The season’s second major golf championship gets underway this week with the 101st edition of the PGA Championship, contested at historic Bethpage Black on Long Island in New York.
Played for the first time in its new May slot, and at the ultra-challenging Black Course, the PGA of America’s underrated major promises to be something of a table setter for the remainder of the season.
The 156-player field includes every one of the top 100 players in the current Official World Golf Rankings, something that has never happened before in one of golf’s major championships. The field also features 34 major champions, and 12 players who have been ranked No. 1 in the world.
Will Tiger take a second major? Does a struggling Jordan Spieth even have a chance to complete the career Grand Slam? Can Brooks Koepka go back to back like he did at the U.S. Open? What about Rickie Fowler, can he get that first major? The storylines are many, and over-flowing.
Will the winner be one who’s historic, or a one-time supernova who was part of history.
Since 2000, the list of players to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy includes Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker. (It also includes Tiger Woods three times, Rory McIlroy twice, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka.)
Here’s more on what to expect this week in new York for the 101st PGA Championship.
Tournament: PGA Championship
Dates: May 16-19, 2019
Where: Farmingdale, NY
Course: Bethpage Black Course
Distance: Par 71, 7468 yards
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast (1936)
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $2,000,000
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Top-10 Betting Favorites: Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler
PGA Championship on TV
Rd 1: Th 01:00 pm-7:00 pm (TNT)
Rd 2: Fr 01:00 pm-7:30 pm (TNT)
Rd 3: Sa 11:00 am-2:00 pm (TNT)
Rd 3: Sa 02:00 pm-7:00 pm (CBS)
Rd 4: Su 11:00 am-2:00 pm (TNT)
Rd 4: Su 02:00 pm-7:00 pm (CBS)
PGA Championship History
Today’s PGA Championship can be credited to the work of business mogul Rodman Wanamaker 102 years ago in New York City, who gathered a collection of golf professionals, which led to the formation of the PGA.
The PGA’s first championship was held in October of that year (1916), and was won by a man named Jim Barnes, who walked away with the Wanamaker trophy, a check for $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by Wanamaker. The tournament would continue to evolve, and in 1958, it made a permanent switch to stroke play.
Notable winners of the Wanamaker Trophy in the match-play era include Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Ben Hogan. Legends who won the PGA in the stroke-play era include Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Hagen and Nicklaus share the record for most PGA Championships with five apiece. Two surprising names missing from the winner’s list are Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, who had close calls, but were never able to claim victory and close the door on the grand slam.
Bethpage Black has never hosted the PGA, but it has been the venue of two U.S. Opens – in 2002 and 2009, with Woods and Lucas Glover victorious, respectively.
History: Recent Winners
2018: Brooks Koepka (-16)
2017: Justin Thomas (-8)
2016: Jimmy Walker (-14)
2015: Jason Day (-20)
2014: Rory McIlroy (-16)
2013: Jason Dufner (-10)
2012: Rory McIlroy (-13)
265 – David Toms (2001)
-20 – Jason Day (2015)
5 – Walter Hagen (1921, 1924-25-26-27)
5 – Jack Nicklaus (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980)
4 – Tiger Woods (1999-00, 2006-07)
Defending PGA Champion
Brooks Koepka shot a final-round 66 at Bellerive Country Club to capture the PGA Championship – his second major title of the 2018 season.
Koepka finished at 16-under par, two shots clear of runner-up Tiger Woods, who posted a 64 on Sunday.
The Florida State product becomes just the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA in the same season, joining Tiger Woods (2000), Jack Nicklaus (1982), Ben Hogan (1948), and Gene Sarazen (1922).
With three major wins he joins Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy as the only players under 30 with at least three major victories.
Final Top-5 Finishers
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Brooks Koepka -16 (-4)
2. Tiger Woods -14 (-6)
3. Adam Scott -13 (-3)
4. Stewart Cink -11 (-3)
5. Jon Rahm -11 (-2)
The PGA Championship Field
The field this week in New York will include all of the world’s top-ranked players, headlined by 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, defending champion Brooks Koepka, and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
The betting favorite is Woods, who’s listed at 7-1 to take home his fifth Wanamaker Trophy. The iconic American should be well rested when he arrives at Bethpage State Park this week as he hasn’t teed it up since winning the Masters last month.
Other favorites in the field this week include the top-ranked DJ (9-1), who has never finished higher than fifth in this major, along with three former PGA winners – all ranked in the world top-5: No. 3 Koepka (10-1), No. 4 Rory McIlroy (10-1), and No. 5 Justin Thomas (11-1).
Phil Mickelson (2005) and Jason Day (2015) are two more former PGA champions considered top contenders this week.
Other top-10 ranked stars to keep an eye on this week include world No. 2 Justin Rose, reigning British Open champ Francesco Molinari (No. 7), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 8), Xander Schauffele (No. 9), and Rickie Fowler (No. 10).
In addition to the aforementioned Woods, Koepka, McIlroy, Thomas, Mickelson, and Day, 11 other past PGA Champions will tee it up this week, including John Daly (1991), Davis Love III (1997), Vijay Singh (1998, 2004), Rich Beem (2002), Shaun Micheel (2003), Padraig Harrington (2008), Y.E. Yang (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011), Jason Dufner (2013), and Jimmy Walker (2016).
Finally, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth continues to fight through a year-long slump, and will enter New York without even a top-20 this season. In fact, a T29 last weekend in Dallas extended a streak spanning two seasons, and 18 starts, where he’s failed to post a single top-10. The intriguing angle on Spieth, though, is that if he gets near the top of the leaderboard this weekend, he could be doubly motivated, not just wanting to make up for a year of mediocrity, but also because a PGA title is all that stands between him and completing the career Grand Slam.
Full PGA Championship Field & Odds
Place your bets on the PGA Championship at Bovada.
Carey Hoffman contributed. Credits: Tour Media, Getty Images