2019 US PGA Betting Tips: Find out who to back this week
We've put together a list of the top 10 betting favourites - and 8 other players you should consider ahead of this week's PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship heads back to its May slot for the first time since 1949 this week, and there's plenty of storylines to watch out for.
At the forefront of those stories is the golf course, Bethpage Black, which is host venue for the 2024 Ryder Cup. Previously a two-time U.S. Open course and two-time host of PGA Tour event The Barclays, Bethpage Black is renowned for being big and bruising: It's one of the toughest tests out there thanks to narrow fairways and difficult bunkering throughout the course, and there's a premium placed on good ball striking.
So far the bookies have put World No.1 Dustin Johnson at the top of the pile of favourites to win his second major title, but elsewhere the focus is all on Tiger Woods and defending champion Brooks Koepka.
Woods is making his first start since capturing his 15th major - and first in 11 years - at the Masters, and many are predicting he could take another step closer in his pursuit of matching Jack Nicklaus' 18 major titles as he returns to a venue where he won the 2002 U.S Open and finished T6 in 2009.
Meanwhile, Koepka heads in to this year's tournament following a T2 at the Masters and 4th place at last week's AT&T Byron Nelson, and is looking to become just the second player in history to go back-to-back in this tournament.
Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy is in great form as he searches for his 5th major title, while Jordan Spieth has the chance to complete the career grand slam - although without a top 20 this season, the latter feels unlikely. One player who won't be there though is Justin Thomas, who withdrew with a wrist injury.
So who should you back? Read on below to read out betting tips for the 2019 PGA Championship
Course: Bethpage Black, Long Island, New York
Par: 70 | 7,432 yards
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Prize Fund: $11million
Fed Ex Cup Points: 600
Race to Dubai Points: 10,000
2019 US PGA Championship: Betting Tips
Dustin Johnson: 10/1
The favourite this week, according to the bookies. Was T40 on his first trip here for the U.S. Open in 2009, finished T3 when the Barclays was held here in 2012, and T18 when it was staged on the black course in 2016. Looking for his second major, and DJ looks on form. He’s had two victories and five other top 10s in 11 starts in 2019, including an under-the-radar runner-up finish at the Masters. Was T28 in last start at the RBC Heritage. Ranks 2nd for scoring average, 5th SG: Putting, 7th SG: Tee to green, 11th SG : Off the tee and 19th SG: Approach the green.
Brooks Koepka: 11/1
Warmed up for his title defence with a fourth place finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson after a T2 at the Masters, and is looking to become the first person since Woods to defend his PGA title. A downside might be that he’s only teed up at Bethpage once (he finished T70 at the Barclays in 2016), but he’s proven time and time again he’s not to be underestimated – especially when it comes to major championships. After all, Koepka has three victories and two other top 10s in his last seven major starts. Ranks 12th for birdie average, 14th GIR, 15th scoring average and 30th SG: Approach the green. Although he is ranked 88th
Rory McIlroy: 12/1
McIlroy rebounded from his worst result of the year – a T21 at the Masters – with his eighth top 10 of 2019 at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago. He’s just about the hottest player on the planet right now, and given his current stats off the tee, we expect him to be up there. As for his record at Bethpage, McIlroy was T24 in 2012, T31 in 2016… and T10 at his first U.S. Open in 2009 here. He Ranks 1st SG: Off the tee and SG: Tee to green, 4th scoring average, 6th SG: Approach the green, 12th for GIR and 16th for birdie average. If he can have a better week on the greens (he currently ranks 71st SG: Putting), he’s in with a chance of his fifth major title.
Tiger Woods: 12/1
Woods hasn’t teed up since he made history with his 15th major title at Augusta National, but that’s not a concern for a player who regularly limited his schedule to focus around the majors. If you need further convincing, he’s played six events in 2019 and had three top 10s, a T15, T20 and T30. He was T38 the last time he teed up at Bethpage, won the 2002 U.S. Open here as the only player under par, and finished T6 in 2009. He hasn’t been particularly strong off the tee this season but has made up for it with his approach play, ranking first for GIR, 8th SG: Tee to green and 14th SG: Approach the green. Also ranks inside the top 10 for both scoring average and birdie average.
Jon Rahm: 18/1
The Spaniard is also making his first start since he finished T9 at the Masters, which was his seventh top 10 of the year. Looking for his maiden major title, and in great form heading in. Teeing up for the first time at Bethpage, and ranks 2nd SG: Off the tee, 12th Scoring average, 13th SG: Tee to green and 20th for birdie average.
Justin Rose: 18/1
Rose admitted he miscued his preparation for the Masters as he missed the cut there for the first time, but the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open champ rebounded with a third place finish at Wells Fargo – his fourth top 10 in as many starts. His track record at Bethpage isn’t overly strong (MC at ’09 U.S Open, T46 in 2012 and T31 in 2016 immediately after his win at the Olympics), but in his current form it would be silly to rule him out. Ranks 6th birdie average, 8th SG: Putting, 9th scoring average, 13th SG: Approach the green and 20th SG: Tee to green.
Rickie Fowler: 18/1
Still searching for that elusive major, but Fowler was T9 at the Masters for his second top 10 in a row, and hasn’t finished outside the top 30 in majors since the 2016 PGA Championship – so he’s definitely getting close. Claimed the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year, and has three other top 10s in 2019 – including his last two starts at the Masters and Wells Fargo. Fowler played here and missed the cut in 2009 when he was just starting his career, but was T7 when he last played Bethpage Black in 2016 and T24 in 2012. Will need to improve on his driving stats to do well this week, but he does rank 5th for scoring average, 7th for SG: Putting and 13th for birdie average.
Jason Day: 22/1
Battled with a back injury and still finished 5th at the Masters for his fourth top 10 of the year, and followed it up with a T24 at Wells Fargo. Injury always puts a question mark over Day, but he was 4th at the Barclays here in 2016, T24 in 2012, and has six consecutive top 20s in the PGA Championship – including a win in 2015 and runner-up finish in 2016.
Ranks 3rd birdie average, 5th SG: Off the tee, 11th SG: Putting and 14th scoring average.
Francesco Molinari: 25/1
After a disappointing back-nine derailed his chances at winning his second major at the Masters and his second event of the year, Molinari missed the cut at the RBC Heritage – but we’re expecting him to rebound this week. Why? Molinari still has a win and two other top 10s in his last five starts, and has statistically performed better in this major than any other: He was T6 at the 2018 PGA Championship and runner-up the year before to Justin Thomas, and also finished T26 when the U.S Open was played here in 2009 – although he did miss the cut at the 2016 Barclays. His stats do him no favours, but the Italian does rank 4th for sand save percentage – which will give him a big edge on the field here given the difficult nature of the fairway traps.
Xander Schauffele: 28/1
Schauffele’s resume is one not to be ignored as we head to the year’s second major: He’s been the runner-up twice (2018 Open and 2019 Masters), and was T6 at last year’s U.S. Open – making it three top 10s in his last four major starts. His odds are a little longer because he MC at the Players and followed up his runner-up major finish with a T63 at the RBC Heritage, but Schauffele already has two victories to his name this season and five top 10s. He ranks inside the top 20 for birdie average, scoring average, SG: Tee to green and SG: Approach the green.
PGA Championship Betting Tips: 8 other players to consider
Tommy Fleetwood: 28/1
Back in Europe last week to host the British Masters and not feeling his best, Fleetwood remained in contention until the back nine as he settled for a T8 - his third top 10 of the year and first since the Players in March. Looking for his first major and making his debut at Bethpage. Ranks 2nd for sand saves, 4th for SG: Off the tee and SG: Tee to green, 17th for scoring average and 20th for SG: Around the green.
Sergio Garcia: 40/1
Sergio Garcia might not have a great record in the PGA Championship as an event, but he is the only player in the field to have three top 10s at Bethpage Black – at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open and the 2012 Barclays (he didn’t play in 2016). Garcia also comes in to this tournament with two top-5s in his last three starts: T5 at the WGC Dell Match Play, MC at the Masters and T4 at Wells Fargo. Another player that needs a good week from the tee, but ranks 3rd SG: Approach the green and 8th for scoring average this season.
Patrick Cantlay: 40/1
Patrick Cantlay briefly led on the back-nine of the Masters but faltered to a T9 finish, yet it still proved he can contend with the best on the sunday of a major. It was his fifth top 10 of the season, and he followed it up with a T3 at the RBC Heritage. He doesn’t have any experience here but he does rank 3rd for scoring average on the PGA Tour this season, 10th for SG: Tee to green, 19th for both birdie average and SG: Around the green, and 21st for SG: Off the tee.
Paul Casey: 40/1
Having picked up a win at the Valspar and recording four other top 10s in his five prior starts to the Masters, Casey was understably among the pre-tournament favourites. However, he struggled in a way many couldn't have predicted as he missed the cut, but went on to restore his form at Wells Fargo with his sixth top 10 of the year. Played at Bethpage Black in 2016 (T31) and in 2009 (MC). Has strong stats off the tee, ranking 9th SG: Tee to green, 15th SG: Off the tee and 17th for driving accuracy, but has struggled on the greens this year. He also ranks inside the top 30 on Tour for scoring average, GIR, SG: Around the green and SG: Approach the green.
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Length might not be his strong point and it could be a disadvantage this week, but Kuchar has two runner-up finishes, a T7 and a T12 in his last four starts on Tour and is clearly in form. The real drawback here is that he doesn't have a great track record at Bethpage (T64-T38-MC-MC), so we wouldn't be backing him to win outright, but given that he ranks 2nd for GIR, 8th for driving accuracy on the PGA Tour, 7th for scoring average and 9th for SG: Approach, we reckon he's worth an each way.
Jordan Spieth: 40/1
Spieth has a chance to complete the grand slam this week, and although it's definitely a long shot, his game looks like its turned a bit of a corner. It's no secret he'd struggled over the weekend at the start of the year despite ranking 35th and 3rd for the first two rounds scoring average on Tour, but he rallied to T21 at the Masters after a bad start and carded four rounds of par or better at last week's AT&T Byron Nelson. Would need a brilliant week off the tee, but he was T10 here in 2016, and ranks 18th for birdie average and 5th for putting average.
Louis Oosthuizen: 60/1
Flying a bit under the radar, Oosthuizen posted a T2 at the Valspar and T5 at the WGC Dell Match Play before a T29 at the Masters in his last start. The 2010 Open champion was T18 at The Barclays in 2016, and T5 in 2012 - so it's clearly a course he's performed well at in the past, and was T2 when he last teed up in the PGA Championship in 2017. He'll need a strong week on the greens to be up there, and currently ranks 3rd SG: Around the green and 28th driving accuracy,
Phil Mickelson: 70/1
In the two times the U.S Open was played at Bethpage Black there was a common runner-up: Phil Mickelson. He hasn’t had the strongest form since winning at Pebble Beach in February (a best of T18 at the Masters), but as an outsider bet it’s a good one. Ranks 16th for scoring average.