PGA Championship 2020 Tee Times: Groupings and Predictions for Thursday Schedule

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIAugust 5, 2020

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits from the third tee during practice for the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

One of the four major golf tournaments, the PGA Championship brings a competitive field and exciting action every year. And 2020 should be no different.

Being held at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco for the first time, the tournament begins Thursday with the top golfers in the world ready to play for the first major of the year. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the entire sports world, including the PGA schedule, which is why this event will now be the first major to be held in 2020.

Here's a look at the key information for this week's PGA Championship, followed by several predictions for Thursday's opening round.


PGA Championship Information

Dates: Aug. 6-9

TV: ESPN (Thursday and Friday 4-10 p.m. ET, Saturday 1-4 p.m. ET, Sunday noon-3 p.m. ET), CBS (Saturday, 4-10 p.m. ET, Sunday 3-9 p.m. ET)

Tee Times: A complete list of Thursday and Friday tee times can be found at PGATour.com.


Thursday Predictions

McIlroy jumps out to an early lead with strong showing

The only time Rory McIlroy has previously played at TPC Harding Park was in 2015, when he won the WGC-Cadillac Match Play event in dominating fashion.

That familiarity with the course, along with the previous success he's had on it, should bode well for the 31-year-old as the PGA Championship gets underway in San Francisco.

"As soon as I played the course, I liked it," McIlroy said, according to Golf.com's Sean Zak. "It's a fair test of golf. You get rewarded for good shots. It suited my eye. I like big trees that frame holes and you've got a lot of definition to work the ball off stuff."

The Northern Irishman could use a strong start, as he hasn't been playing his best in recent weeks. Last week, he shot a 73 in the opening round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, going on to finish tied for 47th. He's now finished 32nd or worse in four of his five tournaments since returning in June.

It may help that McIlroy will be playing alongside some strong competition, as he's been grouped with Tiger Woods and world No. 1 Justin Thomas for Thursday's opening round. Playing that close to two of the best, it could see him raise his game to his top level.

Because of that, expect McIlroy to jump out to the lead at a course he's clearly a fan of. He's looking to win his fifth major tournament, but his first since 2014, and he may be poised to do just that.


Woods opens with his best round since return

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Last month, Woods played in his first PGA Tour event since February, finishing tied for 40th at the Memorial Tournament. He was six over par and didn't have a score better than 71 in any of the four rounds, but it still gave him an opportunity to get on the greens in a competitive setting before the PGA Championship.

Now, the 44-year-old is going for his 16th win at a major tournament. And when he is on the biggest stage, he's proved he can still rise to the occasion.

"This is what I've been gearing up for," Woods said, according to ESPN's Bob Harig. "We've got a lot of big events starting from here, so looking forward to it. This is going to be a fun test for all of us. The rough is up. The fairways are much more narrow."

Woods may not be the leader after the opening round, but he should play better than the last time he competed, and he's going to put himself into position to be a contender by the time the weekend arrives.

He will break 70 for the first time since the opening round of the Genesis Invitational in February, and he'll hit some impressive shots in doing so.


Looking for three-peat, Koepka has quiet start

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Only one golfer has won the PGA Championship in three consecutive years, and that was Walter Hagen, who won four straight from 1924-27. And that was before the tournament switched to stroke play in 1958, so no golfer has accomplished that feat under the event's current format.

However, Brooks Koepka has the potential to become the first this year. And he enters this week with some momentum after tying for second at last week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, an improvement from his recent play as he had missed the cut at two of his previous three tournaments.

"I feel good," the 30-year-old said, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach. "I feel like my game's right there. This is where we wanted to be, peaking for the PGA."

Koepka may feel that way, but it may take him a bit to feel out a course he doesn't have much experience on this week. So, while he could be a factor by Saturday and Sunday, the prediction here is that he'll have a quiet first round and likely sit close to par after 18 holes on Thursday.