The second men's major of the season - the US PGA Championship - is upon us.
Brooks Koepka won the title at Bellerive last year when the tournament still occupied its August slot on the calendar. Can he become just the second different golfer to successfully defend the Wanamaker Trophy in the strokeplay era of the competition? Or will somebody else have their name engraved into the famous silverware.
Our team make their predictions...
Bryce Ritchie • Editor
TO WIN - Brooks Koepka
With Tiger Woods having benched himself since that Masters win, it would seem strange to pick him for back-to-back majors. I've already written him off once this year and regretted it. Even so, I'm not sure the world could handle major No.16, hence I'm going for an Augusta bounceback from defending champion Brooks Koepka. I like his attitude, and I think he realises he's a big-game player these days. I also think the ferocity of Bethpage will suit him (and kill others).
EACH WAY - Tony Finau
With Bethpage being the type of course that favours big hitters, Finau will benefit considerably. Only a handful of players hit it further than him, and he's not afraid to take on greens, either. He does tend to be a bit streaky, but he's worth backing E/W in case he has a hot week, as few players notch up more birdies on tour than the American. He's pretty good value at 33/1.
Michael McEwan • Digital Editor
TO WIN – Rory McIlroy
If the forecast is accurate, and Bethpage plays long and wet this week, I can’t see past Rory. He hits it miles, has a high ball flight, leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee, Tee-To-Green and Total. He’s also fourth in scoring average, and has had eight top-tens in ten starts on the PGA Tour this season, including a win at the PLAYERS. If (and, granted, it’s a big ‘if’) he can get his putting going, I think he’ll be almost impossible to stop.
EACH WAY – Keith Mitchell
Without doubt, the breakthrough star of 2019 so far, Mitchell has demonstrated that he has all the attributes to be a big game player. He won the Honda Classic at PGA National; tied sixth at Bay Hill; and wound up in a share of eighth at Quail Hollow just two weeks ago. These are tough, tough golf courses… and Mitchell has looked bang at home on them. As each-way bets go, he’s well worth a look.
David Cunninghame • Staff Writer
TO WIN - Dustin Johnson
The course set-up at Bethpage is going to play into the hands of the current world No.1. With the par-4s averaging almost 460 yards, this is going to be a major suited to the bombers, and with two wins under his belt this season, one of them a WGC, and coming off the back of a T2 finish at Augusta, I just can’t see past the big-hitting American.
EACH WAY - Phil Mickelson
At 50/1, Mickelson is an absolute steal. He has had a great 2019 so far, recording his fair share of top-25 finishes as well as a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The 48-year-old has also added some serious length to his game this season, going from 57th to the 25th in the driving distance stats when compared with 2018, something that will come in handy at Bethpage. Also, he is bound to have some good memories of the Black course, having finished runner-up in the 2009 US Open and T7 in the 2002 US Open.
Ryan Crombie • Staff Writer
TO WIN – Jon Rahm
Rahm has shown excellent consistency so far in 2019 with eight top-ten finishes. That includes a win on his most recent start (alongside Ryan Palmer) at the Zurich Classic in his last event and a solid T9 at the Masters. The Spaniard missed out narrowly at last year’s US PGA, finishing in a tie for fourth, and I fancy his chances of going one better and breaking his major duck this week.
EACH-WAY – Paul Casey
His Masters performance might have been a disaster but Casey, like Rahm, has had a good season so far, with a win, two seconds, a third and a fourth in just 11 starts. The Englishman is one of the best drivers in the game and has all the tools to be a major champion. At 55/1, he’s well worth an each-way.
Do you agree with any of our team? Who are you putting your money on at Bethpage? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below.