Dan Box
By Dan Box

It says a lot about the impact that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have had on the game of golf over the last 30 years that the pair, with a combined age of 97, still manage to dominate headlines as we head into the second men's major of 2022.

2022 PGA Championship Preview

Image Credit: PGA Championship Twitter

Phil Mickelson's continued absence following his controversial and much-criticised comments about the prospective LIV Golf Series, backed by Saudi's PIF and fronted by Greg Norman, is even more significant this week because the American is defending champion.

The controversy doesn't stop there either. This week's venue, Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was awarded the championship at just 16 months notice, after planned hosts Trump Bedminster were stripped of the chance due to its owner's part in the US Capitol attack.

When the action does get underway, the focus will of course be on Tiger Woods as he takes the next step in his recovery, whilst Jordan Spieth has the possibility of completing the career Grand Slam and Scottie Scheffler has the chance to continue his incredible run of form at what he describes as his favourite course in the world.

Last Year

Phil Mickelson became the oldest major champion in history at Kiawah Island with an incredible victory after starting the event as a 250/1 outsider.

In very tough conditions, a final round of 73 was enough to give Lefty a two stroke victory over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen.

The Field

Whilst Mickelson is not in the field this week, Tiger Woods will be making his second appearance of 2022 and the 15-time major champion is said to be pretty optimistic about the state of his health and recovery since we last saw him limp off the 18th green at The Masters on Sunday.

He also won the PGA Championship when it was played at Southern Hills back in 2007 so should have fond memories on his return to Tulsa, even if the course and his body, have undergone a number major of changes since then.

2022 PGA Championship Preview

Image Credit: PGA Tour Twitter

Major winners Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka are both coming off injury layoffs and so some rust will be expected if they do indeed tee it up come Thursday morning, whilst Paul Casey and Harris English have both already withdrawn.

Unsurprisingly this week's hot favourite is Scottie Scheffler, who has already won four times in 2022 including his first major title at The Masters. Add to that the fact that he loves the golf course having won here whilst at college in 2015, and it's hard to bet against him.

Jordan Spieth is also in great form having finished first and second in his last two events and is hunting down the career Grand Slam, whilst the recent form of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm sees them firmly among the favourites.

The Course

Southern Hills Country Club was initially designed by Perry Maxwell before undergoing a major renovation by Gil Hanse in 2019, which widened fairways and remodelled bunkers and greens whilst also taking lots of rough out around the greens to provide a sterner test.

A Par 70, the course will measure 7,365 yards and whilst it is relatively friendly off the tee, which could suit longer hitters, there is an emphasis on precision around the green with some tricky slopes and runoffs.

Both par 5 holes can stretch out past 600 yards, whilst the par 4 17th is recorded as 371 yards on the card but can be shortened to create a great risk-reward hole which could be key coming down the stretch on Sunday.

Look Out For...

  • Expensive prices

Say no more...

  • The LIV Field

The first of the Greg Norman-fronted events is set to take place at Centurion Club in London in early June, and there is speculation that the field will be announced this week during the PGA Championship. If one of the players in the field happens to be near the top of the leaderboard at the time, things could get a little awkward...

Golfalot Tips

  • Jordan Spieth @ 20/1

One of the game's most in-form players, this course should be well-suited to Spieth as it is relatively generous off the tee and rewards precise iron play. If he happens to miss the green, Spieth also has one of the best short games around which could set him apart. Putting has been his issue this year but if he starts to roll it well, he should contend.

  • Xander Schauffele @ 30/1

Despite missing the cut at Augusta in April, Schauffele still has a fantastic overall record in majors and finished T5 in Texas last week thanks to a stunning final round of 61 which should give him plenty of confidence heading in to this week. The American looks like a major champion in waiting, perhaps now will be his time?

  • Max Homa @ 80/1

Homa's win at the Wells Fargo took him inside the top 30 in the World Rankings for the first time and proves that he really does belong on the biggest stage. His form has been very consistent so far this year and the next step will be to prove that he can contend at a major.

  • Cameron Champ @ 150/1

Champ, among the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, is a streaky player who has 3 PGA Tour wins already but also misses plenty of cuts too. He has performed well in majors over recent years, including a T10 at the PGA Championship in 2020, and has been in decent form recently too with two top 10s in his last three starts.


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