Its Major week baby!! Let’s go!! I love golf and love breaking down these events, but the Majors just bring a little extra juice with them. I will break down everything you need to know about the PGA Championship, but first let’s go over last week really quick. Admittedly I didn’t get to watch a ton of the Byron Nelson last week, but I was keeping up on the scoreboard on my phone. That scoreboard was jam packed on Sunday with a plethora of guys that had a chance to win and some big names at that. The likes of Spieth, Matsuyama, Xander, JT and many more were in the thick of things on Sunday. But no one was able to Edge out K.H. Lee. He won with a total score of -26 and a very impressive -9 on Sunday. He birdied the very last hole to take the one-shot victory over Spieth. Even more impressive, it was a back-to-back win at the Byron Nelson for Lee. Shout out to you if you were on him. Now let’s get to the real reason everyone is here!
PGA Championship at Southern Hills
- Course name: The Champions Course at Southern Hills Country Club
- Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
- Length: 7,365 – 7,556 yards (Depends on which tees they use that day)
- Par 70 – 4 par-3s, 12 par-4s, 2 par-5s
- Par-5s are massive. Both over 600 yards and will be true 3 shot par 5s.
- Par-4s vary and will lead to multiple different approach shots. 2 of them are 500+ yards. 5 of them are less than 420 yards. Some good variety.
- Par-3s are no joke either. 3 out of the 4 are 200+ yards.
- Greens: Bent Grass – Avg green size of 5047 sq feet. (On the smaller side)
- Holes with water hazards: 15 (Large creek that runs through course)
- 87 total bunkers throughout the course.
- Wide fairways (40 yards on average) – but position on fairway is key for second shot.
- Tree lined with many dog legs.
- Run off areas around greens that will cause shots that just miss to roll way out and off green.
- Tough hole locations.
- Very angulated and hilly as the name suggests. Will be a lot of uneven lies.
- 7 Majors have been hosted here. 3 U.S. Opens and 4 PGA Championships. Last coming in 2007.
Summary of Course:
Southern Hills is truly a great venue. There is a reason it has hosted 7 major championship and more PGA Championships than any other venue. It is a tree lined track with generous fairways. The rough isn’t overly penal either. However, position off the tee is still very important because there are many tight dog legs, and you want to set yourself up with the best angle into the green. The greens here are mostly all elevated and are small for this length of course. Additionally, the areas around the greens are mowed very tight. This means we will see a lot of approach shots that are just a yard or so off but end up in the runoff areas which can take the ball up to 50 yards away from the green. The players short game will definitely be put to the test. The lengths of the holes are also very interesting. The par 3s and 5s are very long, but the par 4s vary a ton. That means we will see players hitting approach shots into greens with many different types of clubs. A complete game is required to win here, which it should be considering it’s a major championship.
When handicapping a golf tournament, it’s always pivotal to give a check to the weather. Temperatures will be great all week in the mid-high 70s. The percentage chance of rain is 20% or less each day. It looks like the only thing that may come into play is the wind. Looks like we could get some strong gusts up to almost 50 MPH throughout the week. Friday morning is currently slated as the windiest portion of the week. Worth pointing out the course has gotten a ton of rain leading up to this event, so course should be in prime shape.
2021: Phil Mickelson (-6) – Kiawah Island Golf Resort
2020: Collin Morikawa (-13) – TPC Harding Park
2019: Brooks Koepka (-8) – Bethpage Black
2018: Brooks Koepka (-16) – Bellerive County Club
2017: Justin Thomas (-8) – Quail Hollow
2007: Tiger woods (-8) – Southern Hills (Last time PGA Championship was hosted here)
Key Stats to Consider:
- Strokes gained – Approach
- Strokes gained – Around the green/Scrambling
- Strokes gained – Off the tee/Driving distance
- Bogey Avoidance
- Major History
- Strokes gained – Difficult scoring conditions
- Strokes gained – Putting (Bent grass)
Strokes gained on approach will always be the most important stat for a golfer in my opinion. It is extra important this week with the tight greens and shot-making that will be required. Around the greens and scrambling will be huge because of the long approach shots that will be coming in and the runoff areas this course has around the green. Strokes gained off the tee will be huge. The long hitters will have the advantage with minimal risk off the tees, but position will still be important. Had to include bogey avoidance because birdies won’t be free here. Par will be a good score on many holes, so avoiding bogey is huge. When looking at a Major you always have to take into consideration Major history. You want guys that have the pedigree and have shown they can get it done when the pressure is on.
Story Lines Heading into the Event:
I feel like the PGA championship and just majors in general always generate monster story lines. So, I felt like highlighting some of them.
- Tiger Woods is back for his second event of the season. When Tigers in the field all eyes will always be on him. He is technically the defending champion at this place with his 2007 win.
- Phil Mickelson has withdrawn and will not be defending his PGA Championship title he won last year. This came as a bit of a shock. We know Phil has been in hot water after this whole Saudi League fiasco, but we all still expected him to show up and defend.
- Jordan Spieth is a name to watch after a runner up finish last week and some brilliant play as of late. On top of that winning the PGA Championship would complete the career grand slam for him. Imagine if Jordan finishes it before Rory!?
- Scottie Scheffler has been on top of the golf world this year. The guy already won the Masters and has been utterly dominate this year. Well, now he gets a shot to win a major at a golf course that he claims is his favorite in the world. The rest of the field should be concerned.
- John Rahm is always a name to watch. The #2 ranked player in the world is making his first appearance back after winning the Mexico Open a few weeks back. Could he capture his second major in his career?
- Viktor Hovland is interesting this week. He’s back in Oklahoma where he was a star at Oklahoma state and has presumably played this track many times. His short game has been holding him back but is it finally time he captured his first major.
- Collin Morikawa is a guy we haven’t seen a ton of this year. When you look at the course description this place seems to set up perfectly for him. Is Collin going to win his second PGA Championship and 3rd total major in his young career?
- Rory McIlroy will always get some consideration. His last two times out he took second at the Masters and fifth at the Wells Fargo. He’s playing great golf. Can he win his first major since 2014?
- Xander Schauffele is constantly in the mix at major tournaments. The knock on his is that he can never close. I mean he hasn’t won a legit golf tournament since about 2017. Does Xander have what it takes to finally win a major?
Alright well now we know what the course is going to play like, some skills that will be beneficial and the major story lines. Let’s place some bets.
Rory McIlroy +1800
- The guy I’m betting with the lowest odds this week is Rory. Rory is in great form at the moment. The last time we saw him out was at the Wells Fargo where he took home 5th. Before that it was at the Masters when he holed out on 18 to take home second place. We know Rory has the pedigree to win big events. His distance off the tee should be a major advantage and he is excellent around the greens. It’s time for the Rory major drought to finish.
Jordan Spieth +2000
- Spieth is certainly not a guy I ever find myself betting. In fact, for a while, he was an auto fade for me and made me a ton of money. But at this point there is no denying Spieth is back to his old ways. The guy is absolutely flushing it and it has been encouraging to watch. He finished second last week and only lost by one shot. The tournament he played before that was the RBC Heritage which he won. Spieth is legitimately a magician around the greens with a wedge. It’s all just making too much sense.
Collin Morikawa +2000
- If you know me, you know I am obsessed with Collin. He is the best ball striker on the planet and there is no denying that. So, when we get to a major, I always want to bet him. This course is a second shot golf course and approach shots are going to be huge. We haven’t seen a ton of Collin this year, but he did take 5th in the Masters. Morikawa won the PGA two years ago at Harding Park and I think he is more than capable to win a second.
Hideki Matsuyama +3300
- This is a bet I made back in February. I thought that Deki would have a monster year and I’d be locking in a steal of a price. Well Matsuyama has been a little injured this year and we haven’t gotten to see him as much as I hoped. I am encouraged that he showed up last week and finished 5th. Deki has major pedigree with his Masters win last year. He is down to +2000 in some spots, so I did still get a good number and I love having this ticket.
Cam Smith +4000
- Another bet I made back in February. My plan definitely came to fruition on this one. Cam won the Players in March and has been on a tear this year. He is now priced around +2200 so having the 40/1 locked in is amazing. Now we just need Cam to take the next step and win a major which I think he has the potential to do. The guy simply putts the lights out and has a tremendous short game. That should help him big time at this tournament.
Tiger Woods +10000
- Do I even need to explain this one? I will have a Tiger ticket every tournament he plays in. Even better that I was able to find a 100/1 on him.
Tiger Woods to Make the Cut -125
- This is a max play. Why are they disrespecting the GOAT with this line? Tiger will make the cut, bet whatever you want on it.
Matthew Fitzpatrick top 20 +170
Matthew Fitzpatrick top 40 -140
Joaquin Niemann top 20 +170
Joaquin Niemann top 40 -140
- I am going with this strategy for two different guys. These two guys I just feel are so consistent. I considered betting them both to win outright, but I ultimately decided against it. I still wanted some exposure and I think this is the perfect way to get it. Fitz top 20 has been an extremely profitable play this year and I’ve been all over it. I will likely go one unit top 40 and half a unit top 20.
Sam Burns top 20 +200
- Burns let me down big-time last week with a missed cut. I think he bounces back this week. Guy is great on approach and around the greens. Also, very good on the greens. I like me some Sammy Burns.
Talor Gooch top 20 +500
- This just seems like a disrespectful line. I know Gooch doesn’t exactly have the pedigree to go out and win, but I think a top 20 is more than possible. I mean he finished T14 at the Masters with a similar field. On top of that he went to Oklahoma State, so you know he has played this place a billion times. I love this bet.
Full Tournament Head-to-Head Matchups:
Scheffler > Rahm -100
- They really sizing Scottie like this? The guy that’s playing the best golf in the world and claims this is his favorite golf course. He’s a dog to Rahm? Sign me up.
Homa > Finau +120
- Finau stinks plain and simple. I honestly thought about double fading him this week. I love Max in this matchup. Last time we saw Max play he won the Wells Fargo.
Horschel > Oosti +110
- It takes a lot for me to back Billy Ho, but now is the time. Horschel is great around the greens and strikes it well. This is more of a fade play on Oosti. The last time we saw him out was the Masters where he had to withdrawal. He hasn’t played since due to injury. Sign me up to fade him.
Keegan > Ancer -125
- Keegan has sneakily been playing some really good golf. In his last three starts his lowest finish is 8th. I think this place sets up pretty solid for him as well. Ancer is going to be at a disadvantage off the tee because he doesn’t hit it long at all. He’s also a god-awful chipper of the golf ball. Keegan should wash him.
Young > Ancer -120
- I honestly added this while typing up the other one. Ancer needs to be a full-on fade at this event. His skill set just doesn’t match up with the course at all. Cam Young is a guy I thought about taking a top 20 on, but I’ll make money on him in this matchup instead.
Wolff > Bryson +115
- Backing Matthew Wolff makes me want to throw up, but it must be done this week. Bryson is coming off hand surgery and hasn’t played an event since the Masters. The guy hasn’t even made a cut since January. I think there’s a good shot we even see him WD early. I don’t like the guy I am betting on, but I love the guy I’m fading here.
That’s a wrap on this one! I genuinely appreciate you if you gave it a read. I think we have a chance to make some serious money this week. As always I encourage you to watch/listen to our podcast Smokin Greens. Always a fun watch. We’re also running a giveaway. Check us out on twitter.
Twitter: @Bminus3 @Smokin_Greens