Best read with a coconut water-based sports drink.
It has been 10 years, but a major championship is back at Bethpage Black. The world’s best have all convened on Long Island this week for the 101st edition of the PGA Championship. Brooks Koepka returns to defend his title, Tiger plays for the first time since the Masters, and the infamous New York fans are ready for their close up.
The return to May has been highly debated, but the time has come and the PGA Championship will get underway on Thursday. Justin Thomas is the only player in the top 100 of the OWGR that will miss the event (wrist injury). Add in some potential weather, and the 2019 PGA Championship promises to be a memorable one.
It was major #3 for Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship. Brooksy started Sunday with a two stroke lead, made six birdies over the final round, and won his third major championship amidst a whole lot of hoopla at Bellerive. That hoopla was Tiger Woods. Last year’s PGA Championship was monumental for Koepka, but it will always be remembered for Tiger’s Sunday charge. Starting the day four shots off the lead, Tiger shot a Sunday 64 and was within reach of the lead on the back nine, but was unable to catch the unflappable Koepka. It was a day for the ages that helped mask the boring nature of the rest of the event (The rest of the week kind of sucked if we are all being honest).
Bethpage Black is a serious test of championship golf. It is narrow, long, and has lush rough this week. All reports from the grounds are that the greens are fast and will require a high ball flight in order to hold. This type of test will eliminate a lot of the field, and you can expect a long, high-ball flight player to win this week.
Other than the course, the top story is Tiger. The dude hasn’t played since his Masters win (still not a dream) and has won a major at Bethpage Black. He’ll have to be incredibly accurate off the tee, but there is no reason to think he cannot compete for his 16th major this week.
Along with Tiger, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy are listed as the favorites this week, as they should. World #1, #3, and #4 respectably, all three have the style of play to win this week. Rory has not won a major in five years, but his recent play is more than trending.
Xander Schauffele is flying a little under the radar as we head into the PGA Championship. X already has two wins on the 2018-2019 season, and has finished inside the top 6 in half of his first eight major championships.
The weather is forecasted to be pretty solid this week, but it will be something we have to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses. Moving the event to May brings many southern courses into the fray, but it also makes some of the northern venues a little dicey. Players have been practicing in 40 and 50 degree temperatures for the early part of the week, which could add additional length to an already long golf course.
A wet and narrow setup awaits golfers at Bethpage Black. Here’s who Paulie likes at this week’s PGA Championship.
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Justin Thomas released a statement on Monday after withdrawing from the PGA Championship. JT sighted a recent wrist injury and said he is just not ready for tournament play.
Tiger and Brooks Koepka had some fantastic soundbites during their Tuesday press conferences. Tiger quipped about his broken leg while talking John Dalyand Koepka thinks that majors are the easiest events for him to win.
The Web.com Tour is in Knoxville, TN this week for the Knoxville Open. Players are in all-out grind mode as the tour plays 20 events in 20 weeks through the rest of the summer. Tee Times
There is one round left for the NCAA men regional events on Wednesday. Follow along with the drama as teams attempt to earn their births into the NCAA Championship in Arkansas.
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Episode: 138: Geoff Ogilvy – 2019 PGA Championship, Bethpage Black, Brooks Koepka and more
The second half of Andy’s latest conversation with Geoff Ogilvy centers in on the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage. Geoff gives his thoughts on the new schedule and the PGA’s place in golf. They then discuss Brooks Koepka and his unbelievable run in majors and public perception. They close with a discussion on Bethpage Black, what type of players will succeed and what makes it a special venue. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify.
Live from B. Draddy HQ: PGA Championship preview
We return for this Wednesday edition with a special live recording with an audience at B. Draddy’s Manhattan headquarters. We start by running through the schedule for the week, which leads us into a discussion of whether the governing bodies need to get on the same page together and whether that will ever be possible. Our PGA preview begins by addressing two of the favorites this week, Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka. We get into Tiger’s choice to take the last month off and how it might pay off at Bethpage. Then we get to Brooksy’s comments that the majors are actually the easiest to win, and his calculus for eliminating most of the field before it even starts. We then move to this week’s host course, discussing our favorite and least favorite aspects of Bethpage and whether it’s more of a USGA or PGA venue. Then we are joined by Billy Draddy to make some PGA picks, discuss New York golf, players getting their own logos, and Bethpage’s Warning Sign brand. We wrap with a discussion on some fun tee times to watch the first couple rounds at the PGA, including the fascinating “Cart Boy” and Beemer duo. Listen on iTunes, Stitcheror Spotify
From YE Yang, to Rory, to Ben Curtis, to Brooks Koepka, a lot has happened in recent PGA Championships. Read Will Knights’ article breaking down the most memorable PGAs over the last 11 years.