2023 PGA Championship Odds & Picks for Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, 2 More
Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
The second major of the 2023 season is upon us as the world’s best players will tee it up this week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York to compete for the Wanamaker Trophy. That means it’s time to make our PGA Championship picks.
The last time we saw Oak Hill host a major championship, Jason Dufner emerged victorious at the 2013 PGA Championship. Since then, Oak Hill has undergone a complete renovation in 2020. Andrew Green took over the project with the goal of making the course play as similar as possible to the way Donald Ross intended when he designed the East Course in 1925.
Let’s break down the PGA Championship odds, as well as Oak Hill, to find who we’re betting this week.
Oak Hill has been stretched out quite a bit, and a lot of trees have been removed from the property. The greens have been renovated to include modern technology to keep the course dry. The areas around the green have also been shaved down to make missing the greens quite penal and allow for more short game creativity.
The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club is a par-70 measuring 7,394 yards with Bentgrass greens. The course will play long for a par-70, and the greens measure in at 4,500 square feet. Water will be in play for six of the 18 holes along with 78 total bunkers on the course.
The field this week will consist of 156 players, including 20 PGA professionals and 15 past champions. All of the top players will be here gunning for the glory of a major championship with the exception of Tiger Woods and Will Zalatoris as they recover from their respective injuries. After Jordan Spieth withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson early last week with a wrist injury, his status for this week’s PGA Championship remains unclear.
5 Key Stats For Oak Hill
Let’s take a look at five key metrics for Oak Hill to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their past 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Oak Hill will play as a true all-around test of golf for the world’s best. The runoff areas around the green make missing greens in regulation increasingly penal, and shots into the greens will be a challenge. It takes strong approach play to win a major championship.
Strokes Gained: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Jon Rahm (+32.5)
- Tony Finau (+28.1)
- Collin Morikawa (+27.5)
- Wyndham Clark (+27.0)
- Scottie Scheffler (+25.7)
2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Oak Hill will play extremely difficult, and players who are both long and straight off the tee will have a significant advantage. There will be fewer trees, but the thick rough will make playing from the fairway an advantage, provided golfers can hit it long enough to avoid approaches from 220+ yards.
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Patrick Cantlay (+26.3)
- Scottie Scheffler (+23.2)
- Viktor Hovland (+22.9)
- Gary Woodland (+21.0)
- Sungjae Im (+19.5)
3. Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par-70s Over 7,200 Yards
Oak Hill is long for a par-70. The areas around the green are going to be difficult, and the rough off of the fairways will be thick. It will be crucial to target players who thrive on tough par-70s.
Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par-70s
- Dustin Johnson (+3.1)
- Brooks Koepka (+2.5)
- Jordan Spieth (+2.1)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+2.0)
- Jason Day (+1.9)
4. Driving Distance
With most of the trees being removed from Oak Hill, driving distance will play an even more important role than usual in this major championship. In 2020, we saw Bryson DeChambeau dismantle the field at a long and difficult New York golf course in Winged Foot. The PGA Championship has gravitated toward the “long and difficult” approach in their setups in recent years. Hitting the ball a long way will be a requirement this week.
Driving Distance Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Rory McIlroy (+23.9)
- Cameron Young (+21.6)
- Nicolai Hojgaard (+20.7)
- Adri Arnaus (+20.1)
- Bryson DeChambeau (19.2)
5. Bogey Avoidance
When trying to win a major championship at a difficult golf course, it’s crucial to limit mistakes. Golfers who do the best job of avoiding bogeys will put themselves in a position to win the tournament.
Bogey Avoidance Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Jason Day (+31.0)
- Scottie Scheffler (+30.2)
- Wyndham Clark (+24.0)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+20.9)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+17.9)
2023 PGA Championship Model Rankings
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (27%), SG: Off the Tee (26%), Driving Distance (14%), SG: Total Long and Difficult Par-70 (18.3%) and Bogey Avoidance (17%).
- Scottie Scheffler
- Jon Rahm
- Patrick Cantlay
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Rory McIlroy
- Viktor Hovland
- Joaquin Niemann
- Wyndham Clark
- Tony Finau
- Dustin Johnson
- Gary Woodland
- Jordan Spieth
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Xander Schauffele
- Rickie Fowler
2023 PGA Championship Picks
Brooks Koepka +2200 (BetMGM)
Just a few months ago, I would have been surprised to see Brooks Koepka as my headline selection for a major championship at this number. However, at this juncture, I believe his odds are too long. After his impressive T2 finish at The Masters, it’s difficult to make a case for any player not named Jon Rahm or Scottie Scheffler to be ahead of the four-time major winner on the odds board.
Since 2015, Koepka has been the best player in the world in the PGA Championship. In the past eight editions of the tournament, the 33-year-old has only finished outside of the top 13 twice. Over that span, he has two wins and three additional top-five finishes.
There have been plenty of questions about Koepka’s health and competitiveness after he made the controversial decision to join LIV Golf last year. In my opinion, those questions have been answered. He won LIV Orlando on the first Sunday in April and the next week led the Masters for three rounds before eventually losing to the best player in the world. He finished third at LIV Singapore after the Masters and said he was using LIV Tulsa as a “tune-up” for this week’s PGA Championship.
“Yeah, this week just trying to make sure I tune everything up, get ready for next week. I like the majors. I like the discipline, the mental grind that comes with it all, the focus and just using this week to get ready.
“That’s a huge thing. I’ve always done it. It’s not always about results the week before, but it’s about making sure that everything is starting to line up, and I can see the progress and see where we’re going to be for next week.”
That mindset is what made Koepka such a phenomenal major championship player throughout his career, and it appears he no longer is worried about staying healthy or getting back into form. He’s healthy and is playing great golf. The focus now returns to winning majors.
Along with his dominant major championship record, Koepka has thrived in the Northeast throughout his career. He won the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, which is a long and grueling par-70 track similar to what he’ll see at Oak Hill in Rochester this week. Then, he won the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Bethpage is yet another beast of a par-70 in New York.
For Koepka, the desire to win major championships has fueled him throughout his career. Oak Hill is a course where he’s perfectly suited to win his fifth major and hoist the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time.
Pick: Brooks Koepka +2100
Dustin Johnson +3000 (DraftKings)
Dustin Johnson’s form has been questionable in 2023, but he showed last week at LIV Tulsa that his game is finally back where he’d like it to be as he prepares for this week’s major championship.
In his post-round interview after the win, DJ said he feels like he has momentum going into the PGA Championship.
“I’m really playing well, it’s really good, I’ve got a lot of momentum going into next week.”
I believe previous success in the Northeast will be a major benefit this week, and there’s no one in golf who has a better track record in this part of the country than Dustin Johnson. In his past 36 rounds in the Northeast in either major championships or the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he ranks first in Strokes Gained: Total.
When looking at his results, that’s no surprise. He’s won at TPC Boston, Glen Oaks Country Club, Plainfield Country Club and The International.
He’s also been fantastic at major championships in New York. He was second at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, third at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and sixth at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He also won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club to secure his first major championship.
While Johnson’s performance at the Masters may appear concerning at first glance, it wasn’t as disastrous statistically as it appeared. He gained 3.08 strokes on approach for the week and 2.2 strokes off the tee. His short game really held him back, but that can be attributed to a lack of reps over the offseason and in the early stages of 2023.
Johnson has been in the mix at every major held in the Northeast during his career and has been one of the best major championship performers overall in the past decade. He may not have the consistent results that some of the PGA Tour stars have this season, but his price at 30-1 makes him one of the best values in the tournament.
Don’t let his calm demeanor and recent controversial career decisions fool you into thinking he no longer cares about winning major championships. DJ can win this thing.
Patrick Reed +9000 (FanDuel)
Patrick Reed was one of my three picks at the Masters alongside Jon Rahm, and he didn’t disappoint. The 32-year-old was absolutely fantastic at Augusta National. He gained 4.4 strokes on approach, 4.2 strokes around the green and 3.9 strokes putting in vintage Patrick Reed fashion.
His strong play continued after the Masters when he finished third at LIV Singapore the following week. Oak Hill will be a tough test for Reed, who isn’t particularly long or straight off the tee. However, that hasn’t stopped him from contending at long and difficult courses throughout his career. Reed has the “grind it out” mentality and a phenomenal game around the green makes him dangerous in demanding conditions despite his limitations.
Continuing with the theme, Reed is another player who has excelled in the Northeast. He won the 2019 Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey and finished fourth at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He also finished 13th in the 2020 U.S. Open, which was a long and extremely difficult par-70.
Reed is currently in strong form and showed us last month he can contend in a major championship. Golf needs a villain, and Reed can provide that at Oak Hill.
Pick: Patrick Reed +9000
Joaquin Niemann +9000 (FanDuel)
Ever since his arrival onto the golf scene as a 19-year-old, I’ve viewed Joaquin Niemann as the type of player who should be perfectly suited for a PGA Championship. The Chilean is long and straight off the tee, and his low penetrating ball flight is reliable in pressure-packed situations.
Since his move to LIV, Niemann has undoubtedly struggled. However, I’d argue that the golf courses that LIV has played haven’t necessarily suited him until last week at LIV Tulsa. The now-24-year-old has been great throughout his career on Bentgrass greens, which is what he’ll see this week at Oak Hill.
Even while in poor form, Niemann finished 16th at The Masters. That’s a testament to his game being ideal for major championship golf. His win at Riviera last year was another example of the type of demanding golf course that Jaco is suited for. Oak Hill is going to play extremely long and will consistently punish both short and inaccurate drivers of the golf ball. Niemann is one of the longest hitters in the world and consistently hits fairways when he’s on his game.
Regardless of what bettors may think of the competition on LIV, this is an astronomical price on the betting board for one of the planet’s most talented players.
Pick: Joaquin Niemann +9000
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