The second major of the golf calendar is officially here, as the world’s best have congregated at historic Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. for the 2022 PGA Championship this weekend. Unsurprisingly, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler sits on top of the odds board as he gears up to challenge for his second straight major victory, but there are plenty of enticing names I’ll be targeting for outright bets.
When it comes to Southern Hills, I’ll be prioritizing strokes gained around the green and strokes gained approaching the green as the most important statistics to target. With that in mind, let’s check out four golfers you simply must have on your outright betting card for the PGA Championship this week.
Scottie Scheffler 12-1
Look, I hate betting the favorite in any PGA Tour event. I rarely ever do it. The low odds normally don’t pay out enough based on the actual percentage chance they have of winning the tournament.
But I’m throwing that all out the window this week. The point of betting outrights in golf is to pick the winner, right? And Scottie Scheffler, in my opinion, has by far the best chance of winning the PGA Championship.
Recent form? Check. No one’s been better or more consistent than Scheffler over the last few months. He’s won four times in his last eight starts and thoroughly dominated the field at Augusta National en route to his first major victory.
Strong statistical profile? Check. Scheffler ranks 17th on the PGA Tour in SG: ARG, 21st in SG: APG, and he’s gained strokes on the field in each of his last 11 starts.
Course fit? Check, check, and check. Scheffler has described Southern Hills as his favorite golf course, and he reportedly fired a 6-under 64 in a practice round here two weeks ago.
If Scottie wins again this week, you’ll feel like a fool for not having any action on the World No. 1.
Hideki Matsuyama 32-1
When you think about a course like Southern Hills that demands precise iron play, Hideki Matsuyama is one of the first names that come to mind. The ball-striker extraordinaire ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in SG: APG, and he’s coming off a week at the AT&T Byron Nelson in which he gained a season-best 2.35 strokes on approach.
If you throw out his WD at the Valero Texas Open last month, Matsuyama has recorded two wins and six top-14 finishes in his last nine starts. He’s also gained strokes around the green in seven of those events.
I expect Matsuyama’s exceptional fairway wood play to give him a huge advantage on the two 600-yard par 5s at Southern Hills. As long as his putter cooperates, he’s live to win his second career major this week.
Brooks Koepka 41-1
I’m throwing out all the stats for this bet, and I couldn’t feel better about it. 41-1 for a four-time major winner with two wins and five top-fives in his last seven PGA Championship starts?
I don’t care that he missed the cut at the Masters and hasn’t made a PGA Tour start since then. Odds are he’s been grinding on the course for a month with Southern Hills firmly on his mind. We know Brooks Koepka shows up for the big events more often than not, and being priced in the same group as Matthew Fitzpatrick, Joaquin Niemann, and Will Zalatoris is simply disrespectful to a player of his caliber.
Keegan Bradley 75-1
Keegan Bradley has become a bit of a forgotten name on the PGA Tour circuit, but he’s quietly starting to round into the same form that led him to a PGA Championship victory in 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
In his last three starts, Bradley has finished T2, T4, and T8. He entered the final round of this month’s Wells Fargo Championship with a two-stroke lead before a 2-over 72 dropped him to a tie for second in the end.
It’s been an impressive year from start to finish for the World No. 45. He’s gained strokes on approach in all but one of his nine recorded starts in 2022, and he ranks 15th on Tour in SG:TTG this season. Putting has always been the weakest part of Bradley’s game, but he gained a season-best 2.4 strokes with the flatstick in his last start.
If Bradley can stay hot with the putter and bring his consistent iron play to Southern Hills, he’ll be in the mix come Sunday.
All betting odds courtesy of FanDuel.