Venue: Bellerive Country Club, St Louis, Missouri
Date: August 9-12, 2018
Course stats: Par 70; 7,316 yards
Purse: $10.5 million (£8m)
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-8)
Well, there isn’t any. After all the commotion caused by TV coverage of last year’s PGA Championship, this time around it’s going online with Eleven Sports.
This looks to be just an extension from last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Certainly, the golf course looks fairly similar to Firestone, with perhaps a little more emphasis placed on shot-shaping – particularly a right-to-left flight from the tee.
Just like Firestone, this golf course is going to test the players’ ball-striking ability. Measuring at more than 7,300 yards with just two par 5s, this layout is a bit of a brute. Six of the par 4s are more than 450 yards, and the longest of those come at the simply ridiculous 4th hole which will play 521 yards.
You only have to glance at the recent history of the PGA Championship to see that this major has had a tendency to reward first-time winners. Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Day all won their first majors in the last three years at this tournament, and if you look a little further back, you’ll see the names of Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer and, of course, YE Yang.
PGA Championship betting tips
Justin Rose (22/1, 8 places) has already won a major championship, but it’s been a few years since that triumph at Merion and he’s been playing well enough to suggest that another one could be just around the corner – which is why he’s my top tip to win the PGA Championship.
The ever-reliable Englishman is at his best on these types of courses, where the emphasis is placed on tee-to-green performance and when scoring is on the tougher side.
Rose won that US Open in 2013 with a one-over-par total score; now, the scoring shouldn’t be anywhere near as tough as that this week, but par is still going to be a creditable score on the majority of holes and, for Rose, it’s a case of the more challenging the better.
The concern here is that he had to withdraw last week because of back spasms; hopefully that was just a precaution because Rose showed at Carnoustie that his game is in excellent shape having made the cut on the number and then stormed through the field over the weekend with rounds of 64 and 69 to finish tied for second.
Tommy Fleetwood (25/1, 8 places) has expressed some concern in recent weeks that his swing isn’t where it needs to be, yet the Englishman continues to put in really solid performances. He shot the best score of the week at Firestone with a 63 on Friday on his way to a 14th place finish, and prior to that he finished sixth in Canada and 12th the week before at Carnoustie.
It’s only a matter of time before this flusher gets his major breakthrough; 17th in The Masters, 2nd at the US Open and 12th at The Open – the signs certainly look good for Fleetwood and perhaps that first win will come at the PGA Championship, a tournament that is renowned for crowning first-time winners.
With the way he’s playing at the moment, he should be thereabouts on Sunday, but if he gets that extra improvement that he says he is still searching for, he could be tough to beat.
Those are our experts top tips for the PGA Championship, but where does he see real value for money? Find out on the next page…