US PGA Championship 2022 Best Bets: May 19th-22nd
The US PGA Championship returns to Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma this week for the second major of 2022.
On the back of two successive runner-up finishes, Jordan Spieth will hope to join an illustrious list of names in becoming the sixth man to win the career grand slam, while Victor Hovland – who sharpened his tools at the nearby state university – will fancy breaking his major duck.
Unfortunately, last year’s champion Phil Mickelson will not compete after the ongoing controversy of the Saudi-Arabian breakaway league, but Tiger Woods will once again be teeing it up in quest of major number 16.
US PGA Championship 2022 Best Bets:
- Cameron Smith E/W at odds of 26.0 (William Hill)
- Daniel Berger E/W at odds of 56.0 (Unibet)
The Course: Southern Hills, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Southern Hills has long been famed a championship venue, hosting three US Opens and four PGA Championships. It was Woods who claimed major number 13 here in 2007, but since then the course has seen a significant renovation at the hands of Gill Hanse.
Listed as a 7,556-yard par 70, scoring opportunities look like they will be hard to come by, especially given the fact there are only two par-fives on the course, both of which are over 600 yards and tough to reach in two shots – unless backed by a favourable wind.
Anybody wishing to have a successful week in Oklahoma will have to rely on accurate iron-play, with green complexes which are small and accompanied by severe contours and steep run-offs.
With winds of 20mph forecast throughout the week, players will inevitably miss greens, and when doing so scrambling and competent bunker play will be a pre-requisite for any champion in making.
When looking at recent major trends, 18 of the last 26 majors have gone to first-time winners, while seven of the last ten US PGA Champions have been in their 20s.
- US PGA Championship
- Southern Hills
- May 19th – 22nd
USPGA Championship Best Bet: Cameron Smith (E/W)
First off, I’m siding with Cameron Smith, who has already claimed victories at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship this season, as well as a credible 3rd at The Masters.
The Australian is a major champion in the waiting and his meteoric rise has seen him climb to fourth in the world rankings.
He has proven himself a consistent performer on the big stage in recent years, missing just 2 cuts in his last 16 majors and finishing within the top ten in his last three visits to Augusta National.
As mentioned above a quality short game is needed to succeed this week and there are few better than Cam Smith in this regard.
Ranked 4th in putting this season and 40th around the greens, the 28-year-old is a terrific scrambler, and he has the imagination with wedge in hand to navigate these undulating greens. Smith also sits in the top 10 for Greens in Regulation and is 7th on tour in strokes gained on approach.
Even though the wind is likely to blow, Smith won’t care a jot. His victory at Sawgrass came in winds of up to 40mph, and his shot shaping ability is a bonus in this regard.
The Australian is brilliant with the putter, imaginative with the wedge and dialed-in with the irons, and I think it’s high time that he adds a major championship to his ever-growing resume.
- Selection: Cameron Smith E/W (9 places)
- Best Odds: 26.0 (WilliamHill)
USPGA Championship Best Bet: Daniel Berger (E/W)
At an each way price, Daniel Berger’sodds seem far to high for a player of his pedigree.
The 29-year-old American has proven a solid if unspectacular entity this season, compiling three top ten finishes and two further top 20s.
Although not the longest hitter on tour, he did manage to finish in the top ten of a brutally long Torrey Pines last year, and his bullet-low ball flight should suit the gusty conditions forecast.
He is also 6th in scrambling and first in sand saves this season, which will prove vital considering that 11 of the 18 greens at Southern Hills are surrounded by four or more bunkers.
Berger’s approach play has always been his strong suit, and 2022 has proven no different. Last time out at the Heritage he ranked 6th in strokes gained approach, and he is the 9th best iron player on tour this season.
Although he has never truly been in the mix on a Sunday afternoon at a major championship, he recorded two top 10s last year at Royal St George’s and the US Open – both in blustery conditions – and I could definitely see him there or thereabouts come Sunday afternoon.
- Selection: Daniel Berger E/W (7 places)
- Best Odds: 56.0 (Unibet)