The US PGA Championship is one of four major golf majors which are held on an annual basis. It is staged a numerous locations around the USA, and was first established in 1916. It is a hugely popular betting event amongst golf fans.
This world-famous golf tournament has recently moved from mid-August to May. It was formerly played on the weekend prior to Labor Day, and was the last of the four majors on the calendar. However, from 2019 onwards, the US PGA will be competed in mid-May prior to Memorial Day. As a result, it is now the second major of the year. This has divided opinion amongst golf fanatics. The cooler climate was cited as one of the major reasons for this change. It is also widely rumoured that the PGA were concerned that the tournament was competing with too many other sporting events in August.
The tournament was moved to July in 2016 to accomodate the Olympics, whilst in 1971, it was held in late- February as a one-off.
It is one of the richest events on the golfing calendar with $11 million on prize money available. The first winner of the event in 1916 pocketed just $500, although he did receive a diamond-studded gold medal to mark his success. The winning player will be awarded the Wanamaker Trophy, and they will get to keep a replica of this for twelve months (a smaller size). It is named after Rod Wanamaker, who was one of the key men in getting the tournament off the ground in New York.
Although the location of the USPGA will vary, it is generally held in the eastern half of the USA. At the time of writing (Aug 2019), it’s been 21 years since the tournament was held in the west. It was also held in California back in 1995. In 2020, the tournament will head west, and will be played in the Bay Area of California for the first time. Other future locations for the US PGA include Bedminster, New Jersey and Louisville in Kentucky. The locations for the major are decided years in advance with the PGA Frisco in Texas having already been selected for 2027.
Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania have been the most popular locations to stage this tournament. The Southern Hills Country Club has held the event on four occasions, with the last being in 2007.
After a number of format changes over the years, the tournament organisers decided that the USPGA should become a standard 72-hole format, staged across four days. This was introduced in 1958, and it has stayed this way ever since. Like all golf majors, it is held Thursday-Sunday.
The US PGA is the only major which does not explicitly invite leading amateur competitors to play in the tournament. It reserves a large number of places for club professionals. The winners of the five US Opens and Masters will be automatically invited to compete, whilst the lowest 20 scorers in last year’s tournament will also be granted entry. Any members of the US Ryder Cup team will also be allowed to play in this tournament alongside the last three winners of the Players Championship.
The total number of players to begin the tournament will be 156. A list of reserves will also be drawn up in the event of any late withdrawals or injuries.
Jim Barnes was the first winner of the tournament back in 1916, and he was also successful when the US PGA returned after the conclusion of World War I. Jim Ferrier was the first Australian player to be successful in 1947, he was also the first non-US player to triumph. Four years later, Sam Snead became the first player to secure three US PGA titles in 1951.
Dow Finsterwald was the first player to be victorious following the format change in 1958, he ended on -4 at Llanerch Country Club in Pennsylvania. The first play-off took place three years later with Jerry Barber coming out on top. Jack Nicklaus’ first success in the US PGA arrived in 1963. He was also victorious in 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1980. He remains the most decorated player in this tournament, and he has also finished as a runner-up on four occasions.
The tournament has never been won by an English player, although Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was successful here in 2012 and 2014. Padraig Harrington, representing the Republic of Ireland was victorious in 2008. Martin Kaymer became the first German to succeed in the US PGA in 2010. Brooks Koepka is the current champion, and he will be aiming for his fourth success in 2020. He beat Dustin Johnson by two strokes earlier this year. The American boasts the lowest absolute 72-hole score with a total of 264 back in 2018.
Why is it so Popular?
The US PGA is one of the four majors on the calendar and provides both dedicated and fair-weather golf fans with the opportunity to see the best golfers in the world compete on the same course.
With the tournament changing location each, it is a good chance to see which golfers will cope with the various undulations and difficulties that each course can potentially throw up.
What Betting Opportunities Are Available?
Loads! The bookmakers will price up numerous markets several months in advance, and there are lots of special offers, extra places and additional betting options during the run-up to the event. Many bookies will also introduce live in-play betting once the tournament gets underway, and this is a great way of following the event.
Key Betting Markets
Tournament/Championship Winner – This is the simplest betting market available, and it gives punters the chance to predict which player will be successful at the tournament. This player must finish clear of the rest of the field in order to receive a pay-out.
Race Winning Margin – This is another popular market in which players can predict the proximity of the finish. In this market, punters can decide whether they believe it will go to a play-off, or whether the winner will prevail by 1 shot, 2 shots or more.
To Make the Cut / To Not Make the Cut – This market will ask players to predict which players will have a successful first two days, and avoid an early exit. Most of the top 70 players will make it through, although there is always some value in backing a well-fancied player to make an unceremonious exit at this stage.
Winning Nationality – Although this tournament tends to be dominated by players from the US, it is possible to predict the nationality of the player who comes out on top.
Top 10/Top 20 Finish – A fairly simple market to get your head around. It is possible to back a player to finish in the top 10 positions, or perhaps even sneak a top 20 finish. This is a particularly handy for backing unfancied players who are going through a purple patch.
Top European Player – This market allows punters to predict which European player will be ranked the highest. Your selected competitor doesn’t neccessarily need to win the tournament, but they must finish above all other European entrants.
Top Australian Player – Same as above, but with Australian players. This tends to be a smaller field, and the odds will reflect this.
Match Bet – Match bets are an excellent way of betting on the tournament without committing to the winner. Punters must decide which of two selected players will achieve the higher finish. The bookmakers will decide which two players will be paired together.
2/3-Balls – These are often good live in-play markets which will be available with the majority of bookmakers. This allows punters to try and predict which player will achieve the lowest score across this particular set of 18-holes.
Bobby’s Big Betting Tips for the US PGA
Sometimes It’s Best to Focus on Other Markets – Although it is tempting to try and find the winner of the US PGA, it is sometimes advised to have a look at the alternative markets. Backing a player for a top five or top ten finish is a much safer way of betting, and although you’ll be kicking yourself if they prevail, you’ll never be left sweating about the prospect of them suddenly losing confidence on the final day. Top nationality markets are another good way of approaching the tournament. The bookies have so many markets available pre-tournament, it can sometimes pay to spend an extra few minutes assessing your options.
Always Check the Weather Forecast – Although the tournament has been moved earlier in the calendar to enable cooler conditions, the weather can still be fairly unpredictable at times. This can often affect certain players more than others. Locally-based players tend to take this in their stride, whilst European players will often take a few hours to acclimatise. This should be considered before placing any wager.
Long Hitters Have a Good Record in This Event – Every course in different, and the first trip to the Bay Area in 2020 will throw up some question markets over this piece of advice, however long-hitters do seem to possess a terrific record in the event. Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Brooks Koepka all fall into this category. Jason Duffner was successful in 2013 when the course was tighter, and required a more orderly approach, however generally speaking, those who can get the distance tend to do well in this major.
Where Can I Watch the US PGA?
Sky Sports will have full coverage of the US PGA in the UK throughout the four days.