The top 100 players in the World Golf Rankings will tee it up next week at Bethpage Black for the 101st PGA Championship. But this years major will be played in May for the first time since 1948 after being the fourth and final major in August in previous years.
Beyond the calendar and weather change, the tournament is garnering greater interest in the betting market.
Following Tiger Woods historic victory at The Masters last month to win his 5th green jacket, sportsbooks are offering even more promotions and proposition wagers on Woods. And after a bettor from Wisconsin won $1.2 million on Woods’ memorable Masters victory with an $85,000 win wager at 14-1 odds, many more fans and bettors are following the odds, match-ups and players on the PGA Tour.
Woods’ Masters win buried many sportsbooks, but Tigers triumph has added to the excitement and betting interest in golf, which includes fantasy golf contests and pools. When a bettor scores big, it adds to the experience and engagement that the PGA Tour will build upon for greater interest in golf.
More big bets have come in on Woods, including $100,000 to win $10 million by the same bettor that cashed in on Tiger’s Masters win. The bettor is shooting for an even bigger score if Woods can win all four majors this year and capture the Grand Slam.
James Adducci, the bettor who won $1.19 million off an $85,000 bet on Tiger Woods to win the Masters is back at it.
He placed a $100,000 bet at 100-1 odds this afternoon on Tiger to win the Grand Slam this year at William Hill’s SLS sportsbook.
The bet would win $10 million.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) May 8, 2019
PGA Championship Betting Favorites
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In addition to the stellar field of world class golfers playing in the PGA Championship, 20 PGA Professionals earned their way to the 2019 PGA Championship including six club pros from New York or New Jersey.
Course Setup at Bethpage Black
I reached out to Kerry Haigh of the PGA of America for some insight on Bethpage Black and how the course will be setup and play. Kerry is the Chief Championship Officer responsible for the operation, administration and course setup for the PGA Championship.
- How similar/different will the course play given that the event is now in May rather than August?
This is very dependent upon the weather conditions. It is likely that the course will play more difficult in May than it would have in August due to the fact that the health of the grasses is significantly better in May, and we may have stronger winds and more moderate air temperatures which will also make it more challenging. The fairways, roughs and greens are all actively growing (in the spring), whereas in August they are struggling to stay alive due to the heat and humidity.
- How big of an impact will that have on the tournament and course? Is it beneficial to golfers and the course that it’s earlier on the calendar?
Kerry: There will certainly be less wear and tear on the course with the Championship being played in May versus August. Bethpage is one of the very best public golf courses in the world and as a result it attracts lots of golfers. We are excited to be able to play our PGA Championship on a true public golf course that is open to everyone.
• How similar/different do you think the course will play compared to those two U.S. Opens (2002, 2009) and the two times it has hosted the Barclays (2012, 2016)?
Kerry: We were not involved with those events, but the US Opens were not blessed with good weather. In fact they had a lot of rain on both occasions, so it likely did not play the way the USGA wanted it to play which is part of running any Major Championship.
- What renovations/enhancements have been done to the course since it last hosted an event to get it ready for the PGA Championship?
Kerry: The only significant changes to the golf course since the US Open are as follows:
➢ The greens on holes #3 and #14 were re-grassed due to some agronomic challenges they faced. The contours on hole #3 were not altered while the green shape on hole #14 were adjusted to modify the rear tier of the putting surface and also add a front left area of the green to allow for additional hole locations.
➢ The green on hole #11 was modified in the back left to allow for additional hole locations and provide a greater variety of shot selection and hole locations for the week of the Championship.
➢ The fairway contours on hole #18 were modified and the bunkers adjusted to allow players to have more options from the tee to hit a driver or less club at their choice/risk.
- How thick or how high do you anticipate the rough being, and how narrow the fairways?
Kerry: The fairway widths we have not adjusted at all since the last events that have been played there.
Our plan is for the rough to be 3 1/2 to 4 inches long, and again, the anticipation based on what we saw the last two springtimes is that it should be pretty healthy and growing fairly quickly. So it will be a challenge, and it will be pretty tough if you get into it.
- What will the premium be on for these players in terms of driving. approach shots, putting, etc.
Kerry: The fairways are not overly wide or generous, so I think there’s certainly going to be a premium on keeping the ball on the fairway and keeping it straight from the tee and then obviously good iron play into the greens. The greens themselves, they are generally not over-severe. I think the slopes are, I would say, sort of middle to, from a slope standpoint, not — other than two or three greens have some significant movement. The rest of the greens have more gentle movement, more subtle movement, which we allow for possibly quick speed of greens. I think there will be certainly more of a premium on driving than some other venues due to the fairways and due to the health of the rough.
- What hole(s) do you think will play as the most difficult at the PGA Championship?
There are a number of very difficult and challenging holes at Bethpage Black. We would anticipate holes 7, 10, 12 and 15 will all test the best players in the world (7, 10 & 12 are all Par 4’s longer than 500 yards).
There are 76 bunkers, so to keep out of the bunkers is certainly something you want to do. Otherwise your green-side bunker shots are pretty long bunker shots.
Our aim is to set the golf course up so the best players in the world can show their skills on what is truly a great golf course.
Key stats and categories to consider for contenders at Bethpage
Here are some of the pairings and tee times Thursday and Friday featuring the best players. Current world golf rankings in parentheses
(* Denotes 10th Tee Start)
7:40 AM* 1:05 PM Sergio Garcia (26) Justin Thomas (5) Adam Scott (27)
7:51 AM* 1:16 PM Charley Hoffman (68) Louis Oosthuizen (21) Patrick Reed (19)
8:02 AM* 1:27 PM Rickie Fowler (10) Bubba Watson (18) Justin Rose (2)
8:13 AM* 1:38 PM Xander Schauffele (9) Hideki Matsuyama (29) Alex Noren (32)
8:24 AM* 1:49 PM Brooks Koepka (3) Francesco Molinari (7) Tiger Woods (6) (3 recent major winners)
12:43 PM 7:18 AM* Tony Finau (12) Billy Horschel (41) Ian Poulter (28)
12:54 PM 7:29 AM* Matt Fitzpatrick (33) Rafa Cabrera Bello (31) Gary Woodland (21)
1:16 PM 7:51 AM* Jon Rahm (11) Dustin Johnson (1) Jordan Spieth (39)
1:38 PM 8:13 AM* Rory McIlroy (4) Phil Mickelson (23) Jason Day (15)
Bethpage Black’s biggest keys for success and survival? Power, precision and self control will win out for players shooting for the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.
You can bet on it.