A new champion will be crowned but where does the value lie? Sophie Walker gives her expert insight ahead of the 2022 PGA Championship.
The 104th PGA Championship takes place at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma and just as with the first major of the year, all the attention is on Tiger Woods. Woods won his fourth PGA Championship here in 2007 and has committed to play in his 87th major this week. Tiger has had a miraculous comeback from a near-fatal traffic accident, and we are all glad to see him playing again.
The PGA Championship was first held in 1916 in New York with the winner Jim Barnes receiving a gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker who the huge trophy which is now received is named after. The Championship was always played in August but was moved to May due to the clash with the end-of-year PGA Tour finals.
Major Talk: PGA Championship preview
Listen to the latest episode of Major Talk as James Gregg and Sophie Walker share their insight into arguably the most competitive field in the sport and where the value may lie.
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2022 PGA Championship: The course
Originally designed by Perry Maxwell in 1936, Southern Hills has hosted seven major championships, as well as many PGA Tour events and elite amateur championships. Most recently, the Seniors PGA Championship, won by Alex Cejka, was played here.
Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner redesigned the course in 2018; $11 million was spent on widening the fairways and on bunker shaping, restoring the course to how it was in Maxwell’s day. The course is par 70 and is 7,556 yards in length. It is a very difficult course with trees and thick Bermuda grass running alongside the fairways and “Maxwell Rolls” on the firm and fast putting greens.
Despite reigning champion Phil Mickelson’s recent withdrawal from this year’s competition, the PGA Championship is often said to have the strongest line-up of all the majors. Aside from Mickelson, the top 100 players in the Official World Golf rankings all looking to compete at the time of writing.
The size of the field is also huge, with a total of 156 golfers taking part, nearly double that of The Masters. One piece of good news for bettors looking to narrow down a shortlist is that 20 players can be disregarded. 20 PGA club or teaching professionals qualify as per competition tradition, and although these aren’t your average club professionals, they certainly won’t be contenders for the title.
Then, 36 spots are made up of any other major winners from the last five years and Ryder Cup players. The rest of the field made up of special list compiled using recent form and leading money winners on both PGA and DP World Tours.
2022 PGA Championship betting: Who are the favourites?
The world number one, who is priced at 11.790* with Pinnacle, says that this is his favourite course in the world and he shot a 64 in a practice round here a few weeks back. He has won four times this year and captured his first major title. As you can imagine, his stats are impressive, with seven top-10 finishes in his last 12 individual events on the PGA Tour. He ranks third for Birdie Average with five per round, which contributes to a Stroke Average of 69.7.
Nobody has captured the first two legs of the golf grand slam since Jordan Spieth in 2015 but Scottie has a habit of going under the radar even when he is the best player in the world, as he is right now.
The 25-year-old has four top-five finishes in his last six major starts, including two wins which is why he is listed at 17.500* with Pinnacle. The Californian sits third in par 4 scoring on the tour this season, mainly thanks to his impressive iron play. However, what has greatly improved this year is his putting. At the time of writing, he is ranked 61st (.218) for putting compared to 178th (-4.57) last season, which means he has gained over two shots per tournament with the putter. He finished eighth in this event last year but will surely be eyeing up his second Wannamaker trophy this year (he won it in 2020).
Rahm is the best golfer on the planet right now, in terms of Tee-to-Green. Rahm has the golf ball on a frozen rope and it’s a long rope at that – averaging 316 yards from the tee. To put it into perspective, he is gaining two shots per tournament off the tee on his closest competitor, Cameron Young and nearly four shots per tournament on Dustin Johnson.
Rahm 14.310* managed to get his first win of the season in Mexico a few weeks back which will put a spring back into the Spaniard’s step. He has been putting poorly but I feel that win will free up last year’s US Open Champion on the greens – the tension released from winning that competition will aid his strokes flow and the need to make putts. He’s finished 13th and 8th in his last two appearances in this event, so – in my opinion – ‘Rahmbo’ is trending nicely.
2022 PGA Championship: Where is the value?
Zalatoris ranks number two in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and is a major championship specialist with four top-10 finishes in the last five majors that he has completed (he withdrew from last year’s Open Championship).
At the time of writing, the 25-year-old is 169th for Strokes Gained: Putting which is his obvious Achilles heel. But could prove good value at 35.770* if he has a half-decent week with his putter to improve on his eighth-place finish in the PGA Championship last year.
The Louisiana State alumnus is second on the PGA Tours Fed Ex standings this season thanks to two wins. At the time of writing, Burns is 10th in Strokes Gained: Total with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Scheffler, and Rahm ahead of him but there is a significant difference in their odds. Currently, Burns is priced at 38.570* with Pinnacle.
His current Stroke Average of 69.20 and Birdie Average of 4.60 rivals Scheffler’s, but he just hasn’t got a major win under his belt. The 25-year-old has little major form due to his sharp rise to fame over the last 12 months. He has worked hard on his game with his coach Brad Pullin to iron out a bad patch he experienced in February which has led to some good form heading into the second major of the year.
A huge outsider at 297.00*, he probably won’t win but he might be worth a look at for making the cut or placing.
He turns 49 on the third day of the tournament but the former Open champion is rolling back the years. Cink finished ninth on his last outing at the Wells Fargo Championship and is hitting it over 300 yards from the tee. The world number 81 offers outrageous value in the markets, having won twice on the PGA Tour in the past two years. With his son Reagan as his caddie, the pair have secured two top-10 finishes in their last four outings.
The PGA Championship begins May 19, 2022, and is a four-day tournament. I hope this article has, in some way, helped you decide on your picks for this week. Thank you for reading and enjoy the golf.
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