The sign outside the entrance to the Bethpage Black golf course sets the tone for the upcoming PGA Championship.  It says, “WARNING-The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers”. 

Fortunately, there will be an abundance of highly skilled golfers in attendance when competition tees off for the 2019 PGA Championship out on Long Island, New York on Thursday.  Bethpage Black was opened in 1936 and to this day still strikes a chord of fear in golfers of any skill level.  The legendary links hosted the US Open back in 2002, which was won by a young Tiger Woods, and then again in 2009 when Lucas Glover took home to coveted cup. This will be the first time that the PGA Championship will be held there.

As one of only four ‘major’ PGA tournaments, certain ‘credentials’ are required of the players just to qualify to participate.  First of all, all former PGA Champs are invited to play.  Then the past five Masters Champs, which include Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Danny Willet plus the past five U.S. Open Champs which brings in Dustin Johnson as well.

The list goes on a bit, but, suffice it to say that all the major contenders will be there with their best name brand outfits and ready to rumble.  Rumble because they all know that taking on this level of competition on the Bethpage Black course means taking their game to the highest possible level and staying consistent over the entire four day tournament, and being very lucky.

After his staggering victory at the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods emerges as the odds on favorite to win the 2019 PGA Championship as well and bettors are already lining up to put down their wagers on the ‘Big Cat’ once again.  Woods has placed in the top 10 in each of the last three majors and has won previously on Bethpage Black.

So OK, Tiger Woods is a legitimate favorite to be the PGA Champ for the third time at 9-1.  However, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson as close behind at 10-1 and charging Rory McIlroy is at 12-1 with Rickie Fowler at 16-1. Justin Thomas was at 18-1 along with Jon Rahm, but Thomas has dropped out of the competition due to a wrist injury.

Such is the renewed faith in Tiger Woods that the same bettor who put down 85 dimes on Tiger at 14-1 to win at Augusta, and brought home a cool $1.19 million has wagered $100,000 of those winnings on Woods completing the 2019 Grand Slam with William Hill in Las Vegas. Will he hit it again?