2022 US PGA Championship Preview and Tips – JP
2022 US PGA Championship
The 2022 US PGA Championship returns to Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma for the fifth time. Last used in 2007, when it was won by Tiger Woods. Since then, the course has been renovated. Length has been added, trees removed, and greens complexes updated. The changes have produced a course that should suit long, accurate drives, traditionally a feature of the USPGA challenge, but it is the small greens which will be the key.
Many greens are on raised mounds making them hard to hold and the runoff areas have teeth, so accuracy into the greens is key, and that will be helped by playing shorter irons into them. That goes hand in hand with rewarding the longer hitters. The fairways are generous, the trees fairly sparse and the rough not as penal as in the past. However, playing from the fairway will give more ball control into the tricky, small greens.
Recent Form Key
Past trends for the USPGA Championship show that good recent form is a prerequisite and preferably very recent form. Of recent winners, most have been relatively short priced. Mickelson was 250/1 last year but that was an exception as was the fact that it was played on a links style shore course.
The greens are bent grass and players with multiple winning form on that type of grass include Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele. Debut major winners are also more common at USPGA’S than other majors, so don’t be put off a player just because they have yet to land a big one.
There have only been three European wins in the last ten years and McIlroy got two of them, Martin Kaymer the other in 2010.
A number of players make the shortlist.
2022 US PGA Championship – Punt’s Players To Watch
Runner up at the weekend on the back of winning the RBC Heritage last month, so he is in very good form. He has a couple of top 3 finishes in the USPGA and is a proven winner. He has a good all-round game, long off the tee, 23rd for greens in regulation, top 10 for scrambling and that is good skill to have with these roll off greens. His weakness is putting but perhaps back on bent grass greens will moderate that.
Third at the weekend, finishing with a 62, after a decent defence of his 2021 Masters title. He is over 305 yards off the tee and ranked 7th for GIR, 22nd for scrambling and a four-time winner on bentgrass greens.
5th at the weekend, with a 61 final round, and winner of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month, is in top form. He is due a major title and the USPGA is a good place to do that. Long off the tee at 307 yards, 16th for GIR, 22nd for scrambling and is a decent putter and two-time bentgrass winner.
A four-time winner on tour in 2022, including the Masters, and was 15th last weekend. Going for back-to-back major titles is a big ask, but with his form he is right in the frame. The World number one player won the USPGA Championship in 1994 and 2007, Nick Price and Tiger Woods respectively and Southern Hills was the venue for both. He is another big hitter at 308 yards off the tee and he GIR rank is 3rd. He is a good putter, but his scrambling could be better.
Another tied for 5th last week, but he has not picked up a win this season. 311 off the tee, 30th for GIR, 5th for scrambling and 2nd for putting average and a four-time winner on bentgrass greens, suggests that the former champion will cope with the course.
2nd and 5th in his last two tournaments, is very long off the tee and is an eight-time winner on bentgrass greens. His GIR stats are not great at 79th but he is a good scrambler. His putting is the worry. He is 1st for 3ft or less, but 185th for 6ft and 182nd for 7ft. These guys should be nailing that sort of putt and his lack of confidence in the kill zone is a worry. He might be worth backing in running if he has a poor first round and the pressure is off. However, he has a good record on par 70 courses, tough courses and loves bentgrass greens.
Might be a bit short off the tee, but he was very much in the running at Augusta and that is no pitch and putt course. The Players Championship winner has a great all round game and is too good not to win a major. He was 21st last time out in New Orleans thanks to a disappointing 72 final round.
James Punt’s Ante Post Selections
Jordan Spieth 1 point e/w to win the 2022 US PGA Championship @ 19.00 with Betfred (e/w 1-8)
Xander Schauffele 0.5 point e/w to win the 2022 US PGA Championship @ 26.00 with Hills (e/w 1-9)
Hideki Matsuyama 0.5 point e/w to win the 2022 US PGA Championship @ 29.00 with Ladbrokes (e/w 1-8)
Rory McIlroy 0.5 point e/w to win the 2022 US PGA Championship @ 15.00 with Hills (e/w 1-9)
Dave Stevos’ Selection
As James Punt has already outlined, with such small greens at Southern Hills, iron accuracy will be key. One man who won’t lack in that department is Corey Conners. The Canadian has a fine record in The Masters, finishing top 10 on his last three tries. This shows that he isn’t fazed by big occasions and he ranks 10th for hitting Greens In Regulation this season.
Last year he finished T15 on bentgrass greens at the British Open and he has also finished top 10 on another couple of courses with Bentgrass Greens in the last two seasons. His sole win came in 2019 and while he hasn’t won this year, he finished 3rd in the WGC Matchplay, 6th at the Masters and T12 and T21 in his last two tournaments.
What usually lets Conners down is his putting. He is 83rd for putting from inside 10’, and this is why he hasn’t won as much as he should, given his ability from tee to green. However, if things click with the putter his all round game should be well suited to Southern Hills. At odds of 50/1, he is the e/w selection.