PGA Championship picks to win: Here’s who our staff is betting on at Southern Hills
Tiger-esque. It’s safe to say now. Will Zalatoris did.
“It’s really cool to see,” he said last week. “And obviously playing the games at home together and him playing well, and even the other day, I thought I played pretty good at a little event we played here at home, shoot 66, and he comes in with 63 and it’s like, good grief, man, like have an off day.
“But like I said, he’s setting the bar pretty high right now, and obviously he’s kind of the guy to chase for all of us. But what he’s doing is borderline Tigeresque. It’s pretty cool to see.”
Of course, the Tiger designation isn’t handed out lightly, but Scottie Scheffler’s run since the Super Bowl has all the makings of a Woodsian stretch. Before the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February, Scheffler had never won on the PGA Tour. Now it’s all he does. Over his past eight events, he’s won half, capped by a victory at last month’s Masters.
Woods, as we know, kept these stretches going, though, which begs this question: Can Scheffler? As we try to find a winner for this week’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills, that’s a question I’ve asked of colleagues Jessica Marksbury and Josh Sens, and I answered it, too. And to help you even further, members of our staff have each made a to-win bet using odds from BetMGM.
Let’s get to it then. (And if you’re looking to place any of these bets yourself, we teamed with BetMGM, and the online sports book is offering a new promotion: Make a risk-free bet up to $1,000. Sign up for an account to get into the action today.)
Why Scottie Scheffler will win the PGA Championship
Jessica Marksbury: Scottie Scheffler will win for three reasons: 1) He’s World No. 1, and a dominant one at that; 2) Somewhat incredibly, he loves Southern Hills! It’s one of his favorite courses. How random — and fortuitous! — is that?!; 3) He’s the game’s undisputedly best pressure player at the moment. Who has come through in the clutch more than Scheffler in the past eight months, starting with his stellar performance at the Ryder Cup? Exactly.
Josh Sens: He will win because his game has no weaknesses and, probably more important, his attitude is unbeatable. The guy is a grinder. Unlike some other A-listers, you never get the sense that he’s just going through the motions, even at low-wattage events. But he also somehow manages to go full bore without putting counter-productive pressure on himself. The way he approached the Masters — I’ve done the preparation; now let’s see what happens — is how he’ll approach the PGA. No one is playing better golf than Scheffler, and he’s certainly not going to beat himself.
Nick Piastowski: This could be the continuation of something special, and you don’t want to say afterward: Why didn’t I just pick the hottest golfer on the planet? His game plays anywhere, too.
Why Scottie Scheffler won’t win the PGA Championship
Jessica Marksbury: Scottie Scheffler won’t win because there will be a lot of other big names who will play well at Southern Hills, and Scheffler could play lights-out and still get clipped. Winning majors is the toughest task in golf, and it’s never a sure thing, even for the game’s greatest legends.
Josh Sens: He won’t win because winning majors is hard. And winning two of them in a row even harder. In the past 20 years, the only guys not named Tiger to do it have been Harrington, Spieth, Rory and Koepka. Everything will have to click just right for Scheffler, and even if it does, things might click even better for guys like Morikawa, Spieth, Cantlay, Rahm, to name just a few in a very deep field.
Nick Piastowski: I couldn’t have said it any better, Jess and Josh. No one wins ’em all. Right?
Staff picks to win the PGA Championship
To-win: Daniel Berger, +5,000. Berger’s not long by Tour standards, but he is accurate, and he’s a killer around the greens, which will be essential at the new-look Southern Hills with its slick, difficult-to-hit surfaces. Stellar short games will be a must, and few players are better around the greens than Berger. Last week, Jordan Spieth was asked about the sneaky-best short-game whizzes on Tour. Berger, he said, is “as impressive as anybody.”
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,500: I have it on good authority that an elite ball-striker is going to win the PGA. Why not Schauffele, to break the major-less streak, at +2,500? The value is just too good to pass up.
To-win: Sam Burns, +4,000. Don’t let a MC at the Byron Nelson (or the Masters) fool you. This number is too high for a guy who hits it this well and is this good around the greens.
To-win: Cameron Smith, +2,000. Sure, this season has been all about Scottie Scheffler, but these odds are too good to pass up for a player experiencing a similar meteoric rise this season. Smith has two PGA Tour wins in 2022, including the Players, and is considered by many to have the hottest putter on the planet. He made the most birdies (22) of any player at Augusta National, and as late at the 11th hole on Masters Sunday, the Aussie was in position to give Scheffler a run for the green jacket. For all intents and purposes, Smith’s the second-hottest player in the world, and he’s getting the seventh-best odds in the field. At 20-1, Smith clearly presents the best value this week at Southern Hills.
To-win: Will Zalatoris, +3,300. The only common thread I can find between past winners at Southern Hills is that they’re all properly good ball-strikers. He’s long enough, accurate enough and consistent enough. His putting remains a concern, but that’s also why he’s 33-1. Those odds are long enough for me to take the bait.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +1,100. I’m not going to overthink this. Scheffler not only had an impressive practice round at Southern Hills recently, he also says it’s one of his favorite courses. (!!) That’s enough for me!
To-win: Jon Rahm, +1,200. Jon Rahm was sort of MIA early in 2022, but a win in his latest start is encouraging. The putter is still not cooperating like he’d hoped, but if he can get even average results on the greens in Tulsa, he should be in contention on Sunday.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,800. The form is there, and by all accounts, the course fit is there. He completes the grand slam.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,800. Scheffler has knocked Jordan Spieth off the Texas golf throne with his stellar play these past few months. There has been a lot of talk about how Southern Hills is Scheffler’s favorite course, and rave reviews came from his recent practice round there. I expect Scheffler to find himself in the final pairing come Sunday, but Spieth will be there with him. In a Lone Star showdown, Spieth takes home the Wanamaker to complete the grand slam.
To-win: Jon Rahm, +1,200. Rahm has finished top-10 in five of the past six majors, including a win at last year’s U.S. Open. He shines at major championships. Yes, Scottie Scheffler is on a heater, is No. 1 in the world and is golf’s current darling, but Rahm is one of golf’s fiercest competitors. He wants the throne back, and a win at Southern Hills, Scottie’s favorite course, will remind everyone that Rahm is still golf’s best player.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +2,000. Spieth’s finishes since the Masters feature a win and a solo second, so his game is shaping up. The career grand slam has never culminated at the PGA Championship, and I think if anyone can make history at Southern Hills, it’ll be Spieth — assuming he putts well.
To-win: Patrick Cantlay, +2,200. In his 10 starts since the Ryder Cup, Cantlay has a win and six top-10s. Two of those were playoff losses to guys who aren’t exactly slouches (Spieth and Scheffler). These are decent odds for the best player in the world without a major, a mantle he won’t have for long.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +1,100. This one feels too easy. Hottest golfer on the planet. Just shot 64 at Southern Hills — his favorite course. I’d be shocked if Scheffler isn’t in the mix on Sunday afternoon. It’s the chalkiest pick on the board, but I’m taking it anyway.