Reaching for the stars

PGA Championship 2023: Here's what an astrologer told us about who might win at Oak Hill


Sarayut Tanerus

May 20, 2023

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you're reading this, there's a good chance you know a lot about Rory McIlroy. But did you know that Uranus in Taurus is transiting over his natal Venus in Taurus, which is a wild card and can change things suddenly, which either indicates a sudden windfall (potentially financial) or else a sudden loss from something that seemed like a sure win?

That's just one of the astrological nuggets I took from Marilyn Hammer, an astrologer and "astrological creatrix." We jumped on a Zoom call Friday operating under a tricky premise: I didn't understand anything about astrology, and she didn't understand anything about golf. The goal was to meet halfway. I wanted to understand what the planets might say about the PGA Championship and the top contenders, and she kindly brought her expertise of more than a decade studying astrology in an effort to translate the bigger picture and apply it a group of men playing a game near her hometown of Buffalo, N.Y.

The seed of the idea was a bit blurry on my end. I have a few friends who practice or follow astrology, and the concept of using it to predict a golf outcome just sort of popped into my head early in the week. In an email to Hammer, through her company website Outer Space Witch Astrology, I led with the admission that this might be a very stupid idea. But to my pleasant surprise, she was interested in discussing "how planetary transits impact the energetic atmosphere for sports competitions, individual golfers and what the current astrological landscape is for us collectively."

Luckily for me, she was extremely patient in the many cases when I needed her to re-explain some concept like Mars moving into Leo, and what that might say about whether Scottie Scheffler can win his second major.

What are the basics of where we are right now astrologically, and how might it change as we head into the weekend?

When I think of astrology, it's like the atmosphere. So, in the atmosphere right now we have a lot of Taurus energy. Taurus is a fixed earth sign that's ruled by Venus. So, Taurus is a very hard worker, but Taurus does things at its own pace. It's like a slower, methodical, consistent energy. But because we're in a new moon right now—when the sun and the moon are next to each other—this is a time where it's like a gestating seed. So, people may not seem so overtly energetic. Their main focus is like what I can see, touch, taste, and feel ... our basic, simple physical needs. Also right now, we work in a mercury retrograde, and the way I like to describe it is when we're driving in reverse, even if we know the directions, we're more apt to make mistakes.

But overall, where we are is not overtly flashy or exciting.

But things are changing on Saturday, aren't they?

Right now, we have Mars in the very last degree of Cancer. Cancer is a water sign. You think of a crab that doesn't move directly, it sidesteps things. It's protected behind a shell. It's a more passive-aggressive energy. On Saturday afternoon, before the final round on Sunday, Mars is moving into Leo, which is a fixed fire sign. Leo's about being in the spotlight, taking direct action, you know, roaring. So, the space between Cancer and Leo is like when we grow claws and teeth basically.

Looking at the players' charts and just atmospherically, we're going from this more passive-aggressive, lunar-based energy, which affects how we take action, into a fire sign and how we take action.

And this is all based literally on where the planets are in space?

Yes. For example, Pluto entering into Aquarius is a major shift for us collectively. Aquarius energy is about rewriting tradition; it's when things are revolutionary and more destructive. And because we're in this Pluto, we see lots of rules changing, and we're embracing change, but other people are fighting against the way things are changing. And Plutonian energy, as it makes this aspect to Jupiter, really brings up things from our past or the dark things we've had to go through to get where we are. … It’s like if your faith is tested to not allow things that have happened to make you disbelieve in the possibility of something better. You have to believe that those things happen for a reason.

Let's talk about a few of the big players this weekend, some who are in contention and others who aren't. (For these analyses, Marilyn looked up their birth dates.)


David Cannon

Of the ones you sent me, Dustin Johnson, stuck out. His sun and Venus are in the early degrees of Cancer. Jupiter is two signs away from that, and Taurus, that's very positive. So when I looked that up, I was like, “oh, he might definitely come into some good luck.”

Phil Mickelson has his Venus right here at zero degrees of Leo, so Mars will be transiting over his Venus, and Venus is our money. So on Sunday, that planet of Mars is giving action to his Venus.

And then Justin Thomas has his Mars at the very beginning of Leo. So he's going through his Mars return, so he might get the sudden burst of energy. And his birth chart was actually online … and his Mars is in his 10th house, which is where you are in the spotlight. This is like your career house, out in the public ... so looking at that, Justin Thomas looks like he has a favor on his side.

What can we say about World No. 1 Jon Rahm?

Rahm is currently going through his Saturn return in Pisces. Saturn is the planet of structure and security, and Saturn's return is a time of reckoning when our efforts thus far in life are essentially judged by Saturn and we are rewarded or reprimanded. Jupiter is transiting in Taurus two signs away from Saturn—this is called a sextile, and the energy is working in harmony.

Saturn wants to create things that last. Jupiter represents expansion and happiness, so this could indicate a time in Jon's life when, through his hard work and effort, he could reach a victory of lasting happiness. Jupiter in Taurus is opposite Jon’s natal Venus in Scorpio, indicating support to his finances and support towards what he is investing his heart into.

Scottie Scheffler is tied for the lead. What do we know about him?


Kevin C. Cox

He has his Sun in Cancer ... support from Saturn and Jupiter to your Sun brings optimism and invigorates your sense of self with confidence. Jupiter in Taurus wants to expand your value, as Saturn wants to create a stable foundation to continue building.

Rory McIlroy?

Uranus in Taurus is transiting over his natal Venus in Taurus. Uranus is a wild card and changes things suddenly, which could indicate a sudden windfall of money or a sudden loss from something you felt was a sure win.

What can we learn from astrology about the LIV Golf schism?

The more I read into it, it's definitely connected to the Uranus in Taurus energy, which Uranus first entered in 2018. Uranus desires liberation and will eject from the confinement of rules to march to the beat of its own drum. Uranus is cold and cut off emotionally; it is described as emotional castration, because in the mythology Saturn castrated him, so the conflict of morality of the Saudi-backed funding and human rights violations fits in this theme as well. … There's an extreme shadow side of this energy; it is geared towards creating the new without regard if it is humane or not, with a complete absence of empathy for those who may be suffering. All through 2021 we were in this aspect collectively; Uranus in Taurus was making a square to Saturn in Aquarius. A square aspect creates a challenge: Do I stick with what is familiar and traditional, or do I cut away for the promise of something new and better?

As far as the players' individual choice to lean towards Uranian energy and cut away to go towards this new structure, they may get more financial gain, but there is no guarantee it will last. Uranian energy is not lasting … and once you have destroyed your structure with your previous sense of security, and your new backing doesn't stand the test of time, you risk losing everything.

I really appreciate all this. I think I'm mostly following, even though I'm starting from scratch. I know you're starting from scratch too on golf … as a last question, what are your thoughts on learning a little about this crazy game as we've talked?

Well, I was in my Lyft today, I was talking to the driver and I was just asking him about golf, and I didn't realize how much golf is really about the way you hit the ball. It's kind of like a game of billiards, or similar to pitching in baseball. And both of those things I consider to be an analogy for astrology. With billiards, it's not just about the cue ball, it's not just about the sun, it's about all the other planets, how they aspect one another and how it changes the difficulty of each shot. With golf it's about how everything rotates and spins, that's what determines the game. That's how I feel about astrology too, and I find it so fascinating to be able to correlate life events with what's happening in the cosmos. And I find it to be something very spiritual.