US PGA 2019: Tee times, tips, TV details and more
The second Major of the year gets underway at Bethpage Black in New York on Thursday
Alex Bjork of Sweden plays a shot on the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course in Bethpage, New York. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
What is it?
The second Major of the golfing year – the 101st edition of the US PGA Championship.
When is it?
The US PGA gets underway on Thursday May 16th, reaching a conclusion on Sunday May 19th.
What’s the time difference?
Farmingdale in New York is five hours behind Ireland.
Hang on a second, isn’t the US PGA normally the last Major of the year?
It used to be – but not anymore. Traditionally played in August (since 1972, anyway), the US PGA brought the curtain down on the Major calendar – a last chance saloon for those who missed out on a Green Jacket, the US Open or the Claret Jug.
However, a revamping of the PGA Tour schedule for this season has seen it pushed forward to May – meaning this year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush will bring an end to the Major calendar in July.
With the US Masters finishing on April 14th, the Majors are coming thick and fast.
Where is it?
This year’s US PGA will be played at New York’s dastardly Bethpage Black – host to the US Open in 2002 and 2009, which were won by Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover respectively.
A tricky week lies in store for the 156-strong field on what is traditionally one of the hardest courses in the United States.
Behind the first tee sits the famous sign which reads “The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers.”
The Black Course sits in Bethpage State Park on Long Island and in 2002 became the first public course to play host to a US Open. In the same vein as St Andrews, golfers can queue up here in the morning to secure a tee time and then endure five hours of torture along the narrow fairways, lush rough, endless bunkers and treacherous greens.
While the course most likely won’t play as tough for a US PGA as it would for a US Open, the rain which has battered Long Island for weeks now will have a significant impact. While it will undoubtedly play into the hands of long hitters such as those at the top of the betting – Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy – the heavy rains will also mean soft greens which should yield more birdies than a Major championship set-up at this course would be expected to. The bad weather also had the potential to make the rough lush and thick but the PGA of America have ensured that it doesn’t get out of control, resisting the urge to go all US Open and make the course virtually unplayable. There is heavy stuff to be found but it’s in the second or even third cut and not a yard off the fairway as is the case when the USGA get their hands on a course like this.
Length is the key here this week on a course that measures 7,432 yards (playing every inch of that thanks to the weather) and, with the Black Course having got more exposure over the last few years in hosting the FedEx Cup playoff Barclays event in 2012 and 2016, this US PGA could well feel more like a regular tour event than a Major, even though the hope with the move to May was to give it more of an identity of its own.
How can I follow it?
The hypnotic beauty of watching the US Masters at Augusta is often tempered by the difficulty of getting to view it in the first place, with coverage split across various channels or hidden behind a red button.
However there is good news – viewing all four days of the US PGA Championship promises to be relatively straightforward, for those with a Sky Sports subscription at least.
The 2017 tournament was shown on the BBC, before a spin on the ill-fated Eleven Sports last year. But now it’s back on Sky, who will be broadcasting live at the following times:
Thursday: 1pm - 12am
Friday: 1pm - 12.30am
Saturday: 4pm - 12am
Sunday: 4pm - 12am
And, of course, you can also follow all of the action on the Irish Times liveblog, which will be running throughout all four day’s play.
What happened last year?
The 2018 US PGA Championshp was held at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri, and saw Brooks Koepka round off a fine year with his third Major Championship victory - following his US Open wins in 2017 and 2018.
Shane Lowry flirted with glory, starting his fourth round on eight under par and just four strokes off Koepka’s lead, but he struggled to gain any momentum in the final round and finished in a share of sixth place.
In the end, Koepka’s main challenge came in the form of a certain Tiger Woods, whose final round of 64 saw him finish on 14 under par - two off the eventual winner.
Little did we know at the time, but Tiger’s final round was an ominous warning of things to come. . .
Any Irish in the field?
Yep, there are four Irish golfers teeing it up in New York – two of them previous winners.
Rory McIlroy has lifted the famous Wannamker Trophy twice – in 2012 and 2014 – while Pádraig Harrington was victorious at Oakland Hills in 2008.
Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry are also in the field.
But what about John O’Leary?
Dublin’s John O’Leary, who played on the European Tour in the 1970s and 1980 - finishing 13th in the 1979 British Open - is now 69, with his best days presumably behind him (no offence, John).
The John O’Leary in this week’s field is American, and the Director of Golf Instruction at Trump Washington DC. He is one of the 20 club professionals who get to tee it up at the PGA of America’s own Major every year.
What’s the weather going to be like?
As mentioned already, rain has hammered it down in Farmingdale for the last number of weeks and the start of this week was no different with temperatures also quite low which saw a lot of players don wooly hats for their practice rounds. That’s quite a change from conditions when the US PGA was played in August with cooling fans and layers of sun block more so the order of the day.
Thursday: There is a possibility of some rain in the morning but nothing major and it should be a cloudy day with sunny spells. Temperatures are set to be around the 15C mark with light winds.
Friday: Day two is forecast to be the wettest of the week with some heavy showers due in the morning. Temperatures and winds will be much the same as Thursday.
Saturday: The start of the weekend should see some more sun and no rain with temperatures again around 15C with light winds.
Sunday: With temperatures again due to be around 15C, little rain and light there should be no problem getting the tournament completed all on schedule by Sunday evening.
Who are the favourites and who is worth a bet?
The brutal length and soft conditions of Bethpage Black this week will mean that power is very much the key. That attribute dominates the players at the top of the betting and there is very little to choose between them but here are five to have a look at.
Brooks Koepka (9/1) – With three Major titles in his last seven appearances – and a second place finish behind Tiger Woods at the Masters last month – it is no wonder the American goes into this week as the favourite. With a physique more like that of an American footballer and a gung-ho attitude on the course, this setup should suit Koepka down to the ground. With just two regular PGA Tour wins alongside his three Majors, Koepka is the ultimate big-game player who seems to be less fazed by the heat of a Major championship battle than you or I would be by a Saturday singles stableford. Just last week he finished fourth at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas and it’s hard to see him not competing here this week.
Rory McIlroy (10/1) – Two of McIlroy’s four Major championship wins have come at US PGA courses and the traditionally long, lush green set ups seem to favour him well. This week the setup will be even longer and lusher than in previous years when the event was held in August and, while McIlroy’s Major wins have all come when he has been well under par, there are few players more dangerous on a long, soft golf course. With eight top-10s and a win in his 10 events so far this year McIlroy certainly has the form for it and will be very much determined to make the most of that form by capturing a first Major since 2014. McIlroy’s putting stats have improved quite a bit this season and it’s actually been the driver which has let him down on occasion – he currently sits 153rd in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour. With his distance unmatched by the vast majority of players out there, if he can just find a few more fairways he will put himself in a lot of good positions. Patience will also be a key factor on a course where rounds will take well over five hours. As a fast player that presents quite a few challenges for McIlroy and – given that he’s alongside Jason Day and behind a group which includes Kevin Na – he can be sure of a lot of long waits.
Tiger Woods (10/1) – It still seems preposterous to say but Tiger Woods is the Masters champion and this week can get to within two Major championships of Jack Nicklaus’ record. But that is where we are and, like most courses around the United States, this is a track Woods is familiar with and has won on. Indeed he won the US Open here in 2002 to make it an Augusta-Bethpage double in what was then the first two Majors of the year. Having taken a full sabbatical from tournament golf since those heroics in Georgia, Woods sailed into Long Island on his yacht this week fully rested and ready to repeat that combination. A question mark remains in the fact that Woods has struggled in cooler conditions since his back fusion surgery – no more so than in Paris last year at the Ryder Cup. With the conditions at Bethpage set to be similar this week – temperatures consistently around 15 degrees and wet, soggy ground – it might not suit the 43-year-old body of Woods but, after his Masters win, who would put it past him?
Louis Oosthuizen (50/1) – It seems that Oosthuizen can be tipped for almost every Major as a good each-way shout and this week is no different. The South African has famously completed the grand slam of second places in all four Majors throughout his career, proving that his game is up to any challenge. However, with just the 2010 Open Championship under his belt, he still looks to be an under-achiever. While he is not the longest player out there, he is not the shortest either, coming in at 58th in driving distance on tour so far this year. After getting into a tie for the lead at The Masters on Friday, he hovered around contention for much of the weekend before a disappointing 76 to close. However, tough courses seem to suit the South African well and with a tied-fifth here at the Barclays in 2012 and tied-18th in 2016, it’s obviously a track he likes a lot.
Thomas Pieters (150/1) – Just a few years ago this young Belgian looked set to hit the highest of heights after an impressive Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine but since then he has gone backwards somewhat. However, some good finishes on the European Tour at the end of last year and early this season indicate a return to form and a closing 67 at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week for a share of 23rd is a nice boost to take into Bethpage. His huge length means this course won’t faze him and a tied-sixth at last year’s US PGA as well as a tied-fourth at The Masters in 2017 shows can compete at the biggest events.
US PGA round one tee times (two tee start, all times Irish, US unless stated)
Starting at hole one
11:45 Beau Hossler, Rob Labritz, J.J. Spaun
11:56 Sam Burns, Jeffrey Schmid, Keith Mitchell
12:07 Jason Caron, Byeong-hun An (Kor), Andrew Putnam
12:18 John O’Leary, Harold Varner III, Kyle Stanley
12:29 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Justin Harding (SA), Sam Ryder
12:40 Vijay Singh (Fij), Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker
12:51 Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Brendan Jones (Aus), Chez Reavie
13:02 Russell Knox (Sco), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Haotong Li (Chn)
13:13 Lee Westwood (Eng), Shaun Norris (SA), Charles Howell III
13:24 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), JB Holmes, Troy Merritt
13:35 Joost Luiten (Ned), Brian Mackey, Matt Wallace (Eng)
13:46 Casey Russell, Abraham Ancer (Mex), Luke List
13:57 Craig Bowden, Adam Long, Joaquin Niemann (Chi)
17:10 Michael Thompson, Justin Bertsch, Danny Lee (NZ)
17:21 Rich Berberian Jr, Cameron Champ, Lucas Glover
17:32 Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Daniel Berger, Paul Casey (Eng)
17:43 Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Ian Poulter (Eng)
17:54 Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Gary Woodland
18:05 Pádraig Harrington (Irl), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Keegan Bradley
18:16 Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm (Spa), Jordan Spieth
18:27 Kevin Kisner, Pat Perez, Bryson DeChambeau
18:38 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Phil Mickelson, Jason Day (Aus)
18:49 Matt Kuchar, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Cameron Smith (Aus)
19:00 Corey Conners (Can), Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman (Aus)
19:11 Jorge Campillo (Spa), Stuart Deane, Chesson Hadley
19:22 Dylan Frittelli (SA), Andrew Filbert, Kurt Kitayama
Starting at hole 10
11:45 Ben Cook, Brian Gay, Scott Piercy
11:56 Patton Kizzire, Thomas Pieters (Bel), Adam Hadwin (Can)
12:07 Brandt Snedeker, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Max Homa
12:18 Henrik Stenson (Swe), David Lipsky, Richard Sterne (SA)
12:29 Erik Van Rooyen (SA), Shane Lowry (Irl), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)
12:40 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Kelly Kraft, Adam Scott (Aus)
12:51 Louis Oosthuizen (SA), Charley Hoffman, Patrick Reed
13:02 Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose (Eng)
13:13 Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Alex Noren (Swe)
13:24 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods
13:35 Aaron Wise, Ryan Fox (NZ), Shugo Imahira (Jpn)
13:46 Julian Suri, Marty Jertson, Martin Trainer
13:57 Lucas Herbert (Aus), Cory Schneider, Sungjae Im (Kor)
17:10 Ryan Vermeer, Adrian Otaegui (Spa), Jason Kokrak
17:21 Rod Perry, Alexander Bjork (Swe), Ross Fisher (Eng)
17:32 Eddie Pepperell (Eng), Branden Grace (SA), Ryan Palmer
17:43 Ryan Moore, Joel Dahmen, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den)
17:54 Rich Beem, YE Yang (Kor), John Daly
18:05 Steve Stricker, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay
18:16 Shaun Micheel, Sung Kang (Kor), Alex Beach
18:27 Kevin Na, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tpe), Ryan Armour
18:38 Danny Willett (Eng), Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson
18:49 Brandon Stone (SA), Kevin Tway, Bronson Burgoon
19:00 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Daniel Balin, Tom Lewis (Eng)
19:11 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Tyler Hall, Michael Kim
19:22 Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Craig Hocknull (Aus), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)
US PGA round two tee times (two tee start, all times Irish, US unless stated)
Starting at hole one
1145 Ryan Vermeer, Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Jason Kokrak
1156 Alex Björk (Swe), Rod Perry, Ross Fisher (Eng)
1207 Eddie Pepperell (Eng), Branden Grace (Rsa), Ryan Palmer
1218 Ryan Moore, Joel Dahmen, Thorbjørn Olesen (Den)
1229 Y.E. Yang (Kor), Rich Beem, John Daly
1240 Steve Stricker, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay
1251 Sung Kang (Kor), Shaun Micheel, Alex Beach
1302 C.T. Pan (Tpe), Kevin Na, Ryan Armour
1313 Danny Willett (Eng), Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson
324 Kevin Tway, Brandon Stone (Rsa), Bronson Burgoon
1335 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Danny Balin, Tom Lewis (Eng)
1346 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Tyler Hall, Michael Kim
1357 Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Craig Hocknull (Aus), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)
1710 J.J. Spaun, Rob Labritz, Beau Hossler
1721 Patton Kizzire, Adam Hadwin (Can), Thomas Pieters (Bel)
1732 Brandt Snedeker, Max Homa, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)
1743 David Lipsky, Henrik Stenson (Swe), Richard Sterne (Rsa)
1754 Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Shane Lowry (Irl)
1805 Kelly Kraft, Adam Scott (Aus), Sergio Garcia (Esp)
1816 Charley Hoffman, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Patrick Reed
1827 Justin Rose (Eng), Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson
1838 Alex Noren (Swe), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Xander Schauffele
1849 Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari (Ita), Tiger Woods
1900 Aaron Wise, Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Ryan Fox (Nzl)
1911 Julian Suri, Marty Jertson, Martin Trainer
1922 Cory Schneider, Lucas Herbert (Au), Sungjae Im (Kor)
Starting at hole 10
1145 Michael Thompson, Danny Lee (Nzl), Justin Bertsch
1156 Cameron Champ, Rich Berberian, Jr, Lucas Glover
1207 Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Daniel Berger, Paul Casey (Eng)
1218 Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Ian Poulter (Eng)
1229 Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng), Rafa Cabrera Bello (Esp), Gary Woodland
1240 Pádraig Harrington (Irl), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Keegan Bradley
1251 Jon Rahm (Esp), Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth
1302 Pat Perez, Kevin Kisner, Bryson DeChambeau
1313 Rory McIlroy (Nirl), Phil Mickelson, Jason Day (Aus)
1324 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Matt Kuchar, Cameron Smith (Aus)
1335 Corey Conners (Can), Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman (Aus)
1346 Jorge Campillo (Esp), Stuart Deane (Aus), Chesson Hadley
1357 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Andrew Filbert, Kurt Kitayama
1710 Scott Piercy, Ben Cook, Brian Gay
1721 Sam Burns, Keith Mitchell, Jeffrey Schmid
1732 Jason Caron, Andrew Putnam, Byeong Hun An (Kor)
1743 Harold Varner III, Kyle Stanley, John O'Leary
1754 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Richy Werenski, Justin Harding (Rsa)
1805 Jimmy Walker, J.T. Poston, Jason Dufner
1816 Chez Reavie, Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Brendan Jones
1827 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Russell Knox (Scot), Haotong Li (Chn)
1838 Charles Howell III, Lee Westwood (Eng), Shaun Norris (Rsa)
1849 J.B. Holmes, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) Troy Merritt
1900 Matt Wallace (Eng), Joost Luiten (Ned), Brian Mackey
1911 Luke List, Abraham Ancer (Mex), Casey Russell
1922 Adam Long, Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Craig Bowden