How to pick a winner at the PGA Championship

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A look at some key trends over the past two decades
Posted on
May 15, 2019
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Golf tips: How to pick a winner at the PGA Championship
Rickie Fowler plays his shot from the first tee during the final round of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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, whichsuggests 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.

Golf tips: How to pick a winner at 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.

In collaboration with Betway

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