TPC Harding Park opened in 1925. Named after President Warren Harding, the course got TPC status in 2010, shortly after hosting its one and only Presidents Cup. In 2020, the course will host its first major, as the PGA Championship comes to town.
This tournament was originally supposed to be played May 14-17, but COVID-19 happened and threw everything off-course. Fans will not be attendance, which is really unfortunate for the first major of the season, but the big hope is that the golf season can keep pushing forward as uninterrupted as possible.
This will be a new course for most of the players, as TPC Harding Park has hosted two WGC events in the past, the 2015 WGC-Match Play Championship and the WGC-American Express Championship.
We’ll break down the course, see which skills matter the most, and find some good value prices for the 2020 PGA Championship.
Odds are from MyBookie Sportsbook and you can see the prices for all of the players down below the written content for this article. As you would expect with a major, all the stars and standouts are on hand. Most of the biggest names are the ones at the shortest prices, like co-favorites Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas at +1000. Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, who won here back in 2015 in the Match Play Championship, are co-second favorites at +1400.
Bryson DeChambeau is +1600 and then Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele round out the top of the market at +2000. We’ll see 95 of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking on hand.
Past PGA Champions include Rich Beem(!), Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Martin Kaymer, Koepka, Davis Love III, McIlroy, Shaun Micheel, Phil Mickelson, Thomas, Jimmy Walker, and Tiger Woods. Other major champs in the field include Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, DJ, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Zach Johnson, Shane Lowry, and Henrik Stenson.
This is not a course that the PGA Tour plays often. In 2010, 2011, and 2013, the Champions Tour played its final event on the course. For the PGA Tour, it will play as a long par 70 of 7,234 yards.
This course is expected to play very tough this week. Fairways have been narrowed and the rough has grown out. Unlike a lot of areas around the country that have been very hot, with drought-like conditions in many spots, San Francisco has that cooler marine air which allows course officials to let the rough go. That means accuracy off of the tee is going to be critical this week.
There could be a lot of scrambling this week as well. Middle iron shots from thick lettuce are going to lead to chips and pitches around the green. Par might be a good score on a lot of holes and that would mean leaving those wedge shots in proximity to the hole.
As the signature PGA Tour event, the players are typically given the chance to shine. This event doesn’t usually get a setup like the US Open, but some are suggesting that that the higher degree of difficulty we usually see at that tournament may carry over to this one.
Generally speaking, there is some give and take, so higher rough may mean less challenging pin placements. Narrower fairways may mean better approach angles for players that do find the short grass. It will be fun to watch.
Yay or Neigh?
Uh, well, we don’t really have a horse for course section this week because they’ve played two events here in the last 15 years. The course should play a lot different. I don’t know if we’ll only see six players under par like we saw last year in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, but this will not be a course designed for low scores.
Since you’re here, we’ll mention that Rory beat Gary Woodland in the finals of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play here in 2015. Jim Furyk topped Danny Willett for third place. The others in the “Elite 8” were Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, John Senden, and Tommy Fleetwood. Others in the “Sweet 16” bracket format to determine a winner were Hideki Matsuyama, Charl Schwartzel, JB Holmes, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan, Branden Grace, and Lee Westwood.
It was five years ago, so I don’t really think any of it matters, but now you know.
So, again, just based on what I’m seeing about how the course looks and will play, SG: Off-The-Tee will be important with driver accuracy a major factor. This isn’t as long of a course as most major courses, but dropping it down to a par 70 makes it feel longer.
Of the short prices, all of them could win, but I’m back on Xander Schauffele this week. Schauffele’s SG: Approach was too low to win last week, but he was seventh in SG: OTT and was on the plus side with the putter. He was also far and away tops in SG: ARG (Around the Green). Like I said, with the thick rough, guys are going to have to scramble and leave it close to play for short par putts. Schauffele is only 20/1, but there have been a ton of strong elements to his game recently and he’s just a little thing here or there away from putting them all together. Schauffele was second in SG: OTT in the Memorial. A big win is coming. I think it’s this week.
A price of 40/1 seems gift-like on Daniel Berger as well. Berger tied for second last week at TPC Southwind and filled up all the stat categories. Had he putted just a little better, he might have run down Justin Thomas. Berger is a SG: OTT monster. He’s just outside the top 40 in driving accuracy as well.
There aren’t going to be a lot of great putters this week. The greens are sort of a blend of poa and bentgrass, as the greens were changed a few years ago. Guys that strike it well, but struggle to putt include Hideki Matsuyama, Corey Conners, and Viktor Hovland. This isn’t expected to be a ball striker’s place with the narrower fairways this week and the thicker rough. Hovland may fare better than those two and his price is back up to 45/1.
As far as driving accuracy goes, a lot of people seem to like Brendon Todd this week, as he’s fallen apart at the end of some big tournaments lately. Todd is third in driving accuracy and 208th in driving distance, so he’ll likely put it in the short grass and figure it out from there. He’s a top-35 putter on tour this season and has a price of +10000.
Among the other short prices with good driving distance, Webb Simpson is top 20 in driving accuracy. He’s also sixth in SG: Total and has been great with the short game in all facets. At +2800, he’s a good play this week.
Cameron Champ is +20000. Champ was third in SG: OTT last week at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He putted well, but had some issues on approach and around the green. That might be his shortfall this week, but that’s what you get with a 200/1 shot. You’re not getting perfection. If nothing else, Champ looks like a good gamble for a top 20 or even a make the cut prop.
So, let’s narrow it down. Schauffele at +2000 and Simpson at +2800 are the two shortest prices. Berger also makes the card this week at +4000.
With the Left Coast tournament, tee times will start a little later than usual on Thursday, but ESPN and CBS will have all the coverage and a lot more of it than usual as well.
Odds from MyBookie Sportsbook as of 8/3, 3 p.m. ET:
|Byeong Hun An||+12500|
|Erik van Rooyen||+16000|
|Si Woo Kim||+25000|
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||+25000|
|C T Pan||+50000|
|Davis Love III||+150000|