PGA Championship Famous Winners
The PGA Championship turned 100 last year and tees off its 101st edition this May. The PGA has always boasted that their annual showpiece enjoys the strongest field of all four of golf’s Majors, so naturally, the PGA Championship has been the stage for plenty of drama and suspense down the years.
But who has been responsible for the best performances in the history of the second Major of the year and who should you be keeping an eye on to put on a memorable show at this year’s tournament? For the latest PGA Championship betting odds, head over to Bet UK’s online betting, where you’ll find golf betting odds for all major European and PGA events. For expert course analysis and preview, take a look at Robert Cobley's PGA Championship betting tips before Thursday's tee offs.
John Daly, 1991 - The Most Improbable Victory in Golf
When John Daly rocked up at the Crooked Stick Golf Club in 1991, the PGA Tour Rookie had never even seen the course and arrived too late to get in a practice round. Daly was the ninth alternate pick to fill the void left by Nick Price who had withdrawn as the birth of his first child neared. ‘Long John’ Daly was only there to make up the numbers and he didn’t stand a chance - right?
Wrong! Daly was accompanied by Price’s caddie, Jeff Medline, and the two conspired to produce one of the most stunning victories in golfing history. Daly simply overpowered both the course and the rest of the field to finish three shots clear of runner-up Bruce Lietzke.
Y.A. Yang, 2009 - Taking Down the Tiger
When Tiger Woods stood on the first tee of the final round at the 2009 PGA Championship, golf fans around the world would have been forgiven for switching the TV off, assuming they could check the headlines later on to confirm the inevitable victory which would follow.
Woods held a two-shot lead as the final 18 holes got underway. His partner that day was Y.A. Yang, a 37-year-old journeyman pro from Korea. The son of a vegetable farmer, Yang simply didn’t belong in the same ballpark as Tiger Woods. But what followed would leave its mark on the game and golf has never really been the same since. Woods simply never got going and Yang took the lead after an eagle at the 14th before sealing an unlikely victory with a birdie at the 18th as Tiger could only manage a bogey.
Tiger Woods, 2000 - The Phenomenon Continues
Roll back the years a little and Tiger Woods was truly in his prime coming into the first PGA Championship of the new millennium. At Valhalla in 2000, the reigning champion became locked in a showdown with Bob May who had never managed a win on the PGA Tour.
The pair were neck-and-neck coming down the final straight. By the 17th, May led by one but Tiger produced a birdie to draw even. May again heaped the pressure on Woods by dropping an 18-foot putt at the 18th to make birdie. But Woods responded with a simple 3-footer to force a three-hole playoff which he would go on to win.
It was the first time anyone had successfully defended a PGA title since the tournament switched to its current stroke-play format in the 1950s and Woods became the first man since Ben Hogan in 1953 to hold three Major championship titles in the same calendar year. As for May, it was the only time he had even been in contention for a Major and his career was cut short by a back injury in 2003 - something no one back then would know was still to come for his conqueror at the 2000 PGA.
Who to Watch at the 2019 PGA Championship
This year the PGA Championship takes to Bethpage Black on Long Island, New York. This is no course for the faint-hearted - as a warning sign promises at the first tee. The Black Course is long and unrelenting. There are no easy holes and there’s no let-up at all. So who has the game which could tame one of the world’s most famous public courses?
Tiger Woods is the man everyone will be watching. Coming off the back of perhaps his most notable victory at the Masters in April, Woods will be priced at low odds to claim back-to-back Majors. But while he may have won the US Open at Bethpage in 2002, his last outing on the Black Course at the 2012 Barclays wasn’t quite so memorable with a 1-over par 38th-placed finish.
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and defending champion Brooks Koepka will be fancied by plenty but each comes with a strong case to be backed with the usual question marks. The PGA Championship does have something of a reputation for turning out surprise winners after all.
Jordan Spieth may be in something of a slump but he could finally add a career grand slam with victory at Bethpage Black. He may not have won a tournament since 2017 but Spieth has done well at each of the last four PGA Championships. If 2019 is going to be a year of faded giants returning to claim the Majors then Spieth could be one to watch.
The PGA Championship also has form for turning out first-time Major winners and three of the past four Majors have been taken by breakthrough golfers. That means the likes of Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau and Bryson DeChambeau have to be worth taking a second look at. Each has been in decent form and could emerge from the pack to stake a claim for the PGA.
Bethpage Black is tough, and much could depend on the weather. Moving the Championship from August to May means downpours are far more likely this year and the Black Course is all the harder when the fairways are wet. It all means that this truly could be one of the toughest and most unpredictable PGA Championships in recent memory.
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