PGA Championship Preview
August 03, 2020

PGA Championship 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

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Ross Kinnaird

Brooks Koepka with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2019 PGA at Bethpage Black.

When the PGA of America moved the date of the PGA Championship from August to May in 2019, little did officials know that the change would last all of one year. Of course, holding the 102nd PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in August was not the original plan, the COVID-19 hiatus forcing the association to find a new date. And yet while pushed back to August, the chase for the Wanamaker Trophy has become the much-appreciated, much-anticipated first major of 2020—even if it will take place without fans outside the ropes.

After a much-needed week in contention at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Brooks Koepka will attempt to win a third straight PGA title, something done only once in history (Walter Hagen winning four in a row from 1924-’27). Koepka will be joined by Tiger Woods returning to action after a T-40 finish at the Memorial Tournament, his only start in a tour event since February. Ninety-five of the top 100 in the world are looking to tee it up this week, including Rory McIlroy who won a WGC-Match Play at TPC Harding Park back in 2015.

To prepare for what will no doubt be a surreal week in the Bay Area, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about the PGA Championship.

When and where is the PGA Championship being held in 2020?

The PGA Championship is back in August once again after all of the schedule shuffling caused by the coronavirus. It’s being played at an historic municipal course, TPC Harding Park, which is the first course on the west coast to host a PGA Championship since Sahalee in 1998. It will also be the home of the 2026 Presidents Cup after hosting the same event back in 2009. The 7,234-yard par 70 is set against Lake Merced in San Francisco. After major renovations back in the early-2000s, the Sam Whiting and Willie Watson designed course has hosted two World Golf Championships and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Who conducts the PGA Championship?

The Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) of America conducts the event.

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Are the PGA Tour and the PGA of America different?

Yes, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America have been independent of one another since 1968. The PGA Tour is an elite organization of tournament professionals, while the PGA of America is made up of club and teaching professionals who work at on- and off-course golf facilities around the country (and the world).

When and where was the first PGA Championship? And who won?

The first PGA Championship was played in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y. England's Jim Barnes won, 1 up, over Jock Hutchinson.

When did the PGA Championship use a match-play format?

From 1916 to 1957, the PGA Championship was a match-play event with a stroke-play qualifier, and it was not uncommon for players to play more than 200 holes in seven days. Starting in 1958, the PGA Championship switched to the standard 72-hole, stroke-play format. Dow Finsterwald won the first stroke-play version of the event in 1958 at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pa.

How many players are in the field?

There are 156 players in the field at this year's PGA Championship, with 20 of those spots reserved for club professionals who are PGA of America members.

How do club professionals earn one of the 20 spots?

The PGA of America ordinarily fills the 20 spots held for club professionals for the top finishers at the PGA Professional Championship, but that event had to be canceled because of the coronavirus. Instead, the PGA of America had the top 20 off the 2019 PGA of America Club Professional player of the year points list take the spots.

Has a club professional ever won the PGA Championship?

Not in the modern era of the PGA Tour. According to PGA.com, the best performance since 1970 by a club professional playing in the PGA Championship was a third-place finish in 1971 by Tommy Bolt, a former tour pro who had retired from the tour. The last top 10 also came from a former tour pro—a very famous one—turned club professional: Sam Snead in 1973. Only one club professional has finished inside the top 20 in the last 30 years, Jay Overton in 1988 at Oak Tree. Only three have made the cut in the last seven years: Ben Kern as year ago at Bellerive, Omar Uresti two year ago at Quail Hollow and Brian Gaffney in 2015 at Whistling Straits.

How are the 136 other spots in the PGA Championship determined?

For a list of ways to qualify for the PGA Championship, click here.

Can amateurs play in the PGA Championship?

The PGA Championship is limited to professionals only, meaning amateurs cannot qualify.

What does the winner of PGA Championship receive?

The PGA champion receives the Wanamaker Trophy, the largest trophy of the four majors. Last year, Brooks Koepka earned a winner’s check of $1.98 million from the PGA Championship's $11 million purse. Traditionally the winner also receives automatic invites into all three of the other majors and the Players Championship for the next five years, PGA Tour membership for the next five years and European Tour membership for the next seven years. They also become eligible to compete in the PGA Championship for life.

Who won the 2019 PGA Championship?

With an eight-under 272 total, Brooks Koepka won the 2019 PGA Championship with a wire-to-wire victory. He joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winner of this event since the major went to stroke play in 1958. Koepka shot a disappointing four-over 74 on Sunday, but his record seven-shot lead heading into the final day kept him at the top of the leader board. It was his fourth major over his previous eight major-championship appearances. Dustin Johnson finished two shots back; DJ and Koepka were part of a small group of just six golfers to finish under par for the week.

Who has won the most PGA Championships?

Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen hold the record for most PGA Championship victories with five. Nicklaus also holds the record for most runner-up finishes in the PGA Championship with four.

How many PGA Championships has Tiger Woods won?

Tiger Woods has won four PGA Championships, the last coming in 2007 at Southern Hills. Woods looks to tie Hagen and Nicklaus with a fifth victory this year. It would be his 16th career major title and his 83rd PGA Tour win, breaking the tie with Sam Snead for the all-time tour victory mark.

Who are the most famous golfers not to have won the PGA Championship?

There are three men in golf history who have won each of the other three major championships (the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open) but have not completed the career Grand Slam by winning the PGA. They are Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jordan Spieth. Spieth is only 27 so he has plenty of time to try and complete the Slam. This is the fourth year he will be playing the PGA with the chance to do so.

Who is the youngest winner of the PGA Championship?

Gene Sarazen is the youngest winner, claiming the title at Oakmont Country Club in 1922 at 20 years and 174 days old. He defended his title the following year at Pelham Country Club and went on to win his third and final PGA at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in 1933.

Who is the oldest winner?

Julius Boros is the oldest winner, claiming the title at Pecan Valley Golf Club in 1968 at 48 years and 142 days old.

What is the PGA Championship scoring record?

The record for lowest 72-hole score in a PGA Championship was held by David Toms for his 16-under 264 total at Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, Ga., in 2001, but Brooks Koepka broke that record in 2018 with his 16-under 264 total at Bellerive. Koepka also tied the record set by Henrik Stenson at the 2016 Open Championship for the lowest total in major championship history.

What is the PGA Championship scoring record in relation to par?

Jason Day holds the record for scoring in relation to par not only in PGA Championship history, but in major championship history. The Australian was 20-under-par (268) when he won at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., in 2015.

What is the highest winning score of a PGA Championship? In relation to par?

The highest total score of a PGA champion is one-under 287, shot by Larry Nelson in 1987 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The highest winning score in relation to par was one-over 281, shot four times: Jay Hebert, 1960; Julius Boros, 1968; Gary Player, 1972; and Dave Stockton, 1976.

What is the largest margin of victory in the PGA Championship?

The largest margin of victory in the PGA Championship belongs to Rory McIlroy, who won by eight strokes in 2012 at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.). The Northern Irishman won the event again in 2014 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. That remains his last major championship victory.

If players are tied after 72 holes, how is a winner determined?

In the event of a tie, the PGA of America employs a three-hole aggregate format for the championship's playoff. If players are tied after three holes it becomes a sudden-death playoff.

How many playoffs have there been in PGA Championship history?

Since 1958 and the move to stroke play, there have been 13 playoffs in the PGA Championship, the last coming in 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club, where Keegan Bradley defeated Jason Dufner in the three-hole aggregate playoff.

What site has hosted the most PGA Championships?

Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., has hosted the most PGA Championships—four—the most recent in 2007, when Tiger Woods won.

What state has hosted the most PGA Championships?

New York has hosted the most PGA Championships with 13, including three at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., which hosted the 2013 PGA Championship and is scheduled to host again in 2023.

What are the future venues for the PGA Championship?

Future venues for the PGA Championship have been announced officially through 2029. There is also a “TBD” year for between 2030, as well as a venue locked in for 2031. They are as follows:

2021 — Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean Course), Kiawah Island, S.C.

2022 — Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J.

2023 — Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.

2024 — Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky.

2025 — Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.

2026 — Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pa.

2027 — The East Course at PGA Frisco, Frisco, Texas

2028 — Olympic Club, San Francisco

2029 — Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.

2030 — Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Okla.

2031 — Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md.

2034 — The East Course at PGA Frisco, Frisco, Texas

Who is the favorite to win the 2020 PGA Championship?

Justin Thomas, the new World No. 1 after his WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational victory, and Bryson DeChambeau have the best odds leading into TPC Harding Park at 10/1 with Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy right behind at 11/1. Jon Rahm will round out the top five at 14/1 and Tiger Woods is right in the mix of things at 28/1.

What will the weather be like for the 2020 PGA Championship?

Unlike last year’s May event at Bethpage Black in which weather was a major factor, this year’s August event is projected to be in the high 70s/low 80s with a small chance of rain from Thursday-Sunday. There are potentials for isolated thunderstorms on Friday and 8-9 mph winds throughout the four-day stretch at Harding Park, so that’s something to keep a lookout for.

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Gary Kellner

A view of the Wanamaker Trophy hole at TPC Harding Park.

What is TPC Harding Park known for?

For the fourth time in the PGA Championship's 104-year history, this major is taking place at a municipally-owned golf course. The most recent example was just last year at Bethpage State Park, but before 2019, you would have to go back all the way to 1974 to find a a taxpayer-funded track as host. Harding is not currently a forgiving course with high rough and pinched-in fairways. Perhaps the most talked-about of the 18 holes, it is the final 440-yard par-4 that may be the most compelling to watch over the week.

Who designed TPC Harding Park?

The initial 18-hole, 163-acre course was designed by Sam Whiting and Willie Watson. The course, opened on July, 18, 1925, was named after U.S. President Warren G. Harding. A massive $16 million restoration in 2002-2003 included a highly acclaimed re-design of the course. Over 15 months, the course was expanded from 6,743 yards to nearly 7,200 yards.

Who broadcasts the PGA Championship?

This year’s PGA Championship may look a bit different than in previous year's due to a new join-contract between ESPN and CBS. ESPN will replace TNT and hold rights to all of the early-round and weekend morning coverage, including supplemental coverage on ESPN+. CBS will hold all rights to afternoon coverage of weekend rounds and will feature Jim Nantz play-by-play.