PGA Championship Preview, What You Need to Know

The PGA Championship was established in 1916 and was originally a match-play event through 1957. After losing money, the event became a stroke play in 1958. One of the four majors on the PGA Tour, the PGA Championship, which was once held in the fall, moved to May beginning in 2019.

Household names such as Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas have won the event over the past ten years. But there have been some surprise winners mixed in, which include the likes of Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner; which of the top players, such as Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, have the best chance of winning the Wanamaker Trophy this year. Rahm enters first in the world, while Scheffler sits second. There will be a big test for all the players on the field at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. The layout is a par 70 of 7394 yards.

Rahm and Scheffler enter the week as 7-1 co-favorites to win the second major of the 2023 season. Rory McIlroy enters with 11-1 odds despite recent struggles. Patrick Cantlay (18-1), Brooks Koepka (18-1), defending champion Justin Thomas (20-1), Dustin Johnson (20-1), Jason Day (20-1), Xander Schauffele (22-1), and Collin Morikawa (22-1) round out the top ten favorites. A sleeper pick is Phil Mickelson, who has played well lately. The 52-year-old is a six-time major champion and comes in at 85-1 odds.

McIlroy is a mystery coming in. The 23-time PGA Tour winner appears equally as likely to finish at the top as not even making the top 10. He’s undoubtedly struggled recently, finishing no higher than 47th in three of his last four tournaments. Mixed in were two missed cuts as well, mainly due to his poor iron play, which has resulted in hitting under 63 percent of greens in regulation. In addition, his putting has been woeful, ranked 172nd in strokes gained. On the positive, he’s been ripping the ball off the tee, ranked first in driving distance at 328 yards per pop.

Xander Schauffele is a solid pick this week, considering he has five straight top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour. Despite having limited success in majors, he has finished 16th or better in three of his last four PGA Championship appearances. He’s terrific (top 20) in putting and strokes gained, with the third-best scoring average this season.

Brooks Koepka has the confidence and the energy to come into the event and win. When healthy and everything is in sync, Koepka is very difficult to beat. He’s also won the tournament twice and is riding high after a second-place finish at Augusta.

Don’t count out Tony Finau, who has won twice this season and finished out of the top 25 in only three of 14 events this season. He’s the favorite of all those in the field that have yet to win a major championship.

If the tournament comes down to who can handle the greens the best, which is often the case in a major, then Scottie Scheffler is your man. He’s first in strokes gained off the tee. In addition, expect him to bounce back in a big way after missing the cut last year. He can add his second major at a course that really fits his game.

My love for sports began over 45 years ago when I tuned into my first baseball game. Since then, I have been a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers. I always loved the numbers behind the game, so I studied statistics at Lehigh University, graduating in 1991. Currently a math tutor, in my free time, I enjoy exercise, music, games, and the great outdoors.

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