PGA Championship 2019 Tee Times: Groupings and Predictions for Thursday Schedule

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2019

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will play his opening rounds with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka will play his opening rounds with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari.Associated Press

Tiger Woods will find out quickly this week if he still has the momentum that allowed him to win the Masters last month.

The 43-year-old earned his first major title in nearly 11 years when he won at Augusta, but he has not played in a tournament since then. However, he will be competing in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York, when the second major of the year gets underway Thursday.

The reason why Woods will discover if he is prepared for the competition is that he is paired with a couple of brilliant players in the opening rounds: Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari.

Koepka is the defending PGA champion and has three majors to his name, while Molinari has become one of the most consistent players on the tour and is the holder of the British Open title.

The trio will tee off at at 8:24 a.m. ET in one of the featured groupings during the first two days of the PGA Championship. 

In addition to Woods, Koepka and Molinari, fans will also be able to watch several other big-name groups, including the one involving Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Kelly Kraft, which tees off at 7:40 a.m.

Kraft was a late addition to the tournament after Justin Thomas withdrew due to an injury to his right wrist. The 2017 PGA champion made contact with a tree on one of his shots in late March, and while he has played since then, he has not recovered to the point where he can play his best golf.

Thomas' injury becomes an opportunity for Kraft, who ranks 126th in FedEx points.

The 30-year-old Texan has two top-10 finishes and has won more than $470,000 this year. He is clearly climbing a big mountain against the game's top competitors, but he has an opportunity to prove himself.

Rickie Fowler has to meet the challenge of playing his best game at the demanding Bethpage Black.
Rickie Fowler has to meet the challenge of playing his best game at the demanding Bethpage Black.Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press/Associated Press

Other featured groups include Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose teeing off at 8:02 a.m., while Tony Finau, Billy Horschel and Ian Poulter start their round at 12:43 p.m.

Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth tee off at 1:16 p.m., and Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day begin their first round at 1:38 p.m.

A link to the full PGA Championship field can be found at PGA.com.

Koepka and Woods are favored to win the event at odds of 10-1, followed by Dustin Johnson at 11-1 and Rory McIlroy at 12-1. 

Here's a look at the odds for the top 20 betting options in the field and a link to the odds for the full field, per VegasInsider.com.

          

2019 PGA Championship odds

Brooks Koepka 10-1
Tiger Woods 10-1
Dustin Johnson 11-1
Rory McIlroy 12-1
Rickie Fowler 16-1
Jon Rahm 18-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Jason Day 22-1
Francesco Molinari 25-1
Xander Schauffele 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood 33-1
Tony Finau 3-1
Bryson DeChambeau 40-1
Sergio Garcia 40-1
Hideki Matsuyama 45-1
Jordan Spieth 45-1
Patrick Cantlay 45-1
Matt Kuchar 50-1
Paul Casey 50-1
Adam Scott 55-1

          

Predictions

Woods is one of the most popular players in the world, and his Masters victory was celebrated across the sporting world.

However, the former world No. 1 has not played since winning the Masters on April 14, and stepping right back in and winning a second consecutive major at the age of 43 seems too much to ask. However, he is likely to remain in contention for four rounds.

Koepka may be the game's best clutch player, and the biggest events bring out the best in his game. Look for the 29-year-old to be among the leaders as the tournament reaches the back nine in Sunday's final round.

Fowler is capable of asserting himself and winning the PGA title. If he has a hot putter, he should have an excellent chance to claim this major championship.

But it's McIlroy who has all the tools to win the PGA title. He has tremendous length, and that's needed at Bethpage Black.

Look for the Northern Irishman to assert himself early in the tournament and earn a decisive victory.        

1: Rory McIlroy

2: Rickie Fowler

3: Brooks Koepka

4: Tiger Woods

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