Who will win the 2022 US PGA Championship?

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Who will win the 2022 US PGA Championship at Southern Hills and which golfers should I back?

Today’s Golfer’s 2022 Major coverage is brought to you in association with TaylorMade.

The US PGA Championship consistently produces the strongest field in golf, which makes it harder than ever to choose a winner.

Southern Hills plays host as the year’s second men’s Major returns to the Tulsa country club for the first time since 2007, when Tiger Woods beat Woody Austin by two shots to win his 13th career Major.

Tiger will be among 156 players in the field for the 2022 edition, but who should you back to lift the Wanamaker Trophy? One thing we do know is that Phil Mickelson won’t become just the third player to defend this title. Lefty withdrew from the tournament at the start of the weekend having not played since February. He stepped away from the game after comments about Saudi Arabia and attempts to gain leverage over the PGA Tour drew huge amounts of negativity from fans and fellow pros.

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Who is favourite to win the 2022 US PGA Championship?

Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm are joint-favourites with the bookies at 11-1, but we certainly wouldn’t be betting against Scheffler, that’s for sure.

Ok, it’s an easy pick – the guy’s on fire, is World No.1 and has just won his first Major title with an incredible display at Augusta. But there’s more to our thinking than that. This quote from the man himself, for a start.

Scottie Scheffler won the Masters by three shots.

“Obviously, (Augusta National) is incredible, but I have always been a huge fan of Southern Hills in Tulsa,” he said when asked about his favourite courses in 2021. “I haven’t had a chance to play it since the (2018-19) renovation yet, but I really liked it before.”

Fast-forward to 2022 and he has played the renovated course… and it’s safe to say he still likes it. During a scouting mission to Tulsa last week the 25-year-old shot a six-under-par 64 on a wet course alongside fellow Texan Ryan Palmer. He was in sparkling form according to Southern Hills assistant pro Cameron Chhim, who caddied for the Ryder Cup star.

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“He played one ball the entire time, no practice putts, and made it look easy,” Chhim told Golf Oklahoma. “He’s No. 1 in the world and it was pretty easy to see why.

“It would be hard to say that he’s not going to win or at least be in contention. He hits it far enough and he has just incredible distance control with his irons. Ryan shot 2 or 3 under and looked like he was standing still based on how Scottie was playing.”

The 10th hole at Southern Hills Country Club, host of the 2022 US PGA Championship.

Scheffler has plenty of experience at Southern Hills, finishing 21st in the weather-shortened Trans-Mississippi Championship as an 18-year-old in 2014.

A year later he won the individual event and Texas lifted the team trophy at the Big 12 Championship.

His most recent competitive experience at the US PGA Championship venue came as a senior in the Big 12 in 2018. He finished T5 alongside Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff, a shot better than OSU’s Viktor Hovland.

Jon Rahm became the first Spanish golfer to win the US Open with victory at Torrey Pines.

Like Scheffler, joint-favourite Rahm will be seeking to add a second Major to his collection having won the 2021 US Open. Rahm returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since that victory with his triumph at the Mexico Open.

It wasn’t the strongest field but Rahm dug deep to secure his seventh PGA Tour title and looked impressive throughout. Southern Hills suits his game and he’ll have the bit between his teeth and as he looks to reel in Scheffler’s lead at the top of the rankings but, for us, Scheffler just has the edge, here.

Will Zalatoris is seeking his first Major at the US PGA Championship.

We’re also tempted by Will Zalatoris at a generous 33-1. The American has been incredible tee-to-green this year and dominates the stats, but it’s once he gets to the greens that we worry.

He’s down in 169th for strokes gained putting, which is a concern, and his stroke is clearly questionable under pressure, but we still think he’s worth a (small) punt.

Viktor Hovland, who has four wins since last June, will be seeking his first Major title at the US PGA.

Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland are our each-way bets. Morikawa has top-five finishes in his last six Major starts, including two wins. We don’t see him winning at Southern Hills with the fact he’s 191st on the PGA Tour for strokes gained around the green behind our reasoning.

The same goes for Hovland. If it was just based on his approach play (he’s third in strokes gained approach, ahead of Morikawa) then he’d have potential winner written all over him. He’s also proven a great player in humid and blustery conditions and has three wins already this season.

The young Norwegian went to college in Oklahoma and still resides there, so he’s very much at home playing in the windy state, and his ability to handle blustery and humid conditions has already helped him to wins in Puerto Rico, the Mexican coast of Mayakoba and most recently the Bahamas.

But, despite his work with Pete Cowen, there are still concerns over Hovland’s short game, backed up by him being No.209 for SG around the green. He’s yet to record a top-10 in the Majors, but neither had Morikawa when he won it in 2020.

Collin Morikawa won the US PGA Championship in 2020.

Will Rory McIlroy win the US PGA Championship?

Based on the final round at The Masters we’d say he absolutely can. But it’s never the final round that concerns us. If McIlroy started Majors the way he’s finished them in recent years then we’d be discussing a flood rather than the now overlong dry spell.

The four-time Major champ believes he can win at Southern Hills, a course that undoubtedly suits his game, and the bookmakers aren’t risking disagreeing with him as short as 14/1 and second favourite with most.

“I’m playing good, playing really good,” McIlroy said. “No complaints with the game. Everything feels pretty solid. As I said, just a couple things here and there coming down the stretch, a couple missed putts, but really apart from that I feel like the game’s in good shape.”

Rory McIlroy's incredible Sunday surge at The Masters earned him $1.62m.

He heads to Tulsa off the back of two consecutive top-five finishes (2nd at the Masters, 5th at the Wells Fargo), but both were prime examples of that slow start, fast finish trend, as he battled to make the cut at both before producing impressive weekends.

He’s hitting the ball as well as we’ve seen in some time, led the field in strokes gained tee to green at Augusta and was in the top five for that stat at TOC Pontiac. Plus, his approach play from 50 to 125 yards, seen by many as his problem area, has improved dramatically in those two events. His season numbers had his average proximity to the hole from that range at 24 feet and three-over, but he improved to 17 feet and two-under in tough conditions.

If he can get the bit of luck every player needs to win a Major, make a solid start and the putter plays ball then this could well be Rory’s time to shine again.

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Who’s the best outside bet to win the 2022 US PGA Championship?

Our outside bet is Adri Arnaus at 200-1. The Spaniard is playing just the third Major of his career and his first since 2019, but he’s rocketed up the world rankings and is on the cusp of the top 50 thanks to his first DP World Tour win (the Catalunya Open at the end of April), along with T2nd, 3rd, T8th, T9th and T20th finishes from just ten starts.

Adri Arnaus and Jon Rahm are good friends.

Arnaus is a close friend of Jon Rahm and, like his countryman, is one of the longest drivers on Tour, is more accurate off the tee than the majority of his contemporaries and is in the upper echelons for greens in regulation and stroke average. He’s also a very solid putter, ranking 5th for putts per GIR and 9th for average putts per round in 2021.

What about Jordan Spieth – will he win the Career Grand Slam?

Not for us. We’re huge fans of Jordan Spieth at Today’s Golfer and were delighted when he won the RBC Heritage recently. He’s undoubtedly capable and he’s hitting the ball as well as he was when he racked up the year’s first two Majors in 2015, but he had to scramble like crazy to win at Harbour Town and that simply isn’t achievable every week.

Jordan Spieth won The Open in 2017, his third Major victory.

Then there’s his putting. Did you see the missed tap-in at Harbour Town? Ouch. He’s ranked 179th in strokes gained putting for a reason – his previously magical flatstick has lost its sparkle.

Add in the pressure of the occasion (It’ll be on his mind, no matter how hard he tries – just ask Phil Mickelson about the US Open, or Rory about the Masters)

Who should I avoid backing for the US PGA Championship?

This one could come back to bite us, but we’d steer clear of Brooks Koepka. Yes, he’s a two-time winner and, as his US Open wins prove, he loves a tough course, but he’s really battling off the tee right now, ranking 172nd in driving accurary, and that doesn’t bode well around here. In fact, he doesn’t rank inside the top 100 for greens in regulation, putts per round, scoring average or sand saves.

He’s also been struggling with injuries across the past couple of seasons and question marks remain over whether he will even tee it up at Southern Hills after his late withdrawal from the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Celebrating Brooks Koepka's 2018 US PGA win.

Koepka has already missed six cuts this season, including at the Masters and The Players, and has slipped to his lowest world ranking (21st) since mid-2017.

Dustin Johnson’s form has been improving, but the former World No.1 has just married Paulina Gretzky and we’re not convinced their lengthy honeymoon is going to have involved that much golf, so we’ll save our money for the US Open in a few weeks.

Dustin Johnson broke the Masters scoring record in 2020.

Bryson DeChambeau is among the official field and has the power and game to perform at Southern Hills but, if he does tee it up, it’ll be his first appearance since The Masters. The 28-year-old underwent surgery on his hand after injuring himself when he slipped playing table tennis and said his chances of playing at Southern Hills were slim. While recent social posts have shown his hand to be healing well, we can’t see him being capable of full power and he’ll be very rusty.

And, as much as the purist in us wants to see a Tiger Woods lifting another Major come Sunday, we just can’t see either player being in the mix.

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Woods hasn’t teed it up competitively since the Masters and, based on the way he was walking and his comments after his final round at Augusta, we didn’t expect to see him in the field here. He says he’s already far stronger than he was at the year’s first Major

Could Tiger Woods win Major No.16 at the US PGA Championship.

The 15-time Major champion won the US PGA when it was last played here in 2007, but that was a far younger and fitter Tiger Woods, and the tournament was played in August in record temperatures.

It will be far cooler in May, and the revamped Southern Hills layout is longer and a tougher walking course, which could take its toll on Woods.

The 46-year-old has played a practice round at the venue and Cary Gozby, Southern Hills Director of Golf, got to watch up close as caddie for superstar.

 “His rhythm is great, he hit it straight and plenty far, he pitched and putted it great,” Cozby said. “I know guys can hit it past him now, but watching him work was amazing. He’s so meticulous, detailed and immersed in what he’s doing. He was very inquisitive on lines and the best angles.

“I think he can contend. He’s like Michael Jordan late in his career, playing defense and hitting jump shots. Whoever wins here is going to have to be a great chipper and he is still that.”

While Cozby has faith, we’re less sure, but it isn’t the first time Tiger has proved us wrong. He he will believe he can win his 16th Major, and if he does it will undoubtedly be one of the greatest sporting triumphs of all time.

Phil Mickelson won the 2021 USPGA Championship at the age of 50

For many, backing a defending champion is an option, but not this year. Phil Mickelson, the oldest Major winner in history, had been expected to defend his title having not teed it up since the end of February, but the 51-year-old withdrew before tournament week.

He stepped away from the game after comments about Saudi Arabia and attempts to gain leverage over the PGA Tour saw his reputation tarnished and the loss of multiple sponsors.

‘Lefty’ would have found himself in the spotlight from the moment he arrived in Tulsa and the distractions, along with a course that doesn’t suit his inaccuracy from the tee, and the fact that only Tiger and Koepka have ever defended this title (in the strokeplay era) means we’d have bet against Mickelson even making the weekend.

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Selected betting odds for the 2022 US PGA Championship*

11/1: Scottie Scheffler; John Rahm

14/1: Rory McIlroy; Justin Thomas; Collin Morikawa

16/1: Dustin Johnson

18/1: Cameron Smith; Viktor Hovland

20/1: Brooks Koepka; Patrick Cantlay

22/1: Jordan Spieth

25/1: Xander Schauffele

33/1: Will Zalatoris; Bryson DeChambeau; Hideki Matsuyama

35/1: Daniel Berger

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40/1: Shane Lowry; Sam Burns

45/1: Tony Finau

50/1: Louis Oosthuizen; Matt Fitzpatrick

55/1: Tyrrell Hatton; Corey Conners; Tommy Fleetwood

60/1: Tiger Woods

66/1: Abraham Ancer; Patrick Reed

70/1: Webb Simpson; Paul Casey; Adam Scott

75/1: Jason Day; Max Homa

80/1: Marc Leishman; Justin Rose; Gary Woodland; Sergio Garcia

90/1: Billy Horschel; Keegan Bradley

100/1: Rickie Fowler; Jason Kokrak; Si Woo Kim; Matthew Wolff; Talor Gooch; Harold Varner III

125/1: Bubba Watson; Robert MacIntyre

150/1: Lee Westwood; Matt Kuchar; Kevin Na

175/1: Ian Poulter; Nicolai Hojgaard

200/1: Adri Arnaus; Francesco Molinari; Padraig Harrington

250/1: Henrik Stenson; Richard Bland; Danny Willett; Ryan Fox

1500/1: Rich Beem; John Daly; Davis Love III

2500/1: Shaun Micheel

*Odds correct at 2pm on May 11, 2022

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Today's Golfer Digital Editor Rob Jerram

Rob Jerram is the Digital Editor of todaysgolfer.co.uk

He has been a journalist for more than 20 years, starting his career with Johnston Press where he covered local and regional news and sport in a variety of editorial roles across ten years.

Rob joined Bauer Media in 2010 and worked as the Senior Production Editor of Today’s Golfer and Golf World magazines for ten years before moving into the Digital Editor’s role in July 2020.

He has been playing golf for almost three decades and has been a member at Greetham Valley in Rutland for eight years, playing off a 12 handicap.

Rob uses a Ping G driverPing G 3-woodTaylorMade M5 5-woodTaylorMade P790 irons (4-PW), Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges (52º, 56º, 60º), Evnroll ER2 putter, and TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.

You can email Rob or get in touch with him on Twitter.

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