MAX HOMA CAPTURES THE 2019 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP LONG DRIVE COMPETITION
Max Homa, winner of the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month and making his second career major appearance, captured the 2019 PGA Championship Long Drive Competition with a tee shot of 318 yards on the 423-yard, par-4 No. 16 hole at Bethpage Black.
Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed and Casey Russell shared second at 310 yards, while Justin Rose was fifth at 307 yards.
Homa took home a gold money clip for his winning effort, and made a $25,000 donation to his preferred charity. Lowry, Reed and Russell shared the second and third-place donations of $8,333 each to their respective USA-based 501(c)(3) charities of choice.
Homa joins Bryson DeChambeau (2018 Bellerive/331 yards), Jason Kokrak (2017 Quail Hollow/321 yards), Byeong Hun An (2016/Baltusrol, 347 yards), Anirban Lahiri (2015/Whistling Straits, 327 yards) and Louis Oosthuizen (2014/Valhalla, 340 yards) as winners of the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition since it was re-launched in 2014.
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CONCURRENT TWO-TIME DEFENDING CHAMPION?
Defending PGA Champion Brooks Koepka is also the 2-time defending U.S. Open Champion. Should Koepka successfully defend his PGA title at Bethpage Black this week, he’d be the first player to be a current two-time defending champion in two of the four Majors at the same time. In fact, only three golfers have even had a opportunity to do what Koepka is attempting to accomplish this week:
- Ben Hogan failed to win the 1952 Masters (held titles: 1950 and ’51 U.S. Open; 1951 Masters)
- Arnold Palmer did not win the 1963 Masters (held titles: 1961 and ’62 Open Championship; 1962 Masters)
- Tiger Woods did not win either the 2001 U.S. Open or Open Championship (held titles: 1999 and 2000 PGA Championship; 2000 U.S. Open; 2000 Open Championship)
Dating to last June’s U.S. Open, here are the best scores relative to par among those to play in all four Majors (2018 U.S. Open, 2018 Open Championship, 2018 PGA Championship, 2019 Masters): Brooks Koepka (-25), Tiger Woods (-22), Francesco Molinari (-17), Xander Schauffele (-16) and Webb Simpson (-14).
HE'S THE ONE
For the third consecutive year, Dustin Johnson will tee off in the first round of the PGA Championship as the No. 1 player in the world per the Official World Golf Rankings. Johnson was also the World No. 1 at Bellerive in 2018 and Quail Hollow in 2017. The last time the PGA Championship was played and Johnson was not No. 1: July 2016 at Baltusrol, when Johnson was ranked No. 2 behind Jason Day.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Tiger Woods comes to Bethpage Black this week fresh off his thrilling victory in the Masters last month. If this script sounds familiar, it is because the current scenario is remarkably similar to what he experienced in 2002, when he played Bethpage Black for the first time. That year, Woods won the Masters before claiming his second U.S. Open, besting Phil Mickelson by three shots to claim (at the time) his sixth Major Championship victory in a nine-Major span.
Woods' 2002 win at Bethpage Black was also the second time he went wire-to-wire (outright leader after all four rounds) in a Major Championship. He also accomplished that feat at the 2000 U.S. Open and the 2005 Open Championship.
Lucas Glover enters this week as the reigning major champion at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2009 U.S. Open. Glover returned to the Long Island property in 2016 for the Barclays, where he finished in a tie for 70th. A strong 2019 campaign has vaulted Glover up the Official World Golf Ranking 53 spots from the end of 2018: from No. 136 to his current rank of No. 83. His 11 top-25 finishes this season are his most since 2009.
Of the 20 PGA Club Professionals teeing it up this week, five are PGA Members in the Metropolitan PGA Section, which counts Bethpage Black as one of its Section facilities. The list includes:
- Danny Balin, PGA Head Professional, Fresh Meadow C.C., Lake Success, N.Y.
- Alex Beach, PGA Assistant Professional, Westchester C.C., Rye, N.Y.
- Jason Caron, PGA Head Professional, Mill River Club, Oyster Bay, N.Y.
- Rob Labritz, PGA Director of Golf, GlenArbor G.C., Bedford Hills, N.Y.
- Brian Mackey, PGA Head Professional, Hollow Brook G.C., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.