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13D AGO

Benny and the Bets: Twice bitten, NOT shy. The case to fade Scottie Scheffler at PGA Championship

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    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – I haven’t had a sip of Kentucky’s vast array of bourbons … I swear.

    Despite being made to look the fool not once, but twice, this year while fading Scottie Scheffler publicly, I am going out on a limb again to say he is not the man you should be betting on at the PGA Championship.

    Before you stop reading because you think I’m nuts let me point out I’m not saying he can’t win … I’m just saying there are enough reasons why you should consider investing elsewhere.

    I’ve literally just come from the world No. 1’s pre-tournament interview at Valhalla where Scheffler is the +450 favorite. I’ve spoken to the man whose last five TOUR results read 1-1-2-1-1, including the season’s first major at Augusta National, and I am still convinced you should not put your hard-earned on him to win his third major.

    Let me lay out my reasons.

    1. The odds are too short: Scheffler won the Masters at +500 odds but one can make the argument winning the green jacket against a field of 88, especially having already tasted success on the course, is a much easier task than beating 156 at a venue he’s never seen before.As good as he’s been winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, THE PLAYERS Championship, Masters and RBC Heritage in recent weeks Scheffler is still human. And short of Tiger Woods in his absolute prime, anything this short in an outright market should be seen as nothing more than casual bettor bait.

    The more prudent play if you want to be a Scheffler bettor is to ride the live markets. Pick a number that works for you and hope he hits it at some point. It might be +800, or +1000, or even more before you bite and obviously if he shifts that high, it will be coupled with a slow start or some mistakes. The reality is Scheffler showed at both Bay Hill and Harbour Town that he does not need to be a slick starter to find his way to the top on Sunday. If you do like Scheffler for a hot start, consider the First Round Leader market instead at +1200.


    Scottie Scheffler on maintaining focus from event to event


    “I've been playing pretty good," Scheffler said. "I've had some weeks where my swing didn't feel 100 percent and I was able to make up for it with the putter. Then I had some weeks where maybe I wasn't holing a ton of putts and I was able to make up for it with my ball striking. I feel like I'm in a good head space.

    "The last couple months it seems like it has felt fairly easy at times. I think, as a professional… that's always what you're striving for, and it's been nice to see some of the benefits of the work that I've put in and see some results on the course, as well."

    2. He’s a new father: What does this have to do with his golf… I can hear a few of you already asking the question. Well… frankly… plenty. Scheffler and his wife Meredith had their first child, a son, last week and I welcome him to dad life with open arms and heartfelt congratulations. But if they haven’t already, things are really going to start getting real for Scheffler now. With the distraction of leaving his new boy at home, the chances of the odd mental error on course increase dramatically. Not to mention the lack of focus in practice. For his part, Scheffler feels like his focus is on his preparations, but any dad will tell you, you cannot help but be drawn to thinking elsewhere at least some of the time.

    “I miss him like crazy. It was not easy to leave the house Monday morning,” Scheffler said. “But I told my son as I was leaving, I was like, I don't want to leave you right now, but I need to. I'm called to do my job to the best of my ability, and I felt like showing up Wednesday night wouldn't really be doing myself a service this week when it comes to playing and competing in the tournament, so I had to show up, especially with the weather forecast, showing up, being prepared and ready to play and being back home as quick as I can.”

    3. Coming off a long(er) rest: All of Scheffler’s 10 PGA TOUR wins came either off no rest, one week, or two weeks rest. He has not won, to use a horseracing term since we are in Kentucky, off a long spell. The Texan admitted he would have played THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson had he not been on baby watch but instead has been off competition since winning the RBC Heritage. The competitive juices can be hard to replicate at home, although Scheffler claims he does a good job of it via money games with his friends.


    Tiger Woods on Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy's golf game


    “I was able to practice and play plenty at home," Scheffler added. "Obviously, the last week was a bit different with our son coming. But yeah, I would say three weeks is probably a bit of a longer break than I would usually take.

    “Definitely rested going into this week for sure. I don't really feel like any rust has accumulated. I was able to practice and play a lot at home. I'm able to do stuff at home to simulate tournament golf, especially on the greens, competing and gambling with my buddies, I don't really want to lose to them, either, so I was able to simulate a little bit of competition at home.”

    4. Caddie conditions: The other half of the dynamic duo on course for team Scheffler is caddie Ted Scott. While his role is minor compared to Scheffler’s it is an important one all the same. And as it stands, Scott will not be in Louisville for Saturday’s third round at Valhalla. Instead, and I applaud both men loudly for making this happen, Scott will be flying home to attend his daughters high school graduation, before returning for the final round.

    Again, I am all for this decision, but it does present another wrinkle from the fine-tuned machine we’ve seen over the last few months. The smallest error can make a huge difference in elite-level golf.

    “That's something we talked about from the beginning of our relationship was family always comes first, and it's the same thing for me as it is for my caddie. It was a pretty easy decision,” Scheffler said.

    “He told me at the beginning of this year that that was the date that it was, so I got a backup caddie lined up. One of my buddies is going to carry the bag on Saturday, and then Ted will be back for Sunday's round.”

    5. Back-to-back consecutive majors is rare: Scheffler is for sure a special player who could join the list of back-to-back major winners but we haven’t had one since Jordan Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open back in 2015. Prior to that it was Rory McIlroy with wins at The Open and the PGA Championship in 2014 and before that Padraig Harrington winning The Open and PGA Championship in 2008.

    6. Rory McIlroy is on fire: Speaking of McIlroy, he comes into this contest off two straight wins of his own at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and his fourth Wells Fargo Championship. He was also the winner of the last PGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014. Sitting at higher odds of +750, of the two, it is McIlroy who represents better “value”. But much like the advice with Scheffler, I’d be hoping for a slide towards the +1000 mark before taking a more concerted plunge.

    So there you have it. Send help if Scheffler boat races this field and chalks up another win… but don’t be overly surprised if he doesn’t.

    For the record, I’m on the McIlroy bandwagon this week while also being intrigued by Golfbet colleague Will Gray’s selection of Collin Morikawa at +2800. The wildcard could well be Chris Breece and Matt DelVecchio’s pick of Ludvig Åberg at +1800. This is a course that should suit his game, but just how much trouble will his knee give him?

    My Australian bias has me looking to Jason Day (+5500, +400 Top-10) given the form he has shown of late and the fact he was a brief contender here in 2014. I walked 72 holes with him that year and saw him make some insane up and downs. If he can do so again, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner-up becomes a chance.

    For resources to overcome a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-GAMBLER today.

    Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.

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