"The 87th PGA Championship" by rottinam is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Golf

The PGA Championship at Southern Hills

The PGA Tour Championship Makes a Return to Tulsa

 

Course Review (Southern Hills – Tulsa, OK)

Southern Hills Country Club is a difficult course with plenty of elevation changes, raised greens, creeks, poorly placed trees, and around four sand bunkers surrounding most greens. Any time you have such elevation changes, paired with raised greens, you’re going to get higher scores across the board. Despite the location, the weather isn’t expected to get crazy, just yet. No matter how it shakes-out, the scoring will be vastly different than a week ago at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

 

AT&T Byron Nelson Review & PGA Championship Preview

Last week was a winning week overall, but nothing great (+1.2 units). We cashed with Sebastian Munoz T-20 at +270 (finished 3rd) and Davis Riley T-10 at +550 (finished 9th). Though we underplayed Munoz, at least it was a sweat-free cash. We weren’t especially close with the other picks, but at least we didn’t have another week of multiple players missing cashes by a single stroke. Over the past two weeks, we are up 7.2 units.

The field this week is absolutely loaded. Headlining the field is the return of Tiger Woods, who last made an appearance laboring through the Masters at Augusta. With the field so heavy this year, we are going to get great odds for a lot of good players. Keep your fingers crossed the weather stays calm and Tiger stays healthy and competitive this week in Tulsa.

 

Metrics to track this week

Approach play is far and away the most important advanced metric to focus-on this week. Strong iron play, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, putting, and GIRP (Greens in regulation percentage) are also going to be critical. With so much to factor this week, we are going to be leaning heavy on great players with hot irons.

  1. Strokes Gained: Approach
  2. GIRP
  3. Strokes Gained: Around the Green
  4. Recent Form
  5. Strokes Gained: Putting

 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Middle of the Fairway – Two Players to finish in the Top 20

 

Tiger Woods +240

Tiger Woods’ ranking (247th) is irrelevant. His recent form is also irrelevant. What is relevant is what we’ve seen from him after long layoffs. He tends to be either hit or miss. Regardless, he is still the most dangerous player in the history of the game. Though the range of outcomes seems wide, Woods was up there on the leaderboard at Augusta, prior to hitting the weekend in noticeable pain. Following a full five weeks of rest, we hope Woods can muster some magic in Tulsa.

Tiger Woods has only played in one tournament this season (The Masters), so there isn’t enough data to draw any accurate conclusions as to his metrics. Keep in mind, Tiger won this event at this same venue back in 2007.

 

Talor Gooch +400

You’re going to see a theme with us this week, taking strong irons players (this one also happen to be Oklahoma State alumni).  He may not be in the best form as of late (cut at AT&T Byron Nelson), but Talor’s last challenging course ended in a 14th place finish (The Masters). Gooch should be familiar with Southern Hills, due to its proximity to his college, so we like his generous +400 odds for the 10th ranked golfer in the FedEx Cup standings.

Gooch is 26th in GIRP, 21st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 7th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 29th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 32nd in Strokes Gained: Total, 1st in Eagles (Holes per), 26th in Sand Save pct, 20th in Birdie Avg, and 19th in Scoring Average. Even though his form may be in question following the letdown at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Gooch has great odds for just a Top 20 finish.

 

 

Edge of the Green – Three Players to finish in the Top 10

 

Mito Pereira +650

Mito Pereira is a Top 50 player this season on tour. A 27 year old, former Texas Tech golfer; Mito lands on our card this week for his strength with the irons and more specifically, his approach. Not counting his withdrawal from New Orleans, Mito has finished 27th or better in all of his previous four events. Though he has just one Top 10 finish on the year, Mito has some great odds for a Top 10 cash, even if it’s something mildly hard to get behind.

Mito is 4th in GIRP, 31st in Scoring Average, 30th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 13th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 21st in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 24th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

Cameron Smith +250

It sure seems like Cameron Smith finds himself in contention on Sundays in big events. After all, Smith has three Top 10s in his last three Masters and a victory at The PLAYERS Championship this season. After finishing last season 14th in the FedEx Cup standings, Smith now sits 3rd in the standings. He’s only played one solo event since The Masters (RBC), where he failed to make the cut. Given his propensity to contend in big events, this seems like an ideal tourney for the 28 year old Aussie.

Cam Smith, on the season, is 1st in Scoring Average, 1st in Birdie Average, 8th in GIRP, 7th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 40th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 4th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 28th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

Russell Henley +650

Russell Henley only has one title in his career and it came way back in 2013. However, every year, we get a few guys who sneak into the Top 10 of a major who are a decent way down in the cup standings. 39 of the last 40 Major champions have been ranked inside the Top 50 (30th in the FedEx Cup). Henley has been a little cold lately, as he’s not finished better than 13th over his last five events.

Russell Henley is 7th in Scoring Average, 14th in Birdie Average, 12th in GIRP, 26th in Driving Accuracy, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Approach, 26th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 8th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 14th in Strokes Gained: Total. We love Henley this week for both the long odds and the specific metric strengths (GIRP, Approach, and Around the Green).

 

 

Short Putt – Two Players to finish in the Top 5

 

Hideki Matsuyama +600

Hideki Matsuyama is still ranked 4th in the FedEx Cup standings, despite only playing in three events since the first week of March. Matsuyama won the Zozo, the Sony Open in Hawaii, and finished 3rd last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Hideki has had a tremendous season thus far, but his recent form would suggest he performs well at Southern Hills this week.

Hideki is 12th in Scoring Average, 8th in Birdie Average, 19th in Eagles (Holes per), 7th in GIRP, 6th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 54th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 9th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 23rd in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

Shane Lowry +550

Shane Lowry has some concerning metrics around the green. On the plus side, he’s a tremendous putter who can also handle the crazy wind. Lowry’s last three finishes are impressive (3rd at The Masters, 3rd at RBC Heritage, and 13th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans). When it comes to majors as of late, Lowry seems to be in that Cam Smith zone of contending in the Final Round. Either way, we prefer the proficiency in rough wind and the recent form.

Shane Lowry is 2nd in Sand Save pct (lots of sand around the greens here), 3rd in Scoring Avg, 43rd in GIRP, 4th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 13th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 24th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 6th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

 

Hole in One – Two Players to Win

 

Scottie Scheffler +1200

We sure didn’t cash on Scheffler last week, but this week is a much more important event, with a degree of difficulty that will make things very frustrating for anyone who struggles on Approach. Scottie Scheffler does not have any holes in his game (except for driving accuracy). Scheffler has four wins (including The Masters) since the start of February. We are going to give him another shot this week, given his recent form, magnitude of the event, and his advanced metrics.

Scheffler is 6th in Scoring Average, 3rd in Birdie Average, 3rd in GIRP, 25th in Driving Distance, 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 21st in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 25th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 22nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 9th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

Jordan Spieth +1400

Our second pick to win is none other than another famous Texas golfer, Jordan Spieth. Spieth finished well last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Over his last two events, Spieth won the RBC Heritage and finished second a week ago, so no one is hotter coming into this event in Tulsa. Jordan Spieth is currently 8th In the FedEx Cup standings the year and following-up his rebound season with another solid campaign in 2022.

Jordan Spieth is 26th in Birdie Average, 3rd in Eagles (holes per), 23rd in GIRP, 28th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 18th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 42nd in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 36th in Strokes Gained: Total. If Spieth continues to wield a hot putter, he should be in the final group on Sunday with a real shot to win.

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