The PGA Championship is officially upon us; the second major of the 2022 tour season. Returning to Southern Hills for the first time since 2007, the Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore designed course recently underwent renovations to make it tougher. These changes included adding slopes to the greens to funnel shots away from the pin. In one of the strongest fields of the year, the top 100 players in the world will all make their way down to Tulsa, OK with the hopes of capturing one of the most prestigious trophies in golf.
With no shortage of storylines heading into round one on Thursday, one is that reigning champion Phil Mickelson will not defend his crown after capturing the event last year. The six-time major championship winner withdrew from the contest on Friday morning. Along with this, Jordan Spieth will look to complete the career grand slam. The Dallas, TX native would be just the sixth person ever to complete the feat. Making his return to competitive play at the Masters in April, Tiger Woods is set to play in just his second tournament in the last 17 months. The 46-year-old will tee off at 9:11 am on Thursday morning and is paired with Rory Mcilroy and Spieth for the opening two rounds.
Chris Gallagher and Brandon Braasch contributed to this article.
Favorite: Scottie Scheffler
Fresh off a tie for 15th at the Byron Nelson a week ago, Scheffler has remained the hottest golfer this season. The 25-year-old has captured four wins in thirteen starts. He was victorious at the WM Phoenix Open, World Golf Technologies Match Play, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the Masters Tournament in April. Recently calling Southern Hills his favorite course, the current world No. 1 has the game to attack the tight fairways and challenging greens. Currently 27th on tour in driving distance, he is averaging 308.8 yards per tee shot. He is hitting more than 72 percent of his greens in regulation while gaining 0.485 strokes per round with his putter. A popular pick to capture the event, look for him to be among the final groups on Sunday.
Favorite: Cameron Smith
Smith is primed and ready for a big week. He is making just his third start after finishing in a tie for third at the Masters. Struggling of late, the Australian native is coming off a missed cut at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, SC. He also disappointingly finished in a tie for 21st at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A proven player in major tournaments throughout his young career, the 28-year-old placed fourth at the US Open in 2015 and 20th at the Open Championship in 2019. Possessing one of the best short games in the field, he is 5th on tour in strokes gained, putting (0.922) and 80th in scrambling (62.3). Listed at 20-1 to capture the victory, bet on Smith this weekend.
Favorite: Colin Morikawa
Quietly beginning to play better golf after undergoing a rough patch, Morikawa finished fifth at the Masters. Along with this, the Los Angeles, CA native also ended up 26th at the RBC Heritage. He is still in search of his first victory of the 2022 tour season. The University of California Berkley alum has placed inside the top ten in three of his last four starts at major tournaments, including a tie for eighth at the PGA Championship and a victory at the Open Championship a year ago. Remaining one of the best ball strikers in the world, he is hitting 68 percent of his fairways off the tee. Furthermore, he ranks eighth on tour this season in strokes gained on approach shots.
Sleeper: Cameron Young
Young is off to a blistering start to begin his young career. The Wake Forest alum has only missed the cut five times in 15 starts while placing inside the top 20 seven times. Coming off a third-place finish at the RBC Heritage, he also placed second at the Wells Fargo Championship a week ago. One of the longest hitters in the tournament, the three-year pro ranks second on tour this season in strokes gained off the tee. Along with this, he ranks ninth in driving distance and sixth in birdie average per round. Needing to have a strong week with his putter if he hopes to capture his first major victory, he offers excellent value at 65-1.
Sleeper: Max Homa
Now up to 28th in the World Golf Rankings, Homa captured the Wells Fargo Championship for the fourth victory of his young career. Beginning to become a regular on top of the leaderboards, the Burbank, California native has finished inside the top 20 in six of his last eight starts. Still looking to find his footing at major tournaments, the nine-year veteran has yet to place inside the top 20 in any of his ten starts while only making the cut three times. His best career finish came at the 2021 Open Championship, where he finished in a tie for 40th. Recently making changes to his swing under golf instructor Mark Blackburn, the 31-year-old looks poised to finally play on the big stage this weekend.
Favorite: Rory Mcllroy
Mcllroy is in a good position to capture his third career PGA Championship this weekend. This year makes 10 years since he last won one in 2012 when he dominated winning by eight strokes. Mcllroy is coming off a runner-up finish at the Masters where he put together one of the best rounds in Masters history. Furthermore, he had another top-five finish at the Wells Fargo Championship. If Mcllroy can stay in contention after the cuts he will be a threat to win it all come Sunday afternoon.
Favorite: Jordan Spieth
Spieth has three major victories in his career with wins at the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. However, it has been since 2017 that Spieth has been able to capture a Major victory. Furthermore, the one Major championship he has yet to win is the PGA Championship, where his best finish is second. The good news for Spieth is that he has been playing good golf this year. He is in good form and showed that with last week’s runner-up finish. This could finally be the week that Spieth secures the PGA Championship to complete the career grand slam.
Favorite: Jon Rahm
Rahm has only played in one tournament since the Masters in April. That one tournament resulted in a victory in the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Rahm comes into the week as the betting favorite and rightfully so. He will need to have a good weekend on the greens to win this tournament. However, since he is very good off the tee, that should set himself up nicely for some easy putts. Look for Rahm to put himself in contention for his second career Major victory.
Sleeper: Tyrell Hatton
Southern Hills has some very tough greens after the course re-design a few years ago. That will make putting all the more important. However, that will suit Hatton well as he is among the best putters on the tour. He is currently second in strokes gained putting this year. Hatton’s chance at winning will come down to his drives. If he can put together a good weekend off the tee, look for him to be in contention with his short game.
Sleeper: Xander Schauffele
Schauffele has yet to win a PGA Championship. However, he comes into this year’s tournament with a solid chance to capture his first. He did struggle and miss the cut at the Masters, but he will head into this weekend coming off a top-five finish at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. To put himself in the top five last week, he put together a spectacular final round by shooting the low score of the day at -11. Look for him to carry that momentum into a strong outing at Southern Hills.
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