Of the top 100 players in the OWGR, 99 are on property this week at the East Course at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.
The only man in the field with a chance to complete the first half of the Grand Slam, Masters champion Jon Rahm (15/2) enjoys a different pressure this week. His best finish in a PGA Championship is T4 (2018), but his arsenal is well-equipped to handle 7,394 yards and a par-70 layout. Rahm leads the TOUR in SG: Total and is second SG: Tee to Green. Reports of slick greens and difficult ball-striking conditions should be music to his ears.
Major championship golf should be highlighted by major champions. Co-favourite Scottie Scheffler (15/2) is just that. The 2021 Masters winner will look to add to his haul of two trophies in 2023 with the addition of the Wanamaker this week. Leading the TOUR in both SG: Off the Tee and SG: Tee to Green, clutch putting will be the final box to check.
Some have forgotten that Rory McIlroy (12/1) owns two PGA Championships in his quartet of victories in major championships. Some have also forgotten that his last major championship victory was in this event in 2014, almost nine years ago. An uneven 2023 includes a win in the Middle East, T2 at API, and solo third at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The teeter-totter also shows MC at THE PLAYERS, MC at the Masters, and T47 at Quail Hollow Club, three tracks where he has excelled. Missing two elevated events dented his wallet but hopefully provided the mental break necessary to regain his best golf.
Xander Schauffele (16/1) is looking for his first win of 2023. He's also in search of his first major championship. Recent form suggests he should factor after four consecutive finishes inside the top 10, including solo second at the Wells Fargo Championship in his last outing.
Patrick Cantlay (18/1) aims to check off both boxes presented above. The UCLA product, like Schauffele, has won on Donald Ross at East Lake. He's also won on Bentgrass at the last two BMW Championships and thrives annually at Muirfield Village. His last three paydays in major championships have been his best three over the last few years. A complete bag and a steely attitude both work this week.
Brooks Koepka (20/1) is one of four this week who owns two previous wins in this major. Unlike the others, he's the only one who has won both in consecutive years. The 2018-19 winner also ran close in 2021 before Phil Mickelson beat him to the finish line at Kiawah Island. He's never MC at this event, and all top-10 finishes are T5 or better.
With wins this season in Houston and Mexico, the latter where he held off Rahm in the final round, Tony Finau (20/1) has never been more primed to take the next step up. This will be his 28th start in a major championship, plenty of reps to ascertain what it takes to be the last man standing on Sunday. Leads the TOUR in SG: Approach and has improved his game around and on the greens.
Jack Nicklaus (5) and Tiger Woods (4; not entered) have won the most stroke play PGA Championships. With a win this week, reigning champion Justin Thomas () would be the only player currently to have three PGA Championships. The son of a PGA professional would also join Woods and Koepka as the only players to defend the title. He's embracing his new diet, and his game is rounding into form. The next step is putting four rounds together in the same week.
The fourth PGA Championship at Oak Hill's East Course will be the first major since Andrew Green restored the design to the match, as closely as possible, the original design features from Donald Ross. Playing to Par-70, the "new" East Course is now 7,394 yards. The former Bent/Poa greens are now pure Bentgrass. The property, once covered in oak trees, now contains just strategically placed timber. Only Southern Hills, the site of last year's championship, has hosted more times (5).
The top 100 golfers in the OWGR are here this week, minus No. 9 Will Zalatoris (back surgery). The field of 156 contains 20 PGA Club Professionals plus Senior PGA Champion Steven Alker. There are no amateurs playing.
Others to Consider:
Dustin Johnson (25/1) has gone close at Bethpage Black and won at Oakmont (U.S. Open), so I'm not sure what, if anything, will bother him. His major championships record sits at 44 cuts made and 22 top 10s.
Sungjae Im (33/1) carried his heat from the PGA TOUR to Korea, where he won last week. Nobody feels any jetlag when producing seven-straight paydays of T21 or better worldwide.
Tyrrell Hatton (35/1) has produced T5 and T3 from the last two weeks on TOUR. His run extends to four top-10 finishes from his last eight starts. The Englishman won't mind a bit of breeze, rain, and chilly conditions!
Keegan Bradley (90/1) returns to his part of the world and should thrive on this setup. The 2011 champion in Atlanta has produced his best two finishes this season on demanding tracks. He cashed T10 at Bay Hill after finishing second at Torrey Pines.
The second major of the year gets underway at Oak Hill Country Club on Thursday.— bet365 (@bet365) May 17, 2023
We've Super Boosted Rory McIlroy to finish in the top 20 at the PGA Championship.
To see most of these players well up the board is hardly surprising. Identifying which players beat the field consistently should provide clues when course history isn't relevant.
SG: Tee to Green
Tight driving conditions, difficult approach shots, and thick rough will sort out the pretenders from contenders. Elevated green complexes, below average in size of normal TOUR greens, are well-bunkered. Keeping stress levels to a minimum starts with keeping the ball in play. But, there will be stress! It's a major championship.
With new greens, new visuals and the pressure of a major championship, grinding out pars will absolutely work this week. Small greens, jagged bunkers, and thick rough will require fantastic concentration. There will be bogeys. It's just a part of major championship golf.
Sleepers (100/1 or deeper)
Stephan Jaeger (175/1) was the last man in the field but has been simmering on TOUR. Cashing in seven of his last eight, he racked up T11 last week outside Dallas.
Seamus Power (200/1) picked up a top 10 at Southern Hills last year and also was T12 at The Country Club. He's played five majors and cashed in four of them.
Tom Hoge (200/1) is second in SG: Approach. He was also third at THE PLAYERS and T14 at Riviera, two places where you cannot fake it.