2019 PGA Championship Preview

By Troy Klongerbo
May 13, 2019

2019 PGA Championship Preview:  Strong Field Makes for Intriguing Week

I know I’m happy about the PGA Championship’s move to May. Anyone else?

A vastly improved TV viewing schedule (some estimate a 25% increase) and a more cohesive major championship schedule makes for a firm home for the future of golf’s fourth major (sorry, PGA people.)

I, for one, approve.

Back to Long Island we go for the first time in major championship play since 2009, where NYC hosted the rain-soaked Lucas Glover U.S. Open. Since, the famously treacherous Bethpage Black has hosted two other PGA Tour events—both the 2012 and 2016 Barclays event in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Prior to that, the 2002 U.S. Open.

For historical reference, let’s take a look at the final leaderboards of the previous championships held at Bethpage Black:

I am going to be using each of these as reference throughout my picks for the upcoming championship.

This year’s PGA promises a strong field, too. Stronger than the PLAYERS? Well…

2019 PGA Championship Preview

This week, I expect a strong cast of bombers making their presence known on the Bethpage leaderboards. The course is to play difficult — per usual, given their sign— but tournament officials do not plan to prominently display “U.S. Open type” roughs.

So with tight fairways and intimidating bunkering throughout the park, accuracy will still be valuable, but the long misses will have the distinct advantage.

The event promises to reward ball strikers.

Without further ado, a few picks for this week’s event.  But first…

2019 PGA Championship Odds

Looks like Vegas likes Tiger Woods to take a second straight major, which would no doubt drum up “Tiger Slam” talk.  Here are the current odds as of 5/13/2019:

Tiger Woods 8-1
Dustin Johnson 10-1
Rory McIlroy 12-1
Brooks Koepka 10-1
Justin Thomas 16-1
Rickie Fowler 16-1
Jon Rahm 18-1
Justin Rose 18-1
Francesco Molinari 20-1
Bryson DeChambeau 25-1
Jason Day 25-1
Xander Schauffele 25-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Jordan Spieth 30-1
Tony Finau 30-1
Matt Kuchar 40-1
Patrick Reed 40-1
Hideki Matsuyama 40-1
Patrick Cantlay 40-1
Paul Casey 50-1
Phil Mickelson 50-1
Adam Scott 50-1

PGA Championship Horses

Jason Day

The 31-year old comes into the week in what could be called moderate form, but has played well in all of the big events so far in 2019.

A 5th at Augusta, an 8th at the PLAYERS, and two other top-5s early in the season has him trending in a way that encourages optimism.

Whatever stock is available on Day this week, I’ll look to purchase it.

Day has proven himself on difficult venues throughout his career. He’s an annual threat at the U.S. Open and when the conditions

“I like the stressful part of about playing a tough tournament in front of a lot of people,” said Jason at the 2018 U.S. Open, also played in New York.

A Sunday 69 at the 2016 Barclays wasn’t enough for him to catch eventual champion Patrick Reed, but it was enough to prove his comfortability on the island.

Patrick Reed

Three of his past 6 major championship appearances have yielded top-5 finishes, including a 2nd at the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow. And as you’ll hear throughout the week, he won on this course the last time an event was hosted here in 2016 in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

So far in 2019, Reed has lost strokes off the tee with his driver, but he’s been good around the greens, good on the greens, and good in scoring.

Not to mention, that recently on long golf courses (north of 7400+), Reed’s SG: Tee-to-Green has been ranked consistently inside the top-5 on Tour.

Reed recently started feeling his game more and I think he’ll ride his way into some solid play given venue vibes.

Patrick Cantlay

I’m not finished with the Patricks yet.  

How soon we forget it was Cantlay who almost spoiled our idyllic Tiger Woods Masters triumph last month?

His insane weekend run where he played a 33-hole stretch from Saturday to Sunday in 14-under par had him vaulted all the way to the top of the leaderboard.

He’s that type of player when he plays well.

A stealthy climb to 17th in the OWGR, Cantlay is the sort of player with star potential and talent, but an under-the-radar public appeal.

Bethpage Black will play to a par-70 this week, meaning there will be 12 par fours on the course. Who is ranked number 1 on the PGA Tour in par-4 scoring for 2019? You guessed it — Patrick Cantlay.

He is ranked third in hole proximity from 150-175 yards and from 175-200, he’s 13th. Those bode well for this week.

Cantlay is a player I’ll be giving some love this week and I suggest you consider doing the same.

Sergio Garcia

Has he won on the PGA Tour since his 2017 Masters win? Well, no.

And just last fall, he missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs, finishing 128th in the standings—just behind Tyrone Van Aswegen and Martin Piller.

So it hasn’t been the best of times for Sergio the past 24 months.   

But a 4th-place finish just two weeks ago at Quail Hollow follows a 2nd at the Zurich and a nice showing at the Match Play in March. These showings indicate his form represents that of a player who will channel strong play this week. Especially given his track record at Bethpage Black.

In three appearances at Bethpage since 2002, Sergio has three top-10 finishes.

Another run in New York for Sergio? I’ll be giving that serious thought.

Keith Mitchell

 

This Georgia Bulldog has put in his early bid for breakthrough player of 2019 so far, after capturing his first PGA Tour win at the Honda back in March.

From what I know of Mitchell, he’s an excellent overall ball striker (25th on the Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green) with the capacity to take on the difficult courses on Tour.

Mitchell’s game just feels like a fit this week.

There is always that player that comes from nowhere, gets a win, finds contention a few times, and before you know it, finds himself playing really well in a major, riding the wave of confidence.

I think it’s Mitchell and I think he could play well and cinch a top-15 or top-20 finish.

2019 PGA Championship Winner

Tommy Fleetwood

 

Few players in the world fit the term “classic ball striker” better in today’s game than Tommy Fleetwood. And that hair — just beautiful.

His close calls with major championships will end this week, as Bethpage Black will witness their first non-American champion in the course’s major event history.

Your 2019 PGA champion will be Tommy Fleetwood. He’s my chalk this week.

Factor number one lies in the form Fleetwood carries into the event.

His 2019 season has been a strong one so far with great finishes at the PLAYERS and Bay Hill. He’s played mighty well overseas, as well.

Bethpage is a fit for a player like Tommy Fleetwood. A penal golf courses which requires precision with the ball striking and an ability to strike irons to hold elevated greens consistently, that’s Tommy Fleetwood.

The 28-year old has verified he’s one of those great players who marries distance off the tee with accuracy.

If he can get it rolling on the greens like Sunday at last year’s U.S. Open, watch out.

In fact, do watch out. He’ll be the guy this week.

There you have it.

Enjoy the golf from Long Island and remember to enjoy PGA Championship golf in May.

Lock it down, Tommy!

2019 PGA Championship: USGolfTV Staff Picks

Todd Kolb:  Brooks Koepka – “The most consistent player in the majors over the last few years is due to win again. Tiger may have taken the green jacket, but Brooks is the best driver in the game which will be the key ingredient to playing well at Bethpage Black..”

Nick Anson:  Jon Rahm – “He’s currently 2nd in Strokes Gained off the tee this season, 20th in Driving Distance and 9th overall in Strokes Gained.  If he starts rolling in some putts, the Wanamaker is his for the taking.”

Tyler Prins:  Tiger Woods“After picking Tiger Woods to win the Masters and being correct how do I NOT pick him to win the US Open.  I’m sticking with Tiger this week to win. All eyes are going to be on Tiger as they should be.”

Jordan Knowlton:  Rickie Fowler – “Feels like he is ready to get a win and at 16-1 along with Justin Thomas, it feels like he is a little undervalued.

Sam Vosler:  Rory McIlroy“The guy has been lurking for quite some time for another shot at a major. The guy is a bomber and if he can get the driver going, it starts to trickle confidence into his ball striking. More birdie opportunities is always a good thing. Look out for Rors to have a chance to win it on Sunday.”

Who Do You Think Wins the 2019 PGA Championship?

Do you agree with our picks?  Do you have another golfer who you favor?  Let us know in the comments!  We love hearing from our community and want to know who you like to win the 2018 Open Championship.  So don’t be shy, give us your picks!

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