Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2022 PGA Championship Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Southern Hills. Plus, Tim ANDERCUST stops by to give his top three selections and exotic bets.
2022 PGA Championship: Field
Field: 156 Players | Top 70 and Ties Make the Cut after 36 Holes
First Tee: Thursday, May 19
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson
The weather’s getting warmer, and we’re now in the thick of Major season. Southern Hills is the home of the 2022 PGA Championship where World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth enter as the betting favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Tiger Woods is expected to play for the first time since The Masters. Mostly everyone you’d expect to be in the field is going to be in competition. Except a few notable names — who are either already out or their status is uncertain for their Thursday tee time.
Paul Casey (
Questionable OUT) — The Friday cut sweat is always discussed, but Paul Casey has basically invented the Wednesday cut sweat over the past two months. After finding himself plugged in a fairway divot on No. 16, in contention, at THE PLAYERS championship in March, nothing has been right with the Brit. After finishing third that week, Casey only made it through a few holes against Corey Conners at the Dell Match Play before withdrawing with back spasms. He eventually pulled out of the tournament entirely. We haven’t seen him take a shot since. Something that’s been painful for his DraftKings backers. Despite solid ownership at The Masters, Casey pulled out of the event after lock, leaving those rosters DOA on Thursday morning. Most recently, Casey WD’d from the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago. He’s currently listed in the field for the PGA Championship but, as of now, there’s no word on whether or not he’s actually going to swing a club. UPDATE: Paul Casey is OUT of the PGA Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau (
Likely OUT OUT) — Bryson was injured earlier this year in Saudi Arabia, returning at the Dell Match Play in March, never once looking like peak Bryson. After missing the weekend at Augusta he opted for surgery on his wrist and has been out ever since. He hasn’t officially declared himself out for the PGA Championship, but it’s far more likely that he’s watching on TV than competing for the Wanamaker. UPDATE: Bryson decided to WD Wednesday evening. He’s been replaced in the field by Denny McCarthy.
Phil Mickelson (OUT) — The defending champ pulled out of the PGA Championship late Friday afternoon. Next time we see Phil it will likely be on the Greg Norman headed LIV Tour next month.
Harris English (OUT) — English has missed every event since mid-January, this week will be no exception. After undergoing hip surgery in February he’s hoping to return at next month’s US Open.
Sungjae Im (OUT) — This one is bummer. As a final tune up before the year’s second Major, Sungjae flew back to South Korea for the Woori Financial Group Championship. He was forced to withdraw after a positive COVID test. Due to the travel restrictions between the countries he was forced to withdraw over the weekend.
In terms of the cut line, for reasons unknown, the PGA Championship has held onto the Top 70 and ties. A standard PGA event is Top 65 and ties, the US Open is Top 60, and the Masters is Top 50. To the uninitiated, those extra five spots don’t seem like much, but ask any DraftKings player, having a bit more wiggle room entering the weekend is a welcome sight.
There are 20 PGA Professionals in the mix. These guys are all excellent players, but there’s a reason they’re instructors and not card carrying PGA TOUR members. At best, one or two will make the cut, and none are going to win, or likely to place inside the Top 50. Get some red ink out for those guys. No need wasting time researching them.
Second, there’s a bunch of dead-weight former winners who are essentially write-offs. If THE REAL DEAL Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Y. E. Yang or John Daly are the one’s who take my money this week, I’ll waste even more money explaining it to a therapist.
Third, there is a collection random international players from weaker-talent tours around the globe. While there’s in an influx of legit talent from some DP World Tour regulars, most of the international talent is representing tours that are a significant step down in overall quality from the European circuit. While the majority of non-DP World Tour players will likely miss the cut, unlike the PGA Professionals, one or two of them could potentially spike a Top 20 finish. Uncovering who that may be is a pretty impossible task however. Which likely makes that entire group a cross off.
So, when you subtract those names from the 156 player field, the field is really like a 120-130 player event, resembling more of an invitational PGA event like The Genesis, Heritage or Memorial. But one where a higher percentage of players actually make the cut… and with a stronger field.
There will always be an urge to gamble on one of these names at the low end of the pricing list, with so many people harping on making sure your DraftKings teams are “contrarian” enough in terms of ownership percentage. Picks like this aren’t contrarian, however, they’re just bad.
Let’s hammer down on “contrarian” picks and “fading ownership” for a moment. Even in a field of 142,000 lineups, like in this week’s $25 entry DraftKings Millionaire contest, it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to find yourself in a situation sharing a lineup with anyone — unless you’ve gone out of your way to populate your lineups with every single projected popular play. Then, sure, there’s a chance it happens. If you’re that worried about splitting the million dollars, merely leave $200 of salary cap on the table and it’s no longer an issue.
The real reason to care about ownership is simply the massive amount of other lineups you need to beat to win the million dollars. If you can pick the low-owned hoister of the Wanamaker Trophy (whose empirical unit of measurement is a half-Rory in case you were wondering. I believe a half-Rory is categorized under the metric system, not imperial btw), the path to actually winning is much more clear. That’s not a green light to roster terrible plays, but if Justin Thomas is projected at 24% ownership and Collin Morikawa is coming in around 8% (these are made up numbers for this example, not real projections), with relative little win equity separating them, and certainly not 3x in favor of JT, your chance at the top prize is three times easier with a Morikawa win than Thomas. So just take him. Boxing out as many lineups in a tournament this large is the only way to the top.
And I’m only talking about DraftKings tournaments where you’re competing against tens of thousands of lineups. In a small tournament, a single entry, or three-max entry, don’t concern yourself with much of this. I’m guessing you want that million, though. Who wouldn’t?
2022 PGA Championship: Key Stats
- SG: Approach
- Par 4s Gained 450-500 Yards
- Proximity 50-100 Yards
- Driving Distance Gained
- Proximity 200+ Yards
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2022 PGA Championship: Course
- Course: Southern Hills CC
- Yardage: 7,556
- Par: 70
- Greens: Bentgrass
2022 PGA Championship: Past Winners
- 2021: Phil Mickelson -6
- 2020: Collin Morikawa -13
- 2019: Brooks Koepka -8
- 2018: Brooks Koepka -16
- 2017: Justin Thomas -8
- 2016: Jimmy Walker -14
- 2015: Jason Day -20
2022 PGA Championship: Southern Hills Notable Events
- 2021: Alex Cejka (Senior PGA Championship)
- 2009: Byeong-Hun An (US Amateur)
- 2007: Tiger Woods (PGA Championship)
- 2001: Retief Goosen (U.S. Open)
At over 7,500 yards and only a Par 70, most, myself included, are expecting a daunting task at Southern Hills this time around. I’d love to lean on history to try and peg a skill set to pounce on this week, but after its renovation by Gil Hanse in 2019, it doesn’t quite resemble the course where Tiger picked up another Wanamaker in 2007. The only real event to draw from is the 2021 Senior PGA Championship, which played significantly shorter (400-500 yards shorter for the old guys). It’s not much, but it’s something. I went straight to the source and chatted with Stephen Ames’ (T34 that year) caddie, and creator of the yardage books, Troy Martin.
Southern Hills is going to play firm and fast, and the removal of so many of the trees is going to expose the course to some potentially deadly Tulsa winds. It’s going to be a second shot course, but honestly, that’s every course, so that means nothing. The players with the best approach play are going to do well. Shocker.
The biggest takeaway were the green complexes, though. With so many approach shots coming in from a hefty distance (seven of the Par 4s are over 450 yards, three Par 3s over 217 yards, both Par 5s at least 632 yards) holding the green is going to be an issue. To make matters worse, the putting surfaces are well below average size and most of the areas are shaved green side, so the ball isn’t going to simply run off the back and nestle up into the rough. No, it’s going to roll, and roll. Then likely roll some more.
I’ve set the filters on Fantasy National to courses which play difficult relative to par and are over 7400 yards, and see the results over the past 24 rounds for each player. Included in that mix of courses are selective rounds from: Augusta National, Bay Hill, GC of Houston, PGA National, Quail Hollow, Riviera, Torrey Pines, among others, including most U.S. Opens and PGA Championships.
That’s just a starting point, though. Playing around with the filters gives some new perspective on some other players. Like, if we filter by “difficult courses” and “Fast + Lighting Fast” greens.
Driving distance is going to matter, but I’ll likely use it as a tie breaker or to completely cross a player off instantly. It’s not that I’m targeting bombers exclusively, average distance is fine, but the shortest hitters in the field may just have too difficult of a task being forced to hit longer irons into all of these greens. The chipping and putting would have to sustain at an elite level all four rounds for one of those guys to make a legitimate run on the leaderboard. A lot of times, it’s all about narrowing down the player pool to force yourself to make fewer decisions.
2022 PGA Championship: Picks
Dustin Johnson ($9,500)
Since the economy is beginning to resemble 1979, Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech may as well apply to Dustin Johnson. He really does appear to just be going through the motions. Maybe his focus was on last month’s wedding to Paulina or he’s just at a different point of his career following his Masters victory in 2020. But we’ve seen enough seeds of the old DJ so far this year to see it’s still in there. He just hasn’t been able to string it together for four rounds. Vintage DJ, he’s the prototype for this course: Long and straight, great in the wind, capable short game, and excellent on difficult tracks. Basically, everything that Scottie Scheffler is at the moment. The difference is, Scheffler’s the most expensive option at the PGA Championship while DJ is nestled firmly in the $9K range on DraftKings with a myriad of more popular options surrounding him. I never thought I’d call DJ “discount. Scheffler” but 2022 is a weird time to be alive. MALAISE FOREVER!!!!
Will Zalatoris ($8,900)
You can’t fade every popular player. So I’ll push my chips in on Will Z. Since 2020, Zalatoris has played in six Major Championships. He missed the cut at least year’s US Open, was forced to WD with a wrist injury after aggressively trying to hack it out of the rough at last year’s Open Championship, and finished Top 10 in the other four. The short putting is inevitably going to rear its head at the worst possible time, ask anyone who regularly has money on him. It has yet to be an issue for him at Augusta however, another course with extreme quick bentgrass greens. And his ball striking consistency generally keeps him away from blow up holes. Over the past 50 rounds, only Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland have gained more strokes combined with their driver and irons.
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 20202 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was a finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.