2018 PGA Championship Preview
On August 9, the 2018 PGA Championship – the season’s fourth and final major – gets underway at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. With a $10.5 million purse and the world’s top golfers in tow, the final major should be one of the most exciting, fun tournaments of the year. Let’s take a closer look at the PGA Championship:
Bellerive Country Club
Located in Town and Country, a western suburb of St. Louis, Bellerive Country Club is one of the state’s most historic, elite clubs. In the past, it has played host to two other major championships: the 1965 U.S. Open and the 1992 PGA Championship. In 1959, 62 years after the club was founded, Bellerive moved to its current Town and Country location and a Robert Trent Jones-designed course opened on Memorial Day of the following year. This par 71 course sits at 7,547-square-foot yard, making it a tough course for those who aren’t long hitters. It’s also situated around a large creek, which puts water hazards into play on 11 holes. For the grass enthusiasts out there, bent grass is primarily used for the greens, while zoysia grass makes up the fairways.
Unlike the other three majors, the PGA Championship has a few unique guidelines when it comes to determining its field. It happens to be the only of the four that doesn’t invite top amateurs (which makes winning a previous major or PGA event the only way for them to get in), and also does not automatically grant entry to the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking. That being said, most of the top 100 players in the world receive invites if they haven’t already qualified, meaning that the tournament field this year will be stacked. For reference, here’s a list of those that receive invites:
- All former PGA Champions Last five Masters winners Last five U.S. Open winners Last five Open Championship winners Last three Players Championship winners Low 15 scorers and ties of 2017 PGA Championship 70 money leaders on PGA Tour
You get the picture. Expect to see all the powerhouse names including Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, and Justin Rose. Also, look out for the up-and-comers like Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Chesson Hadley, and Tommy Fleetwood. Of course, Justin Thomas is the name you’ll want to keep an eye on as he looks to do what few before him have done: Defend his PGA Championship. The last golfer to go back-to-back at the PGA? A little-known guy by the name of Tiger.
PGA Tournament Predictions
With a few more tournaments on deck, it’s hard to predict who will score lowest at the PGA Championship but there are certainly a few golfers trending upward right now that could take home the victory. As it stands right now, my money is on Dustin Johnson. He’s a bit of an obvious pick, but he’s always a safe bet in major tournaments. He finished tied 10th at the Masters back in April and took solo 3rd at the U.S. Open. Add in the fact that he’s hasn’t missed a single cut all season, has eight top-10 finishes, and happens to rank 10th in the world in driving distance (something that will come in handy at Bellerive), and you have the makings of a future PGA Champion. Here’s our top contenders at a glance: Justin Thomas: Two wins on the year, one missed cut, 1st on the money leaderboard, 8th in driving distance, 34th in greens in regulation Tony Finau: 3rd on PGA Tour in driving distance, four top-10 finishes, tied for 10th at Masters, solo 5th at U.S. Open Bryson DeChambeau: Memorial Tournament winner, top 40 in both 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, seven top-10 finishes Tommy Fleetwood: Four top-10 finishes, 2nd at U.S. Open, 26th in driving accuracy, 7th in scoring average
Where Can I Watch the PGA Tournament?
Television rights for the final major are a bit different, as TNT and CBS will split the broadcast duties. TNT will handle Thursday and Friday broadcasts, as well as early-morning action on Saturday and Sunday before flipping over to CBS. More info to come on specific times. With the final major merely weeks away, the 2018 PGA season is starting to wind down. Be sure to catch all the action on TV or, if you’re in the St. Louis area, you can secure tickets to the event right from your SeatGeek app.