Bet the PGA Tour Championship: Mike Kern likes Jon Rahm or Tony Finau, even giving shots to Patrick Cantlay
The PGA’s Tour Championship is a different kind of animal to handicap. For the third straight year, the format for the 30-man field is weighted, which means that Patrick Cantlay, the No. 1 seed who is coming off a memorable six-hole playoff win at last week’s BMW over Bryson DeChambeau, will start with a two-shot lead over Tony Finau, who won the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs three weeks ago.
DeChambeau will start three back of the leader, Jon Rahm four back and Cameron Smith five back. Justin Thomas, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Jordan Spieth and Sam Burns will begin six behind. Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen and defending champ Dustin Johnson are all seven back. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Brooks Koepka are eight behind. Should I go on? OK, Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama, Stewart Cink, Joaquin Niemann and Scottie Scheffler are nine back, while Daniel Berger, Erik van Rooyen, Sergio Garcia, Billly Horschel and Patrick Reed are a full 10 behind.
Got all that? Good, because sometimes I’m still not sure.
Last year Johnson was the leader going in and won. In 2019 McIlroy came from off the pace to get it done. So it is possible.
There’s a lot of good names to back, obviously. But I just have a harder time looking for bigger odds by spotting somebody what might simply be too many shots.
That’s why they call it gambling I guess. You know I don’t like to play the faves, but this week that might be the way to go.
Cantlay and Rahm are 3-1, DeChambeau is 5-1 and Finau 7.5-1. Johnson is 14-1, Thomas 16-1, Smith 20-1, McIlroy 22-1 and Spieth 28-1. It’s hard to get too excited beyond that, but Schauffele is 33-1, Oosthuizen 40-1, Morikawa 45-1, Koepka 60-1 and Matsuyama 100-1. Hey, he is the reigning Masters champ.
I suppose it’s mostly a matter of how well you think Cantlay is going to play, coming off that epic battle. And he is the only three-time winner on the tour this season. If his putter remains hot, he’s certainly capable. But I don’t usually like guys to go back-to-back.
I like Rahm, because he’s been so good lately, but I don’t like that number. I think the guy whose number is better who also has a realistic chance is Finau, who’s also even money to get a top five. That might not get you too whatever, but he’s been playing really well. He doesn’t win nearly often enough, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t at least in contention. So at +750 I think that’s where I would go, but only for so much. And definitely a little something as well on that top five thing.
As far as a longshot goes it’s mostly nothing more than a stab. But hey, somebody might get hot and lucky. Cam Smith at 20-1 has actually been in really good form, as they say. But if that’s not enough to get you stroked, I think Morikawa and/or Oosthuizen could maybe give you a run for your money. And they’re +500 for a top five.
Again, this isn’t your usual tournament. But there’s still money to be made. I think given the format it’s just more difficult to get a decent return. But hey, a cash is a cash.
And then you get ready for next season’s 45-event run, which gets underway in a couple of weeks, just before the Ryder Cup.