PGA Championship 2019: Tiger Woods enters Bethpage as odds-on favorite
Four weeks have done little to slow the frenzy around Tiger Woods.
Though Woods hasn’t played a PGA Tour event since slipping into a green jacket for the fifth time, oddsmakers still like his chances at this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Woods is listed at 9/1 this week, just ahead of Dustin Johnson (10/1) and Brooks Koepka (10/1), according to GolfOdds.com. Woods will play his opening rounds with Koepka and Francesco Molinari on Thursday and Friday.
While optimism around Woods is soaring, Bethpage is expected to provide challenges that the familiar confines of Augusta did not. Primarily, the length of the course should favor some of the longer hitters in the field, a category which Woods (ranked 52nd on Tour in driving distance) no longer qualifies. And the 156-man field, including 99 players ranked in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking (Justin Thomas is the lone man out after withdrawing Monday), offers more depth of competition than the 87-man Masters field.
Still, Woods’ familiarity with Bethpage should prove advantageous. He won his eighth major championship in the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage and finished tied for sixth at Bethpage’s ’09 Open.
Woods enters the week boasting the best Greens in Regulation percentage on Tour (75.56%) while also ranking fifth in strokes gained around the green. Notably, though he hasn’t played tournament golf, Woods was spotted practicing around Bethpage as early as last Wednesday, tuning up for a run at his 16th major championship.