PGA Championship 2019: Course Guide, Tips and Betting Odds
May 15, 2019
The US PGA Championship reverts to the second major of the year, rather than the fourth, this week as the tricky Bethpage Black course plays host to the tournament for the first time.
Fresh from a memorable Tiger Woods victory at Augusta National, the game of golf is in a fantastic place right now and with an increased focus on the great old game, Luke Parkinson has taken a look at what the tournament could hold in store this week.
Unlike Augusta National and the Masters, the US PGA Championship moves from venue to venue. That means there are no real course trends for us punters to follow, although the ‘horses for courses’ theory that worked so well for Tiger Woods last month, may well prove profitable once again.
As a venue, the Bethpage Black Course will host the USPGA for the first time in its history this week, despite becoming the first publicly owned and operated course to host the US Open, when it first visited in 2002 and then 2009.
It will probably come as no surprise that Tiger Woods was a -3 par winner of that US Open in 2002, and along with his recent big success, that might go a long way to explaining why he is a joint-favourite with some firms, albeit as big as 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Bethpage Black is far from easy though, with the New York venue stretching over 7,400 yards. There’s even a sign on the first hole that warns only ‘highly skilled golfers’ should take on the course. Just to illustrate the difficulty, Woods was the only player to break par for 72 holes in 2002, and seven years later, only five could finish the course in red.
The 457-yard, par 4, 15th hole is perhaps the trickiest, and was easily the toughest hole to conquer at both of the US Open’s held here. If you miss the fairway with your drive, expect a layup to follow, and watch out for the steep bank to the green. It’s so steep, that locals are reported to use it as the number one sledging destination when the snow comes to town. Birdies are few and far between here, with 180 over-par scores carded at the hole across ’02 and ’09.
From a spectating point of view, the stadium like 210-yard, par 3, 8th hole is where you can really get a feel for the action. With the tee more than 40 feet above the green, and the hole surrounding by onlookers, there’ll be some picturesque TV shots captured there over the tournament.
If the market leaders for this year’s US PGA Championship betting are anything to go by, then we should be in for an ultra-competitive renewal.
Four of the world’s top six golfers are practically neck and neck at the top of the market, and all four arrive in New York with plenty in their favour.
Brooks Koepka is a man that has won two of the last four majors and came close to making that three in five when challenging Tiger Woods all the way at Augusta to finish T2. He recently finished 4th at the AT&T Byron Nelson, proving his game is right where he needs it to be, and considering he goes to Bethpage as the defending USPGA champ, you’d have to give him every chance. He’s 11/1 with Unibet.
He’s sure to have Dustin Johnson right on his coattails, although the man they call DJ, hasn’t really ever got really involved in the business end of a US PGA. He missed the cut in 2016 and could only muster a T27 last year, meaning his best ever finish at the US PGA was when he recorded T5 in 2010 at Whistling Straits. His course form at Bethpage isn’t great either, finishing T40 in the US Open there in 2009, and for that reason, he might be worth avoiding at the prices this week. He’s 9/1 with Black Type.
Rory McIlroy might be more your man, with an enviable US PGA record that is only bettered in recent times by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Rory was at his breath-taking best to win this tournament in both 2012 and 2014, and has three other top ten finishes in 10 attempts. He’s also gone well at Bethpage in the past with a T10 at the 2009 US Open, although he will need to improve on his major performance at the Masters which saw him finish T21. McIlroy’s 12/1 with Royal Panda.
One man who certainly doesn’t need to improve on his Masters performance is Tiger Woods. The legendary golfer bounced back to something like his vintage best at Augusta this month, and if ever there was a chance for him to make it back-to-back majors, it’s here at Bethpage. As above, Woods is 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
There are rumoured to be over 200,000 spectators expected to attend the US PGA this week, and a huge part of that is down to getting a glimpse of Woods. The New York locals have seen him win here before, winning the US Open in 2002, and you’d be a brave man to back against history repeating itself in the next few days. He evidently has a clearer mind these days and looks happy with his game, two components that could mean we see the very best of Tiger once again.
Outsiders To Follow
In terms of recent course form at Bethpage Black, the 2016 Barclays tournament is perhaps the best guide to follow. Patrick Reed was the winner of that renewal, carding 9 under par for the tournament, beating Emiliano Grillo and Sean O’Hair by one shot.
He hasn’t done much since winning the Masters a year ago, although if this course can spark him back to life, then odds of 70/1 with Unibet will be fairly rewarding even as an each-way bet.
A man that has caught the eye the season, however, is Adam Scott. He certainly knows what it takes to win a major after conquering Augusta in 2013, and looks primed for a big challenge at Bethpage.
He finished just two shots behind Patrick Reed here in 2016, carding a third round 65 which would put him bang there again this week at 50/1 with 888Sport.
He’s looked in good form recently as well with top performances at the Farmers Insurance Open – where he putted brilliantly – TPC Sawgrass and Augusta National. His solid stroke play, matched with a red-hot putter, could mean Scott takes some stopping.
Outright: Tiger Woods @ 13/1 with Betfred
Each-Way: Adam Scott @ 50/1 with 888 Sport (1/5 odds, 7 places)
Here are the bookmakers offering the best golf betting odds
As a qualified sports journalist, Luke has worked with nationally-recognised outlets covering events from the World Cup to the Grand National. Luke is one of the few men who has to admit that their father was the better footballer, but at least he can take comfort from the fact he got to see his Dad score at Wembley. When Luke isn’t talking football, you’ll normally find him following his other passion, horse racing and has his own horses in training with Paul Nicholls and Mark Johnston.