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There’s nothing quite like a major championship week.

This week, it’s the 2023 PGA Championship at the historic Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. It’ll be the first PGA Championship held at Oak Hill since 2013 when Jason Dufner rode a second-round 63 to his first and only major title. Ten years prior, Shaun Micheel came out of nowhere at Oak Hill to win his lone major.

The East Course will play much differently this time around, as the track has been lengthened to nearly 7,400 yards and will play as a par-70. With thick rough surrounding the tight fairways and small greens, the bombers will clearly have an advantage over the shorter hitters this year.

Let’s dive into the 2023 PGA Championship and see how our golf experts see the week playing out.

2023 PGA Championship predictions

Sportscasting's expert picks for the 2023 PGA Championship.
2023 PGA Championship predictions | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

Here are a few predictions for the 2023 PGA Championship from Sportscasting golf experts Jack Dougherty and Luke Norris.

Winner

Jack Dougherty: Cameron Smith

If you want to ride the hot hand at this year’s PGA Championship, look no further than Cameron Smith.

The talented Aussie is coming off a dazzling 9-under 61 in the final round of LIV Golf Tulsa, which got him into a playoff with Dustin Johnson and Branden Grace. Smith lost to DJ in the playoff, but he has to be feeling great about his game leading up to the second major championship of the year.

I’m a bit worried about Smith’s inconsistent driver with how penalizing the rough is going to be at Oak Hill, but he’s the best in the world at scrambling for pars from awkward spots on the golf course. A strong short game is going to be paramount this week with how long the course is going to play and how many greens these players are going to miss. If he can keep it in the fairway for most of the week, I love Smith’s chances to win his second major in his last three tries.

Luke Norris: Patrick Cantlay

So much of me wants to take Xander Schauffele here, but I’ll instead go with his good pal Patrick Cantlay.

Being long and accurate off the tee is obviously crucial in any golf tournament, but it’s going to be especially important at this longer version of Oak Hill. And this plays right into Cantlay’s wheelhouse. The 31-year-old ranks second on the PGA Tour in total driving, and he’s really just due for a win.

Since surprisingly missing the cut in Phoenix, Cantlay hasn’t finished lower than 21st in any of his last seven starts, a stretch that includes four top-10s. He’s right on the cusp of getting back into the winner’s circle, and it’s undoubtedly time for him to add a major championship to his impressive resume.

Biggest sleeper

Jack Dougherty: Nicolai Hojgaard

Nicolai Hojgaard is one of the hottest players in the world you’ve probably never heard about.

The 22-year-old Dane has made 11 worldwide starts since December, and he finished T13 or better in six of them. He nearly won the Corales Puntacana Championship in March, and he finished T5 in his most recent start on the DP World Tour.

Oak Hill is a perfect fit for Hojgaard’s game, as he’s a splendid ball striker who crushes the ball off the tee. His ability to carry his driver 300-plus yards in the air will give him a major advantage this week. Winning the PGA Championship as a 190-1 longshot might be a stretch, but a +300 price for a top-40 finish is one of my favorite bets of the week.

Luke Norris: Adam Scott

Look, I know it’s been a while since Adam Scott has won a golf tournament, but it’s a little ridiculous that he’s going off at +9000 in some places.

In his last two starts, the former No. 1 player in the world tied for fifth at the Wells Fargo and just tied for eighth at the Byron Nelson. And that’s with somewhat of a shaky putter at times. Scott is hitting the ball as well as he has in years, and his game matches up beautifully with Oak Hill, which is probably why he tied for fifth here 10 years ago.

Most likely bust

Jack Dougherty: Collin Morikawa

This week is going to be all about power off the tee and scrambling for pars. Unfortunately for Collin Morikawa, those are his two biggest weaknesses.

This season, Morikawa ranks 148th on the PGA Tour in driving distance and 107th in strokes gained around the green. The only way I see him contending at Oak Hill is if he hits his long irons tight and has above-average chipping and putting performances.

That’s a lot to ask from a guy who’s missed the cut in his last two starts and hasn’t recorded a top-five finish since January.

Luke Norris: Rory McIlroy

Truth be told, I’m really hoping Rory McIlroy doesn’t bust this week because golf is just better when he’s playing well. And if my recent luck in this category continues, he’ll add major number five.

As for Rory being an actual bust, though, let’s not pretend that’s not a possibility. After a dreadful showing at the Masters, where he missed the cut, McIlroy took a month off to rest, and most thought he’d come back refreshed at Quail Hollow, a course he’s dominated in the past. But he didn’t play spectacularly whatsoever and tied for 47th. Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess which version of Rory we see this week.

Make-or-break hole

Jack Dougherty: No. 17

The three finishing holes at Oak Hill make up one of the most demanding stretches you’ll see in major championship golf. The star of the show will be the par-4 17th hole, which measures longer than 500 yards from the back tees and plays as a par 5 for members.

Players will need to pump their drives close to 300 yards just to have a decent view of this undulating green, and whatever they do, they must avoid missing short. The false front leading up to the green will stop balls in their tracks and send them back to the fairway to set up an uphill pitch from a tight lie. I’d be surprised if anyone can play the 17th at even par for the week.

Luke Norris: No. 18

The 18th hole at Oak Hill has seen some magical moments in the past, and I think we’re in store for some more this weekend. The 497-yard par-4 finisher has a tight fairway that stretches just 20 yards at the 300-yard mark and features three bunkers on the right and trees on either side. And there’s more sand to deal with on the approach, especially to the right.

Simply put, this is an excellent hole to close out a major. Birdie opportunities are there, but bogey or worse can come into play as well.

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