Who Will Claim the Fourth and Final Golf Major This Week?

It only seems like a few weeks ago we were celebrating Patrick Reed earning the first Major of the season with victory at Augusta to claim his first Masters green jacket. However, fast forward a few weeks and with the US Open and British Open now complete, we are now set for the fourth and final Major of the season. The 100th USPGA Championship, which will take place at Bellerive Golf Club in Missouri.

It’s a very hectic time for the top golfers in the world as following on from the British Open, there is a big $10,000,000 World Golf Championship event just prior to the USPGA Championship and then a few weeks later, the Ryder Cup will take place at Le Golf National in Paris, France with the United States hoping to defend the trophy they won convincingly back in 2016.

That then leads us into the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup competitions on both sides of the Atlantic with all the top players on both the European and US tours seeking to end the season on a high by claiming the massive prize money on offer for the winner across this multiple-event season finale to the tours.

This week though, all the attention is on which of the world’s elite golfers in this quality field will be the one holding the Wanamaker trophy (and pocketing the not inconsiderable sum of $1,890,000 in prize money from the $10,500,000 prize fund) at the end of Sunday night. Let’s take a quick look back at the USPGA’s history, its most recent winners and then who we think will be in contention for the title and who would represent a very solid bet with bet365 Sport.

All odds are courtesy are bet365 and were correct at the time of writing on Sat 14th July at 09.00 BST.

A Short History of the USPGA Championship

The first USPGA Championship was contested 102 years ago back in 1916 and this years event is the 100th time the tournament has taken place. The first winner of the tournament was Englishman Jim Barnes (the only Englishman to win the tournament, and he did so twice), who pocketed the princely sum of $500 and a diamond-studded medal, donated as a prize for the tournament by Mr Wanamaker. It was his support that led to the establishment of the USPGA as the fourth major and his name now adorns the winner’s trophy.

In the early years of the event from 1916 through to 1957, the event was played in the match play format, but changed to stroke play in 1958 and has been played over that format ever since.

The tournament has also been held at different times in the golfing calendar over the years, played mostly in May/June time in its early history, it has also been held as early as February and as late as October. In more recent years, it has been played in August, but from 2019, it will shift in the calendar back to May to ensure there is a more even spacing between golf’s four Majors, as well as easing the burden on players in the run up to the big end of season multi-tournament events.

Over the years, American players have traditionally dominated the event and while since 2000 a few more players from other countries have landed victories, there have still been 11 American winners compared to just 7 from the Rest of the World in that period, and no winners from either England, Scotland or Spain over that time.

USPGA Champions Since 2000

  • 2000 – Tiger Woods US (-18) – Valhalla
  • 2001 – David Toms US (-15) – Atlanta Athletic Club
  • 2002 – Rich Beem US (-10) – Haseltine
  • 2003 – Shaun Micheel US (-4) – Oak Hill Country Club
  • 2004 – Vijay Singh FIJ (-8) – Whistling Straits
  • 2005 – Phil Mickelson US (-4) – Baltusrol
  • 2006 – Tiger Woods US (-18) – Medinha Country Club
  • 2007 – Tiger Woods US (-8) – Southern Hills Country Club
  • 2008 – Padraig Harrington IRE (-3) – Oakland Hills
  • 2009 – Yang Yong-eun S.KOR (-8) – Hazeltine
  • 2010 – Martin Kaymer GER (-11) – Whistling Straits
  • 2011 – Keegan Bradley US (-8) – Atlanta Athletic Club
  • 2012 – Rory McIlroy N.IR (-13) – Kiawah Island
  • 2013 – Jason Dufner US (-10) – Oak Hill Country Club
  • 2014 – Rory McIlroy N.IR (-16) – Valhalla
  • 2015 – Jason Day AUS (-20) – Whistling Straits
  • 2016 – Jimmy Walker US (-14) – Baltusrol
  • 2017 – Justin Thomas US (-8) – Quail Hollow Golf Club

In terms of USPGA Tournament wins, Jack Nicklaus holds the record in the modern era with five wins, a feat matched by Walter Hagen who won the event when it was a match play event. Tiger Woods has four wins to his name, while Sam Snead has won the event three times. Several players have won the tournament twice including Vijay Singh, Nick Price, Rory McIlroy, Lee Trevino, Larry Nelson and Ray Floyd.

If you fancy a flutter with bet365 on the USPGA Golf tournament then I strongly suggest you place each way bets on the tournament as bet365 offer pays for the first five places in golf tournaments as standard, and may even increase that number for this Major.

Here’s the three golfers I am backing each-way for this event and why.

  • Rickie Fowler (US) – 20/1 with bet365

America has a wonderful crop of talented golfers and many of them, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas to name but five, have all claimed at least one Major if not more. There is one name missing from that list that should be on it and that is Rickie Fowler. He has a superb all-round game and is a very consistent performer in the big tournaments. He’s won the Players Championship (which many argue is harder to win than a Major) and just needs to get one Major under his belt and I think more will follow.

  • Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) – 25/1 with bet365

After winning the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in 2017 to become European golf’s best player, Tommy Fleetwood confirmed his status in the game by following up his fourth place in the 2017 US Open with an even more impressive second place finish this year. Fleetwood’s game seems well suited to American courses and while he hasn’t thrived at the Masters, he should find this tough course at Bellerive more to his liking. If he can get himself on a run, he could be a real threat.

  • Paul Casey (Eng) – 40/1 with bet365

I feel a bit sorry for Paul Casey, he was in superb form earlier in the season, winning the Valspar Championship in March and he’s been consistent in the two other American Majors this season, finishing 15th in the Masters and 16th at the US Open, despite picking up an injury before that event which somewhat ruined his chances of a better finish. His best finish at the USPGA is 10th back in 2016, but Casey has the game where if he gets hot, he can shoot very, very low and I think he is long  overdue a healthy slice of good fortune in a Major sooner rather than later.