Louisville slugger 🧢


Look what I found

LOUISVILLE, KY

We were so close to winning FOUR WEEKS in a row. Madelene Sagstrom (+6000) held the lead late on a Sunday at the Cognizant Founders Cup. The super swede looked unflappable. Truth is, she just got beat. And that happens in golf. Rose Zhang birdied four of her remaining five holes to take the title from Sagstrom. Even though we didn't win our fifth outright of the season, it's safe to safe we are red hot heading into the men's next major championship.

The 106th PGA Championship has descended upon Louisville, Kentucky. It has been 10 years since Rory McIlroy won the Wannamaker trophy on this very venue. Who could believe at the time, this would be his last major trophy. Valhalla Golf Club is hosting its fourth PGA Championship. Prior winners include Mark Brooks (1996), Tiger Woods (2000) and the aforementioned McIlroy who captured the Championship in 2014. Valhalla sounds like a cool word we should all know the meaning of. It comes from Norse mythology. Valhalla was a banquet hall in Odin's palace in Asgard, the realm of the gods, where Viking warriors who die in battle go to in the afterlife.

Most modern Marvel fans know Odin's son is Thor, the God of Thunder. Well, if that doesn't fit the image of a perfect winner for this championship, I'm not sure what does...

PGA Championship starts in...

Count down to 2024-05-16T10:00:00.000Z

Thoroughbred track

Valhalla Golf Club was a par 72 layout measuring 7,144 yards in 1996 when Brooks won. The official scorecard this week is a par 71 test covering 7,609 yards! Now you start to see the meaning behind the Thor reference. Outside of Brooks, Valhalla's two other winners were the longest players at that time. You will hear a ton of talk about ball speed and length as keys to contend. If 7,600 yards wasn't enough, the golf course is playing long. The Louisville region has received over two inches of rain in May. The forecast calls for another one to two inches during the week. Long, thick, dense rough puts an extreme premium on ball striking.

A field of 156 competitors vying for the top 70 and ties to make the weekend must keep the ball out of the long grass as much as possible. The PGA of America will announce the purse later in the week, but you better believe these guys will be playing for "signature" style cash. As such, we have ALL the best players in the world here ready to compete. And are they READY! The three favorites are all coming in as winners. Brooks Koepka won his last LIV start in Singapore. Rory McIlroy just won his last two starts (Zurich, Wells Fargo), and Scottie Scheffler comes in having won a green jacket and four of his last five starts. We have a real race brewing in horse country, and it would be tough to find a better trifecta anywhere else.

🐎

Course conditions

Valhalla Golf Club

📺📲

"How to watch?"

Coverage times

☔️

Real-time weather

Louisville, KY

Does anyone else have a legitimate chance considering these three are showing such form? When you start to consider the weather situation and course conditions, I wholeheartedly believe the answer is yes. The Louisville region has received over two inches of rain in May prior to PGA week. It poured most of the morning on Tuesday and the forecast calls for more precipitation. Since 2014, Valhalla has committed to some serious agronomic changes. The greens were re-surfaced and still have bentgrass, but the fairways were transitioned over to Zoysiagrass. This beautiful ball striking blend is much better at handling rain and humidity. The 2014 Rory edition was plagued by super soft conditions.

A couple of quick regional course comps are Bellerive in St. Louis and TPC Southwind in Memphis. Both have Zoysia fairways and Bellerive even has bentgrass greens. With all of the rain Valhalla has received, the fairways still retain a little bounce, but a softer golf course will help the field. Seasonal temperatures and wind in the low teens will create easier scoring conditions. Those three thoroughbreds will have a tougher time differentiating themselves than if the track was firm and fast. The harder the course, the more the favorites should be favored.

We are not just talking about the third longest course on TOUR, but also the one with the third smallest greens! Valhalla has both and that's the real challenge. Extreme length combined with very small putting targets creates a stern exam. This is the main reason why our card will sound familiar. Since the PGA moved to May, the winner has not only been a household name, but they have all entered the test in terrific form. One must play well on this beast. Sixty bunkers and seven holes where water comes into play as players climb and descend over the eastern hills of Louisville. The terrain is a real part of the test this week. Numerous up and down approach shots will cause the best to estimate carry yardages and landing areas.

Don't go too far awry with four inches of rough awaiting everywhere. Continue to monitor the weather situation, but overall, this big course is bigger, and slightly easier than the test really could be if it were dry. Let's dive into the skill set a little further before we debut our winning PGA card.

Read The Line news!🗞️

The PGA of America created a Fantasy Game for the Championship. By now you have probably seen my video on Golf Digest describing the challenge. Please click on the link below and play. They have done a great job to engage die hard bettors and casual fans with this fantasy edition. Here's the best part, you can select a wild card pick each day. Call it the Hideki rule! Real betting experts contributed to the design of this game. If you care about growing golf betting, login, and play. It will really help the evolution of our industry, you can win prizes, and have fun!

Who's a mudder?

Wet conditions and a nuisance rain will deter probably one third of the field. The competitors will need to be sharp playing from wet, medium wet, and dry lies. The weather conditions only add to the difficulty of a major moment. We know Scottie won't be thrown by the conditions. Baby or not, I believe he looks extremely ready to win his second major in a row. To compete with him, stay close, and ultimately win you'll need to do the following. Keep in mind, the deciding factor even if you perform every outright skill tremendously is that you will need to look him in the eye on Sunday before you win. Scheffler is not going to back down, and neither will the men on my card.

Soft, 7,600 yards, and elevation changes call for length and ball speed. Accuracy counts as this is a major championship and Valhalla only has 23 acres of fairway. When you see the rough, one would think Championship Officer Kerry Haigh might have been hurt by a lawn mower when he was a child. Four inches plus of wet, dense, and uniform grass surrounding all of the landing areas will present a problem to wild OTT play and errant approach shots. Bombers are proven winners here and our card reflects that fact.

Just like Quail Hollow, Augusta National, Torrey Pines, and Muirfield Village GC you need long iron acumen to win. Tiger taught us for twenty years; this is the way you separate from your competition. Two thirds of iron shots are coming from over 175 yards. Throw in the third smallest greens on TOUR and you can really separate with this skill. Zoyisa fairways will also play a role on approach. The best ball strikers love Zoysia because the ball sits up. The ability to shallow that angle of attack and launch it off this super surface is a true skill and one we are featuring on the card.

Most pundits are going to skip putting and keep preaching length. Trust me, short and medium length hitters are a non-starter for me in the outright discussion. In 2014, seven of the top 10 were in the top 12 of strokes gained putting for the week. After length, this was the most correlated characteristic of the contenders. Team no putt will not be able to keep up with our contenders. If Scottie slips with his putter, this will be the most effective way to beat him. Many elite players struggle with the flatstick, so this one skill really helped me build our betting card.

Seven of the 11 par 4s are over 460 yards in length. Three of them are under 415 yards. The ability to score on both is a valuable commodity. I looked at the 2014 top 10 closely, and those 12 players (ties) gained an average of eight strokes on the field on the 4s. Considering the winning score will be right around 10 under par, getting it done on all types of par 4s is a huge scoring advantage. The winning score in 2014 (par 71) was 16 under par. Those same 12 players averaged 19 sub-par scores. The course wasn't nearly as difficult in 2014 as one might think a major championship should be.

The PGA has changed their philosophy since then. Our Sunday contenders will need to save par much more than their counterparts from 2014, 2000, or 1996. Bogey avoidance may ultimately decide this championship versus one last birdie on the par 5 eighteenth. Savvy short game players not only save par, but they score on the 5s and short par 4s. One last consideration for the card, no doubt our winner will be the most well-rounded bomber, but they will also be someone who has proven they can beat Scottie and has done it before. The Valhalla vibe is real and everyone on property can feel it. Get locked in for a very entertaining week.

The field and the conditions are all aligned for a close finish. Plan for an epic Sunday sweat down to the last hole. But just like Dallas and Taylor Pendrith, I believe the guys on our card have the moxie to nose ahead when it comes down to a photo finish.

Outright Winners - PGA Championship

Brooks Koepka tends to win his major championship in pairs. To date he has won two US Opens and PGAs back to back. Did I mention, he also the defending champion this week.

  • Koepka won his last LIV start in Singapore on the same exact agronomy as Valhalla.
  • His 2018 PGA win was at neighboring Bellerive (same agronomy) and he has also won at TPC Southwind in Memphis. Guess what another Zoysiagrass golf course.
  • Oak Hill is another tremendous course comp for Valhalla.
  • In his last 22 majors, Brooks has 5 wins and 12 top 10s.

If we are targeting length, Bryson DeChambeau is the longest player in the field. What was once a side show is now a strategic attack.

  • DeChambeau won the 2020 US Open by six at Winged Foot GC in similar conditions.
  • Bryson came into Oak Hill last year with mediocre form and finished fourth. Again, another long, wet test.
  • He is the 2018 Memorial winner at Muirfield Village GC.
  • Sixth place at the Masters was all I needed to see. He handled a very cerebral test and stayed competitive all week. THAT Bryson is a problem on this course for the field.

Looking for an "insider's edge?"

Those extra outright picks are just a click away. Become a member, and you can get our winning weekly narrative for the PGA TOUR and LPGA along with...

  • More outrights
  • One & Done picks
  • DFS lineups
  • Props & placements
  • H2H matchups

We are the ONLY on-site, live betting, PGA Professional

expert content in the industry!

Inside the ropes at the 2023 Genesis Invitational


In full bloom

Rose Zhang loves a big stage. The collegiate standout and Augusta National Women’s Amateur winner won the Mizuho Americas Open in her first ever LPGA professional start. Fast forward twelve months and she has two chances to go back-to-back. Not only is she defending her title from a year ago, but she is also trying to win in successive weeks. Nelly may have stolen the show at the Met Gala, but Zhang’s late Sunday birdie barrage at the Cognizant Founders Cup confidently displayed one true fact. There’s nothing like a rose in full bloom on Mother’s Day!

For the second year, Liberty National Golf Club is our host for the Mizuho. No stranger to championship golf, several FedEx Cup playoff events have been contested here and the 2017 Presidents’ Cup. This amazing golfing landscape is one of a kind. Imagine hitting an approach with Manhattan in the background. You have to see it in order to appreciate the unbelievable contrast in scenery. A par 72 scorecard (6,675 yards) has your traditional setup. Four par 3s and 5s, woven in-between 10 par 4s.

Mizuho Americas Open starts in...

Count down to 2024-05-16T11:00:00.000Z

More unique than the setting is the format for this second-year event. The field of 120 LPGA players will be joined by 24 elite players from the America Junior Golf Association (AJGA). The young women will compete alongside nine of top 10 in the Rolex World rankings. Only the top 50 and ties make the weekend, so this is one of the toughest cut lines to navigate on tour. I’m keeping an eye on the woman who are in great form and tend to start quickly. Our weekend warriors will be playing for $3 million, and $450,000 for first place.

Even though this is only the second year for the LPGA at LNGC, they just wrapped another New Jersey event nearby. Combine that with four New Jersey events in 2023 and we have a solid amount of research to determine who plays well on this agronomy (grass types) and designs. All of the targets are surrounded with trouble. The average green size is 4,650 sq/ft. The weather looks similar to last year. Cooler spring temperatures are always a factor on the water in the northeast. LNGC is located on the Hudson River. The forecast calls for some wet weather as well.

Don’t get distracted by the sights, this is not a tourist trip. LNGC is total target golf. The course has 98 bunkers and 13 holes where water comes into play. The par 4 fifth hole is a microcosm for what the ladies will face. The 400-yard par 4 fairway travels along a pond down the left-hand side and out of bounds down the right. Should you secure the fairway, you face a two-tiered green with a bunker on the right and a creek just left. Zhang won in a playoff over Jennifer Kupcho last year at nine under par. Based upon the forecast and course conditions I expect a similar score; maybe just slightly lower.

🏙️

Course conditions

Liberty National Golf Club

📺📲

"How to watch?"

Coverage times

🌤️

Real-time weather

Jersey City, NJ

Target practice

Accuracy counts on every shot around this treacherous track. Total control tee to green (T2G) is the first filter I’m looking at. Nelly Korda is back to lead the betting board and Zhang sits next in line. It’s no coincidence they both are also near the top of the T2G rankings for our field. The season of star winners continued in nearby Clifton. LNGC will be very similar to Upper Montclair Country Club as a well-rounded ball striking contest. The fairways aren't framed by as many trees. Instead, the women will see amber waves of fescue and penalty areas. Each shot is really tested here. Our card covers the best at simply keeping the ball in play.

I have played LNGC many times and I can share with you the accuracy test doesn’t end after the tee shot. It continues by challenging every iron in your bag. To separate from the field, players must accrue as many GIRs as possible. Zhang tied Kupcho at nine under, and they did their best to avoid as many bogeys as possible. Scrambling skill has my attention after T2G. In the top 10 a year ago, those twelve women averaged 16.6 sub-par scores for 72-holes. The winning score was nine. This is a hard golf course even when you are showing solid form. It sounds redundant to describe, but the reality is making bogey (and double bogey) can happen really quick. Keeping your round momentum going is vital.

Scoring at LNGC also relies on some serious scrambling skill. Four par 5s and a couple of shorter par 4s will allow the ladies to grab a couple of sub-par scores if they are good with a wedge. Those women who can capitalize on the par 5s jumped ahead of the competition a year ago. I looked at the keys to winning by analyzing the top 10 from that leaderboard. Rose Zhang finished second in par 5 scoring for the week. Approach from a little further out also drives success. That same top 10 gained an average of 3 strokes on the green with their iron game. These greens are all surrounded by danger. Players with proximity have an advantage.

Twelve ladies finished top 10 last year (ties). The largest strokes gained category was putting. Just slightly ahead of approach, these greens are tricky. They are difficult to read and even tougher to make putts on. Having played on them multiple times, I can confirm the challenge. Much like the PGA TOUR, many of the elite ball strikers aren't the best putters. Our outrights are definitely swayed toward putting prowess. Those twelve women from a year ago gained over three strokes (on average) on the greens.

With a single digit winning score, we succinctly see this as a tough test. A week ago, two women scored in the 20s! Transitioning to a much different test will be critical. The faster you can focus on the new task, the bigger you advantage will be. I'm also measuring round by round stats. Due to the event format, 24 usual LPGA spots are being used by AJGA all-stars. The cutline has been significantly reduced. Slow starters need not apply this week. Enjoy your weekend in NYC if you have a mediocre round on Thursday or Friday. Not every elite player is a fast first rounder. I'm staying away from those ladies for our card.

Ultimately as much accuracy as you can muster is the primary focus. Get to the green and putt better than your playing partners. Accomplish those two goals and you'll be contending come Sunday. Just like these ladies on our outright betting card.

Outright winners - Mizuho Americas Open

Nobody has more wins in New Jersey over the last couple years than Jin Young Ko.

  • Ko is extremely accurate and that's why she fits these target specific layouts so well.
  • Jin Young is ranked second in the field for strokes gained approach.
  • Ko just kills it in GIRs, scrambling, around the green play, and with the putter. Her game is a perfect fit for Liberty.

Lydia Ko started her season with a win at Lake Nona, an incredible comp course for Liberty National.

  • Ko is ranked eleventh in the field T2G, and fourth in scrambling. The perfect combination for this week.
  • Not the longest hitter OTT, Lydia thrives on par 5s. She's twelfth in the field for par 5 scoring.
  • Ko's putting is pretty incredible. Her ability to convert will be a secret weapon.
"LIVE BETTING" ALL WEEKEND FOR FREE!
TIKTOK
INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE
TWITTER/X

Read between the lines

The best place to follow news about Read The Line is right here!

Sports Grid

Keith is on "live"

Tuesday's Early Line - 9:10am ET

Wednesday's Ferrall C2C - 5:10 pm ET

Golf Digest

Read The Line is Golf Digest's featured golf betting content contributor. All of our coverage can be found on their gambling page called "The Loop!"

RotoWire Rundown

Join Keith alongside RotoWire's Senior Golf Writer Len Hochberg. Together they cover the hottest topics in golf betting. Tuesdays at 11:15am ET.

Stripe Show

Every Tuesday at 12:00pm ET, Travis Fulton hosts Keith on his popular podcast series to cover the best bets of the week on the PGA TOUR.

Do you know what it means to be a member of Read The Line?

We provide more outrights, prop bets, H2H matchups, DFS lineups,

and One & Done picks. Hit the link above and see for yourself!

facebooktwitterinstagramtiktokyoutube

DISCLAIMER: Read The Line provides information and insights concerning the game of golf, aimed at creating more intelligent sports fans. Read The Line does not seek to encourage any of our readers, members or users to engage in sports betting or otherwise make wagers based on the information and insights provided. Any betting or wagers made by readers, members or users are undertaken at their own risk and such activity does not give rise to any legal responsibility on the part of Read The Line. For more information, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Think you have a gambling problem? Reach out for help. Read The line promotes responsible gaming. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit these online resources:

The National Council on Problem Gambling

Council on Compulsive Gaming - New Jersey

Read The Line

Golf Analysis, Birdie Banter, and Bonafide Insights Every Week​. As a subscriber to Read The Line, you'll elevate your sports knowledge.

Read more from Read The Line

Our latest RTL winner, Davis Thompson! "Summer" in Scotland Congrats to all who were tailing us last week as we took home our fifth outright winner of the season. What a wonderful Sunday sweat watching our horse dust the field with an opening 29 on the front. A smooth 126 over the weekend and we are collecting. Thompson's performance reminds me of the weekend 122 (61-61), I witnessed at the RSM Classic by Ludvig Åberg back in November. The Spieth/Thomas generation better watch out, these kids...

Stuck in the middle Golf betting can drive you crazy at times, but that is exactly why we love it. Seven straight weeks of contention (and cashing) backed up by a "whiff" at the Rocket Mortgage has me fired up for the John Deere Classic. What's most interesting about this midsummer night's dream are all of the storylines. Patrick Cantlay in for a minute, then out! I get Sungjae Im, but why is Jordan Spieth here? Im plays 30 weeks a year, and Jordan has not been in Silvis since he won for the...

Under protest Travelers concluded seven straight weeks of having the lead late on a Sunday and ultimately losing our outright. Seven straight since we took home the CJ Cup title with 100-1 winner Taylor Pendrith. Along this recent run there have been some bad beats, but Sunday would have made Stanford Steve fall out of his chair in his home state. The picture above displays the final round pairings. Our two outrights and the best player on the planet. The odds were not in our favor, but...