This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
PGA Championship Betting Preview
It's time for the second major championship of the year, and for the first time since 2007, golfers will head to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa for this year's PGA Championship!
In a testament to how deep the talent pool in golf is right now, no golfer comes in with a single digit on the left side of his odds. World No. 2 Jon Rahm edges out top-ranked Scottie Scheffler as the betting favorite at 11-1, and 13 players are 30-1 or lower. Last year, Phil Mickelson -- at a whopping 200-1 odds -- was a shocking long shot winner, beating out Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen by two strokes.
While it has been 15 years since the Tour last visited Southern Hills, one thing tends to be true in PGA Championships more than any other major and that's elite driving play is crucial for success. A par-70 at over 7,500 yards, Southern Hills will be no different with six par-4s playing at least 470 yards. That will require golfers to use driver often, and the longer hitters will also have an advantage on the par-3s, three of which play at least 210 yards. Three of the last four PGA Championship winners ranked first or second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green so that will be a key stat to hone in on this week. With scoring expected to be difficult, play around-the-green will be important as golfers will struggle to hit greens in regulation at a high percentage and will be scrambling for par often.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:00 PM ET Tuesday.
The following five golfers have the lowest scoring averages in majors since 2021.
The 25-year-old Morikawa has quickly shown an affinity for major championships, winning the PGA Championship in 2020 in his second career major start and has finished in the top-10 in four straight majors. His backers will have to pay up for him, however, as he's priced as the fourth choice on the board at 16-1 odds. With chipping coming into play more so than usual this week, Morikawa will need to be better around-the-green as he ranks 192nd in the category this season. Coming in with identical odds on this list is Spieth, who followed up his win at the RBC Heritage last month with a runner-up finish last week. Something will have to give between his current form and his recent play in big events as he missed the cut at The PLAYERS and The Masters. Considering how well he's played from tee-to-green recently, I'm on the side of expecting Spieth to be in the mix at Southern Hills.
The Proper Form
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes from tee to green over their last 20 rounds.
Tournament favorite Rahm is one of two players that checks in on both lists, and he's been the most dominant from tee-to-green which we know will be a big factor at Southern Hills. Historically really strong with his short-game, he's struggled around-the-green this season and has been mediocre with the putter, but his ball-striking numbers have been elite. With nine top-10s in his last 16 majors, it's difficult to imagine that he won't be in contention over the weekend. Another player in the field that has elevated his game on the big stage is Zalatoris, who has posted four top-10s in seven major appearances. He's still in search of his first Tour victory and is coming off a missed cut at the AT&T Bryon Nelson, where he lost 4.2 strokes on the greens – a category he ranks 185th in this season. He'll need to turn it around on the putting surface if he wants to start racking up wins, but if he does, look out.
PGA Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Rory McIlroy (12-1)
McIlroy has notably struggled in the first round of majors but turned it on thereafter, most recently beating the rest of the field by three shots in the final round of The Masters to finish runner-up. I'm betting on him getting off to a better start in the only major championship he's won twice. McIlroy is coming off a fifth-place finish at a course that doesn't fit his game particularly well, showing that he's in great form. The public also is favoring him, as his odds dropped noticeably Tuesday.
Corey Conners (60-1)
I'm drawn to elite ball strikers so naturally Conners is one of my picks this week as he's fifth in strokes-gained off the tee and is gaining 1.11 shots per-round with his ball-striking this season. The major championships seem to bring out some of his best golf, with five top-20 finishes since 2020.
Keegan Bradley (100-1)
Bradley is my longshot pick to win as a former PGA Championship winner who is playing some of the best golf of his career. He's had a chance to win twice in his last four starts as he was unable to convert the 54-hole lead at the Wells Fargo and was one-back with two holes to play at TPC Sawgrass. Bradley is top-30 in strokes-gained off the tee and approach this season and is bound to win soon considering how often he's in the mix. He is now a far better bet than the number he opened at.
PGA Championship Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Cameron Young (13-2)
Young has quickly established himself as the best rookie on Tour this season with three runner-up finishes and back-to-back top-3 results. He's in excellent form from tee-to-green and trails only Rahm in strokes-gained off-the-tee which will be pivotal this week. It would be a big ask for his first win to come at a major, so I prefer a pivot to a top-10 wager instead.
Harold Varner III (8-1)
Varner is still looking for his first major top-10, but I think this is the week he gets that monkey off his back. He's really come into his own this year with a win overseas, a top-10 at The PLAYERS and a T3 finish in his last start. Varner does spray it at times with driver but has above average length and lacks a weakness across the rest of his game.
Tom Hoge (12-1)
I know Hoge isn't the longest guy on Tour but this is too good of a price to pass up for someone that is slightly above average off-the-tee and one of the best iron players out there. He's made the cut in his last five major championships and has three top-5 finishes this season.
PGA Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
At first glance it may appear that Smith should be the favorite in this matchup until you consider how consistent Fitzpatrick has been this season. Smith may have more upside and ability to win, but he's also missed 2-of-5 cut events this year while Fitzpatrick has finished in the top-15 in 75 percent of his starts this year. He's an ideal fit for a head-to-head wager.
Harman withdrew from last week's Byron Nelson, so it's unclear if he's 100 percent. Plus, he's only made the cut in 12-of-23 majors while Hadwin has made three straight cuts at the PGA Championship. Hadwin is also rounding into form with three top-10s in his last five starts including a T9 finish at THE PLAYERS.