Two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy ended an 18-month drought by winning the Wells Fargo Championship for the third time. Now, he’ll enter the PGA Championship as the favorite to win his first major in nearly seven years.
McIlroy returns to Kiawah Island, the site of his first PGA Championship win in 2012, as the +1200 pick to win the tournament, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
McIlroy back on track
The 32-year-old McIlroy struggled at the start of this season, falling to 13th in the world rankings after missing the cut at the Masters earlier this year. But he says that that week at Augusta was the beginning of a turnaround for his game.
“I went into the Masters searching and feeling like I was somewhat on the right track, but still hadn’t seen any progress on the golf course,” McIlroy told reporters ahead of the PGA Championship. “Just having those extra couple weeks after Augusta to work on some more stuff and then go to Quail Hollow and start to see some good shots under pressure, I was like, ‘Oh, this is feeling a little more comfortable.’”
Spanish star Jon Rahm (+1500) comes in as the second choice at Kiawah. After practicing ahead of the tournament, Rahm says organizers will have to shorten the course a bit from its maximum of 7,876 yards to give players a chance to score.
“Seriously, I hope so, because yesterday from 14 on, I think the shortest iron I hit into a green was a five iron,” Rahm said. “For the sake of our sanity, I believe they’re going to use a couple [of] forward tees.”
Organizers have indicated that they could well use some forward tees, but that the decision will depend on the weather each day. Justin Thomas (+1800) agreed that there are a few spots where that might be necessary.
“They can’t play 14, that par 3, back if you have this wind today,” Thomas said. “Guys are going to be literally hitting driver on that hole. Unless the PGA wants seven-hour rounds, I wouldn’t advise it.”
Spieth needs PGA Championship to complete career slam
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1800) has struggled with discomfort in his right knee as of late, but says that he should be good to go for the PGA Championship this weekend.
“It just didn’t feel right,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. “Everything was fine. Just got together with the doctor and physio down there [in Florida] and put together a little bit of a plan to get a little bit stronger.”
|PGA Championship Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
|Rory McIlroy: +1200
|Jon Rahm: +1500
|Dustin Johnson: +1800
|Jordan Spieth: +1800
|Justin Thomas: +1800
|Bryson Dechambeau: +1900
|Xander Schauffele: +2000
|Viktor Hovland: +2200
|Daniel Berger: +2900
|Collin Morikawa: +3100
Jordan Spieth (+1800) also ranks among the top contenders this weekend. If Spieth wins the PGA Championship, he’ll complete his career grand slam, but he says that he’s not thinking about his chance to join the shortlist of golfers to accomplish that feat.
“I think as we get into the weekend, if I’m able to work my way into contention, I think it’s something that’ll obviously be asked and come up, and it’s something that I certainly want,” Spieth told reporters. “I feel like I’ll have a lot of chances at this tournament and if I just focus on trying to take advantage of this golf course, play it the best I can and kind of stay in the same form tee to green I’ve been in, all I can ask for is a chance.”