ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- With the 105th PGA Championship fast approaching, the key question everyone's asking is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win this year at Oak Hill Country Club? With a tremendous field featuring the best professionals in the world, the second major of 2023 should be a thrill ride from Thursday's first round onward.
This year's PGA Championship feels wide open -- well, almost. The last two Masters champions -- Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler -- open as the clear top dogs in the field sitting at 7-1 on the odds board as co-favorites, according to Caesars Sportsbook. It's to the point that anyone other than Rahm or Scheffler emerging with the Wanamaker Trophy might actually be a surprise given the way the duo have been playing throughout the season.
Elsewhere, Tiger Woods (ankle) is out and Phil Mickelson is in after eschewing his opportunity to defend the Wanamaker last year. Rory McIlroy (12-1) sits third on the board, though Patrick Cantlay (16-1) and Brooks Koepka (18-1) seem to have much more momentum as action gets underway in Rochester.
Add it all up, and it would appear that we're in for a wild PGA Championship week full of unexpected twists and turns but also a lot of familiar names atop the leaderboard.
So what is going to happen in Rochester? Let's take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts as we attempt to project who will win -- and what will happen -- at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Join us forin the lead up to Thursday's first round as well as a and a look at the nine golfers . Plus, check out a full set of provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
2023 PGA Championship expert picks, predictions
Kyle Porter, senior golf writer
Winner -- Jon Rahm (7-1): A boring pick? Sure, but it's also the right one. Rahm is going to sweep Augusta National and Oak Hill taking his grand slam attempt to Los Angeles this summer for what is sure to be a show. After a bumpy March, Rahm lost to just 15 golfers in April (more than he lost to in January and February combined), and this course fits his game (big bomber, great hands, loads of touch) perfectly. For the first time since 2015, the same golfer will win the first two majors of the year.
Sleeper -- Cameron Young (30-1): This is stretching the idea of a "sleeper," but Young is the guy to watch outside the significant set of favorites. Possibly the best driver in the world, he has three top 10 finishes at majors in his last four starts. After walking the golf course for a few hours, it reminds me a lot of Southern Hills where Young finished just outside a playoff this time last year.
Top 10 lock -- Jason Day: I'm surprised more people aren't on Day this week. He's been playing brilliantly all year, enters coming off a win last week at the AT&T Byrons Nelson, and he is historically a tremendous major championship player. Sitting at 5/2 for a top-10 finish is simply too long for one of the five best players in the world so far in 2023.
Star who definitely won't win -- Cameron Smith: It's not that he's necessarily playing poorly, but the No. 8 golfer in the world right now is not a great fit for a golf course that's going to be incredibly demanding off the tee. Smith is a much better fit for the U.S. Open or Open Championship.
Jon Rahm vs. Scottie Scheffler: Rahm ... and let's be clear: the winner of this matchup wins the tournament.
Surprise prediction -- Jordan Spieth plays and plays well: After gathering a bit of intel on Spieth, I'm sure he's going to give it a go. It sounds like this injury has been lingering for a bit, although perhaps not as severe as it is now, and he nearly won the RBC Heritage a month ago with some version of it. He won't complete the career slam, but I believe he'll tee it up on Thursday.
Lowest round: 64 (-6)
Winning score: 273 (-7)
Winner's Sunday score: 70 (E)
Patrick McDonald, golf writer
Winner -- Patrick Cantlay (18-1): I'm not buying into the Joe LaCava hype, but I will buy into Cantlay's current form and emergence in majors. Cantlay ranks third in strokes gained total over the last three months and stands as the third-best driver of the golf ball on the PGA Tour behind only Scheffler and Viktor Hovland. He has rattled off three straight top-15 finishes in major championships and was a member of the penultimate group at the Masters. The putter has been uncharacteristically cool, but a return to bent grass and New York (where he finished T3 at the 2019 PGA Championship) may allow it to reach a boiling point.
Sleeper -- Rickie Fowler (65-1): Fowler sits 11th in total strokes gained over the last three months ahead of big names like Justin Thomas, Cameron Young, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. It has been courtesy of a well-rounded effort with the byproduct being 10 top-20 finishes in 14 starts. He will need a massive performance with the driver if he is to contend, but if that club cooperates, Fowler has major championship history and form in his corner.
Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: The world No. 2 has gained more than two strokes per round on the field in every tournament since the CJ Cup in South Carolina seven months ago. During this stretch, he has finished no worse than T12 with two handfuls of top-10 finishes in 13 starts. He ranks first in total strokes gained, first in strokes gained tee to green, second in strokes gained ball striking and second in strokes gained off the tee over the last three months. If the putter comes to his aid, he probably raises the Wanamaker Trophy. If it doesn't, he is still a sure thing to finish inside the top 10.
Star who definitely won't win -- Rory McIlroy: I actually love the optics for McIlroy this week -- honorary member at Oak Hill, his wife is from the area, the vibes around the property should be immaculate. However, there's a big mental block upstairs for the four-time major champion, and it has been present for the last nine years. Despite flying in under the radar and without the expectations of the Masters, McIlroy can't be trusted on the major stage at this point in his career.
Jon Rahm vs. Scottie Scheffler: Scheffler is less prone to throw a dud out there as outlined above. Don't get me wrong, Rahm has been fantastic this season -- he has four wins to prove it -- but his floor is slightly lower than that of the world No. 2. Before his victory at the Masters, the Spaniard went through an inauspicious stretch that included a number of poor performances, and I'm not totally convinced those are completely in the past. Give me the Texan.
Surprise prediction -- Someone over age 30 wins: It may not sound too spicy at first glance, but the last seven major champions have been under the age of 30 at the time of their victory, a record dating back to 1934. Three of the top four betting favorites have yet to turn 30 with the outlier being McIlroy. I'm willing to cross them all off the list for an old guard that includes my pick to win Cantlay among others.
Lowest round: 65 (-5)
Winning score: 274 (-6)
Winner's Sunday score: 68 (-2)
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.
Dean Straka, golf writer
Winner -- Brooks Koepka (18-1): Four years removed from a 2019 PGA Championship victory that marked his fourth major title in a span 23 months, it's clear for all to see that Koepka is healthy and confident once again after flirting with the green jacket in April. And that makes the big-hitting Koepka incredibly dangerous entering an event he's twice won. The Empire State has been quite friendly to Koepka, too. The last two times he played in a major held in New York, he won it.
Sleeper -- Wyndham Clark (70-1): The past two PGA Championships held at Oak Hill produced some rather unexpected winners, first Shaun Micheel in 2003 and then Jason Dufner in 2013. That could bode well for Clark, who is far from a household name but one who enters the PGA Championship with plenty of momentum. Clark has posted a top 10 finish in four of his last six starts, the latest a victory at the Wells Fargo Championship for his first win on the PGA Tour. He did it in style, as his winning score of 19 under at Quail Hollow Club was the second-lowest in the event's 20-year history. With the clip Clark has played at over the past two months, it could carry over into a strong showing this week.
Top 10 lock -- Xander Schauffele: Still seeking his first major title, Schauffele heads to the PGA Championship posting top 10 finishes in each of his past three starts, most recently finishing as the runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship. Of his last 16 majors entered, Schauffele has seven top 10 finishes to show. Since missing the cut at the 2022 Masters, Schauffele has posted a top 15 finish in each of the past four majors held, including a tie for 10th this year at Augusta National. Combine that trend with his play in 2023 alone, and Schauffele looks certain to be in the mix at Oak Hill.
Star who definitely won't win -- Jordan Spieth: A recent wrist injury makes it feel unlikely that Spieth will be completing the career grand slam this weekend. The ailment was enough to force Spieth out of his hometown event last week and cast doubt about his status for the PGA Championship before the world No. 10 ranked golfer was officially listed in the field. Spieth missed the cut during his most recent start at the Wells Fargo Championship, and it's unclear if his wrist impacted that performance. If Spieth proves me wrong and finds a way to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday at less than full strength, all the more credit to him.
Jon Rahm vs. Scottie Scheffler: Rahm is playing at a clip where he'll secure a top-15 finish, but he won't be joining the exclusive list of names to win consecutive majors -- at least not just yet. The PGA Championship hasn't been the friendliest to Rahm. A tie for 48th last year at Southern Hills marked the third time in six total appearances that Rahm placed outside the top 45, and he missed the cut in 2019 at Bethpage Black. As for Scheffler, he'll finish in the top 25, but inconsistent play with his putter at the AT&T Byron Nelson doesn't bode well for his chances of a second major title.
Surprise prediction -- Jason Day contends on Sunday: Day hasn't finished better than tied for 38th at major since a top-five finish at the 2020 PGA Championship. But after following him for four straight days at the AT&T Byron Nelson, it's clear his first professional win since 2018 was no fluke. Sure, TPC Craig Ranch is an infinitely more forgiving course than Oak Hill, but Day's newfound confidence and patience cannot be overlooked. Day's lone major title to date came at the 2015 PGA Championship, and he owns six top 10 finishes at the event. One of those came the last time it was held in Rochester a decade ago.
Lowest round: 64 (-6)
Winning score: 269 (-11)
Winner's Sunday score: 68 (-2)
Adam Silverstein, director of editorial
Winner -- Scottie Scheffler (7-1): Not normally a fan of taking favorites entering a major, it's extremely tough to get away from Scheffler and Rahm given their extremely high levels of play entering the year's second behemoth event. But how's this for a stat: Scheffler has played 13 golf events since October and finished among the top 12 in all of them. Let me repeat that: He has 13 straight top-12 finishes over the last seven months. I feel like I should say it a third time, but you probably get the point. Scheffler, No. 2 in the world, has been playing insane golf for the last two years, and I see 2023 unfolding with he and Rahm jockeying for position from one major to the next. The idea of Rahm actually making a run at a legitimate grand slam is enticing, but there's a reason it's extremely rare for golfers to win the first two majors in a season: It's extremely difficult.
Sleeper -- Jordan Spieth (40-1): Spieth's odds continue to get longer and longer as the week progresses; this despite him clearly taking last week off to rehab a nagging wrist injury that he's been trying to overcome across multiple tournaments. But if I told you there was a golfer entering a major complaining about a nagging injury who nevertheless had a legitimate chance to win, I bet only two names would pop into your head: Spieth and Day. The latter, this time around, is healthy and sitting 28-1. Spieth enters with longer odds than he faced even when playing in majors during his extreme rough patch a couple years ago. I have no problem throwing some beer-and-pizza money on Jordan as a flier. It's extremely rare to get a golfer this talented at a price like this.
Top 10 lock -- Jon Rahm: Well, if I'm not taking the Spaniard to win, I'm sure as hell leaning toward him as a top-10 lock. In the same span that Scheffler has yet to finish outside the top 12, Rahm has four victories and a pair of top-three finishes. He's absolutely smashing the ball, and getting to watch him up close at Augusta National made it clear that the game feels second nature to him right now.
Star who definitely won't win -- Xander Schauffele: This tournament is not in Missouri, but the game is nevertheless a show-me sport. And the only thing Schauffele has shown is that he does not win majors. Yes, he has four straight top-15 finishes at majors and 10 career top 10s at these events since 2017 ... but he just cannot convert. And I don't mind being proven wrong either because that will mean Schauffele will have reached his potential. It's just, at this point, I'm in believe-it-when-I-see-it mode.
Jon Rahm vs. Scottie Scheffler: Here's where I agree with Kyle: The winner of this matchup is going to win the Wanamaker Trophy. Scheffler is far from the most exciting golfer in the field, but his consistency this year is unmatched on the PGA Tour, and it will give him the edge over Rahm in the head-to-head battle.
Surprise prediction -- Rickie Fowler at least enters Sunday in the top 10: It's one thing for Fowler to be playing well on regular Tour stops and quite another to put together four strong rounds against a field like the one ready to compete at Oak Hill. It's in Rochester that I believe Fowler will put a stamp on his comeback run by making a statement against the game's best all in one tournament. He will need to be proficient with the driver across all 72 holes, but if he is able to keep his head about him, he may finish in the same spot once the tournament concludes.
Lowest round: 63 (-7)
Winning score: 268 (-12)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-1)