This week marks the second major tournament of the PGA Tour season. The 2022 PGA Championship begins on Thursday for the first round action at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Last month at the first major of the year at the Masters, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler took home the Green Jacket. Although the reigning PGA Champion Phil Mickelson will not be playing, one the game’s best players Tiger Woods headlines the tournament field looking to get another major victory closer to Jack Nicklaus and the elusive 83rd PGA Tour win.
Here are the 10 players who can win the 2022 PGA Championship and take home the Wanamaker trophy.
10. Xander Schauffele
Despite missing the cut at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National last month, Xander Schauffele has found something in the last few weeks.
Although he started last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson with a first round, even par 72, he gutted his way to barely making the cut on Friday at 5-under by making eight birdies in a 10-hole span. That momentum carried into the weekend as he was the leader at one point on Sunday and recorded a top-five finish after being as low as 107th earlier in the tournament.
All the momentum last week, on top winning the Zurich Open with Patrick Cantlay a few weeks ago, gives Schauffele belief that he can win his first major, especially by playing bogey-free in his final two rounds and knocking down clutch birdies to put himself in contention last week.
9. Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith enters the second major of the year already with two wins under his belt with a victory at the Players Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions. At the Masters last month, he came up just short, tying for third as Smith has recorded five top-10 finishes this season.
With these top finishes, Smith is fourth in the Official World Golf Rankings and third in the FedEx Cup Standings.
One of the biggest parts to this week’s tournament are the shots around the green and Smith is fourth this season in strokes gained by putting.
8. Tiger Woods
Every time Tiger Woods has entered his name into a golf tournament after his 2020 Zozo Championship win, he’s looking to achieve something no other player has in the history of the game.
Woods is currently tied with Sam Snead at 82 PGA Tour wins and is three major victories away from tying Jack Nicklaus.
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One thing that has improved since the Masters for Woods is his strength. In his first tournament since his car accident last year, the 46-year-old made the cut and finished in 47th place and the fatigue wore on as the tournament progressed at Augusta.
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger since the Masters. We went back to work on Tuesday (after the Masters). Monday was awful. I did nothing and Tuesday was leg day. So, we went right back after it.Tiger Woods leading up to the 2022 PGA Championship
Now a month later and with more strength, Woods is looking to reconcile what he accomplished 15 years ago when he took home the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and win for the fifth time at this event — tying the all-time mark in the process.
7. Jordan Spieth
Like Schauffele, Jordan Spieth had a successful tournament at the AT&T Byron Nelson. In his home state, Spieth was the runner-up at 25-under — highlighted by an 8-under third round 64.
For the scores Spieth and Schauffele had, the ability to score low and place at or near the top heading into the second major of the season is a big momentum boost as Spieth looks to become the next member of the career Grand Slam.
Furthermore, Spieth is also coming off a win at the RBC Heritage. So, in the last two weeks, entering the PGA Championship, Spieth has a win and a runner-up finish.
6. Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa enters this week’s PGA Championship with ample time to prepare. Not playing since the team-event Zurich Open, three weeks ago, Morikawa is ensuring he can get back to the winner’s circle at a major tournament.
Morikawa is looking for his second PGA Championship victory and his third major victory after winning the Open Championship last year.
The 25-year-old is coming off a top-five finish at Augusta for the Masters last month.
5. Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas was another recipient of scoring high and placing near the top last week from the AT&T Byron Nelson. Thomas tied with Schauffele at 23-under par. Like Spieth, Thomas also recorded an 8-under 64 in the third round, which was the second lowest score that day.
Thomas enters this week’s PGA Championship with three top-10 finishes in his last five events, including a tie for eighth at the Masters.
4. Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy, 33, is looking to get another PGA Championship victory after getting a win in 2012 and another during in 2014 and fifth overall major victory.
McIlroy already has a win this season, which came during the fall in Las Vegas at The CJ Cup @ Summit in a one-shot victory over Morikawa.
The Northern Ireland native is also looking to get back to the top for a major tournament since his 2014 PGA Championship win at Valhalla Golf Club, who will host this event in two years.
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3. Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay enters this week not having in a few weeks since winning with Schauffele at the Zurich Classic and a runner up finish at the RBC Heritage where he lost in a playoff to Spieth.
Once the calendar flipped to 2022, the 2021 FedEx Cup Champion started the year off with four consecutive top-10 finishes, highlighted by a second-place finish at the WM Phoenix Open.
2. John Rahm
Since the Masters, John Rahm has played in just one event, which was a win at the Mexico Open to kick off the month of May.
One of the keys to Rahm success this season has been his driving. Rahm is first in strokes gained off the tee and first in strokes gained from tee to green. Rahm is third in total strokes gain.
Rahm ranks fifth on the PGA Tour this season in driving distance and is first in greens in regulation percentage. Being able to hit fairways and greens will be the challenge this week as winds are expected to reach at or above 30 miles per hour.
1. Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler enters this week at Southern Hills as one of the top favorites in the field. After four victories in a six-event span, highlighted by winning a green jacket at Augusta, Scheffler has two top-20 finishes since, including a top-15 place last week at Byron Nelson, shooting 19-under.
This will be Scheffler’s third PGA Championship start and has finished in the top-10 both times – a tied for eighth place last year and tied for fourth in 2020 while being in the final pairing.