This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
PGA Championship Betting Preview
The second major championship of the year has arrived, and the world of professional golf ascends upon Oak Hill County Club in Rochester, New York for this week's PGA Championship.
Tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler -- at 7-1 odds -- and reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm -- listed at 15-2 -- headline a field that includes 17 LIV golfers and 20 PGA Professionals. Jordan Spieth is in the field after withdrawing from last week's event with a wrist injury, and he will attempt to capture the Career Grand Slam.
Last year, Justin Thomas -- at 14-1 -- defeated Will Zalatoris in a playoff at Southern Hills to take home his second Wanamaker Trophy.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 6:00 PM ET Tuesday.
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Par 70, 7,394 yards
Average Strokes Gained Rankings: Last Five PGA Championship winners
- SG: Off-the-Tee: 13.8
- SG: Approach: 14.2
- SG: Around-the-Green: 36.2
- SG: Putting: 21.8
- SG: Tee-to-Green: 7.8
- Driving Distance: 20.8
- Driving Accuracy: 41.2
Although the PGA of America rotates courses for this event, they tend to visit similar venues, and analyzing the stats of previous PGA Championship victors is a good place to start. We can see that driving play was a key factor in the past, and there's little reason to think it won't be at Oak Hill. At around 27 yards of fairway width -- similar to TPC Harding Park in 2020 -- players will have much tighter landing zones than last year, and the rough is going to be thick and will penalize inaccurate drives. Seven of the par-4s play at least 460 yards, and small greens will make it difficult for players to hit the putting surface consistently and limit low scores. I'm targeting players who are long and relatively accurate off the tee, and also those with quality all-around games.
Prosperous in the PGA Championship
The following golfers, with a minimum of three appearances, have the lowest scoring average at the PGA Championship since 2018.
- Brooks Koepka: 69.3
- Dustin Johnson: 69.6
- Justin Thomas: 69.6
- Jon Rahm: 70.0
- Adam Scott: 70.1
Masters runner-up Koepka tops the list and is getting respect from the oddsmakers as the sixth betting choice at 20-1. Koepka is a two-time winner of this event, and it's tough to find anyone who has fared better in major championships, as he has recorded a top-5 in a whopping 37 percent of his major appearances. Koepka has been getting the job in recent LIV events, notching sixth- and third-place results. It can be difficult to decipher which top player will have a letdown, but I don't expect that to come from world No. 1 Rahm due to his all-around game and combination of length and accuracy with the driver. His odds are slim, but with four wins this year over 11 starts, he may still be underpriced.
Drive for Show
These five players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes off the tee over their last 20 rounds.
- Scottie Scheffler: 1.01
- Patrick Cantlay: 1.00
- Sungjae Im: 0.88
- Gary Woodland: 0.85
- Hayden Buckley: 0.81
It shouldn't be much of a surprise to see Scheffler as the favorite, as he leads the Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee this season. That has helped him finish no lower than 12th in 12 straight tournaments, a stretch that includes a pair of wins. Scheffler will look to bounce back from a rare missed cut last year at Southern Hills, which was the only major he has failed to play the weekend at since 2020. Scheffler finished T8 and T4 in his other two PGA Championship appearances. Much farther down the board we find another major champion in Woodland, who checks in with 100-1 odds and makes for a nice sleeper at Oak Hill. He's gaining an impressive 1.38 strokes per round off the tee and on approach, which makes him one of the best ball strikers in the field. His short game hasn't been as good as it was when he won the U.S. Open in 2019, but that doesn't mean he should be overlooked.
PGA Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Patrick Cantlay (16-1)
As noted in the section above, Cantlay has his driver working, and when you combine that with his putting prowess it's easy to see why he is one of the top contenders at Oak Hill. The eight-time PGA Tour winner has been knocking on the door, recording four top-5 finishes over his last eight starts, and is due for a win.
Xander Schauffele (16-1)
Schauffele is one of the most consistent performers in majors, making the cut 20 times in 23 career majors while notching six top-5 results. He is still looking for his first major victory, though. Like Cantlay, he has come close to winning several times this season, and he recently finished runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Max Homa (40-1)
I know Homa has struggled in majors, but that seems to be factored into his price too much, as 17 players have shorter odds than the sixth-ranked player in the world. Homa fits the mold of what I'm looking for with above average length and accuracy off the tee as well as a top-30 spot in all of the SG: Approach, Around-the-Green and Putting departments. I think Homa is a great value play.
Interested in some additional picks? Check out our PGA Championship Longshots.
PGA Championship Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Wyndham Clark (11-2)
Coming off a top-10 last week with Ryan Palmer, I'll start with Clark, who picked up his first PGA Tour victory two weeks ago -- in a designated event to boot. He has been one of the best players in the world for a couple months, and his superb ball striking makes him an intriguing dark horse.
Sahith Theegala (15-2)
Theegala will be making just his fifth major start, but he is coming off his best finish in a major, which was an impressive top-10 at Augusta. Theegala has posted three top-10s in designated events this year, so he's shown he can play well against elite competition. It can be easy to overlook Theegala because he isn't elite in any given area, but there's also something to be said for a golfer who lacks a weakness.
Matt Kuchar (11-1)
The 44-year-old has had a resurgence since last spring, posting six top-10s over his last 25 starts. He has also recorded three PGA Championship top-10s since 2015. Kuchar has never been the longest player, but he makes up for it with the rest of his game and leads the Tour in scrambling this season. That will come into play given how difficult it will be to hit greens in regulation.
PGA Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Cameron Young (-110) over Collin Morikawa
Young nearly won in his PGA Championship debut last year, falling one shot short of a playoff. Now, he heads to his home state. Young has played some solid golf this spring, with a runner-up at the Match Play event and a top-10 at Augusta. Meanwhile, Morikawa's recent form leaves something to be desired. He enters off consecutive missed cuts and continues to struggle with his short game.
Keegan Bradley (+100) over Shane Lowry
Bradley is another of the few players in the field with ties to the northeast, and the PGA Championship is the major that has suited him best, as he has notched four top-20s and a win. I like him in this matchup, especially as an underdog against Lowry, who has just one top-30 result -- a T16 at The Masters -- since March.
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