PGA Tour last year and was voted Player of the Year by his peers. Cantlay has continued his rich vein of form this season, winning the team event with Xander Schauffele in New Orleans on his last appearance after losing play offs to Scottie Scheffler in Phoenix and Jordan Spieth at Hilton Head. The 30 year old does everything well and has great wrists around the greens - he topped the scrambling stats on the PGA Tour last season. He also putts well on bent grass greens which he will encounter this week. His major championship record is nothing to shout from the rooftops about, but I do feel he's now primed to contend in and win one. He's the headline pick this week.
Our second selection is Rory McIlroy for €5 each way at 16/1. (1/5 the odds the first 9 places, William Hill).
Ireland's Rory McIlroy has gone eight years without winning a major championship, but perhaps his final round 64 at the Masters can propel him to a fifth major crown this week. A 20 time winner on the PGA Tour, McIlroy finished fifth on his last start at the Wells Fargo Championship. Now 33 years of age, Rory appears to be playing with freedom once more and his putting stroke looks much better - he was 66th on Tour in that category last season and is now 38th in that rank. McIlroy's long and straight driving can separate him from the field here and he possesses a beautiful touch around the greens. Surely another major win is around the corner, and if not, he's always good each way value for a place and some small profit.
Our third selection is Xander Schauffele for €4 each way at 25/1. (1/5 the odds the first 9 places, William Hill).
Olympic champion Xander Schauffele caught fire at the Byron Nelson tournament last Sunday - firing a 61 to inject himself with a lot of confidence ahead of this week. Yet to win a major, the American's performance in the big championships is excellent; he's been in the top 10 in all five of his US Open starts, has two top three finishes at the Masters, a tie for second at the Open Championship and he has posted a tie for 10th at the 2020 US PGA. Like Cantlay, his all round game is strong; he's been in the top 10 for the strokes gained statistics across all categories for the last three seasons. 28 year old Schauffele has a major pedigree and may break through this week.
Our fourth selection is Thomas Pieters for €3 each way at 160/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Bet 365, Betfred).
Belgium's Thomas Pieters remains a very naturally talented golfer who is 34th in the world rankings and third on the DP World Tour points list. A big hitter, he has returned to form, winning against a strong field in Abu Dhabi back in January. 30 year old Pieters finished in a tie for sixth at the 2018 US PGA and also has a top five at the Masters in his back catalogue. He quietly posted a top 10 at the Soudal Open last week and could surprise a few people this week. He rates as my best each way pick of those at bigger prices.
Our fifth selection is Christiaan Bezuidenhout for €2 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 9 places, William Hill).
There's no doubting the mental strength of South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a three time winner on the European Tour who produced a strong performance to finish fifth at last year's BMW PGA Championship. He's got a great short game and is in the top ten in scrambling on the PGA Tour. Some room off the tee at Southern Hills should benefit him and he's a decent putter who enters this week off the back of a tie for 12th at the Byron Nelson Championship. He was in a tie for fifth at last year's US PGA after 54 holes before fading. The more experience of these situations the 28 year old gets, the better he will be and I feel he's capable of contending this week.
Our final selection is Lucas Herbert for €1 each way at 250/1. (1/5 the odds the first 11 places, Boyle Sports).
26 year old Australian Lucas Herbert is my last selection at a massive price. He is not afraid to win and plays well in windy conditions - he won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 and last year's Bermuda Championship in strong breezes. The current Irish Open champion has delivered a patchy record on his rookie season on the PGA Tour, but he did post a top ten at Bay Hill. He has something about him and 50/1 to reach the top 10 is not bad value. If he wins, well - it would be the greatest tip of all time!
So that's €45 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home! A euro each way will do!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!