After a turbulent start to the year and many compromises later, the very first Major of 2020 will get under way on Thursday. ANDRE HUISAMEN highlights five contenders to win this week’s PGA Championship.
‘Yup, coming in hot Harding Park’ was the early warning sign to the rest of the PGA Championship field that the four-time Major winner is feeling confident ahead of his favourite tournament. Koepka, winner at the event in 2018 and 2019, can create a historic feat if he bags a third consecutive victory come Sunday. His T2 at this past weekend’s WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational suggests that he is regaining the same level of determination that moved him to the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings towards the end of last year. The bookies have Koepka at 10/1 and it is no surprise why he should be a favourite heading into the start of the week.
The new world No 1, Thomas claimed an impressive three-shot victory in Memphis on Sunday in already his third triumph of this dramatic season. The odds also have him as the favourite, alongside Koepka, at 10/1 and the PGA Championship remains the only Major he’s ever won – Charlotte 2017, the start of an impressive career so far. He will be hoping Harding Park sparks the same gratitude this week.
The big hitter is on everyone’s lips this week. Not only because a pairing with Koepka will honestly be the best thing to happen since golf’s restart, but also due to his average record at Majors. The feeling is that this week could be the chance to finally see DeChambeau go on a quest to better his T15 at the 2015 US Open, which surprisingly is still his highest finish at a Major. At 11/1 he could be a pretty decent shout, especially if he replicates his recent form – especially from the tee box.
He hasn’t had the best of times competing since the PGA Tour’s restart at the Charles Schwab Challenge, but if McIlroy gets into the groove with which he took the No 1 spot in the world at the beginning of the year he will be a hard man to stop. Also a two-time champion at the PGA Championship, the Northern Irishman sits at 14/1 and having won the 2015 WGC-Match Play Championship at Harding Park, a firm contention can certainly be expected when McIlroy tees off on Thursday.
His recent reign as the world No 1 didn’t last very long but, then again, the Spaniard has been in good form in general over recent weeks. His win at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago was genuine reward for his consistency over the course of the last 18 months. Like McIlroy, Rahm is also favoured at 14/1 to win this week, but his battle at Muirfield Golf Village would have given him heaps of confidence to overcome the best of fields.