2023 PGA Championship expert picks to win, sleepers to watch at Oak Hill
A LIV Golf player didn’t win last month’s Masters.
But two tied for second. And one tied for fourth.
Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson were the co-runners-up behind champion Jon Rahm. A stroke back was Patrick Reed. The question over how players from the Saudi-backed league would fare — with their guaranteed money, their shorter schedules and their 54-hole events — had an answer.
“I mean, we’re still the same people,” Koepka said after the Masters. “So I mean, I know if I’m healthy, I know I can compete. I don’t think any of the guys that played this event thought otherwise, either. When Phil plays good, we know he’s going to compete. P-Reed, the same thing.
“I think that’s just manufactured by the media that we can’t compete anymore; that we are washed up.”
If that sounds like some chip-on-the-shoulderness, it’s because it is. And here’s saying it will be a theme this week, too, when the PGA Championship tees off at Oak Hill.
And if you buy into that sort of thing, you know what to do with your picks.
With that, members of our staff have each made a to-win and sleeper bet. The hope is, of course, we help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
On to our picks.
2023 PGA Championship expert picks to win, sleepers to watch
To-win: Adam Scott, +9,000. When it comes to recent play, Scott has been on a hot streak, and although his putting can be a little up and down, the two things that aren’t are his driving and ball striking — and Oak Hill is going to require those strengths. If he keeps hitting it well, putts are going to drop. Scott has a great chance to win this week.
Sleeper pick: Keith Mitchell, +10,000. Mitchell is like a BMW right now — the ultimate driving machine. He’s No. 1 on Tour in total driving (a combination of distance and accuracy rankings) and has played solid all season. His weakness is in approach play, but if he can put a good week in with the irons, he’s going to be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
To-win: Viktor Hovland, +2,500. The past two major-winners at Oak Hill have been off-the-board picks. Hovland, who’s played well enough to find himself in the Sunday conversation at both the Masters and the Open Championship in the past 12 months, remains one of the better players not to break through. His win at Oak Hill would also count as a reasonable underdog selection, so I’ll take it.
Sleeper pick: Mito Pereira, +12,500. I would be fascinated to travel to a different dimension and learn how much higher Pereira’s odds would be in this tournament had he not experienced a bad case of the mishits on the 72nd tee box last year. Feels like good value. Plus, I hear there’s less water at Oak Hill.
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,000. I’m fully committed to the bit of picking Xander to win every single major. But I also believe it. That’s the key — full immersion. Method-bitting. I don’t see how anyone else could possibly win. Well, except for Scottie Scheffler. I could see him winning. Or Jon Rahm. But Schauffele is coming in hot, with a runner-up finish at Quail Hollow and top-10 results in his past five events, if that’s any good. Oak Hill should demand a well-rounded golfer. Few are better rounded than this one.
Sleeper pick: Seamus Power, +10,000. Power had never played in a major until last year but showed an immediate aptitude, logging three top-30 finishes, including a T9 at the PGA Championship. He’s rounding into form just in time for a solid showing at Oak Hill. (Others available for consideration: Cam Davis, Davis Riley, Harris English — and hell, why not Padraig Harrington?)
To-win: Hideki Matsuyama, +3,300. Given Matsuyama’s odds here, it’s hard not to take a flier on the 2021 Masters champ. Prior to last week’s Byron Nelson, we haven’t seen Matsuyama play an event since Augusta. Given the time off, something tells me his mind is sharp, his game is ready, and he’s using Dallas as an opportunity to work on both his driving accuracy and putting stroke for Oak Hill. Look out!
Sleeper pick: Aaron Wise, +17,500. After taking some time off to focus on his mental health (kudos to him), the 26-year-old Wise is back — and a PGA Championship run would be a hell of a story. As one of the top putters on Tour, Wise can roll it with the best of them. One interesting finish to focus on? Last year’s runner-up at the Memorial Tournament — a comparable course to Oak Hill.
To-win: Jon Rahm, +700. I respect my colleagues searching hard for the highest return on their investment, but we’re here to win, regardless of value. The reason you can get most of the world top 10 players for better than 20-1 odds is because Rahm is highly likely to beat them all, as he’s done all season. He had an unprecedented four wins at the end of April, and now he’ll have five wins and two majors before May is through. If you’ve watched a single round of Rahm’s this season, you know that’s what he’s capable of.
Sleeper pick: Tom Hoge, +15,000. Out of the whole group at 150-1, I like Hoge the best. The 33-year-old can find his way to the top of the leaderboard when we least expect it. He’s logged four Top 10s this season, including a T3 finish at the Players.
To win: Xander Schauffele, +2,000. I have the same pick as Dylan, but for the complete opposite reason. I’m picking Schauffele because I *can’t* keep picking Collin Morikawa to win every major. All that aside, Schauffele brought Quail Hollow to its knees two weeks ago — his 15-under-par total would have been enough to win or force a playoff at the Wells Fargo in all but two years of its existence before this year. Wyndham Clark just caught a heater. Schauffele has also been working on a streak of five-straight top-10s going back to the Match Play, and he has finished T15 or better in the past four majors. It’s time for the X man to get his marquee win.
Sleeper pick: Si Woo Kim, +10,000. There are few things in golf harder to predict than a Si Woo Kim victory, but I’m going to make a case for it anyway. After all, when he broke through at the Players, he was one of the worst drivers on the PGA Tour. Nonetheless, his inspired play in Sunday singles at the Presidents Cup seems to have returned the Korean to form. He’s picked up a win already this year, and he’s on track to make the Tour Championship for the first time since his rookie season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him restore some of that early season momentum at Oak Hill. OK I would be, but that’s still good value.
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +2,000. After an impressive run at the Masters, I’m not leaving Koepka off my major-championship short list. His game feels like a good fit for Oak Hill, and he’s long had a reputation for saving his best stuff for golf’s biggest events. I’m banking on the shot of confidence from his T2 at Augusta, mixed with the LIV “I’ve-got-something-to-prove” mentality, to result in major No. 5 for the expectant father.
Sleeper pick: Adam Scott, +9,000. It feels a bit rude to ever pick a player of Scott’s caliber as a sleeper, but odds like this allow it! Not only did Scott finish in the top five the last time the PGA was played at Oak Hill, he’s also rounding into form at the right time, with a T5 finish at the Wells Fargo Championship. It’s been a while since he’s been in contention at a major, but I think this could be the week.
To-win: Tommy Fleetwood, +5,500. The form is there. The game has always been there. But there’s more to this pick for me. A psychic kinda told me. Consider it a teaser. Come back to GOLF.com later this week for one of the weirdest — and most fun — stories I’ve ever assembled. I’m dead serious. We talk about Oak Hill. And the supernatural.
Sleeper pick: Harris English, +12,500. Oak Hill is going to demand patience. Par is your friend, over and over again, until opportunities — and birdies — present themselves. English loves that game.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +750. Scheffler is going to remind us that he’s standing alongside Jon Rahm on golf’s mountain top. We’re due for a battle between these two in a major, and this is the week we get it. And Scheffler gets the job done.
Sleeper pick: Denny McCarthy, +12,500. McCarthy is a good value bet. He has finished inside the top 25 in five of his past six starts. All you can ask for in a sleeper pick is someone entering the week playing well with major upside.
To-win: Corey Conners, +8,000. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s either going to be Rahm or Scheffler. But since we are looking for a reasonable payout, we need to go slightly farther down the board — to a guy who has a handful of top 10s in majors, a win this season and the kind of placid demeanor that is going to come in handy for a course that is going to require a ton of patience. Plus, Rochester is practically Canada, with better chicken wings and worse donuts, so this should basically feel like a home game for Conners.
Sleeper pick: Chris Kirk, +12,500. With a win at the Honda, a good showing at Masters and a handful of other high finishes, it’s been a quietly great season for Kirk. Love his swing and his ball striking. A hot putting week and these long odds could cash.
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +2,000. Four majors in a three-year span and with confidence out of this world, Koepka dreams it and achieves it. He could be our winner. Also maybe a bit partial because his wife’s last name is Sims.
Sleeper pick: Joaquin Niemann, +5,000. Just barely hitting the threshold to qualify as my sleeper pick, Niemann ranked as the world’s No.1 amateur male golfer from May 2017 to April 2018. Anyone who’s been at the top like that has a good chance.