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Dustin Johnson is the top-ranked player in the world and is playing the PGA Championship in his home state. But he’s not the betting favorite to win the second major of the 2021 golf season at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.
Coming off a win in his last start in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte — and having won the PGA Championship the last time it was contested at the Ocean Course in 2012 — Rory McIlroy is established as the favorite at 10-1, according to William Hill Sportsbook in Las Vegas (as of Monday afternoon).
The PGA favorites
▪ Rory McIlroy (10-1): The Wells Fargo Championship was his first PGA Tour victory since 2019 and he will likely need to drive the ball more accurately this week than he did in Charlotte, but McIlory won the 2012 PGA by eight shots with a 13-under 275 despite a second-round 75 in stormy and blustery conditions.
▪ Justin Thomas (12-1): The 2017 PGA Championship winner is No. 2 in both the world ranking and 2021 FedExCup point standings, and won The Players Championship two months ago.
▪ Jon Rahm (12-1): World No. 3 is still seeking his first major title but has been in the mix with six top-10s in majors since 2018, including a tie for fifth in the Masters in April.
▪ Jordan Spieth (14-1): The three-time major champion has found his game with six top-10s in his last eight PGA Tour starts, including a win in the Valero Texas Open as he goes for the career Grand Slam.
▪ Bryson DeChambeau (16-1): The bomber and mad scientist is the reigning U.S. Open champion, is No. 1 in FedExCup points and won two months ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
▪ Dustin Johnson (17-1): DJ is always a threat but there’s uncertainty about his game at the moment. He withdrew from last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson citing knee pain prior to the tournament.
The contenders at Kiawah
▪ Viktor Hovland (20-1): A superb iron game should suit the Norwegian well. He has a pair of PGA Tour wins at just 23 years old and heads to Kiawah off a pair of top-three finishes at the Valspar Championship and Wells Fargo Championship.
▪ Xander Schauffele (22-1): The 27-year-old has been amazingly consistent in majors without breaking through, amassing eight top 10s in his 15 starts, including seven top-six finishes.
▪ Collin Morikawa (28-1): The defending champion certainly has the all-around game to play well at Kiawah and in February he added a World Golf Championship title for his fourth PGA Tour win.
▪ Cameron Smith (33-1): The Australian hasn’t finished outside the top 30 in his past seven tournaments with a win along with teammate Marc Leishman in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans two-person event. He has three top-10s in the past four Masters but hasn’t had much success in other majors.
▪ Tony Finau (33-1): Often on leaderboards, Finau has eight top 10s in the past 12 major championships, though he’s coming off a missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship.
▪ Hideki Matsuyama (35-1): He returned to competition last week for the first time since his historic Masters victory and tied for 39th in the Byron Nelson. The rest of his game is so good that it usually comes down to putting for Matsuyama.
The Ocean Course sleepers
▪ Brooks Koepka (40-1): Health has knocked the four-time major champion down the odds list. He did have a win and runner-up in the three events before knee surgery but has missed his two cuts since, including this past week.
▪ Webb Simpson (40-1): The 2012 U.S. Open winner has nine top 20s in his last 12 majors, and has pair of top-12 finishes in his last two events, the Masters and RBC Heritage.
▪ Will Zalatoris (50-1): In his two major championships in the past three years he has tied for sixth at last year’s U.S. Open and finished solo second in the Masters in April, and he’s been good in other events with 12 top-25s since September.
▪ Tyrrell Hatton (55-1): The Englishman has played in a lot of wind in his career, has a strong long-iron game and has a pair of top-10s in the past three PGA Championships.
▪ Paul Casey (55-1): Playing in his 68th major, the Englishman has three top-13 finishes in the past five PGA Championships including a tie for second last year, and won the World Cup team event on the Ocean Course way back in 2003.
▪ K.H. Lee (150-1): If you want to give the hot golfer a shot, Kyoung Hoon Lee won the Byron Nelson on Sunday to get into the PGA Championship. He moved up from 137th to 59th in the Official World Golf Ranking with the win.
Watch the 2021 PGA championship
▪ Where: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort at Kiawah Island, South Carolina
▪ TV: 1-7 pm Thursday-Friday (ESPN), then 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ESPN) and 1-7 pm Saturday-Sunday (CBS)
▪ Streaming: ESPN.com, CBSSports.com and the ESPN app