Top Five 2019 PGA Championship Contenders
The PGA Championship follows in the wake of The Masters as the second golfing major of the season after being moved up the schedule for the foreseeable future.
Tiger Woods rolled backed the years, producing a brilliant performance to win his first major in 11 years to claim his fifth Green Jacket at Augusta last month.
All eyes will be on the 42-year-old as he attempts another run at a major, which would be the 16th of his career and take him to within two of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18.
However, the rest of the field will make life difficult for the American. We’ll now break down the leading contenders for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Woods produced one of the greatest sporting comebacks in history to win The Masters. It had been 11 years since the American had won a major and his best days seemed far behind him due to a spate of injuries and a lack of form.
However, he found his touch last season and was able to make solid progress to find the peak of his powers at Augusta. It was a classic performance from Woods, holding his composure on the final round where others around him failed. The 42-year-old displayed nerves of steel to finish one shot ahead of the rest of the field to don the Green Jacket for a fifth time. Expectations will be raised entering the PGA Championship – an event he has won four times.
Woods has previous success at Bethpage Black, winning the US Open at the venue in 2002. He has not competed since The Masters and the rest of the field will be desperate to remove him from the perch. Given the quick turnaround it would be a surprise to see Woods maintain his form. At the peak of his powers it may have been possible, but approach his 12/1 odds with Bet365 with caution.
The reigning PGA Championship winner will be eyeing a repeat success after claiming the crown for the first time last season. Koepka has become a force in the majors and always seems to be in contention on the final day. He finished two strokes ahead of Woods to win the tournament last term and will be desperate to earn repeat crowns as he did at the US Open in 2018.
Koepka finished tied-second behind Woods at Augusta, although he was not operating at his best. The American made uncharacteristic mistakes, which could be explained by his lack of experience at the top of the leaderboard on the final day at The Masters.
Since then, he was solid at the Zurich Classic, although a poor outing on day four knocked him and his team-mate Chase Koepka down the standings. The 29-year-old bounced back at the Byron Nelson, placing in fourth, three strokes off the lead. Koepka is always good value at the majors, especially over the last two years. His odds of 11/1 with 888Sport are a solid option for a leading contender.
The Spaniard was disappointed with his performance at The Masters, although he did finish in the top-10 – three shots off the pace of Woods. Rahm has not managed to make a breakthrough in the majors despite his ability on the course. He has all the strokes needed, although his composure at times lets him down on the big stage. His second and third rounds at Augusta were solid, but not quite good enough to make a charge to the top of the leaderboard.
Rahm delivered a brilliant performance alongside Ryan Palmer at the Zurich Classic to take the team crown – his second on the PGA Tour this season after his success in the Hero World Challenge. They finished three shots ahead of the pairing of Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood in New Orleans, handing the Spaniard momentum for the second major of the year. It’s time for Rahm to deliver on his potential and he has the form to go into Bethpage Black and emerge with the crown. Back him at odds of 20/1 with Bet365 to win the PGA Championship.
Rose was off form at The Master as he missed the cut for the final two days of the competition. It was the first time he had missed the cut since the 2017 PGA Championship. The Englishman lacked rhythm on the course and was never able to settle, resulting in his premature exit. It was a surprise given that Rose has been in excellent form on the PGA Tour this term.
He won the Farmers Insurance Open by producing a fine performance, and he followed that up with a top-10 finish at The Players Championship. His woes at Augusta did not affect his confidence and Rose was able to find his feet at the Wells Fargo Championship.
The 38-year-old was solid on day one before moving into contention for the crown by producing three impressive rounds, although it was not enough to close the gap on winner Max Homa. Rose has only won the one major, which came back in 2013 at the US Open. He’s overdue for a triumph and at odds of 20/1 with 888Sport, Rose has value for the victory.
Schauffele is one of a number of promising players that have started to make an impact on the tour this season. He has won two events, triumphing at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The 25-year-old produced a fine effort at The Masters to push Woods all the way, although he was one of a crop of players that finished one stroke off the pace in tied-second. It was his second second-place finish in his fledgling career, displaying an excellent pedigree in the leading competitions.
Schauffele was off form last time out at the RBC Heritage, ending the tournament five-over. The American is still striving for consistency from week-to-week, but he appears to have an appetite for the majors. Whether he can produce that one defining round on the big stage to claim the title remains to be seen. At 28/1 with Bet365 he has exceptional value and it would not be a surprise to see him in the running for the crown come the fourth day of the competition once again.
Jon Rahm To Win PGA Championship
Thursday May 16th 2019 – Sunday May 19th 2019
- Brooks Koepka
- John Rahm
- Justin Rose
- PGA Championship
- Tiger Woods
- Xander Schauffele