Picking a PGA championship winner

After passing over the start dates for two tournaments, and bidding adieu to a third for the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, golf’s major championships are finally ready to begin teeing it up.

Brooks Koepka won the last two PGA Championship titles. Photo by: Peetlesnumber1 (Wikimedia).

The first stop is the event that for decades was the final leg of golf’s annual Grand Slam, the PGA Championship. This 72-hole event is slated for Aug. 6-9 at TPC Harding Park. It will mark the first time in the tournament’s history that it’s been held in San Francisco. It will also be the first golf major to be held at a TPC property, and the fourth time it’ll be played at a municipally-owned golf course.

The U.S. Open, normally slated for Father’s Day weekend, will this year take place Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The Masters, which traditionally launches major season in April, this year will be held as the final major. The world’s best golfers will gather at Georgia’s Augusta National from Nov. 12-15.

The Open Championship, also known as the British Open, was postponed for 2020. It will return to the schedule next year.

For decades, the PGA Championship was always held in August, a last gasp of summer and the conclusion of golf’s major campaign. It was moved to July in 2016 so as not to clash with the Summer Olympics. The following year, the PGA opted to relocate the PGA permanently to a slot in May. This year’s tournament was originally supposed to be held May 14-17.

It’s anticipated that the field will include 16 former winners of the PGA Championship. But which golf betting strategy should you employ when seeking out a winner? Who are this year’s leading contenders?

What are the chances that an old hand is going to add his name yet again to the Wanamaker Trophy? Will a newcomer fashion a Cinderella story and capture his initial PGA Championship title?

Old Hands

They’ve been there and done that at the PGA Championship. Would anyone be surprised to see them win it again?

Rory McIlory

When the weather heats up, so does McIlory’s game. The smooth ball striker from Northern Ireland always seems to be at his best in the warmth of the summer months.

He’s a two-time winner of the PGA Championship (2012, 2014). As well, McIlroy has tasted previous success on this layout. He was the winner of the PGA Tour’s 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park.

Brooks Koepka

Talk about a money player. Koepka shows seven PGA Tour victories on his resume and more than half of them – four in total, were earned at majors.

Koepka won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019. That made him the first golfer in the history of the sport to hold back-to-back titles in two majors simultaneously.

Justin Thomas

Thomas won the 2017 PGA Championship. He followed that up with a tie for sixth in 2018.

However, a lingering wrist injury forced him to withdraw from last year’s event.

Keep An Eye On These Guys

Any one of these players could capture their first major.

Xander Schauffele

Schauffele has been all around the leaderboard of major championships without tasting victory. Last year, he was second in the Masters and third in the U.S. Open. In 2018, he was the U.S. Open runner up.

He shows four top fives and five top ten finishes in major tournaments. However, the major event he’s enjoyed the least success in is the PGA Championship. Schauffele’s best finish is a tie for 16th.

Tony Finau

Finau is the opposite of Where’s Waldo? You almost always know where to find him. The American golfer has finished in the top 10 of a PGA tournament 30 times since his last victory in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.

There’s the rub, though. While Finau is forever in the hunt, he also seems to be forever waiting to claim that next title. There’s even a song parody about Finau’s inability to close the deal.

Bryson DeChambeau

DeChambeau is one of five players in golf history to win the NCAA Championship and U.S. Amateur in the same year. He did so in 2015. He’s won six PGA Tour events.

However, majors haven’t been kind to this rising star. DeChambeau’s best finish in a major is a tie for 15th at the 2016 U.S. Open. He’s missed the cut at the past two PGA Championships.

Collin Morikawa

Morikawa began his PGA Tour career with 22 consecutive cuts made. That’s the second-longest streak to start a career after the 25 cuts made by Tiger Woods.

His lone major appearance was a tie for 35th at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Jon Rahm

The world’s current No. 1-ranked player, a win earlier this month in the Memorial Tournament moved Rahm to the top of the world golf standings.

Though he has three top fives and seven top 10 finishes, Rahm still seeks his first win in a major. In 2018, he was fourth at the Masters and tied for fourth in the PGA. Last year, Rahm tied for third in the U.S. Open and tied for ninth at the Masters.

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