2022 PGA Championship Betting Preview


Bryan is coming off finding a winner three-straight weeks across the DP World Tour and PGA Tour. See who he likes this week to hoist the trophy and win the PGA Championship at Southern Hill CC!


PGA Championship Betting Preview

The second major of the year is upon us, as the field gathers in Tulsa, OK, for the PGA Championship. The host course, Southern Hill CC, has hosted four previous PGA Championships, the last being in 2007 which was won by Tiger Woods. 

Since then, it has gone under restoration, and according to the PGA Championship site, the course will play as a par 70 with a length up to 7,556 yards (although the Southern Hills website shows 7,481 yards for their preview). 

It’s been a theme of recent PGA Championships that distance is a key component, and although the 2021 tournament at Kiawah Island strayed from this, it appears it will be quite the advantage at Southern Hills CC. 

By all accounts, Southern Hills will test the all-around game of golfers with length, Bermuda rough, small greens and tight lies around the greens. Reports also have stated it will be firm and fast. While I’m not sure there is a great metric to capture this, memory could play a factor in additional adjustments to baselines. I don’t have much to add to this speculation with no data, especially since even the basic stats from 2007 will be useless considering the vast changes to the course since. I will be sticking close to my baseline ratings for the week, with a slight adjustment for distance. 

PGA Championship Outright Bets

  • Cameron Smith 28/1 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Shane Lowry 35/1 (BetMGM)
  • Hideki Matsuyama 40/1 (DraftKings)
  • Sam Burns 50/1 (DraftKings)
  • Cameron Young 80/1 (DraftKings)
  • Oliver Bekker 350/1 Each-Way (BetRivers)

Another major and another wager on Cam Smith (28/1). The market continues to undervalue his ability, mainly because he is a short-game wizard in a world where supreme ball-striking is given top marks. I understand this and agree that a more consistent skill set is desirable. However, Smith is no slouch off the tee, and his irons have been as good as anybody in 2022 (if not the best). Pair that with his short game, and name bias is the only other reason I can come up with as to why he’s not the same price as Scottie Scheffler. It’s better for me, I’ll continue to take the odds as I try to cash a third Cam Smith winning ticket this season. His wayward miss off the tee is still a concern, and although the rough won’t be US Open thick for this PGA Championship, the Bermuda may prove tricky or worse, and Smith may find hazards. That said, his skill set allows him to often make recoveries, but he will have to cut down on the wild left misses if he’s going to win in this field. We have also seen him perform well on firm/fast courses, and while this is a more qualitative point on my end, I do like knowing a golfer can handle the potential conditions we will see on this tough course. 

Just down the market from Smith is Shane Lowry (35/1), another golfer I often think of when conditions will be challenging and firm. Is this simply a narrative in my head? Perhaps. However, even outside that narrative, I make Lowry lower than what the market is offering. Shane has been one of the best golfers in the world in 2022, having only finished outside the top 20 in two events (Matchplay and Dubai), with three finishes inside the top 5, in 10 total events. He’s been excelling in all areas of the game, with the heavy lifting being done by his ball-striking, while his weak point has been around the green. Although that might appear to be a concern, he hasn’t been bad ARG, he’s just been so good in the other three areas of strokes gained. While he’s not the longest hitter on tour, he is longer than the field and relatively accurate, which is always a bonus. His approach play has been his best weapon, and that is always preferred, as good irons can make up for lapses in other areas of the game. He hasn’t been able to get over the finish line since his Open Championship, but he was never much of a prolific winner before that either. He’s been playing well enough to win, and the number is a bit too high to pass up. 


While he couldn’t close it out last week, Hideki Matsuyama (40/1) finished strong, and I was able to grab a nice number on him for the PGA Championship before markets started reshuffling. I make him closer to 26/1, and while that alone is good enough for me to back him, I also believe the conditions this week will suit him more. He struggles with the putter, so that will be more difficult this week. The rest of the conditions will be more challenging, and he’s better suited to tackle them than a majority of the field he’s competing against. I mentioned it last week that you know what you’re getting with Hideki. He is one of the most consistent golfers in the world tee to green and doesn’t need to be the best putter to be good enough to win. It can be frustrating to follow at times, but I can’t pass up a world-class talent simply because he struggles to frequently win due to his putting. He’s 5% worse than Tour average from 5-15 feet, although he gives himself plenty of chances from this range with his irons.  Not to mention, not all 10-footers are created equal, but over a large sample this distance has let him down. The good news is when the Tour travels to exceptionally long courses, his ball-striking continues to shine, and that will be most important this week. I see no reason he can’t win another major at Southern Hills CC. 

At one time in the not-so-distant past, it appeared nothing could stop Sam Burns (50/1), but then Scottie Scheffler happened. Burns started missing cuts, and he was all but forgotten (hyperbole). Each week, there are a few surprises for me after I run my numbers, and I didn’t expect to be betting on Burns. But DraftKings offered up a solid number. He has been a mixed bag off the tee for most of 2022, oddly enough winning the Valspar, an event with less emphasis than usual on driving. Perhaps that is a sign he’s not driving the ball well enough to compete this week, but his distance is still strong, and he isn’t losing often in this area. It’s really about stringing it all together like he was during his formidable run to end 2021 into 2022. He has all the pieces as we’ve seen, but as his results suggest, he seems to “have it” or he doesn’t. There hasn’t been much in-between from him in 2022 with a handful of missed cuts and top 10’s, including the Valspar win. This isn’t a concern for outright wagering, as it would be if you wanted to back him in positional markets where you’re hoping even if the A-game isn’t present he can play well enough to cash. Volatility is welcome when chasing winners, and the poor results are the reason he opened at 50/1.  

A familiar face in my betting previews, Cam Young (80/1) is the next golfer who didn’t match my odds. This has been a trend all season, and I can understand passing on a guy who has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but I feel it would be a mistake. Sure, not many have had their first victory on Tour be a major, and those who have were winners in Europe (Schwartzel, Oosthuizen, and Kaymer come to mind), but Young has won at every level he’s played, and weaving narratives to not bet somebody can be a dangerous game. As unlikely as it may seem, that is the case to be made for many golfers every week. But talent often prevails, and I can’t pass on 80/1 due to considering it’s unlikely for any 80/1 golfer to win on any given week. It was unlikely for Phil Mickelson to win last year’s PGA Championship, and you can point to pedigree all you want, but pedigree doesn’t swing the club. I’m not comparing their careers, of course, but Young has displayed he has the game to win at this level and compete against the best (second place at Genesis Invitational). His putting has let him down during some of his best ball-striking weeks, but overall, he’s been solid on the green and elite from the tee box. Strong irons and decent touch around the greens, and again, there’s no reason to think he doesn’t have the game. It’s about if he will show up in the moment if it arrives. It’s a tall order, but his play this season deserves better than 80/1 we’re being offered. 


The last golfer on the list, Oliver Bekker (350/1), is somebody you will recognize if you’re a subscriber to FTN Bets and get my DP World Tour picks as well. I found value on the 350/1, but I was most intrigued by the 7-place each-way being offered by BetRiver at 1/5 odds, which equate to a 70/1 payout for a top 7.   The 37-year-old is making his first major start since the 2017 US Open and only his second ever major appearance. He has had a journeyman-type career bouncing between the DP World Tour, Challenge and Sunshine Tours dating back to 2010. Expectations are low, all things considered, but he is playing the best golf of his career right now, and I rate his current form as better than an average PGA Tour player. He is long off the tee, which will be beneficial, and the rest of his game has been solid. Sometimes it can be hard to weigh things across Tours, but I do this for my metrics and feel strong about my number on Bekker. Again, this is an extreme longshot, but in his last 10 events across the pond, nine of them have been T11 or better, three of them being top 5s. Yes, the step up in competition will be immense this week. But as you know, I have to bet the number, and if it turns out he can’t handle the course, so be it.  You can play it safer and search for positional wagers on Bekker, but I think the best value being offered is on the 7-place each-way.  

For all of my other wagers this week, check out the FTN Bet Tracker, and if you’re not a subscriber, use code AXIS for 20% off. I hope to chat with you soon in the subscriber Discord

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