10 golfers who will make you money in the 2022-23 PGA Tour season
Before the new PGA Tour season starts, it’s worth reflecting on the surprising results of 2021-22. It was one of the chalkiest seasons in history, meaning that more top players (with short odds) won at a frequency that we haven’t seen in recent years. According to the RickRunGood.com golf database, more than half of the winners last season (23 of the 44 tour champions) had odds of 30-1 or shorter for their victory. And further to this point. 38.6 percent of winners had odds of 20-1 or shorter. (To put this in context, only three competitors in the 154-man field at this week’s Fortinet Championship have odds of 20-1 or lower.)
Over the previous two seasons, only 22 percent of winners were 20-1 or shorter, meaning we nearly doubled that rate last season. The average winner odds were 42-1 in the 2021-22 campaign, compared to 72-1 in 2021 and 2020.
The combination of nine different multiple winners and five successful title defenses created a “perfect storm” of chalky victors. With natural regression and an influx of talented players from the Korn Ferry Tour, it’s unlikely those conditions continue.
Here are 10 golfers who will make you money in the 2022-23 PGA Tour season.
Pendrith’s rookie season was slowed by a fractured rib that kept him out of play for four months. Despite missing a chunk of the season, he still impressed Trevor Immelman enough to earn a spot on his International Presidents Cup team.
The advanced metrics are strong in regards to Pendrith who bombs it off-the-tee—he was 10th on tour last season. Even more impressively, he gains strokes to the field at an elite clip. He gained at least two strokes to the field in 39.7 percent of his rounds last season. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, there were only 15 golfers who gained that many strokes at such a high rate last season.
Those 15 golfers accounted for 27 of the 48 available wins, including all four majors. The only two on the list who didn’t win: Tommy Fleetwood and Taylor Pendrith. I believe Pendrith adds “PGA Tour winner” to his resume this season.
Allow me to step on the rake yet again. I was incredibly bullish on Wise last season, thanks to his elite tee-to-green play and improved putting. Despite not winning last season, I could almost take my same rationale from last year and apply it here.
Wise finished the 2022 season as the 25th-best player on tour from tee-to-green and 81st in putting. That was, by far, the best putting season since 2018 and marked just the second time in the career that he actually gained strokes with the flatstick.
Combine that with his late season run that featured five top-15 finishes in his past 11 starts, and I’m ready to get hurt again!
Im will seriously contend to win a major championship soon, and you cannot convince me otherwise. There are few golfers on tour who are both elite and well-rounded, which is how to describe Sungjae Im.
He ranked sixth on tour in strokes gained/total last season, behind only Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler, i.e., five golfers who accounted for 10 wins and three majors in 2022.
Im’s worst category was SG/approach, where he finished 45th on the year. His two career wins have come at the Honda Classic and the Shriners Children’s Open, which could not be further from one another in terms of scoring difficulty. He can win in all conditions, and he can compete in all fields. He’s ready for his next breakthrough.
Remember him? The 2018 John Deere Classic winner who missed nearly every cut from 2019 to 2021 … is back! Kim has worked his way back into form and was incredibly competitive on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. He gained strokes to the field in 15 of his final 16 events, which included a seventh-place finish at the Barbasol Championship, his final event of the year.
He rattled off five more top-20 finishes and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2022-2023 season. How can you not root for this guy?
It’s unlikely he finds the winner’s circle in the new season, but he has proven upside. He should be a solid investment in most top-10 and matchup markets.
Yuan punched his ticket to the PGA Tour by winning the Korn Ferry Tour regular-season points list.
The 25-year-old is the blueprint of the modern tour player, hitting it far (seventh on tour) but not always accurately (94th). Despite some directional woes off-the-tee, Yuan can fill it up. He boasted a 4.54 birdie average last season, which ranked seventh on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Those birdies turned into results as Yuan earned nine top-10 finishes in his 22 starts, including a victory and three runner-up finishes.
With Aaron Wise’s improved putting, I’m formally upgrading Brendan Steele to the captaincy of #TeamNoPutt. The three-time PGA Tour winner was sixth in SG/off the tee and 43rd in SG/approach. And he was … 187th in putting.
Let’s dig deeper into his ball-striking prowess: From the Arnold Palmer Invitational to the end of the season, Steele gained 1.55 strokes per round in the ball-striking categories, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. That was second best on the PGA Tour, behind only RORY MCILROY! For more than half the season, Steele hit the ball like Rory McIlroy … but putted like Brendan Steele. That’s good enough to get a few investments from me.
Rahm had a historically underwhelming season in 2022. He became the 12th golfer in the ShotLink era (since 2004) to gain at least one stroke off the tee per round. The other 11 such seasons resulted in an average of 2.4 wins and a 3.9 finish on the money list. Rahm won just once—the Mexico Open in one of the weakest fields of the year as a +350 favorite—and finished 15th on the money list. Common sense tells us that Rahm is due for better “win luck” in the new season.
If Rahm does cash in a victory this season, it’ll likely be more valuable. Rahm had a run of 11 straight events with outright odds of +900 or shorter. Since that streak ended at the 2022 Players Championship, Rahm was priced in the single digits only twice in his final 12 events of the year. Oddsmakers are letting Rahm drift further down the board than we’ve seen as of late.
For the first time in his young career, Morikawa completed a PGA Tour season without a victory. Don’t feel too bad for him, he still earned eight top-10 finishes and made nearly $5 million on the course.
On the bright side, he managed those top finishes despite battling putting woes and struggling to hit his patented cut shot. As far as the latter goes, it appears he’s found that feeling again and gained 22.02 strokes on approach in his last five measured PGA Tour events.
Though the poor putting still nags him at times, he’s capable of having the hot putting week. He gained at least two strokes putting on seven different occasions last season, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. With his odds creeping into the mid-20s during the summer, this is an excellent opportunity to buy low on Morikawa before his next victory.
Jooyhyung “Tom” Kim burst onto the scene with a 23rd-place finish at the U.S. Open and a third-place finish at the Scottish Open, before parlaying that success into a victory at the Wyndham Championship. In only eight PGA Tour events since June, Kim piled up five top-25 finishes, including three top 10s.
It’s a dangerously small sample size, but Kim flashed brilliance last season. Over his final seven events, he gained a staggering 26.3 strokes on approach and only lost strokes off the tee once. He’s a ball-striking maniac who can catch fire with his putter. At only 20 years old, we are going to learn a lot about Kim this season, and we might just learn that he’s a star in the making.
On a tour where most players want a robotic, repeatable motion, Theegala is an artist. He’s a feel player who relies on raw talent over technical checkpoints. With that in mind, Theegala is going to be a volatile golfer in the upcoming season. There will be weeks he looks lost and weeks where he has everything dialed-in.
The upside is clear as Theegala gained at least nine strokes to the field in five different events last season. For comparison, two-time winner Max Homa gained that many strokes to the field in just four events last season. Theegala has been putting himself in position to break through, and it seems likely that he does it soon.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.