This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
Course: Oak Hill Country Club (7,394 yards, par 70)
Winner: $2,700,000 and 600 FedExCup points
The PGA Championship returns to Oak Hill for the first time in 10 years. The course underwent some pretty big changes from when Jason Dufner came out on top in 2013. Golf course architect Andrew Green and his team took out a number of trees, resurfaced the greens, and redesigned a few holes among other changes to restore Oak Hill to the original Donald Ross design in 1921. The result should be a very stern test for the best players in the world and different setup options for the PGA of America. The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club has hosted three U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships, and the 1995 Ryder Cup won by Europe. It also will host its third U.S. Amateur in 2027.
The 2023 PGA Championship field is loaded with 99 of the Top 100 players in the OWGR. The lone omission is World No. 9 Will Zalatoris who is out for the season after having back surgery. Masters Champion Jon Rahm will be looking to keep his bid for the Grand Slam alive with a victory at Oak Hill. World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler will be looking to retake that top spot with his third win of the year. Rory McIlroy will look to put the disappointment behind him from a missed cut at The Masters and win a major for the first time since the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, which will host next year's PGA Championship as well. While it's hard to not start with those top three players, the biggest storyline going into the second major of the year is the health of Jordan Spieth, who had to withdraw from the AT&T Byron Nelson last week with a wrist injury. Spieth needs just the PGA Championship to become the sixth golfer to complete the Career Grand Slam. His good friend Justin Thomas is the defending PGA Champion and can join Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as three-time PGA Championship winners.
Outside of your normal top contenders from the PGA Tour, LIV Golf will have 18 players in the field at Oak Hill. That's the same number the Saudi-backed golf league had at The Masters in April. Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Patrick Reed all finished in the Top Five at Augusta and proved to a lot of people that LIV Golf players can compete at the four biggest tournaments of the year despite the obvious drop down in competition from the PGA Tour. In addition to all the players across multiple tours in the 156-man field at Oak Hill, 20 PGA club professionals will also compete to be inside the Top 70 and ties to secure a weekend tee time.
We knew that there was a chance for some interesting weather at certain venues when the PGA decided to move from August to May back in 2019. After a chilly Wednesday and Thursday, things should heat up for the second round on Friday. There's a chance we may get some showers over the weekend, but overall it seems like a pretty decent forecast, especially compared to what everyone had to deal with at the Masters. Gusty winds will have to be monitored on a course that features a fair amount of elevation changes. The winning score is always hard to predict, especially after a major course renovation, but single digits under-par have won four of the last six PGA Championships after five straight double-digit under-par winners. Looking at the Oak Hill course flyovers, I'm predicting a really tough test for the players.
2022 - Justin Thomas at Southern Hills (-5)
2021 - Phil Mickelson at Kiawah Island (-6)
2020 - Collin Morikawa at TPC Harding Park (-13)
2019 - Brooks Koepka at Bethpage Black (-8)
2018 - Brooks Koepka at Bellerive (-16)
2017 - Justin Thomas at Quail Hollow (-8)
2016 - Jimmy Walker at Baltusrol (-14)
2015 - Jason Day at Whistling Straits (-20)
2014 - Rory McIlroy at Valhalla (-16)
2013 - Jason Dufner at Oak Hill (-10)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
This is going to be a week for the bombers who have control of their golf ball. It is a lengthy course for a par 70 at nearly 7,400 yards, and we're unlikely to see a whole lot of rollout in the fairways. Everything will start off the tee at Oak Hill. The fairways are really narrow for the amount of drivers players will be forced to hit and an errant shot will leave leave you contending with very dense rough or a deep fairway bunker. This course features a bunch of elevated greens, and coming into those firm surfaces from anything other than the fairways is not going to be much fun.
Over the years the slope on these bentgrass greens at Oak Hill got really severe and it limit the amount of hole locations that the setup crew could use. After the restoration, the slopes were softened and it will allow the setup team to put pins closer to the edges, which will make the approach shots tougher. Andrew Green also added some more runoff areas behind a few greens, which will really challenge players along with some very deep green-side bunkers. The best scramblers will be able to make up some shots around Oak Hill, but driving it well and distance control will be the most sustainable formula to success around this place.
FanDuel Value Picks
Jon Rahm ($12,100)
There really isn't a whole lot I need to say here. Oak Hill is a course that you need to hit it long and straight and nobody has been better at that over the last few years than Rahm. The Spaniard's iron play has been incredibly good as well at third in SG: Approach and second in GIR percentage. He's also 28th in scrambling and seventh in SG: Putting. Rahm already has four wins in 2023 and is fresh after having two weeks off following his runner-up in Mexico.
Scottie Scheffler ($12,000)
Ball-striking is going to be at a premium around Oak Hill and simply put, Scheffler is the best in the world right now in that department. He leads the PGA Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Tee-to-Green and GIR percentage. Scheffler's short game has always been one of the most underrated parts of his game and he's in the top-25 in both SG: Around-the-Green and scrambling. The Texan has wins at TPC Scottsdale and TPC Sawgrass among 13 straight finishes of T12-or-better.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,300)
Another player who has been amazingly consistent, Cantlay's worst finish in his last eight starts was a T21 in Quail Hollow. In that stretch he racked up four top-5 finishes. Cantlay has been a ball-striking machine, ranking third in SG: Off-the-Tee, eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green, eighth in GIR percentage and second in total driving. The world No. 4 really needs a major to take him into the category that a player of his talent is fully capable of reaching.
Tony Finau ($10,900)
Finau is kind of in that same category as Cantlay as proven winner who just needs that major championship. Finau is coming off a win in Mexico, which was his fourth victory in the last 10 months. All of his metrics are excellent for Oak Hill. The six-time PGA Tour winner ranks first in SG: Approach, third in SG: Tee-to-Green, 17th in total driving, 14th in GIR percentage, 33rd in scrambling and 11th in putts per GIR. Finau's worst finish in his last 14 starts was a T31.
Longer Shots with Value
Tyrrell Hatton ($9,700)
Hatton comes into the PGA Championship rolling with a T3 at Quail Hollow and T5 at Craig Ranch the last two weeks. He very much fits the profile for success at Oak Hill ranking 11th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 11th in SG: Approach, sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green, ninth in total driving and 22nd in scrambling this season. Hatton hasn't been elite in majors, but the PGA has certainly been his best one with four top-25 finishes in eight starts.
Wyndham Clark ($9,200)
The field is slightly better, but Clark is actually $100 less this week than he was going into the Wells Fargo Championship, where he just put it on the field en route to his first win. Clark has everything you are looking for at Oak Hill. He hits it really long, his iron play has been elite over the last few months, and his short game is very solid. Those things are a big reason why he hasn't missed a cut in his last 16 starts and has four top-6 finishes over his last six tournaments.
Gary Woodland ($8,900)
Woodland has righted the ship due to some elite ball-striking. He has now made the cut in his last six tournaments and is coming off a T14 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Woodland ranks 10th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 12th in total driving, 10th in SG: Approach, 29th in GIR percentage and 22nd in proximity to the hole. The short game and putting numbers haven't been good, but I'm willing to sacrifice that at this price given how great the ball striking is. Add in the fact that Woodland hasn't missed a cut in six straight PGA Championships.
Keith Mitchell ($8,500)
Whenever we talk about courses where driving is at the top of the list for skills to have, Mitchell has to be in the conversation. The Georgia native ranks fifth in SG: Off-the-Tee and first in total driving this season. Mitchell can struggle at times with his short game, but his putting improvements this season have made up for that. It has been a very solid campaign for Mitchell who has now made the cut in 10-of-11 with a trio of top-6 finishes in that stretch.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
Oak Hill is the type of course that will expose players who are a little off with their ball-striking. That's why I think you just need to maximize the amount of players in your lineups who are elite with either their driving or iron play, but preferably both. There are a lot of tricky areas around the greens to that I think having a solid short game will be a good third skill to have, but with unfamiliar greens I think putting shouldn't be of much concern. I'm probably going to pass on McIlroy ($11,900) and Thomas ($11,500) because neither has really played up to their standards in 2023 and both are outside the top 100 in GIR percentage this season. Some really cheap value plays I'm going to keep an eye on are Adrian Meronk ($8,200), Thorbjorn Olesen ($8,000), Taylor Moore ($8,000), Yannik Paul ($7,300) and Jordan Smith ($7,100).
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