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PGA Championship: Rahm seeking back to back majors

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Network

This week the PGA Tour heads to the iconic Oak Hill Country Club for the 2023 PGA Championship. Golf’s second major is generally played at courses that require strong ball striking and skill on or around the greens. Oak Hill is no different. Home to six previous majors, Oak Hill, has been known to give golfers a substantial test of their skill. After a complete course remodel by Andrew Green in 2019, Oak Hill should play much longer and more difficult than in 2013, when Jason Dufner won his lone major championship.

The par 70 7,394-yard Donald Ross-designed course is known for being long and narrow. The average width of the fairways is just 27 yards, making them some of the most difficult fairways to hit on Tour. Missing these narrow fairways will prove to be costly. The superintendent mentioned bringing the already long rough up even more than it is during member play. Now missing fairways puts bogey or worse into play. The length of Oak Hill will provide a massive advantage to the deep hitters and strong long-iron players.

Key Metric Correlated to Success:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • SG: Approach
  • SG: Putting
  • Par 4: 450-500
  • SG: Around the Green
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Driving Distance
  • SG: Tee-to-Green

After accurately picking all four major winners last season, I am off to a solid start, not only betting on Jon Rahm at the Masters but getting his odds boosted via odds boost from our sportsbook friends. I continue my hunt for major championship glory with three golfers whom I picked to win the PGA Championship.

2023 PGA Championship Outright Bets

Jon Rahm +800

Sometimes, betting on the co-betting favorite feels easy, convenient, and almost lazy. It feels wrong picking the best golfer in the field to win outright. If golf betting were that easy, every golf bettor would be rich. However, I can’t pass up betting on Rahm this week. Rahm is playing as close to peak Tiger levels as we’ve seen in quite some time.

Rahm has four wins in the calendar year through nine tournaments. Since January 1st, Rahm is gaining +3.1 strokes per round. The next closest is Scottie Scheffler at +2.9, and then Xander Schauffele at +2.4. To appreciate how good Rahm has been, Daniel Rapaport detailed Rahm’s dominance. The biggest surprise from the graphic below is that Rahm has been a beast everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s a par 3, par 4, or par 5; he’s gaining more strokes on the hole than anyone.

Rahm's dominace since January 1st

Rahm’s dominace since January 1st

Daniel Rapaport

As stated, Oak Hill will demand accuracy and length off the tee. Rahm is hitting fairways at 62% this season while still driving the ball 312 yards per drive. It’s clear that Rahm has all the tools. However, my favorite thing about betting on Rahm is that the dude is literally never out of a golf tournament. He could be one-over-par and 10 strokes back after round 1, then go out and shoot a 61 in round 2 and right back in the tournament.

Betting on Rahm this week feels right. I personally will parlay him with every bet I take. It’s a total degenerate move, but I already locked him in at +1363 by parlaying him to win with Liverpool money against Leicester City. Feel free to follow along as I go on this journey. I will post every bet on my Twitter page.

Patrick Cantlay +2100

Patrick Cantlay was my Maximum Value Player in this week’s Golf Channel spot. Sometimes it’s hard to get overly excited about a golfer at a major when they have yet to win one. However, Cantlay is a proven winner who has been knocking at the door for his first major. Had it not been for some awful putting during the weekend at Augusta, he could’ve found himself having the Green Jacket draped over his shoulders that Sunday.

If you’re an avid golf fan, by now, you probably have heard that Cantlay is a bentgrass specialist. So much so that when I take the field over their last 36 rounds on bentgrass and build out my model, Cantlay is rated the highest. Higher than Tony Finau, Sungjae Im, and Oak Hill Member Rory McIlroy.

Surprisingly his success has come from the flat stick. He is first in SG: P and fourth in SG: T2G. Even more impressive is that he is first in SG: Total over the last 12 and second over the last 24 rounds.

Strokes Gained Data on Bentgrass

Strokes Gained Data on Bentgrass

Cantlay does a great job avoiding bogeys which will come in hand at a tournament that could have a winning score as low as 8-under-par. Missing the +3000 number on him early stings, but if he wins this week, I will be more than excited at +2100.

Xander Schauffele +2400

There are few golfers who, year after year and major after major, always find themselves inside the top 20. One of those golfers is Schauffele. Without many flaws in his game, he always finds a way to be in the mix. There was an argument that many elite golfers don’t actually win enough. Schauffele hears that far too often. At least until he ripped off a win at Zurich and back-to-back wins at the Travelers and the Scottish Open. Now searching for his first major title, he turns to a course that will likely be best by golfers who are near perfect tee-to-green.

Coming into the PGA Championship, Schauffele is in great form. He finished T10 at the Masters, a solo 4th place finish at the RBC Heritage, and a solo 2nd place finish at the Wells Fargo. In those tournaments, he was dynamite tee-to-green. A skill that will be necessary this week. He’s on the verge of winning his first major; this could be the week where it happens.