The 2019 USA PGA Championship Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

The USA PGA Tour Championship will take place at the Bethpage State Park, Black Course on the 16th of May to the 19th of May. 

US PGA Tour 2019
The 2019 US PGA Championship 
Bethpage State Park, Black Course, Farmingdale, New York
16th-19th May

The  Professional Golfers Association of America was formed in February 1916 by Rodman Wanamaker- for whom the elaborate trophy is named.  In October that year the inaugural PGA Championship was played.  One can almost imagine the original PGA professionals in some musky room unionizing.  I wonder what they would make of the decision to skirt tradition and move this event to May.

The realities of FedEx Cup Golf have seen the PGA Championship wilt in significance over the past few years.  Attempts to brand it as Glory’s Last Shot haven’t been able to alleviate that feeling of diet-Major.  That’s why I believe that this- the most significant change in the newly revised schedule- could prove indelible in reinvigorating golf’s most understated major.  The PGA Championship returns to New York and some of the most raucous galleries to be found in golf.

The PGA of America tends to set up courses far more favourably than the sadistic USGA.  Bethpage Black is a monster of a par 70, measuring almost 7,500 yards.  Length off the tee will prove a significant factor as always on these monstrous American behemoths.  Rainy conditions of late will further soften the course, making it play that extra bit longer.

The fairways are moderate on this tree-lined, parkland style course, though the fairly lush rough could prove dangerous.  Shots gained tee-to-green has often proved vital around this layout.  The smaller than average poa annua greens are elevated, meaning that scrambling will prove critical if the greens are missed.  The greens are not particularly undulating and this shouldn’t prove a putt-off.  A.W Tillinghast’s 1936 creation is a real balanced test of golf that will reward pure ball-strikers with good greenside manners.

Clearly the re-ascension of Tiger Woods at Augusta has added a mythic dimension to this year’s Major roster.  Adding more intrigue to the mix is the fact that Woods won the 2002 US Open on this course.  So there will be many already dreaming of some herculean Tiger Slam.  I still think that Tiger looks a bit short this week when you take a step back and survey the entire field.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka has won three of the last eight Majors and will feel extremely confident on this sizable layout.  Fellow Masters runner-up Dustin Johnson will also feel quietly confident outside of the spotlight.  Rory McIlroy is a two-time winner of this week and already has won the Players this year.  Justin Rose will be keen to shake off some poor recent form while course specialists such as Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson lurk menacingly in a congested field.

Past Winners

  • 2018: Brooks Koepka (-16)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8)
  • 2016: Jimmy Walker (-14)
  • 2015: Jason Day (-20)
  • 2014: Rory McIlroy (-16)

Betting Favourites (To Win):
  • Tiger Woods (9/1)
  • Dustin Johnson (10/1)
  • Brooks Koepka (11/1)
  • Rory McIlroy (12/1)
  • Justin Thomas (18/1)


Value Bets

Jason Day
To Win (28/1)
To Place (56/10)

A former PGA Champion, Jason Day has yet to fully recapture the form that saw him emerge as the best player in the world in 2015.  Injuries and family issues have plagued the Aussie though there have been some encouraging signs for Day of late.  He finished 8th in the Players and surreptitiously picked up a top 5 at Augusta.  He won at Quail Hollow last year, further tipping me off to his suitability around here.  He finished 4th here last time out and he still holds the record for the lowest total score to par at the US PGA Championship: (-20).  He looks a steal at 28/1.

Jhonattan Vegas
To Win (150/1)
To Place (30/1)

The affable Venezuelan represents a really strong dark horse option at these odds, especially in the place markets.  His power off the tee is clearly going to assist him on a course that requires sizable carry distance.  He finished 22nd at Baltusrol in 2016, which was impressive considering he had only qualified courtesy of a Canadian Open victory a week earlier.  He has seven top 30 finishes in his last eight starts.  That included a 8th at Quail Hollow- which is often seen as a strong corollary to Bethpage.  The 3rd place at Sawgrass highlights his big game temperament and he is a real dangerous option this week.  He could be a real candidate for the opening round leader category as he stakes his claim for a President’s Cup place.

The Man to Beat
Dustin Johnson
To Win (10/1)
To Place (2/1)


I really feel that DJ will benefit immeasurably from the spotlight being so firmly fixed on Tiger Woods this week.  Dustin’s greatest strength is his amazing ball-striking ability.  This course requires both length and a measure of accuracy- which makes Johnson so appealing.  He crashed poorly at Harbour Town to a 28th place finish.  But his victories in Mexico and Saudi Arabia came against class fields on similarly vast golf courses.  Johnson is a Poa Annua expert who has subverted expectations a few times this year.  He enjoyed his best ever finishes at both Augusta and Sawgrass, finishing runner-up at the Masters and inside the top 5 at the Players.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets. 


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