Golf’s second major of the year is this week in New York — the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Weather will come into play with wind, rain and colder temperatures for at least one of the four days. Deep bunkers, narrow landing areas and thick rough could make this a more difficult course than most.
With that, I’m backing all-around players. I typically like to wager on only one full tournament head-to-head matchup, but this week there are three to consider. These are 9-3-2.
Tyrrell Hatton -150 vs. Max Homa
I’m backing consistently with Hatton. He’s been the better player this year. What could be a detriment to Homa is that he’s been highly inconsistent off the tee. As mentioned, there are very narrow landing spots due to either narrow fairways, fairway bunkers or thick rough. Before placing T8 in last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, Homa had lost strokes off the tee in three straight tournaments, while losing strokes with his irons in two.
Looking at his history in stronger field events, Homa doesn’t have the success needed to possibly contend this week. Recently, he had a T43 in the Masters. Before that, he missed a cut in the Open Championship and finished 47th in the U.S. Open. There was even a stretch where Homa had five straight missed cuts in strong field tournaments.
Matthew Fitzpatrick -130 vs. Cameron Smith
Fitzpatrick may be becoming a better player now than his 2022 self. He won the RBC Heritage in April and gained strokes ball striking in three straight tournaments while gaining strokes putting in eight straight. Plus, he’s a great putter on Bentgrass greens. Smith appears to be doing well on the LIV Tour, finishing T6 or better in his last three tournaments. In the Masters, however, Smith purely relied on his short game to finish T34. Ball striking matters this week and Smith may be coming into this lacking in that area.
Brooks Koepka +115 vs. Rory McIlroy
McIlroy is a fade until further notice with two missed cuts in his last four starts and a T47 in his last tournament played, the Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy has distance but I’m putting more emphasis on precision. Losing at least three strokes with his irons in back-to-back tournaments is a concern after already being so vulnerable with his short game.
Meanwhile, Koepka looks to be back in full health. He has a win on the LIV Tour and then followed that up with a stellar performance in the Masters, finishing runner-up. BK had a bit of a meltdown in the fourth round ,shooting +3 on the day, but McIlroy hasn’t shown that he can put together four complete rounds either. Plus money is worth a grab.