2021 PGA Championship Betting Pick: The 200-1 Longshot To Bet Now to Win at Kiawah Island
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Bradley
We are about a month away from The 2021 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. This will be the first time a PGA TOUR event will take place at the Ocean Course since the 2012 PGA Championship.
One of the biggest storylines prior to the 2012 PGA Championship was that the field would be playing on Paspalum, a unique grass type that most of the players in the event had very little experience playing on.
Paspalum grass is spongy and tends to grab the ball more than other surfaces, preventing significant run out on approach shots and chips. Back in 2012, Rory McIlroy was one of the few players in the field who had any significant experience with Paspalum, as he was a member at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida, and that seemed to give the Northern Irishman an advantage, as he went on to win the 2012 PGA Championship by 8 shots.
While still uncommon, Paspalum is used on a few TOUR courses like TPC Kuala Lumpur, El Camaleon and Corales Golf Club. When analyzing TOUR statistics on courses that use Paspalum, one golfer grabbed my attention: Keegan Bradley.
Bradley has a handful of impressive finishes at The OHL (Now called Mayakoba) at El Camaleon and The CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur. Among the players currently in the PGA Championship field, Keegan ranks third (past 24 rounds) in Strokes Gained: Total on Paspalum.
Elite ball-strikers such as Bradley tend to do well on paspalum because of the receptive greens. Prior to the 2012 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course, McIlroy noted that, since Paspalum has more grip, he can fire freely at pins without worrying about the ball rolling too far past. “It just really grabs the ball,” McIlroy said back in 2012. “So you can be aggressive with your chip shots and definitely (be) aggressive with your wedge shots, too.”
Did I mention that Keegan Bradley also played in that 2012 PGA Championship? As a sign of things to come and a preempt for future success on Paspalum, Bradley finished T3 at the Ocean Course that week.
Another major factor that will impact on the PGA Championship is the late, legendary course architect, Pete Dye. Dye courses are known for their distinctive features including long fairway bunkers, tricky angles on approach shots and small greens. Typically, players who play well on Pete Dye tracks tend to do so consistently throughout their careers. Bradley certainly ticks that box as he ranks 15th (past 24 rounds) among those who are currently in the PGA Championship field in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye designs.
Can Keegan Bradley actually win the 2021 PGA Championship? If history is any indication, he can since he won the 2011 PGA Championship. While that doesn’t necessarily have an impact on the 2021 version of the event, it shows he has the required chops to win a major.
Bradley has also been playing some consistent golf in 2021. He has four consecutive top-30 finishes with an average of five Strokes Gained: Tee to Green per event. Putting has been his biggest weakness throughout his career but Keegan has gained strokes on the field with the putter in three of those four events.
The most intriguing thing about Bradley ahead of the PGA Championship is that he is listed at 200/1 at DraftKings. When betting longshots, I like to look for one aspect of a golfer’s game that may come to fruition and propel them to a victory. In Bradley’s case, there are many: paspalum success, Pete Dye success, course history, proper skillset and current form.
There are a lot of signs pointing to Bradley being able to contend at this year’s 2021 PGA Championship and at 200/1 that’s more than enough for me.