There’s nothing more exciting for a golf fan than watching the most prestigious events in the year — Grand Slams. All four are unique in their own ways, but that’s the beauty of a sport — you can like multiple things at once, and it’s OK.
When it comes to golf tradition, the Open championship is unrivalled. The US Open is known for giving golf fans some of the most unforgettable, iconic, and exciting moments in golf. The Masters is golf’s Super Bowl, and even that’s an understatement. It’s overhyped, and the viewing demographic is dominated by the people who don’t watch much of the sport during the rest of the year. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic golf tournament.
That said, the PGA Championship is arguably golf’s best major championship. Why? Because it’s the best tournament setup for crème de la crème of the golfing world — and that lends itself to big drama and big names.
As you might expect, an event of this magnitude is covered by all the elite sportsbooks in the industry. Sportsbooks are doing their utmost to compete for your business by offering a host of betting markets.
If you want to take a more advanced approach to PGA championship betting, look no further than our comprehensive guide. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about PGA Championship betting — from brief history of the tournament, to information about the most popular betting markets for the event, and we’ll also throw in some tips and tricks to help you increase you betting bankroll. Stay tuned!
102 Years of the PGA
Established in 1916, the PGA Championship started out as an event exclusively for professionals. The inaugural tournament was held at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY. Initially, the event format started out as a match play event and moved around frequently on the calendar. However, due to the lack of interest and even loss of money in the 1957 tournament, the PGA decided to change the format to stroke play. In 1965, the tournament moved to August, and by the 70s, it was permanently fixed in August.
PGA Championship has only really seen two dominant players in the modern (stroke play) era — Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who won the event five and four times, respectively. Only Koepka and Woods have won the tournament consecutively in the modern stroke-play era.
As expected, Americans have dominated the tournament throughout its history, producing 79 wins from 56 different players. Only 13 players outside the US have managed to raise the Wannamaker Trophy. Australia is the second with five wins from five players, while South Africa, Zimbabwe, Fiji, and Northern Ireland all have two wins from one player.
In its history, the event usually took place at obscure and small courses with the desire to move around as much as possible. Nowadays, the PGA Championship is restricted to a smaller range of more prestigious courses.
2019 was a momentous year for the PGA of America with the tournament being moved to an earlier spot in the golfing calendar. The revised positioning was also made to allow the PGA Tour to finish before August in order to prevent competition for viewers with the NFL season.
The 2020 PGA Championship will be held for the first time ever at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, so expect different conditions to what we’ve become accustomed to in the past.
In recent history, long-hitters were particularly successful at the event, with many of them capturing their Major maiden titles as a result of their efforts. Here’s the list of all the winners since 2000.
|Year||Player||Nationality||Venue||Score (Par)||Winner Prize ($)|
|2020||–||–||TPC Harding Park||–||1,980,000|
|2019||Brooks Koepka||USA||Bethpage State Park||272 (-8)||1,980,000|
|2018||Brooks Koepka||USA||Bellerive Country Club||264 (-16)||1,980,000|
|2017||Justin Thomas||USA||Quail Hollow Club||276 (-8)||1,890,000|
|2016||Jimmy Walker||USA||Baltusrol||266 (-14)||1,800,000|
|2015||Jason Day||Australia||Whistling Straits||268 (-20)||1,800,000|
|2014||Rory Mcllroy||Northern Ireland||Valhalla||268 (-16)||1,800,000|
|2013||Jason Dufner||USA||Oak Hill||270 (-10)||1,445,000|
|2012||Rory Mcllroy||Northern Ireland||Kiawah Island||275 (-13)||1,445,000|
|2011||Keegan Bradley||USA||Atlanta Athletic||272 (-8)||1,445,00|
|2010||Martin Kaymer||Germany||Whistling Straits||277 (-11)||1,350,000|
|2009||Yang Yong-eun||South Korea||Hazeltine||280 (-8)||1,350,000|
|2008||Padraig Harrington||Ireland||Oakland Hills||277 (-3)||1,350,000|
|2007||Tiger Woods||USA||Southern Hills||272 (-8)||1,260,000|
|2006||Tiger Woods||USA||Medinah||270 (-18)||1,224,000|
|2005||Phil Mickelson||USA||Baltusrol||276 (-4)||1,170,000|
|2004||Vijay Singh||Fiji||Whistling Straits||280 (-8)||1,125,000|
|2003||Shaun Micheel||USA||Oak Hill||276 (-4)||1,080,000|
|2002||Rich Beem||USA||Hazeltine||278 (-10)||990,000|
|2001||David Toms||USA||Atlanta Athletic||265 (-15)||936,000|
|2000||Tiger Woods||USA||Valhalla||270 (-18)||900,000|
PGA Championship Format
As we have mentioned before, this is the only one of the four majors that is exclusively held for professional players. A golfer also has to be one of the best on the planet to qualify for the event. Players have to meet one of these worldwide criteria to get an invitation.
Qualification and the Field
Much like Grand Slams, most of the top 100 golfers qualify directly for the PGA Championship one way or the other. A total of 156 players gets a direct entry to the field based on the following criteria:
- Last five Open, Masters, and US Open winners
- 15 runners up at the previous championship (2019)
- All former PGA champions
- Current top 70 golfers in the official money standings
- Reigning Senior PGA champion
- Winners of this seasons PGA tour events
- 20 top scorers at the PGA Professional National Championship
- All golfers in the previous years’ Ryder Cup teams, granted they are in the top 100
- PGA invited players
- Extra spots are filled by players below the top 70 in the money rankings
As with all Majors, PGA Championship is played over four days and a 72 stroke per event. The first two days of the event will include the full field of 156 players. After the second round, the top 75-ranked players and ties will qualify to play in the weekend after what is known as the “cut” takes place.
During the weekend, the remainder of the field plays the remaining 36 holes through the stroke-play format. The winner is the player who posts the lowest 72-hole aggregate score.
If there is a tie following the final round of the PGA Championship, the tied players enter into a 3-hole aggregate playoff, where tied players play the 10th, the 17th, and then the 18th scores. If players are still tied, they go back and play the 18th hole until a winner is found via a sudden-death playoff.
This is different than other Majors — The Masters goes straight to sudden death; The Open uses a 4-hole playoff, while at the US Open, an entire extra round is played.
The prize purse at PGA Championship is substantial with over $11 million up for grabs. The winner goes home with a hefty check worth almost $1,9 million for their work of the week.
The number of courses that have hosted the PGA Championship is quite substantial. The majority of courses are based around the East North Central (Illinois, Ohio, Miami) and the Mid-Atlantic (Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York). While the tournament was played all over the US, golfers could always rely on the weather, since the event took place in mid-August. That changed from 2019 as it was rescheduled to May, and so now the organizers will have a broader range of courses to choose from based on climate. The next year’s PGA Championship (102nd edition) will take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.
Betting on PGA Championship
Betting on the most prestigious event in any sport can be potentially lucrative, and that’s especially the case with golf. There is a plethora of opportunities to get in on the betting action approaching and during the event. Beginners should know the betting options and types available to make the best golf betting decision for them.
The list of the most popular betting options includes:
Within the first two days of the PGA Championship, golfers are divided into groups of three, which is also known as “3-ball betting.” Then, the same thing occurs on days four and five, only this time the players are divided into groups of two, or pairs, and that’s called match betting. With this type of bet, bettors have to predict which golfer within the group will have the best score for the given round of the event.
This is the most straightforward type of bet, and to win this bet, you have to forecast who will win the PGA Championship. Predicting the winner of the tournament is not an easy task, but it can pay off big time, especially if there’s an upset, or one of the underdogs goes home with the Wanamaker Trophy. Odds changes frequently occur, especially after the Masters. So, it’s best to do some research and choose wisely.
With group betting at the PGA Championship, you have to predict which player will have the highest placing at the end of the tournament. The players are usually divided into groups of five players from the same category, based on the odds for the event on world rankings.
Place and Each Way Betting
As you are probably aware, golf players are ranked on the leaderboard with a cumulative score. This allows bettors to place win, place, and each-way bets. Place and each-way bets are usually around five places for Majors. Depending on the field size, payouts on these bets are typically ¼ of the winning odds. You should have in mind that each-way wagers are subject to dead-heat rules and include ties.
Top Finish Bets
This type of bet has a lot in common with place bets, and here you are trying to predict whether a particular player will finish in say top 10 either at the end of 18 holes, 36 holes, or the whole tournament (usually 72 holes).
Bookies offer many different top finish bets, depending on the field size and tournament. You will most likely see bets for top 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, and so on. These bets are especially useful for rising stars who are showing great promise, but that are not quite ready to win a Major.
Another common bet type in PGA Championship is to bet on the top player from a specific region or country. While US players have been dominant in this event, that doesn’t mean you can’t bet on, let’s say, “who is going to be the top-ranked UK player.” This bet is especially useful when you are more familiar with players from a particular region. If you think you know who the best Australian player is, but you’re unsure in the context of the whole field, then this is a great bet to take.
PGA Championship and golf in general have a unique scoring system and lots of obstacles to the hole. This means that it’s easy to find plenty of prop bets in this sport. Prop bets are simply yes or no answers. A couple of examples would be “Will Brooks Koepka end up in a bunker in the group/round/match?”, “Will there be a hole in one of the groups/rounds/matches?”, and so on.
PGA Championship Betting Tips
Picking a winner in PGA Championship is a challenging task. However, if you nail that champion’s pick, you’re looking at a hefty payout. In a Major championship, you can often see a really solid golfer at 30–1 or even 50–1 odds. For example, when Francesco Molinari won the 2018 Open Championship, he was a 40–1 favorite. So, if you put $50 on him, you will win $2,000 back. That’s the beauty of golf. There is always the value out there that could land you serious cash. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. That said, here are some strategies you can follow to enhance your chances of winning PGA Championship bets.
Major Championships Are Different from Smaller Events
If you look at the history of the most prestigious tournaments in golf over the last five years, you’ll notice a pattern in which the winners are usually the top-ranked players in the world. For example, Brooks Koepka was ranked #3 in the world when he won this year’s PGA Championship. He was 9th when he won the 2018 US Open. In other words, the odds for a world-class player inside the top-25 to win an event like the PGA Championship are very high.
Do Your Homework
Players who win Majors are the guys who are going into these tournaments in good form. Koepka finished the 2nd before winning the Masters, and he was the 3rd the week before winning the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods was in great shape before the Masters, including a 3rd place two weeks before the event.
Some may say “Patrick Reed is a ridiculous bet” before the 2018 Masters. Well, if you did your due diligence, you would have noticed that Reed had three consecutive top-10s coming into the Augusta. Is there a person in the world who thought that Molinari is going to win a Major last year? He was 40–1, but if you were paying close attention, you would have known that he finished in the top-2 in five of the previous six tournaments leading up to the Open championship.
So, when betting on a top-tier event like the PGA Championship, you want to pick guys who are in good form, and who have been performing well in Major championships.
Know the Course and the Weather
Studying the golf course and the weather is essential for your predictions. Arguably the two best prop bets available are over/under on the winning score and the lowest score for the tournament. A lot of scores are based on the weather. So, if you see a windy day coming up, that’s going to cause these guys frustration, and it’s going to keep scores up and high. And since the PGA Championship is now played in May, weather can be an essential factor here.
Sportsbooks don’t usually factor in weather when setting early odds. They look more at player interviews, past performances at the event, and the form. So, if you see that calm weather is the forecast for four days, and the over/under is 275 total score and 68.5 for the low round, chances are that both these scores will go under. On the other hand, if San Francisco is calling for wind storm, take that over on the total for four rounds.
Best PGA Championship Betting Sites
After carefully reviewing several sports betting sites, we have put together a list of the most trusted and the highest-rated PGA Championship betting sites available. All these sites offer you the best options for golf betting. The reason why these sportsbook operators got here was by providing the most betting options, the most trusted action, and the fastest payouts, among other things.