- We examine the odds on this weekend’s PGA Championship, the last major of the year
- Dustin Johnson might be underrated at +800
- Tiger Woods’ major decline started at the PGA Championship. Maybe it will end there as well?
The 100th PGA Championship tees off on Thursday at Bellerive Country Club. Dustin Johnson is the betting favroite, at +800, but how does he stack up against the field?
2018 PGA Championship Odds
We’ve been tracking these odds since April, and you can see how they evolve at our PGA Championship Odds Tracker.
Justin Thomas won last weekend, in dramatic fashion, and would be the favorite if the course didn’t line up so well with Dustin Johnson’s many skills. Jason Day also isn’t to be counted out: the 2015 champion is quietly having a great year and is due for another great result.
Dustin Johnson at +800?
The immensely boring man at the top of the OWGR leaderboard right now is listed at +800 to win at Bellerive, and I think that’s a soft number.
Tiger Woods’ run from 2004-2009 was the most dominant run in the history of golf, and cemented his reputation as the best golfer in history. Here’s how Dustin Johnson’s performance in 2018 stacks up:
|Player||Strokes Gained, Total||SG, Off the Tee||SG, Approach||SG, Around Green||SG, Putting|
|Tiger Woods, 2004-2009||+2.89||+0.58||+1.34||+0.24||+0.73|
|Dustin Johnson, 2018||+2.729||+1.136||+0.794||+0.232||+0.567|
It’s not a bad comparison, and it’s the closest to peak Tiger anyone’s ever got. The really scary part is when you start adding up tee-to-green stats, the sum of strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained on approach.
|Player||Strokes Gained, Tee-to-Green|
|Dustin Johnson, 2018||+1.93|
|Tiger Woods, 2004-2009||+1.92|
DJ and Tiger Woods are getting to the green in different ways: Dustin Johnson is more effective off the tee and Tiger is better on approach. However, Dustin Johnson is slightly more effective when you combine those two skills.
How Does Bellerive Suit Dustin Johnson?
We can’t be sure because the course hasn’t hosted a PGA Tour event since 2004 (The BMW Championship) and it was redesigned in 2005 by Rees Jones. We do know, however, that it’s long (almost 7,500 yards from the tips), has long par fours (the tenth is 519 yards), and that the greens are unusually soft this week. Add this all up and you get Dustin Johnson, the world’s leading proponent of bomb and gouge.
Here’s how DJ does on long par fours:
DUSTIN JOHNSON WITH A MONSTER DRIVE AND NEAR ACEpic.twitter.com/mlg7QOU9um
— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) January 8, 2018
And here’s how DJ deals with doglegs over water, like 2 at Bellerive:
Dustin Johnson cares not for your dogleg, rips 341 yd drive over water pic.twitter.com/JUgUDzlWcG
— Born Salty (@cjzero) August 27, 2017
Tiger Woods’ Name Appears Here for SEO Purposes
The long saga of Tiger Woods’ decline had a real turning point at the 2009 PGA Championship, where he led after 54 holes, played an uninspiring back 9, and lost to Y.E. Yang and his wild antics.
Is Y.E. Yang’s 2009 come-from-behind victory against Tiger the greatest in @PGAChampionship history?
— PGA of America (@PGA) August 6, 2018
Brendan Porath has a great write-up of Tiger’s last best chance to win a 15th major on SBNation, and you should read it.
How will Tiger do this weekend? Hopefully better than last weekend, in which he shot a bunch of 73s and disappointed everyone. His start was promising, 66 and 68 are encouraging, but he’ll need four good rounds to win this weekend. I wouldn’t bet on him, you’ll just never get fair odds, but I wouldn’t count him out, either.