2019 U.S. PGA Championship: The Main Contenders

The U.S. PGA Championship moves to become the second major of the year when it heads to Bethpage Black in New York State on May 16-19.

The event has traditionally been held in August each year as the fourth and final major, but a change in the calendar sees it staged it May each year from 2019. Will that make any difference to the likely contenders for the prize?

We take a look at the chances of the leading contenders for the 2019 U.S. PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods

Where else is there to start than last month’s US Masters champion, who proved at Augusta that there is plenty of life in him just yet. It was classic Tiger, watching the opposition fall away on the final day to earn the famous Green Jacket once again. That took him to 15 career majors, three behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. Could Woods win another? He’s a four-time U.S. PGA Championship winner and lifted the U.S. Open title when it was held at Bethpage Black in 2002.

Brooks Koepka

The defending champion having won last year’s U.S. PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, Koepka finished one shot adrift of Woods in the Masters and has played exceptionally well in majors over the last two years. He has won two US Opens (2017 and 2018), last year’s U.S. PGA, finished T6 in the 2017 Open Championship and runner-up in the Masters this year. The world number three simply has to enter calculations.

Dustin Johnson

It remains a bit of a mystery how world number one Johnson has only won the one career major, the 2016 U.S. Open. Like Koepka, he was also runner-up to Woods at Augusta this year having earlier won in Saudi Arabia and in the WGC-Mexico this season. He has four top 10s in the U.S. PGA Championship but his best finish remains fifth in 2010. The event hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Johnson.

Rory McIlroy

Four-time major winner McIlroy has produced career-best form this year, including claiming his 15th PGA Tour win in The Players Championship. Two of his four major victories came in the U.S. PGA Championship in 2012 at Kiawah Island and two years later when he won at Valhalla in 2014. Since then, he would have been disappointed with his efforts in the event but could his return to form mean a third title is on the cards?

Justin Thomas

The 2017 U.S. PGA Championship winner hasn’t been seen on the course in a tournament since finishing T12 at the Masters. But he has major winning pedigree and boasts four top 10 finishes to his name this year. Could he be a dark horse fresh from a break?

Francesco Molinari

Molinari won his first major in the 2018 Open Championship and led the Masters heading into the final round this year. It all went wrong on the back nine for the Italian as he faded into T5 at Augusta behind Woods. A missed cut in his only start since doesn’t deter from the fact his form in 2019 includes victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Expect another no-nonsense display from Molinari.

See also: 2019 U.S. PGA Championship Course Guide: Bethpage Black

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