History and so much more will be on the line for players at the 2023 PGA Championship this week at Oak Hill Country Club. From attempting to break through for major No. 1 to trying to break the seal of career grand slam winners, those in the field will try their hand at etching their name into golf immortality.
While a three-horse race atop the golf world entered the Masters, the frontrunners have since been whittled down to two: Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler. The last two Masters champions look to add a Wanamaker Trophy to their hardware collection, and in the process, inch one step closer to their own career grand slam aspirations.
Jordan Spieth has been just a PGA Championship away from joining the short list of career grand slam winners ever since his last major victory at the 2017 Open. Arriving with some question marks surrounding his health, Spieth has eyes on accomplishing what Rory McIlroy has been unable to over the past nine years.
Speaking of McIlroy, perhaps a return to Rochester will do the world No. 3 some good. A honorary member at Oak Hill who has found comfort in the area from which his wife hails, McIlroy could be primed to snap a nine-year major drought in what would certainly feel like his first.
Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Max Homa headline the best players without a major championship, while Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka have won four of the last six PGA Championships between them. Phil Mickelson makes his first start at the PGA Championship since his historic victory at Kiawah Island in 2021 as other LIV Golf members such as Dustin Johnson aim for their own slice of history.
Below is an all-inclusive rooting guide for the 2023 PGA Championship. Here's a look at the nine golfers who stand out the most along their odds to win, provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
|Five. That is the number of players who have successfully claimed the career grand slam in men's golf. On paper, this would appear to be Spieth's best chance to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as he arrives sixth in total strokes gained over the last three months. The left wrist injury came out of the blue, and it has dampened expectations. But let's remember: This is Spieth. The unexpected should be expected. He finished second to Jason Day in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits during his career year, but he also finished T3 at Bethpage Black in 2019 when he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat. Odds: 28-1|
|Six. That is the number of players to win the first two major championships of the year in the Masters era. With a win, he would become the first man since Spieth in 2015 to do so while joining a list that includes Woods, Nicklaus, Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Craig Wood. Not only would a victory add him to this small group, but it would make the final major championship of the year, The Open, that much more important as he would have three legs of the grand slam. Odds: 7-1|
|Three. That is the number of close calls D.J. has endured in the PGA Championship. Major championship heartbreak is nothing new for the two-time major winner, but the PGA has been especially cruel to him. Grounding his club in a fairway bunker in 2010 and carding a two-stroke penalty to drop him out of a playoff at Whistling Straits, Johnson has since finished runner-up at Bethpage Black in 2019 and in a share of second at TPC Harding Park in 2020. Like Rahm, a win at the PGA would intensify storylines heading into The Open. Odds: 20-1|
|Eight. That is the number of players to have successfully defended the PGA Championship. This crop includes Sarazen, Walter Hagen and more recently Woods (twice) and Brooks Koepka. A win would be Thomas' third in this championship and his third major title overall, which would pull him even with his good friend Spieth. It has been a rocky year since raising the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills in unlikely fashion, but there's just something about this championship that brings the best out of the 30-year-old. Odds: 20-1|
|Two. That is the number of active players who would have more major victories than Koepka should he win at Oak Hill. Those two names would be Woods and Mickelson (pretty good!). Koepka would surely have the inside track to pass Lefty by the time it is all said and done, too. With his runner-up finish at the Masters, he now has eight finishes of first or second in major championships, but his Sunday struggles may be something to keep an eye on. Since the 2020 PGA Championship, the four-time major champion has fired final rounds of 74-74-75 when in contention. Odds: 18-1|
|Two. That is the number of players over the last decade whose first career win came in the form of a major. Matt Fitzpatrick accomplished such last year at the U.S. Open at the Country Club while Danny Willett did so at the 2016 Masters. The last instance of it occurring at the PGA Championship came from Martin Kaymer in 2010, and Young looks keen to end such a drought. The reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has all the storylines in his favor. His father was formerly the head professional at Sleepy Hollow. He hails from New York (not the Bronx), and he's playing some of the best golf in the world. Odds: 25-1|
|Three. That is the number of strokes Scheffler is gaining on the field per round over the last three months. No, not Rahm, but Scheffler who has been at his best during this stretch. He is ball-striking the cover off the golf ball, and should his short game cooperate, major No. 2 should be his. He missed the cut at Southern Hills with a poor end to his second round but before that had notched finishes of T4 and T8 in his lone PGA Championship appearances. He would join Woods, Nicklaus, Kaymer, Cameron Smith and Hal Sutton as men to win the Players Championship and a major in the same year. Odds: 7-1|
|Seven. That is the number of consecutive major champions who have been under age 30. With a win, Finau would break this streak as he checks in at 33 years old and is just now entering his prime. Since breaking his five-year winless drought, he has claimed six victories in his last 42 starts ,including two outings ago at the Mexico Open. While the trophies have begun to pile up, the major acumen has taken a hit. In his first 20 such appearances, he collected 10 top-10 finishes but has zero in his last seven. Odds: 25-1|
|One. That is the number of men from South Korea to win a major championship. Y.E. Yang's shocking win over Woods at Hazeltine in 2009 still remains the only instance, but Im may have something to say about that. After missing last year's championship due to COVID-19, the 25-year-old will arrive at Oak Hill playing as good of golf as anyone. He has rattled off seven straight top-21 finishes and experienced major championship nerves when factoring in his close calls at the Masters. Odds: 35-1|
Who will win the PGA Championship, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine to see the projected PGA Championship leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed nine golf majors, including this year's Masters.