August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park – San Francisco, California
Par 70, 7234 yards
There was a time in 2020 that we thought there would be no major championship golf but happily, the USPGA has managed to stage the 102nd edition of their major championship. Held at TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, and close to its old schedule date on the PGA Tour, the only real difference to normal will be no spectators. TPC Harding Park hosted the 2009 Presidents Cup, the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship (Tiger Woods winner), and the 2015 WGC World Matchplay (Rory McIlroy winner). Encompassed on three sides by Lake Merced the course set up is usually tight tree-lined fairways to Poa-Annua greens surround in a classical bunkering style. Looking at the weather forecast 20mph wind gusts are expected to add a new dimension for what might already be a challenging week for the players.
Can Brooks Koepka Win a Consecutive Hat-Trick of US PGA Championships for the First Time Since Walter Hagan in 1926?
That would be a huge ask in the modern-day game and probably a record that may never be broken. Looking at previous results at Harding Park, Brooks Koepka certainly should be suited by the course but his form in 2020 so far has been way below his best. That did change last week at the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational where he performed with promise at a venue that previously held good memories. If that has rebuilt some of the lost confidence it could be perfect timing for Koepka.
Tiger Woods and Rory Mcilroy Are Course Winners. Can We Expect Them to Win This Week?
Tiger Woods is having only his second start since the Covid-19 hiatus and only his fourth tournament of 2020 but I am not prepared to rule him out this week. He will have used the Memorial Tournament a couple of weeks ago as preparation and considering it was the most brutal test of golf on the PGA Tour since the resumption he performed creditably, finishing in 40th. We know Woods plays off a light schedule in the modern day and like last year when he won The Masters if he appears in contention his class could win the tournament against players who don’t find closing tournaments as easy as the Big Cat.
Rory McIlroy has struggled for form since the PGA resumption and has not managed a top 10 finish since which is an indication his drop in level when you consider he had a 75% strike-rate for top 10 finishes in the previous twenty tournaments. Last week at the WGC St Jude Invitational he did change his putter and it remains to be seen if that is the springboard for some improved form.
US PGA Championship Banker
Daniel Berger has been a model of consistency all year, pre-Covid, and post-Covid it improved again when winning the Charles Schwab Challenge on resumption. In total, he has accumulated six top 10 finishes in nine tournaments this year and worthy of selection this week in San Francisco
South African, Louis Oosthuizen is slowly coming back to his usual solid form after the resumption and last week’s 6th place finish at the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational was his first top 10 since the opening two weeks of the 2020 European Tour season. He has been unusually out of form since the resumption of golf but he also played promisingly in the Matchplay at Harding Park in 2015 to draw on this week as well. As always Louis is a solid place pick this week and worthy of our Banker bet in the top 20 markets.
Readers of my column will remember last year we backed Sung Kang to win Top Rest of World market and he duly obliged with a little final round help from Jazz Janewattananond. Sung Kang played significantly better than his finishing position last week and is a player who thrives on classic tough tests of golf as his form at Riviera Country Club illustrates. He has the look of a small stake bet in this week’s top 20 markets.
PGA Championship Banker:
PGA Championship Pick:
- Daniel Berger – Top 10 @ +350
- Sung Kang – Top 20 @ +1000
US PGA Championship Betting Picks and Predictions
Two Englishman performed well back in the Matchplay of 2015 at the course. Tommy Fleetwood who was runner up in the 2019 Open Championship and former Masters winner Danny Willett. Fleetwood delayed his post-Covid-19 comeback until a couple of weeks ago at the 3M Open while Willett has been out in the States since the resumption. Willett shone in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and followed up with a strong effort at the Memorial Tournament where he had the worst of the conditions during the opening two rounds. A dreadful final round dropped Willett down to a finishing position of 32nd but he should take heart from his opening three rounds and he is a proven major championship winner.
When thinking about Tommy Fleetwood I cannot help but remember the fantastic dual he had at with Shane Lowry at the Open Championship. Lowry played with promise last week in Memphis finishing in the top 10 for the first time since PGA Tour resumption and with the forecast 20mph wind gusts this week looks a perfect opportunity with his optimum conditions to suit for the Irishman to land a second major championship.
Australian Jason Day has also been a model of consistency in 2020 apart from a wobble around the Covid hiatus. Noticeably the last three weeks on tour at Muirfield Village and last week at TPC Southwind he has accumulated three consecutive top 10s. I say noticeably because previously these are venues where he has struggled by his high standards in previous seasons. Those high standards are illustrated by his outstanding PGA Championship record that has one victory and five top 10s during the last decade. He is an obvious pick this week for a second major and PGA Championship.
US PGA Championship picks
|Tiger Woods – Win @ +2800|
|Shane Lowry – Win @ +5000|
|Shane Lowry – Top 10 @ +600|
|Jason Day – Win @ +3300|
|Jason Day – Top 10 @ +350|
PGA Championship Longshot
One player who figured prominently in the Matchplay and back in the American Express is South African, Charl Schwartzel. He missed most of 2019 through wrist injury but has been gradually working his way back to form this year on the PGA Tour. In ten starts he has missed six cuts but the four cuts he has made have been profitable with the highlights being a third last time out at the 3M Open and a 5th at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Let’s not forget Schwartzel is a major championship winner back in 2011 at the Masters and has the belief and class to pop up at a big price. He looks a no brainer selection as our longshot selection this week in San Francisco.
US PGA Championship Longshot:
- Charl Schwartzel – Win @ +15000
- Charl Schwartzel – Top 10 @ +1600