Rory up, Tiger down. The 2014 PGA Championship contested this year at the rain-soaked Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky enters weekend play with a future Hall of Famer clutching his back and missing the cut. And the world’s #1 ranked golfer is making his claim as the next big name on the tour. Tiger Woods has had many physical issues the last few years, and was seen clutching his back after a disappointing back-to-back 74 – 74 that meant he missed the cut for this year’s PGA Championship. His quest for Major number 15 will have to wait. But on the upside, Rory McIlroy, trailing by one stroke after day one, moved into the lead with a second-round score of 67. That places him 1 stroke above Jim Furyk and Jason Day, who shot the low round on the day at 65, six below par.
Phil Mickelson Paying 14/1 Headed Into Round 3
The Las Vegas odds on PGA Championship 2014 are now showing McIlroy as a 23/20 favorite to win his fourth major PGA tournament. McIlroy won the 2012 PGA Championship by a record 8 strokes, and survived inclement weather Friday to position himself for a weekend charge. He also won the last two PGA events, and is playing with supreme confidence. After posting the best second-round score, Jason Day is showing odds of 6/1 to win his first major ever. Previously he has finished second in 3 major championships, with two of those coming consecutively at the 2011 Masters and the 2011 U.S. Open. Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk are around 7 or 8 to 1 odds against winning this week, and Phil Mickelson is showing some strength and serious value at 14/1.
Mickelson Angling For 6th Major, Rory His 4th
Ryan Palmer followed his first round 65 with a 1 under par on Friday, and is tied for third place with Fowler and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen at 7 under for the tournament. Mickelson and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger are 3 strokes back at 6 under. As a definite candidate to win the 96th annual PGA Championship, which he won back in 2005, Mickelson probably makes the best sense as a value bet heading into round 3. With odds of 14/1, the 5-time major championship winner is a safe bet to be a contender the rest of the way. And those types of odds on a proven PGA golfer just 3 strokes back with 2 days to play do not come around frequently.
The aforementioned Ryan Palmer is showing odds of 33/1 against, with Mikko Ilonen sitting on 40/1 odds. The unproven but talented Wiesberger might be worth a flyer at 66/1. The final PGA major championship of the year is predicted for wet weather both Saturday and Sunday. Another reason to like Mickelson, one of the most likable guys on the tour, is the fact that he eagled the 18th on Friday to match McIlroy’s 4-under round. If anyone can come from behind and win it is Phil, who has seen virtually every golfing scenario in his 22 years on the tour. He is one of only 15 golfers in history to win 3 of the 4 majors, and has 42 PGA tour titles under his belt.
Mickelson – Best Major Start Since Baltusrol Victory in 2005
Mickelson’s 69 – 67 start is his best in a major since he took home the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. And in interviews after Friday’s play, he said he felt great and was comfortable with the position he is in. But he is going to have to play it perfectly to beat McIlroy, who has definitely earned his current rank as the number one player in the world. Steve Stricker is showing 50/1 odds, and is an interesting choice to win the PGA championship. Those long odds accompany a talented and proven golfer who has gone winless on the year, with his best finish coming in sixth place at the Memorial Tournament the last week of May.