McIlroy a strong USPGA contender, but Simpson looks the value bet

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There are certainly many reasons to predict a Rory McIlroy victory in the USPGA Championship, but better value may be found in Webb Simpson continuing his big breakthrough in 2011 to collect a maiden major trophy.

McIlroy is 11/1 in the USPGA Championship odds and has finished no worse than sixth in his last three starts in the US, which includes his own maiden major success at the US Open at Congressional in June.

The Northern Irishman has played these three tournaments at a combined -37 and is looking to emulate Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington in becoming the third player this century to win two majors in the same calendar year.

Accurate driving will be absolutely essential on the Highlands Course at Atlanta Athletic Club for two reasons.

Firstly, the par-70 course is exceedingly long at just under 7,500 yards, while the rough could prove particularly taxing to escape from if players end up wider than the first cut.

Long hitters who can keep their balls in the short grass have the best chance in the USPGA Championship betting and that brings in Simpson at 66/1.

No American has emerged victorious in the last six majors and although this is Simpson’s first appearance in the USPGA Championship, he has shown already this year that this should not be held against him.

Although still awaiting his first PGA Tour victory, Simpson has finished second twice this year and inside the top 20 in both his US Open and British Open debuts.

There is no obvious flaw in his game and this is backed up by the fact he leads the PGA Tour in terms of all-around ranking and is positioned inside the top 20 for both total driving and greens in regulation.

Meanwhile, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, YE Yang and Darren Clarke have all been somewhat surprise major winners in recent years.

Punters wanting to take less of a risk can back Simpson at 11/2 to finish inside the top ten or 33/1 to end the tournament as the top American on the leaderboard.

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