Dan Box
By Dan Box

Since first moving to May back in 2019 the PGA Championship now feels at home as the second major championship of the year, and the last few events have produced some memorable and very different winners on very different golf courses.

Collin Morikawa announced himself to the golfing world in his home state of California back in 2020, before Phil Mickelson's historic and incredible victory at Kiawah Island in 2021, with Justin Thomas completing a memorable comeback in 2022.

Who will lift the Wanamaker trophy in New York this year?

Last Year

Justin Thomas capped one of the most dramatic comebacks in major championship history last year at Southern Hills, starting the day seven strokes behind and playing his way into a 3-hole playoff with Will Zalatoris, which he won comfortably to collect his second PGA Championship title.

The event looked like it was heading the way of Mito Pereira, only for the Chilean to find the water with his tee shot on the final hole, carding a double bogey and missing out by one in heartbreaking fashion.

American Cam Young finished in a tie for third alongside Pereira, with Matt Fitpatrick, Chris Kirk and Tommy Fleetwood finishing in a tie for fifth.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdrew prior to the event due to ongoing controversy over his remarks on the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and their Saudi Arabian backers.

The Course

The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club near Rochester, New York is the venue for this week. The course has already held three PGA Championships, three US Opens and the Ryder Cup in the past, including the 2013 PGA Championship which was won by Jason Dufner, but underwent a full renovation back in 2019.

There are three completely new holes since the pros were last here a decade ago, as well as extensive tree removal, a new drainage system and replacing old greens with pure bentgrass.

These changes also result in around 250 yards being added to the scorecard compared to 2013, meaning that it will play at close to 7,400 yards as a Par 70. This added length, coupled with the thick lush rough and the chance of rain over the weekend, may play into the hands of the longer hitters this time around in a contrast to the Dufner/Furyk top two from 2013.

The Field

Unsurprisingly there are two headline figures in Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler who will make up plenty of the pre-event headlines this week. The pair have been comfortably ahead of the rest of the golfers in the world this year when it comes to the quality and consistency of their play. Scheffler has two wins, including The Players and five other top tens so far in 2023 whilst Rahm has already won four times including The Masters.

If either of them adds the Wanamaker Trophy to their fast-growing cabinet come Sunday night, there won't be many golf fans who are surprised.

Other favourites include previous PGA Championship winners Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who have not been at their best so far this season but are still good enough to win on any given week, plus good friends Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele who are both still looking for their first major title.

Australian Jason Day won last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson and was the champion at this event back in 2015. His strong form this season has seen him rise back inside the top 20 in the world rankings for the first time since 2019.

Jordan Spieth pulled out of the AT&T Byron Nelson, his hometown event, due to a wrist injury last week, but if he does tee it up he will be looking to complete the career grand slam at the seventh attempt.

There are a number of LIV golfers in the field again, including Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson who came close at The Masters, as well as major champions Cam Smith and Dustin Johnson. Some also missed out as the PGA seemingly offered exemptions to PGA Tour players in their place, much to the dismay of Mickelson...

Golfalot Tips...

  • Brooks Koepka @ 22/1

The four-time major winner appears to now be fully healthy after a tough couple of seasons, and has already won a LIV event this season before going close at The Masters. The American has won this event twice so knows what it takes on a long, tough golf course.

  • Xander Schauffele @ 22/1

Schauffele is currently right at the top of the category when it comes to 'best players not to win a major', but with seven PGA Tour wins and an Olympic gold medal to his name, there's no doubting that he has the ability. The world number five has been in fantastic form in recent months and the only thing that is missing in 2023 is a win. He finished in the top ten at The Masters and has gone on to finish fourth and second since. Is this his time?

  • Tommy Fleetwood @ 66/1

The Englishman is having a solid season so far on the PGA Tour and arrives in good form, finishing in a tie for fifth in his last start at the Wells Fargo. He also performed well at this event last year and his game should be a good fit for Oak Hill, making him decent value for an each way bet.


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