Nine things you need to know about the PGA Championship – the first major of 2020


1. Is the US PGA still going ahead?

It looks like a goer. Public health officials in San Francisco have approved plans to hold the US PGA Championship without spectators at TPC Harding Park, from August 6-9. The PGA of America had hoped to host up to 40,000 fans per day. Instead, they intend to adopt the PGA Tour’s safety protocols, which include testing players, caddies and officials daily, and creating a “bubble” to limit exposure.

2. Will Covid-19 affect the field?

Yes. Travel and quarantine restrictions will mean many players not based in the States will struggle to get to California. Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell have already said they won’t be going, which is good news for the European Tour and the ‘UK Swing’.

3. Has Harding Park hosted a major before?

The PGA Championship will be its first. The public course was actually a regular PGA Tour venue until 1969 when it fell into a sharp decline. The low point came when it was used as a car park for the 1998 US Open at the nearby Olympic Club.

4. What changed?

The course was renovated and extended by more than 400 yards in 2002-2003, at a cost
of $16 million.

Since then, it’s hosted two WGCs, the 2009 Presidents Cup and the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship on the PGA Tour Champions three times.

It’s also been chosen to host the 2025 Presidents Cup.

5. What can we expect to see?

Not much. The rescheduled date in August (locally known as “Fogust”) is typically one of the coolest and foggiest months in San Francisco. The fairways are no wider than 30 yards and are framed by four-inch rough and Cypress trees.

The closing stretch does favour the big hitters, though, and includes a driveable par-4 16th, plus a 480-yard sweeping dog-leg around Lake Merced to finish.

"It’s a big boy golf course," says defending champion Brooks Koepka. "You have to be able to hit it long. It’s very difficult. I think it will be a great finish. You look at the back nine there, starting on about 13, 14, it gets really interesting. It will be exciting, especially if it’s close on Sunday. I think those holes set up for quite a few disasters and some good golf."

Brooks Koepka is hoping to win his third straight PGA Championship

6. The conditions probably won’t suit Tiger, then?

Possibly not, but then he did beat John Daly there in a play-off to win the WGC-American Express Championship in 2005. He also went 5-0 to help the US team defend the 2009 Presidents Cup.

7. What do the bookies say?

Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending champion, is the second favourite to lift the Wanamaker Trophy, behind Rory McIlroy who won the 2015 WGC-Match Play at Harding Park.

Interestingly, you can get odds as high as 40-1 for Jordan Spieth to end a three-year winless run and complete the career grand slam.

8. Has anyone ever won three US PGAs in a row?

Walter Hagen won four straight nearly 100 years ago, but that was when the format was matchplay.

On the PGA Tour, there hasn’t been a three-peat since Steve Stricker dominated the John Deere Classic from 2009-11. In fact, only nine men have pulled off the feat since World War II.

The last golfer to do so in a Major was Australian Peter Thomson at the 1954-56 Open Championships.

Peter Thomson was the last man to win the same major three times in a row

9. Where can I watch it?

Live coverage and highlights will be shown on Sky Sports.