The second major of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season is on tap for this week in Old Bethpage, New York at Bethpage Black on Long Island. If Bethpage sounds like a familiar course, that’s because it is. The Black has hosted two U.S. Opens and two FedEx Cup Playoff events but never a PGA Championship. It’s also worth noting that the PGA Championship is being played in May instead of August, which marks a relatively major shift in the PGA Tour calendar.
There is never a shortage of storylines when entering a major championship, but make no mistake about it, Tiger Woods will dominate the majority of headlines this week. Winner of the 2019 Masters, Woods has won at Bethpage before with a win back in 2002 at the U.S. Open and a top 10 finish at the U.S. Open in 2009. He should enter the tournament as the prohibitive favorite as Thursday’s first-round rapidly approaches.
Betting on Tiger this week seems like a relatively safe proposition, but who else should you be wagering on? Here is a list of five golfers, including favorites, mid-level players, and longshots, that I’ll be targeting this week.
Dustin Johnson (9/1)
I have said this on multiple occasions, but when every golfer on earth is at the top of their game, DJ is still the best player in the world. He offers talent that very few golfers possess with an acute ability to hit it long and hit greens in regulation with his shorter irons. Bethpage is a course that fits his skill set very well, as it rewards longer hitters compared to short. It’s a driver and long-iron style course, but DJ is arguably the best player in the world with a driver in his hands. The price-point isn’t great, but I think he has the best chance to win here, and I think that accounts for a bit of value.
Tiger Woods (9/1)
He’s had a month to prepare for this tournament, and he knows the course better than anyone. He ranks 1st on the PGA in greens-in-regulation, which will be hugely important as multiple holes are surrounded by a bevy of greenside bunkers. He arrived at Bethpage last week and has had plenty of time to get acclimated to the newer features on the course compared to the last time he played here.
Sergio Garcia (45/1)
Garcia rates out really well at Bethpage and is arguably the best statistical ‘fit’ towards this course compared to the rest of the field, which makes the 45/1 incredibly appetizing. He ranks third in Strokes Gained: Approach, 14th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 38th in Driving Distance AND has finished in the top 10 in three straight appearances at Bethpage, which already gives him a massive leg up on the competition. He’s also significantly better on poa putting greens compared to any other surface. I’m not suggesting that you empty your bank account on Garcia, but he presents excellent value given the course fit.
Bryson DeChambeau (35/1)
Bryson always seems to go overlooked at major championships, but it only seems like a matter of time before he wins one. He has won six times in the past two years. That’s not exactly pedestrian, but people seem to still treat him as such. He loves the layout this week, and I think confidence goes a long way at a major. His skill set greatly exceeds this price-point.
Keegan Bradley (100/1)
His putter needs to catch fire in order to win, but the rest of his game suits him well here. He is excellent on approach shots stretching out 200 yards or more and finds the fairway on a consistent basis. His iron-game has always been tremendous, as he ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach which will help him stay out of the thick rough at Bethpage and bunkers surrounding the green. Is he going to win? Most likely, no. But he could find himself in contention on Saturday and Sunday, which could present a profitable hedge opportunity.