PGA Championship Preview 2022

Is lightning capable of striking twice? It definitely did in the NHL last year, and it did so again last weekend at TPC Craig Ranch. 

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K.H. Lee shot a final-round 63 to achieve something in his career that only Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson have done: defend their AT&T Byron Nelson championships. Lee is currently 51-under-par in his past eight rounds at TPC Craig Ranch, so make sure he’s on your card next year, regardless of his form. 

 

The PGA Championship, which takes place at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, is the second major of the season. The PGA Championship will be held at the club for the first time since Tiger Woods triumphed in 2007. Although Woods will compete, reigning champion Phil Mickelson will not. 

 

At approximately 7,600 yards, the course will be a punishing par-70 test, with both par 5s measuring over 600 yards. Competitors will be long off the tee, but those who can locate the fairway more often will have the upper hand.

 

Who are the Favorites?

 

Scottie Scheffler, the Master’s winner and World No. 1, is the betting favorite at +1100. Jon Rahm, the current Mexico Open winner, is just behind him at +1200. Rory McIlroy, a two-time PGA champion, is next at +1400, followed by Justin Thomas, a one-time PGA champion at +1500. Jordan Spieth, who is +1600 to complete the career grand slam, rounds out the notables.

 

Who is our Pick Outside the Top 5?

 

We’ll choose Patrick Cantlay at +2200 as our favorite, slightly outside of those named above. Because he’s still flying under the radar, there’s a lot of value in the reigning FedEx Cup winner. Since the start of the year, the Zurich Classic co-winner has had five top-10 finishes, including two playoff defeats. 

 

So far this year, a few other players have comparable credentials, but Cantlay stands out because of his bentgrass greens. On bentgrass greens, he has five PGA Tour victories and is first in strokes gained: total and second in strokes gained: around the green and putting. “Defense wins championships,” they say. Well, putting wins majors, and this week appears to have all the components for Cantlay to win his first.

 

Who is a Good Middle Ground Pick?

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4000) appears to be a good middle choice. He’s another guy who has been underrated despite having a strong year. He has never finished worse than 14th since the start of 2022, with the exception of missed cuts at the Players and the RBC Heritage. Among those appearances are four top-10s and a second-place result at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago. 

 

Fitzpatrick has finished in the top 25 in every major strokes gained category this season, including sixth in tee-to-green and first in strokes gained: total. Players will be forced to be accurate on their second shots at Southern Hills, and if Fitzpatrick can use his excellent iron play, he’ll be right there in contention, as he has been all year.

 

Who is a Good Sleeper Pick?

 

We’ll go back to Cameron Young at +7000 for a sleeper. He finished T-2 at the Wells Fargo Championship the previous time we chose him, continuing his stellar start to his career. In 15 events, the youngster has seven top-20 finishes and has only missed five cuts. 

 

Most significantly, Young is ranked second in strokes gained: off-the-tee and ninth in driving distance, which is critical since players will not only need to be long, but they will also need to hit fairways at Southern Hills to be successful. Young also has the sixth best birdie rate and ninth best scoring rate. Young is expected to challenge for not just his first win on the Tour, but also his first major.

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