Before players hit a shot, there was already drama surrounding the PGA Championship. Phil Mickelson backed out of the tournament, meaning the 51-year-old wouldn’t defend the improbable title he won in 2021. It also meant his longtime rival, Tiger Woods, had free range to comment on Mickelson.

Mickelson backed out of the PGA because of the fervor stirred up by his comments in support of a Saudi-backed golf league that kicks off in June. He was also critical of the PGA Tour. Woods told reporters in Tulsa he wasn’t thrilled with his rival’s stance.

“Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the tour, and committed to the legacy of the tour, have pushed back against,” Woods said. “He has taken some personal time and we all understand that. But I think that some of his views on how the tour could be run, should be run, been a lot of disagreement there.”

Woods, of course, is trying to win his 17th major title as he comes back from a devastating car crash in 2021. But that’s far from the only storyline. Here’s a look at who’s favored and what to expect at the PGA Championship.

 

When and Where is the PGA Championship?

The tournament runs from May 19 to May 22 at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Southern Hills is long, at 7,365 yards. And it’s just a par 70, meaning players will have to stretch out and be accurate with their long irons if they’re going to have a shot. Hitting it long and in the fairway worked for Woods, who won the last PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 2007.

 

When is the PGA Championship on TV?

Thursday, May 19,  2 p.m. EDT to 8 p.m., ESPN (Channel 206)

Friday, May 20, 2 p.m. EDT to 8 p.m., ESPN (Channel 206)

Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ESPN (Channel 206)

Saturday, May 21, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network (Channel 221)

Sunday, May 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ESPN (Channel 206)

Sunday, May 22, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., CBS (Channel 221)

You can also keep up with much of the PGA action on the Golf Channel. 

 

Who Are the PGA Championship Favorites?

The top odds, according to BetMGM, go to Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm. A $100 bet on either golfer would pay $1,200 if they win. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas are close behind at $1,600 payouts. And Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth bets would pay $2,000 if they win the tournament.

Scheffler is a natural favorite, if a new one. At 25 years old, he hasn’t sat atop the golf world for long. But after a win at the Masters in April, Scheffler is drawing plenty of attention. He hits the ball straight and he makes putts; that combination will win a lot of tournaments.

Rahm won the Mexico Open and finished second in a pair of tournaments in early 2022. He’s the second-ranked golfer in the world and deserves a top betting line.

If you’re looking to separate reality from wishful thinking, McIlroy might be the guy to be wary of in the odds. Sure, he shot a scintillating 64 in the final round at the Masters to take second place; he still finished three shots behind Scheffler. He hasn’t won this year, though he’s been in the top 10 at a few tournaments. Here’s the thing: He hasn’t won a major since 2014. What’s to say his recent move up the golf rankings is for real?

 

What Do the Golf Power Rankings Say?

The top five of the PGA Tour’s power rankings mirror the betting favorites; the interesting part is the next five guys. 

Hideki Matsuyama has won twice this year; he’s ninth in the power rankings. 

And here’s someone you probably haven’t heard of: Matt Fitzpatrick is eighth in the power rankings. The 27-year-old British golfer is a miracle worker when it comes to digging out pars, a trait that comes in handy in the majors.

 

Who Are Some Dark Horses to Keep an Eye On?

He’s not a betting favorite. He’s not on top of the power rankings. And still, it’s a bit of a stretch to call Cameron Smith a dark horse. He’s the fourth-ranked golfer in the world. He leads the PGA Tour in birdies. 

What’s not to like about Smith’s chances? His driving. He ranks 116th in distance and 150th in accuracy. You might get away with some errant tee shots at the Phoenix Open, but majors notoriously punish golfers who miss the fairway. He hasn’t done much since he finished third at the Masters, but Smith won the Players Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this year; he shouldn’t be counted out.

Alright, how about a real longshot: 35-year-old Keegan Bradley. A $100 bet on Bradley will pay $10,000 if he wins. That’s pretty rough for a guy who won the PGA Championship in 2011. 

But there’s plenty to like about Bradley’s game: He doesn’t make mistakes with his driver and long irons. Moreover, he’s coming in hot. He finished fifth at the Players, eighth at the Valero Texas Open, fourth in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and second at the Wells Fargo Championship. Not a bad two months of work leading into a major. 

 

What’s the Hot Nonsense?

Entertainingly, the big news leading into the tournament was about the price of drinks. A Michelob Ultra costs $18; a cocktail is $15; even a bottle of water is $6. The absurd pricing even got the attention of Justin Thomas, who tweeted in support of fans after news broke about the sky-high prices.

“$18(!!!!!!) for a beer… uhhhh what. Gotta treat the fans better than that!” Thomas tweeted.

 

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