USPGA Championship: Dave Tindall's guide to the year's first major

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy will bid to win his third USPGA

From the Harding Park course to the betting to the UK television details, Dave Tindall outlines everything you need to know for August's USPGA Championship which starts two weeks today...

"It's a big boy golf course. You have to be able to hit it long. It's very difficult. It's a major championship golf course."

Brooks Koepka

In 2019, the USPGA was moved from August to a new May date, becoming the second major of the calendar year.

But here we are in 2020 and with golf, like everything, severely affected by COVID-19, the tournament returns to August.

The twist, though, is that this time it's the first major of the year. The rejigged schedule shows the USPGA taking part in August, the US Open in September and the US Masters in November. The Open Championship was postponed until 2021.

And, of course, there's another unwanted first. Due to the coronavirus, the tournament will be played without fans.

At least the players have had time to get used to that since the PGA Tour returned to action in June.

2020 USPGA Championship facts

When: August 6-9
Where: TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California
The Course: Par 70, 7,234 yards
Total Prize Money: $11 million
Winner Prize Money: $1.980 million
How to watch: All four days on Sky Sports. Be ready for some late nights. West Coast majors are a test of stamina for those in the UK and San Francisco is 8 hours behind: 2pm tee-times at Harding Park are 10pm UK.

TPC Harding Park

As is often the case with the USPGA, the tournament is taken to a course which offers us very little, if any, past recent form to study.

Thankfully, there is some at Harding Park due to it staging the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in 2015 - a tournament won by Rory McIlroy.

McIlroyHardingPark2015.jpg

Top 16 finishers in the 2015 WGC-Match Play

Winner: Rory McIlroy
Runner-up: Gary Woodland
Losing semi-finalists: Jim Furyk, Danny Willett
Losing quarter-finalists: Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, John Senden, Tommy Fleetwood
Beaten in last 16: Hideki Matsuyama, Charl Schwartzel, J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood.

TPC Harding Park - What They Say

Official website: "The Harding Park Course was substantially renovated in 2005 to better suit it for PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions events. The restoration of Harding Park focused on maintaining the course's integrity and unique characteristics while enhancing the original layout designed by world-renowned golf architects Willie Watson and Sam Whiting in 1925. Set against the cypress tree-lined Lake Merced, the improved Harding Park Course layout features soft bunkers and graceful undulating fairways. An additional 400 yards was also added to the course to make it a championship-caliber golf facility ready for PGA TOUR action. The course also underwent a greens renovation in December 2013 re-opened in 2014."

2020 quotes

Barry Deach (2020 PGA Championship director): "The fairways have come in like, 40 to 60% to its normal agronomy so I would say (hitting) fairways are going to be really important. You'll see the more prominence of the rough. Harding Park, the vibe up there is cool."

Brooks Koepka: "It's a big boy golf course. You have to be able to hit it long. It's very difficult. It's a major championship golf course. You know that. You look at - this finish will be interesting. I think it will be a great finish. You look at the back nine there, starting on about 13, 14, it gets really interesting. It will be exciting, especially if it's close on Sunday. I think those holes let up for quite a few disasters and some good golf."

Quotes from the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play

Rory McIlroy: "I never played Harding Park before. But I really, as soon as I played the course, I liked it. 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. I really enjoyed the golf course this week and enjoyed it as a whole."

Current betting and storylines

Brooks Koepka will be looking to make it a third straight win in the USPGA following his two-shot victories at Bellerive in 2018 and Bethpage Black in 2019. He's 12/1.

Rory McIlroy is another hat-trick seeker following his triumphs at Kiawah Island in 2012 and Valhalla in 2014.

McIlroy is the clear 7/1 favourite while, after his recent victory at Memorial, Jon Rahm has been bumped up to second in the betting at 10/1.

Monster-hitting Bryson DeChambeau is 11/1 third best while Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are co-fourth favourites alongside Koepka at 12s.

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