Southern Hill Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma will host the 2022 PGA Championship. The par-70, 7,546-yard course features a ton of history since it opened in 1936, but all 18 greens were recently rebuilt, fairway bunkers were repositioned and most of the holes were lengthened, per PGATour.com. A whopping $12 million will be up for grabs for the 156-player field, with $2.16M and 600 FedExCup points going to the winner. Last year, Phil Mickelson became the oldest player to win the PGA Championship when he won with a -6 score while Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen finished tied for 2nd and Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, Harry Higgs and Shane Lowry all finished tied for 4th. Tiger Woods won the last PGA Championship played at Southern Hill back in 2007 and he will be back in the field this week.
All eyes will be on the notable par-4, 491-yard 18th hole since it ranked as the toughest in the 2021 Senior PGA due to the length and uphill approach shot. Per PGATour.com, in seven men’s majors at Southern Hill, only two winners have managed to par the closing hole: Tommy Bolt at the 1958 U.S. Open and Woods at the 2007 PGA. Therefore, no close lead will be safe. Interestingly, in those majors, the winner has had at least a share of the lead in each round on five occasions. Keep in mind that whoever’s in the mix at the top of the leaderboard in Round 1 should be taken seriously as a contender.
Only two par-5 holes and some tough par-3 holes are featured here, so don’t expect any extremely low scores, especially because windy conditions are expected as well. Per PGAChampionship.com, less than 36 players combined have finished under par in the seven majors at this course. Less than two percent of competitors managed a sub-par round. While fairways have been opened up due to tree removal since the last major here, approach accuracy and short game accuracy is going to be very important. On the official PGA Championship website, PGA insider Cary Cozby noted that an errant pitch can roll up to 50 wayward yards due to the difficult greens and the lack of rough around the greens this week. Therefore, minimizing mistakes around the greens is going to be of utmost importance. Let’s get into this week’s best bets.
Our predictive model takes into account overall player performance, recent form, course strengths and weaknesses per player and sportsbook odds. It has been developed and tested throughout previous PGA seasons and has compiled historical data from 25+ years of golfer and course history. Note: odds presented below were shopped among our sportsbook partners to identify the best values. Content is free for a limited time. All statistics below were found on PGATour.com. Star ratings are on 1-5 scale (1 being least valuable, 5 being most valuable).
Jon Rahm To Win (+1400, DraftKings)
BetQL Projection: +1035 ⭐⭐⭐
The last time Jon Rahm played a PGA tournament, BetQL accurately projected him to win the Mexico Open at +500 odds. Now heading into this major, Rahm should have a lot of confidence on his side. He ranks 1st on Tour in SG: Off-The-Tee, 1st in SG: Tee-To-Green and 1st in Greens In Regulation Percentage, all stats that matter this week. Whenever the field is tested on a tough course like this, it’s important to target well-rounded golfers like Rahm. BetQL is giving Rahm +1035 odds to win the Wanamaker Trophy, a noticeable difference from the +1400 odds you can get on DraftKings right now. Know that he’s at +1200 on FanDuel and BetMGM!
Rory McIlroy Top 5 Finish (+450, DraftKings)
BetQL Projection: +321 ⭐⭐⭐
McIlroy is in great form, having finished 2nd at the Masters and then 5th at the Wells Fargo Championship heading into this event. He ranks 3rd on Tour in SG: Off-The-Tee, 5th in SG: Tee-To-Green, 14th in SG: Around-The-Green and 38th in SG: Putting. That well-rounded game should benefit him on a course that will test every element. BetQL is giving McIlroy +321 odds to finish in the top 5. Therefore, the +450 odds you can get on DraftKings right now are a value, especially when you realize that he’s at +250 on FanDuel.
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Patrick Cantlay Top 10 Finish (+200, BetMGM)
BetQL Projection: +193 ⭐⭐⭐
BetMGM is giving Cantlay +200 odds to finish in the top 10 which is a three-star value based on our model’s projection. He finished 2nd in a playoff in his last outing at the RBC Heritage and ranks 8th in SG: Total and 12th in Scrambling. Cantlay projects well on the greens and ranks 8th in Total Putting as well as 7th in One-Putt Percentage. He has the proven ability to win tournaments and ranks 5th on Tour in Birdie Average and Scoring Average (Actual), both of which are crucial on this challenging course.
Hideki Matsuyama Top 20 Finish (+145, FanDuel)
BetQL Projection: +106 ⭐⭐⭐
Matsuyama is coming off a 3rd place finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson and finished 14th at the Masters in the tournament before that. Therefore, his game is in a very solid place right now. FanDuel is giving Matsuyama +145 odds to finish in the top 20 which is a bargain since BetQL is projecting him at +106. As one of the best ball-strikers on Tour, he ranks 6th in SG: Approach-The-Green, 7th in Greens In Regulation Percentage and 9th in SG: Tee-To-Green. Matsuyama’s elite iron play should help him out quite a bit on this course. He also ranks 8th in Birdie Average and 12th in Scoring Average this season.
Daniel Berger Top 30 Finish (+115, FanDuel)
BetQL Projection: -137 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
BetQL is giving Berger -137 odds to finish in the top 30 which is important since you can get him at +115 on FanDuel. He’s finished in the top 30 in three of his last four tournaments: 21st at the RBC Heritage, 13th at THE PLAYERS Championship and 4th at The Honda Classic. Berger is a quality golfer as evidenced by the fact that he ranks 7th in SG: Total, 7th in SG: Tee-To-Green and 9th in SG: Approach-The-Green. Berger is a master around the green as well; he ranks 1st in Sand Save Percentage and 6th in Scrambling.
Webb Simpson Top 40 Finish (+150, BetMGM)
BetQL Projection: -207 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Let’s not sugar-coat this: Simpson is in bad form and has failed to finish in the top 40 in six of his last seven events. However, this projection is all about course fit. Simpson ranks 6th in Proximity To Hole on his approach shots and 33rd in SG: Around-The-Green. When he gets on the green, he ranks 14th in Overall Putting Average. We suggest you take advantage of BetMGM’s +150 odds on Simpson to finish in the top 40. BetQL is giving him -207 odds to accomplish that feat, a massive five-star value. In terms of value alone, this is the best bet of the week according to the model.