How to Pick a Winner at the US PGA Championship

By: Golfshake Editor | Tue 14 May 2019 | Comments

Justin Thomas' absence means that 99 of the Top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking are playing in the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Long Island, New York. With such a strong field competing on a formidable layout, it's a challenge to pick a potential winner, but there are themes and methods that could identify a likely candidate. 

US PGA Championship Preview

5 to Watch at the US PGA

Guide to Bethpage Black

US PGA Championship By Numbers

Written in collaboration with Betway Sports, this article picks out trends when it comes to selecting a player this week.

How to Pick a Winner

Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters last month has reenergised golf, but anyone hoping for a repeat from the 43-year-old this week will likely be disappointed.

Woods is currently 11/1 in the golf betting odds to win at Bethpage Black, but the PGA Championship is simply not a tournament for veteran golfers.

In the past 20 years, only once has a player in his 40s triumphed in what is the sport’s least prestigious major – Vijay Singh in 2004.

Seven of the last nine winners were aged between 23 and 28, which suggests a relatively young player will claim victory at Bethpage Black this week.

The PGA Championship is also not a tournament that is kind to outsiders.

Of the past 20 winners, 15 were inside the top 25 of the world rankings at the time of their victory, including six of the last seven.

Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy make up four of the last five winners, so it’s worth backing the big names whenever this tournament comes around.

It’s worth noting that Thomas and Day’s victories, in 2017 and 2015 respectively, were their first and only major wins, and that fits a trend from the past decade.

This is the tournament in which many players make their breakthrough, with seven of the last 10 champions having never won a major before they triumphed at the PGA Championship.

Winners don’t tend to come out of nowhere, though.

Of the last 14 champions, 12 already had a top-20 finish at the PGA Championship to their name, while 11 of those made the cut in the previous year.

Over the past 20 years it has been hugely important for players to be in good form coming in to the PGA Championship in order to have a chance to win.

Every champion since 1999 had made the cut in their previous start before the major, with 18 of them finishing in the top 30.

On top of that, 17 of the past 20 winners had already won a PGA Tour or European Tour event in the year in which they won the PGA Championship.

This week, then, it is best to look for a player coming off a decent result in their last start, who has already experienced victory in 2019.

Just one player fits all our trends this week.

Rickie Fowler is arguably the best player in the world to have never won a major, but this could be his opportunity.

The 30-year-old fits the age profile of a typical winner of this event, and is currently ranked 10th in the world.

He’s already won the Waste Management Phoenix Open this season and finished T4 in his last start at the Wells Fargo Championship a fortnight ago.

With a third-placed finish in this event to his name, and having finished T12 last year, he looks a good bet at 20/1 to finally go all the way this week.

This article was written in collaboration with Betway Sports. For more, visit

Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at

What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)

Tags: us pga PGA

Leave your comments below

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Golf News

Editors Pick: Exclusives & Opinion

Aphrodite Hills

Tour Player Driver Tips Series