By News Team
17th May 2022
We head to Oklahoma for the second Major of the year as Southern Hills plays host to the PGA Championship. As is the norm at the moment in golf, it looks a wide-open affair with a host of players seemingly having genuine claims of taking home the trophy.
Throw in a certain Tiger Woods, who by the reports at least, seems in significantly better shape than he was at Augusta, and we’ve got four days to savour. So, before the action gets underway, check out our preview.
Homa looks to have a Major chance
Southern Hills last hosted a Major in 2007 when Woods, obviously, emerged victorious, and while the course has undergone a major renovation since, the only results we have since then suggest the same themes remain. The 2021 Senior PGA Championship was played here and although played on effectively a different course in terms of characteristics, it was clear that approach play and Greens In Regulation are still going to be really important this week.
While Max Homa only ranks 89th in Greens In Regulation so far this season, the fact he ranks 26th in Strokes Gained: Approach looks a big feather in his cap. Homa, of course, comes into the PGA on the back of an impressive win at the Wells Fargo Championship – his fourth PGA Tour victory – and one that showed this is a player who looks ready for a Major. As mentioned, he doesn’t score too highly in Greens In Regulation this season, but in his last five tournaments he has ranked 12th, 45th, 18th, 2nd and 39th, so he’s perhaps turned a corner in that respect.
The reports suggest Scrambling is going to be important at Southern Hills with plenty of sizeable run offs if players are slightly out with their approaches, so it is a tad concerning Homa ranks a lowly 180th in that category. He did however rank inside the top 20 for Scrambling at the PLAYERS recently, so he has shown he can perform well around the greens in big events.
He ranks 12th in Strokes Gained: Total on the PGA Tour this season, so the fact he’s 137th in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green shows how strong the rest of his game has been and if he can really brush up on his chipping and pitching, he looks to have a really strong chance here. 18 of the last 26 Major winners have been first timers and Homa could be the next at 55/1.
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Cantlay could be ready for the big time
Like Homa, Patrick Cantlay is surely a Major winner in-waiting, and this looks another very good opportunity for the American to get over the line.
Similarly to his American counterpart Homa, Cantlay comes into this week on the back of a win, this time when teaming up with Xander Schauffele to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In truth, it’s fairly surprising he’s only won once this year as he’s been beaten in two playoffs at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage and was a bit unlucky on both occasions not to emerge victorious.
His usually laser like approach play deserted him for a period but it has been much better recently, particularly at Harbour Town, where he was ranked 58th in Scrambling, so the fact he managed to finish runner-up showed just how good his irons were and if he can carry that form into this week he should go very well. He ranks 12th for Scrambling so he’s usually a very sound chipper and he’s a player with few weaknesses in his game, as his rank of 11th on the All-Around category shows. He makes a lot of birdies – 5th for Birdie Average – another asset that should serve him well and the test that Southern Hills presents looks a great opportunity for him to become a Major winner.
He’ll be hugely dissatisfied with just two top 10s in Majors and he looks a solid bet at 22/1 to right that wrong.