Preview of the 2023 PGA Championship with insights and predictions
The challenge ahead at Oak Hill's East Course in Rochester, NY appears daunting. The course transformation completed by Andrew Green looks amazing, and I chipped-in added PGA Championship coverage in Forbes with insight from Green and Kerry Haigh - Chief Championship Officer of the PGA of American in charge of course setup. Odds to win of the leading favorites and contenders in the 156-player field are below, along with Fairway's Forecast and picks to win and top finishing positions.
I include tournament match-up picks for those that get on my bag and shoot for the green at the PGA Championship 2023 edition.
A hole-by-hole look at Oak Hill East Course
Leading Favorites And Top Contenders Odds To Win
Leading favorites and contenders golf odds from BetOnline Sportsbook - refresh periodically and are subject to change, including on props and live betting.
+800: Rahm, Scheffler
+2800: D. Johnson
+3000: C. Smith, Day
+3300: J. Thomas, Young
+3500: Morikawa, Hovland, IM
+4000: Fitzpatrick, Hatton
+4500: Spieth, Homa
+7000: Matsuyama, Fowler
+8000: Fleetwood, Clark
PGA Championship Predictions and Picks
One of my early picks to win and finish top-10 was Tony Finau, who has seen his odds drop from +3000 to +2200 or lower. Leading online sportsbook data shows the most bet golfers to win include Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
I'll update the betting data more on Wednesday as I receive from U.S. top online sportsbooks.
Update - Wed near 12 noon PT: Rahm, Koepka and Scheffler have the most bets to win and highest handle (money) at leading online sportsbook BetMGM.
The most bet golfers to finish top-10 include Schauffele and Finau, and top-5 Rahm, Koepka and Schauffele. One of the most bet props is Bryson DeChambeau to miss the cut (+105).
You're wise to shop the sportsbooks with the top payouts and odds, as the leading win contenders odds are competitive and the winner of this year's PGA Championship is likely to be from not only a leading contender, but one that hits the ball further and is precise with their iron play on approach.
Know too that many (sharp) bettors place Each Way bets, or a split portion of wager on a player to win and finish top-5. More offshore sportsbooks like Bet365 offer those types of wagers and more popular in golf. Bet365 is one of the only sportsbooks to offer each-way betting in the U.S. - select states New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia.
Fairway’s Favorites: McIlroy, Schauffele, Cantlay, Finau
Fairway’s Longshots: Young, Im, Clark, Niemann, Mitchell
Nine of the last 14 PGA Championship winners were first time major champions. Eight of my nine picks above would be just that with only McIlroy a major champion (4x including 2 PGA's).
Tournament matchups: (Bookmaker)
- Rory McIlroy (+158) over Scottie Scheffler (-200)
- Wyndham Clark (-118) over Talor Gooch (-112)
- Cameron Young -1.5 strokes (+104) over Cameron Smith (-134), or you can lay -126 on Young
Round 1 - McIlroy (+101) over Morikawa (lay 0.5 strokes)
I'll also update the toughest holes which I provided to another site and will be posted Wednesday. Watching the featured groups and how the tougher holes play will be worth watching on ESPN and CBS over the weekend as the next PGA Championship winner raises the Wanamaker Trophy.
Oak Hill's East Course and Stats
Oak Hill's East Course will play to nearly 7,400 yards and is a Par 70. The added and remodeled bunkers along the fairways and guarding the greens are "deeper and more severe" as Kerry Haigh indicated, and you can see that in the hole-by-hole video along with the many elevated greens and runoff areas.
More than 50% of approaches to the green will be from at least 175 yards at Oak Hill. So evaluate strokes gained stats including proximity from 175+ yards. I'll chip-in some of the data researched from the site Fantasy National.
Proximity to hole leaders combining 175-200 yards and 200+ yards (last 36 rounds).
- Jon Rahm
- Gary Woodland
- Rory McIlroy
- Chez Reavie
- Collin Morikawa
- Brendan Steele
- Tony Finau
- Cameron Young
- Keegan Bradley
But also recognize the steep bunkers and hazards and importance of around-the-green play with more runoffs, sand shots and saves along with putting on bentgrass. This is a completely different course than the Oak Hill that hosted the 2013 PGA Championship when the winning score was 270, or 10-under par. This year's winning score will come in below that, and the winning score prop of 269.5 at the SuperBook in Las Vegas is up to 271.5. And I believe the winning score will still come under that so -8 or less.
There are four golfers in the 2023 PGA Championship who have finished top-10 in at least 50% of the majors they have entered:
- Rory McIlroy
- Scottie Scheffler
- Brooks Koepka
- Collin Morikawa
McIlroy's top-10 record is most impressive with his longevity, but he did miss the cut at the 2023 Masters. Irrelevant really for this major, and McIlroy is a 2-time PGA Championship winner but hasn't won a major since 2014. Scheffler (7-for-14 top-10s in majors) is the only one without a Wanamaker Trophy and PGA Championship win.
Tony Finau has played in 27 majors and has 13 top-25s along with 10 top-10s and four top-5s.
Regardless of those finishes, the test at Oak Hill is a daunting one in which big, long hitters off the tee will have a definite advantage.
Top average driving distance leaders among the top contenders and notable longshots include:
- 328 yards - Rory McIlroy
- 318 Cameron Young
- 312 Jon Rahm, Gary Woodland, Wyndham Clark, Keith Mitchell
- 309 Adam Scott
- 308 Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay
- 306 Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland
On a final tough luck note, I had 200/1 big longshot Mito Pereira to win the 2022 PGA Championship along with Will Zalatoris among others. Zalotoris lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas. Pereira? He stood on the 72nd hole at No. 18 on Sunday just needing to make a par (4) to win the tournament. He hit his tee ball into the water and made double-bogey to miss the playoff by 1-shot.
So picking and betting outright winners is tough. And while some exposure in the outrights is fine, you're far better off betting props, top finishing position and the more desired tournament match-ups, which were very good to us in last year's PGA Championship as well (links).
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper including in golf, and he's recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.