The Baltusrol Beast – USPGA Preview
The fourth and last Major of the season is upon us, and the venue
for this year’s USPGA Championship is the iconic Baltusrol
Course in New Jersey. One thing is guaranteed….this course
will bite. Firstly it’s long, very long and weighs in at
a whooping 7392 yards and don’t forget it’s a Par
70! The Par 5 17th hole is all of 650 yards and all eyes will
be on whether anyone can reach it in two. The last time a Major
was played at the course for the 1993 US Open only one player,
John Daly, achieved the feat. There is no doubt that Tiger will
have a go at it and Vijay will also have the length. But it will
be a big ask. Stan James will have a market on whether it is achieved
so if you fancy someone to nail it, check out our prices.
If the length of the course doesn’t cause problems, then
the rough will. It is meant to be very long and unforgiving and
with the fairways cut deliberately tight we could see grown men
being reduced to snivelling wrecks come the weekend. And finally
the greens will be as slick as a sheet of ice and it’ll
be like putting on the bonnet of a Volkswagon Beetle at times.
It’s all familiar territory though and it won’t detract
from the spectacle one little bit. The masochistic side in all
us golf fans will be wallowing in their misfortune. Stan James
have a veritable feast of bets as usual to whet your appetite
for the four days ahead. This should be good…..
So given the course and it’s set up, who’ll be there
come Sunday. The Big Five have been reduced to the Big Four now
that Ernie Els is out injured, and there is strong evidence to
assume that at least two of them will figure. Tiger Woods (9/4)
and Vijay Singh (7/1) both have the profiles and the game to tame
Baltusrol, and they are a cut above the rest at the present moment.
Singh is also the defending champion. Previous Major winners have
an awful record in this event, but these two are very much exceptions
this year. It’s hard to dismiss Tiger’s challenge
this year, especially after St Andrews. He looked in complete
control there, but this course won’t be so accommodating
to his odd, occasional wayward drive. But as we all know, there’s
no better man to trust your money with in the Major’s. He
just loves winning them. Stan James have an outright market without
Woods and Singh, such is their dominance. Phil Mickelson’s
game has gone a little quiet of late, but apparently he himself
feels that his game is in top shape. Could it be that he’s
deliberately keeping a low profile in the run up? At 16/1 it’s
your call. The final player of the Fab Four is Retief Goosen,
and his credentials improved when he won The International on
the weekend. You can’t ignore The Winning Habit and The
Goose will not be afraid of the challenge. The word of caution
is that Goosen has been dire when challenging for the big events
this year and he’s thrown away a few strong positions. But
14/1 is a fair price.
Outside of the top guns we have the likes of Garcia ( 25’s),
Furyk (28’s), Perry (28’s), Scott (33’s) and
Toms(40’s). Then we have the top Europeans, Clarke, Donald
and Harrington at 50’s. But beware…..the Europeans
record in the USPGA is dire and the records show that if it’s
not one of the big guns who wins it, then it will be a journeyman.
Rich Beem (400’s), Shaun Micheel (500’s) and a young
John Daly (100’s) all surprised the golfing establishment
by winning this event, but it’s hard to see the first two
repeating their finest moments, although Big John has the game
to tame Baltusrol.
One player who is making significant waves at the moment is Mark
Hensby and his record in the big events is surprisingly solid.
He won a fortnight ago as well. At 50/1 he’s an interesting
bet. Monty’s chest is rapidly expanding back to the old
days, when he dominated European golf. The tight course will suit
his game and if his injury holds up then you can bet that Monty’s
pride will ensure that he plays well this week. At 125/1 though
you need a lot of faith. Check out Monty for a Top Ten finish
though. At 12/1 this could well be a bet.
The American challenge will be powerful, as naturally they don’t
like to see it leave overseas. There will be a rowdy New Jersey
crowd on hand as well to stroke up the home talent. Local Chris
Dimarco could go well at 66’s, and players like Billy Mayfair
(80’s), Fred Funk (125’s) and Tim Herron (125’s)
will relish the galleries as well. One player with a great record
in the USPGA is Justin Leonard. With 3 top tens in the last 5
years, and one of the few players to stay under par collectively
during that time, he has to have a chance. At 80/1 he’s
got to be a good each way bet. And don’t forget at Stan
James we pay on the first five home.
It will be a cracking four days of top class golf and the one
certain winner will be Baltusrol itself. It’s a great American
beast of a course and I can’t wait to see it at it’s
brutal best. The weather promises temperatures in the nineties
and the possibilities of the odd thunderstorm. This will be a
rocky ride for a lot of players and the Sky commentary team will
be offering a sympathetic word for the crest fallen. Sitting in
our armchairs we’ll just have a smirk….
Some of Our Markets:
Outright, Outright without Woods and Singh, Top Ten Finish, Top
European, Top Australasian, Top American, Players To Make the
Cut, Group bets, 72 Hole Match Bets, Finishing Positions, Bismarcks,
Three Balls, Sixshooters and a host of Specials bets. We’ll
also be betting In-Running throughout. The book will never close.