TPC Harding Park Returns to Circuit After Long Absence

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The first Major of the year is finally upon us which includes the intriguing sub-plot of the battle to be world number one.

Two-time USPGA Champion Brooks Koepka

The US PGA Championship has not been staged on the West Coast of America since the 1998 edition at Sahalee, but TPC Harding Park, California, hosts this week as punters finally get some Major golf to enjoy in 2020.

This peculiar year, with the schedule ravaged by coronavirus concerns, means the US PGA will be the first Major of the season. It was traditionally the final Major – known as ‘Glory’s Last Shot’ – but gets things going this time. The US Open is scheduled to follow in September, with the Masters in November.

Harding Park is known to golf fans, but has only been seen sporadically. The 2005 WGC-American Express Championship was there in 2005, with Tiger Woods beating John Daly in a playoff for the title, then the 2009 Presidents Cup was the next significant event held at the Golden State layout.

The USA won the Presidents Cup by 19.5 points to 14.5 and Woods was the top scorer in the competition with five points from five matches, so the 15-time Major champion may interest plenty of punters at 28/1.

The 2015 WGC-Match Play was the last Tour gathering at Harding Park – Rory McIlroy beating Gary Woodland in the final. McIlroy is a 12/1 chance this week.

Battle for World-Number-One Status Continues in California

There was a huge fanfare after the Memorial when Jon Rahm became world number one for the first time, but the Spaniard did not enjoy a long stay atop the rankings summit.

Rahm was knocked off top spot immediately when Justin Thomas won the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind, Memphis, on Sunday. Nobody seems capable of dominating the circuit sufficiently to retain number-one status for long – and the competitive nature of modern golf is reflected by a wide-open betting heat for the US PGA.

Thomas, a three-shot winner at Southwind, is 9/1 for back-to-back triumphs, with Brooks Koepka, who is seeking a third consecutive US PGA victory, also at 9/1. The American duo are well-fancied, with European pair Rahm and McIlroy coming next, and Rocket Mortgage Classic champion Bryson DeChambeau is also prominent in the market.

US star Xander Schauffele

Schauffele Can Go Close to Major Breakthrough

The most likely Major maiden to lift the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday is arguably Xander Schauffele, who has been rounding into excellent form in the build-up to the US PGA and is competing in his home state this week.

Schauffele, a San Diego man, has post-lockdown form figures of 3-64-20-14-13-6 and enjoyed a seven-under-par weekend in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. That tidy Memphis warm-up, where he drove his ball superbly and scrambled well, sent him to Harding Park in high spirits.

Schauffele will need to tighten up his iron-play if he is to be a title contender, but plenty of punters will be tempted by the 16/1 quotes against his name. His Majors record is magnificent and this tough track seems ideal for him.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Steve has been a Racing Post columnist, golf tipster and punter for most of his working life. One of the most well-known tipsters in the country, his columns featuring golf betting tips have been must read material for years.
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