The PGA Tour contests its second major of the year this week as it visits Oak Hill Country Club for the 2023 PGA Championship. Designed by iconic golf course architect Donald Ross in 1901, Oak Hill underwent a restoration by Andrew Green in 2020, including the implementation of new bentgrass greens, the lengthening of several holes, and removing and adding several bunkers throughout the course. These changes are poised to make this championship layout play even tougher for the best of the best this week, with its tight fairways and thick, gnarly rough topping out as a Par 70, 7,394 yard layout. With 99 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking teeing it up this week, the 105th edition of the PGA Championship is going to be one of the strongest fields of the year. Last year, we successfully nailed Justin Thomas’ victory, as he came from 7 strokes behind on the final day to beat Will Zalatoris in a playoff and lift the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time in his career.
Player to Fade:
Winner of the PGA Championship here in 2003, Shaun Micheel has had a very underwhelming career since then, as the PGA Championship was his only victory on tour. Micheel last made a cut on the PGA Tour at the 2018 Barbasol Championship and last made the cut at the PGA Championship in 2011 and at 54 years old, is nothing more than an honorary starter in this event. Phil Mickelson may have turned back the clock with his PGA Championship victory in 2021 at age 50, but the same fate is not in the cards for Micheel this week, as he will most certainly miss the cut.
Rickie Fowler is a player who has found great form again after wandering in the wilderness for quite awhile, with 4 top 10’s, 10 top 25’s, and just 1 missed cut in 14 starts this season. Fowler’s game is pretty solid all the way through the bag right now, as he is ranked 11th in Strokes Gained: Total and 7th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green this season. Fowler also has past success at Oak Hill, as he finished T-19 in the PGA Championship held here in 2013. A win isn’t out of the realm for Fowler, but another top 20 finish is certainly within his reach.
Ending a five year winless streak last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Jason Day comes into this week’s event with the most momentum by default. Winner of the 2015 PGA Championship, Day is another player, like Fowler, who is finally finding his form again after some stumbles, as he has 1 win, 7 top 10’s, and 12 top 25’s in 16 starts this season. Day’s game is exquisite through the bag right now, as he is ranked 7th in Strokes Gained: Total, but his game is really strengthened by his short game this season, ranking 2nd in Scrambling and 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Day will most certainly be in the mix for the win this week and is a lock for a top 10 finish.
Ranked 2nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, Scottie Scheffler is having a solid season this year, with 2 wins, 9 top 10’s, 12 top 25’s, and no missed cuts in 13 starts. Scheffler has yet to win a PGA Championship, but he has been lights out in this event so far in his young career, with 2 top 8 finishes in 3 starts. There are very few holes in Scheffler’s game right now, as he is arguably the best ball striker on tour this season, ranking 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Off-the-Tee, as well as 1st in Greens in Regulation Percentage. At 26 years old, Scheffler is quickly checking off victories at milestone events, winning the Masters Tournament, THE PLAYERS Championship, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational already in his young career. By Sunday, we predict that Scheffler will also add a Wanamaker Trophy to his collection by winning the PGA Championship!