photo courtesy the PGA
The PGA Tour continues its whirlwind return by going from last week’s high profile WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to the year’s first major: the PGA Championship. The tournament kicks off this Thursday, August 6, and runs until the 9th. And given that only 3 majors will occur this year after the decision to cancel the British Open, the tournament takes on added significance. It will surely be one for the history books as the first major set to be played without any fans.
2019 Champion Brooks Koepka
Last year, Brooks Koepka delivered a nearly flawless performance to claim back to back PGA Championship titles. The tournament was played at Long Island’s famous Black Course at Bethpage State Park, but an opening round 63 set the standard for the event. Koepka led the tournament through all rounds, though a final round score of +4 caused a scare that he just might choke. Indeed, 4 straight bogeys on the back 9 caused anxiety as Dustin Johnson charged forward but instead of a famous collapse Koepka held on for a 2 stroke victory. He is the first back to back winner since Tiger Woods and seeks to become the only 3-pete winner since the tournament switched to stroke play in 1958.
photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Picking a favorit is exceedingly difficult from such a stacked field, let alone a winner. Koepka is rounding into form after a dificult year (by his standards) and may be able to beat the odds for another win, though former PGA Championship and TPC Harding Park winner Rory McIlroy also looks to be an early favorite. New world number 1 Justin Thomas is playing off of an impressive win at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (where Koepka finished 2nd) while number 2 ranked golfer Jon Rahm comes into the tournament with a forgettable T52 finish at the same event. Tiger Woods competes in his first event since the Memorial and has also won previously at TPC Harding Park. Fellow veterans Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk are also competing, while the newly buff Bryson DeChambeau hopes that his increased distance will lead to major glory, having never finished higher than 15th in any major championship. And last, Jordan Spieth may be a bit of a dark horse (which seems odd to say) as he seeks to finish his career Grand Slam at the 4th time of asking.
Television coverage is provided by ESPN and CBS. Coverage of the first two rounds are Thursday and Friday, 4-10pm ET on ESPN. Saturday coverage begins on ESPN from 1-4pm ET before switching to CBS 4-10pm ET. ESPN begins coverage on Sunday 12-3pm ET before wrapping up on CBS from 3-9pm ET. The event is also streaming online through ESPN+, a subscription service from ESPN, 10am-4pm ET Thursday and Friday, 11am-1pm ET Saturday, and 10am-12pm ET Sunday. Radio coverage is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming here.