2023 PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying Tournament-Final Stage

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PGA Championship 2022: The top 100 golfers competing at Southern Hills, ranked

May 15, 2022

You might still be coming down from the Masters, but the major championship schedule allows for no such thing. The PGA Championship is upon us, with the strongest major field of the year set to take on the newly renovated Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. To get you ready for the year’s second men’s major, Golf Digest has ranked the top 100 players in the field. Use the list for gambling, DFS, pools or simply to be a more informed viewer. Happy reading, and happy watching.

100: Ryan Fox

Age: 35 World Ranking: 90 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-27, 2018
Long-hitting Kiwi has played some excellent golf on the DP World Tour recently—he's got top 10s in four of his last five starts, including at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February. Played in three straight PGA from 2017-19 and made the cut in two.

99: Takumi Kanaya

Age: 23 World Ranking: 63 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: MC, 2021
Former World No. 1 amateur has had quick success in his native Japan to rocket up the World Ranking—but changes are coming to the OWGR system, and it’s unlikely he’d be this high under the new algorithm. Has played in four stroke-play events on the PGA Tour this season and missed the cut in all four.

98: Russell Knox

Age: 36 World Ranking: 186 PGA Championship appearances: 6
Best PGA Championship finish:
T-22, 2016
Got into the field late when Paul Casey withdrew with a lingering back injury. The Scot semi contended for a dream home win—he’s lived in the Jacksonville area for years and went to Jacksonville Statw—at the Players en route to a T-6, his best finish of the season.

97: Bio Kim

Age: 31 World Ranking: 115 PGA Championship starts: First
The name may sound familiar–he’s the South Korean golfer who was initially suspended three years for flipping the bird at a KPGA Tour event. It was later reduced to one year, and he’s back and playing some of the best golf of his life with four top-five finishes including a victory in his last five Asian Tour events.

96: Carlos Ortiz

Age: 31 World Ranking: 98 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-55, 2021
Cracked the top 50 in the world after a solo second on home Mexican soil last fall at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba but has been falling rapidly. Last five starts have yielded four missed cuts and a T-51.

95: Francesco Molinari

Age: 39 World Ranking: 190 PGA Championship starts: 11
Best PGA Championship finish: T-2, 2017
That magical 2018 run seems an increasingly distant memory as he’s now dropped outside the top 200 in the World Ranking. He’s never been the most gifted player, and in order to sustain that level of play he needed to have virtually every aspect of his game in perfect shape. These days, his ball-striking lacks any sort of consistency—165th in strokes gained/off the tee, 175th in strokes gained/approach—and had missed three straight cuts before sneaking by on the number at the AT&T Byron Nelson. How the mighty have fallen.

94: Patton Kizzire

Age: 36 World Ranking: 129 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-49, 2016
Just a single top-10 on the season but already has $781,000 in earnings. Good work, if you can get it. Not particularly long given his 6’5” frame and actually ranks outside the top 100 in strokes gained/off the tee. Has missed the cut in 10 of his 13 career major starts.

93: Garrick Higgo

Age: 22 World Ranking: 105 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-64, 2021
His victory at last summer’s Palmetto Championship—which came on a sponsor’s invite and gave him full PGA Tour status—was his seventh worldwide win in a 25-month stretch. He has since hit a wall, missing the cut in each of his past five starts on his own ball. Has serious work to do if he’s going to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, and his Presidents Cup hopes are waning.

92: Matt Jones

Age: 42 World Ranking: 74 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-21, 2015
Set a PGA Tour record by shooting 23 under par over the weekend at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and was runner up to J.J. Spaun at the Valero Texas Open the week prior to the Masters. Zero top-20s in 20 career major starts. Per Wikipedia, the fourth most famous person named Matt Jones.

91: Bubba Watson

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Mike Lawrie

Age: 43 World Ranking: 73 PGA Championship starts: 15
Best PGA Championship finish: 2, 2010
Did not play a single event in the fall and doesn’t have a top-10 on the PGA Tour this season, which explains how he’s 154th in the FedEx Cup standings. There’s simply not much to go off here, though one stat in particular is concerning: He’s averaging 292 yards off the tee, which would be way down from the 310-ish average he’s been at for the past decade or so. Missed the cut at the 2007 PGA at Southern Hills and hasn’t finished better than 60th in a PGA since 2015.

90: Laurie Canter

Age: 32 World Ranking: 111 PGA Championship starts: First
Sweet-swinging Brit qualified for the DP World Tour four separate times through Q school but has only begun to find his footing in the last year or so. Finished runner-up to Billy Horschel at last year’s BMW Championship at Wentworth and tied for third at the Catalunya Championship earlier this month. Now gets his first taste of major championship golf in the United States and his first major start since 2017.

89: Bernd Wiesberger

Age: 36 World Ranking: 87 PGA Championship starts: 8
Best PGA Championship finish: T-15, 2014
That he made last year’s European Ryder Cup team speaks to the discrepancy in talent assembled at Whistling Straits—and that’s no disrespect to the Austrian, who has had a very good career in Europe. His game, though, simply has not held up against top-level competition on big American courses. Missed the cut in six of his eight PGA Championship appearances but did play in the final pairing on Sunday in 2014 at Valhalla.

88: Harry Higgs

Age: 30 World Ranking: 157 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2021
Tied for fourth last year at Kiawah to get a spot in the Masters, and a T-14 finish there in April saw him only narrowly miss clinching a return visit to Augusta in 2023. Those are the only two majors he’s ever played in, so he’s clearly comfortable on the biggest stages. But, and it’s a sizable but, he’s missed the cut in each of his four starts since.

87: Justin Harding

Age: 36 World Ranking: 106 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-54, 2019
The South African showed his face in some big events back in 2019, when he snuck into the top 50 of the World Ranking, and he’s playing his best golf since then at the moment. Has been T-16 or better in each of his last three starts and has three top-10s on the DP World Tour in 2022. Has had some moderate success in majors, with a T-12 at the 2019 Masters and a T-19 at last year’s Open Championship.

86: Matthew Wolff

Age: 23 World Ranking: 59 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2020
Skipped last year’s PGA as he prioritized his mental health. Has returned with happiness as his No. 1 goal and said at the Wells Fargo that he wasn’t there to win a tournament, but to enjoy himself. Had a nice fall season but has hit a wall in the front half of 2022. Finished T-4 in his first and only PGA Championship appearance at TPC Harding Park. He’s sixth in driving distance this year but 138th in strokes gained/off the tee, which says quite a bit about how wide he can hit it at times. Spent two years at Oklahoma State and hung there during his hiatus last year, so this is a semi home-game.

85: Thomas Pieters

Age: 30 World Ranking: 34 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-6, 2018
Won late last year on the DP World Tour and added another in January, against a strong field in Abu Dhabi, to rocket up the World Ranking. Has spoken candidly about how much he didn’t enjoy playing in the U.S. early in his career but did play five events stateside leading up to the Masters, where he missed the cut. As aesthetically pleasing a swing as you’ll see and he’s immensely talented, but talent alone does not cut it at this level, and he still battles inconsistency and his emotions.

84: Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Age: 27 World Ranking: 67 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-30, 2021
The South African is playing his first season as a PGA Tour member, and it hasn’t been the most polite awakening. He’s one of the shorter hitters in the top 100 of the World Ranking and while he’s made the cut in 12 of 14 starts, he has not shown the firepower necessary to challenge for trophies and does not have a top-10 finish. He fares best on difficult layouts that reward fairway-finders. Seems perpetually stuck in the T-20 to T-40 range.

83: Lucas Herbert

Age: 26 World Ranking: 46 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-71, 2021
Aussie is playing his first season as a PGA Tour member and won his third event of the season to immediately guarantee job security. On the flip side, he’s missed more cuts (seven) than he’s made (five) and has great putting stats (fourth in strokes gained) but terrible ball-striking numbers (201st in SG/off the tee and 207th in SG approach). You don’t want to be relying on a hot putter in major championships, and he hasn’t had any success in them. He’s in the Presidents Cup picture, so a ton of motivation to close the year strong.

82: Lee Westwood

Age: 49 World Ranking: 71 PGA Championship starts: 22
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 2009
Former World No. 1 has been perhaps the most vocal pro-LIV Golf force on tour and seems destined to leave behind the PGA Tour—and perhaps a Ryder Cup captaincy—to collect a huge-money paycheck from Greg Norman and Co. He’s missed the cut in four of his last five stroke-play events and missed the weekend by seven shots at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. Would be PGA Tour Champions-eligible at this time next year, but who knows if he’ll be permitted to play given his LIV dalliance.

81: Richard Bland

Age: 49 World Ranking: 58 PGA Championship starts: First
The ultra-rare 49-year-old who is making his debut at the PGA Championship and is not a teaching professional. Longtime journeyman has found form in the last year, winning for the first time on the DP World Tour last summer and posting nine top-10 finishes on the Old World Circuit since. The tour honored him at the British Masters for making his 500th start, only for him to confirm he had applied for a release to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational event outside London. Talk about awkward.

80: Rickie Fowler

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Jamie Squire

Age: 33 World Ranking: 146 PGA Championship starts: 12
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 2014
He pump-faked us with a T-8 at last year’s PGA Championship and a T-3 against a stacked field at the CJ Cup last fall—we thought each of those finishes would be a harbinger of better play to come. It hasn’t materialized. He’s now been slumping for two-plus years and continues to tumble down the World Ranking. Equally concerning as the swing issues are his newfound struggles with the putter (161st in strokes gained). Continues to say all the right things about being committed to the process and believing he can be better than the perennial top-10 player he was, but there has been little evidence to suggest he’s anywhere close.

79: Lanto Griffin

Age: 33 World Ranking: 99 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-19, 2020
Came into the AT&T Byron Nelson off two straight top-15 finishes and quietly has four top-10 finishes on the wraparound season. Late bloomer has firmly established himself on the PGA Tour but has yet to show an ability to contend in top-tier events on demanding golf courses.

78: Sam Horsfield

Age: 25 World Ranking: 64 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-49, 2021
Manchester born, Florida raised, he plays under the English flag but speaks like an American. Has found success in Europe over the past couple years, winning twice in the immediate post-COVID events and adding a third last week in just his second start back after a back injury. Now will fly from Belgium to Oklahoma and try not to lose any of the juice along the way.

77: Cameron Champ

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Ben Jared

Age: 26 World Ranking: 102 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-10, 2020
There’s ample time to round out the game, but it’s still way too one-dimensional to be a consistent contender at the highest level. He leads the PGA Tour in driving distance, is ninth in SG/off the tee, and outside the top 100 in every other key SG category. His good weeks are more than good enough—three of his nine career top-10 finishes are victories—and his driver is such a weapon that he can navigate beefy major layouts well, like his T-10 at the 2020 PGA at TPC Harding Park. While we don’t know how the new Southern Hills will play, the head professional has said the winner will need to be a great chipper, and that Champ is not. Took T-6 in his last start in Mexico, albeit on a completely different golf course than he’ll see this week.

76: Min Woo Lee

Age: 23 World Ranking: 54 PGA Championship starts: First
He’s long been considered one of the more exciting young prospects in golf, particularly outside the United States. Was outside the top 200 in the World Ranking at this time last year before winning the Scottish Open, a career-boosting victory, and he’s backed it up since with a number of impressive showings—including a T-14 at the Masters.

75: Nicolai Hojgaard

Age: 21 World Ranking: 88 PGA Championship starts: First
Along with his twin brother, Rasmus, he’s among Europe’s best hopes to take the Ryder Cup torch from the 40-something crew of Casey/Rose/Westwood/Poulter. Has two wins on the DP World Tour since September and though he still misses more cuts than you’d like, he’s shown more than enough to warrant the high expectations. This will be just his second major championship start, his only other coming as a 17-year-old in the Open Championship.

74: Luke List

Age: 37 World Ranking: 62 PGA Championship starts: 4
Best PGA Championship finish: 6, 2019
Finally hoisted a PGA Tour trophy in his 206th try at the Farmers Insurance Open, which came at the tail end of a four-month period of strong play. It’s been a different story since, with five missed cuts and no top-30 finishes in his nine starts. That said, he drives it long and straight—he’s eighth in SG/off the tee this season—and has a sixth-place finish at Bethpage Black to bring out some positive PGA Championship vibes.

73: Troy Merritt

Age: 36 World Ranking: 94 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-54, 2015
Not going to stop anyone in their tracks on a driving range but he’s carved out a lovely career for himself with consistent putting and pouncing on good course-fit weeks. No success to speak of in major championships, however.

72: Adam Hadwin

Age: 34 World Ranking: 107 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-29, 2019
In the midst of his best ball-striking season on the PGA Tour; he ranks 17th in SG/approach and 29th in SG/tee-to-green, highly impressive for a player outside the top 100 in driving distance. Strung together three straight top-10s from the Players through Valero but has historically struggled on beefy major-championship layouts—his best finish in 24 career major starts is a T-24 at the 2018 Masters.

71: Joel Dahmen

Age: 34 World Ranking: 117 PGA Championship appearances: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-10, 2020
Fan favorite only has two top-10s on the season but has had some success on tougher layouts in the last few years, probably because his strength is his ball-striking. One of the straightest guys out there, he ranks 14th in driving accuracy, 12th in greens in regulation and inside the top 70 in SG/off the tee and approach.

70: Kevin Na

Age: 38 World Ranking: 33 PGA Championship starts: 13
Best PGA Championship finish: T-10, 2011
Pushed hard for a Ryder Cup spot with a torrid stretch toward the end of last summer but didn’t get the call. Off to a slow start this season—his only top-10 came at the match play, and he’s statistically one of the worst drivers of the ball on the PGA Tour. Has been heavily linked with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series and you wonder if all the hoopla has been a distraction.

69: Patrick Reed

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Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

Age: 31 World Ranking: 36 PGA Championship starts: 8
Best PGA Championship finish: T-2, 2017
His lone top-10 in the 2021-22 season came at Bermuda in the fall (hardly a who’s who of golf’s elite), and his best finish in 11 starts was a T-15 at an event with only 39 players. His ball-striking has been downright horrendous this year, as he ranks outside the top 200 in both SG/off the tee and SG/approach. Recently switched back to his longtime coach Kevin Kirk after an experiment with David Leadbetter saw his driving distance plummet and his accuracy suffer, too. Reed’s stock is as low as it’s been since his breakout year in 2014.

68: Gary Woodland

Age: 37 World Ranking: 103 PGA Championship starts: 10
Best PGA Championship finish: T-6, 2018
Picked off a major at the 2019 U.S. Open but has struggled since, both with his body and his game. Has shown signs of a resurgence this season with three top-10s and yet still decided to part with swing instructor Mark Blackburn the week before this event. Hmmm.

67: Branden Grace

Age: 33 World Ranking: 108 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: 3, 2015
South African was a major-championship killer for a couple-year stretch in his 20s, posting four top-five finishes in 2015 and 2016, but has dropped a level in recent years and now sits outside the top 100. Missing quite a few cuts these days—in nine starts this year he’s played the weekend just three times, and none resulted in a top-30 finish. Ranks outside the top 100 in the main strokes-gained categories.

66: Ryan Palmer

Age: 45 World Ranking: 86 PGA Championship starts: 13
Best PGA Championship finish: T-5, 2014
Spent the majority of last year inside the top 50 thanks to some consistently strong play, but he’s regressed in 2022—until he shot 15 under through two days at the AT&T Byron Nelson to share the lead at the halfway point. He was born and raised in Texas, went to Texas A&M and lives near Dallas, so he’ll be used to playing in Sun Belt wind.

65: Justin Rose

Age: 41 World Ranking: 65 PGA Championship starts: 19
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 2012
Missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year and has work to do if he’s to get back there this season. He was 17th in SG/approach back in 2018, when he submitted the World Ranking, but now ranks 156th in the category. One of the few players in this field who played at Southern Hills in the 2007 PGA, and played quite well, finishing T-12.

64: K.H. Lee

Age: 30 World Ranking: 41 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: MC, 2021
Won the AT&T Byron Nelson the week before last year’s PGA by shooting 26 under par; won the AT&T BYron Nelson the week before this yaer's PGA by shooting 25 under par. TPC Craig Ranch is the antithesis of a major championship layout, however, and he shot 11 over for two days at Kiawah Island to miss the cut last year even after all those birdies the week prior. The next cut he makes in a major championship will be his first. He’s 0 for 5.

63: Jason Day

Age: 34 World Ranking: 124 PGA Championship starts: 12
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2015
He’s not the world-beating player he was when he won this tournament seven years ago, and he’s in the middle of comprehensive swing changes to avoid putting more stress on his perpetually troublesome back. After three straight missed cuts he showed some seriously positive signs at the Wells Fargo, where he led by three at the halfway point but finished T-15. He says his time with instructor Chris Como is still a work in progress, particularly with the driver. There’s been little week-to-week consistency here, so don’t count on him building on that week at TPC Potomac.

62: Si Woo Kim

Age: 26 World Ranking: 57 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-13, 2020
A bit of a horse-for-course type player, he’s made his hay on Pete Dye layouts and has been a pretty consistent performer at the majors. Bad news then, is that this is neither the Masters nor a Pete Dye layout. Has missed the cut in four of his five PGA Championship starts.

61: Chad Ramey

Age: 29 World Ranking: 119 PGA Championship starts: First
He’s the only rookie on the PGA Tour with a victory this season, which he picked up at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship opposite the WGC-Dell Match Play. This will be his first career start in a major championship.

60: Mito Pereira

Age: 27 World Ranking: 100 PGA Championship starts: First
Chilean secured the rare battlefield promotion by winning three Korn Ferry Tour events last year. Gambling/DFS experts had high hopes for him this season, especially after he opened it with a third-place finish in Napa, but he hasn’t posted a top-10 since. Ball-striking hasn’t been the issue—he ranks 35th in SG/off the tee and 18th in approach. It’s the putter that’s held him back. This will be just his second major start and first since he qualified for the 2019 U.S. Open.

59: Marc Leishman

Age: 38 World Ranking: 48 PGA Championship starts: 11
Best PGA Championship finish: T-12, 2013
Enjoyed a strong fall but has been stuck in neutral since the calendar turned to 2022. He’s a creative, feel-first type player who hits a lower ball flight and fares best when creativity is needed. It makes sense, then, that his record in the Masters and the Open are far better than his history at the U.S. Open or PGA. Missed the cut at Kiawah last year, and in the two PGA Championships before that one. Hard to believe he’s creeping up there near 40.

58: Aaron Wise

Age: 25 World Ranking: 91 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-17, 2021
Former NCAA champion was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2018 but hasn’t quite blossomed into the perennial top-50 caliber player some expected. At least not yet. Should feel good about the state of his game now, though, with a T-21 at the Heritage and a T-6 at the Mexico Open coming before another solid showing at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He hits the ball great but is one of the few 25-year-olds in world golf to putt with a broomstick, and you don’t switch to the broomstick unless there are issues. Has made the cut in each of his last five major championship starts.

57: Abraham Ancer

Age: 31 World Ranking: 21 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-8, 2021
If you feel like you haven’t heard much from him this year, it’s because you haven’t. It’s been a disappointing first half of 2022 for the Mexican, who knocked on the door of the top 10 after winning a WGC to cap off a fine summer. In 10 stroke-play starts on the PGA Tour, he has yet to post a single top-30 finish, and the struggles haven’t been localized—he has regressed from last season in each of the key strokes-gained statistics. Missed the cut at the Masters but does have a strong PGA Championship record, making the cut in each of his three starts and posting a T-8 at Kiawah last year.

56: Adri Arnaus

Age: 27 World Ranking: 56 PGA Championship starts: First
Talented young Spaniard played four years at Texas A&M and has found success early in his pro career back in Europe. Lost a playoff to Pablo Larrazabal at the MyGolfLife Open in March and won the Catalunya Championship on home soil for his first DP World Tour title. That win brought him to the cusp of the top 50 in the world, which would allow him to essentially pick and choose his schedule moving forward and, should he want to, play far more in the United States. Will be just his third major start and first PGA Championship.

55: Harold Varner III

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Gregory Shamus

Age: 31 World Ranking: 37 PGA Championship starts: 4
Best PGA Championship finish:
T-20, 2020
Among the most popular guys on tour with his peers and is now playing the best golf of his life. Won in Saudi Arabia in January with a 91-foot putt for eagle and has kept the momentum up back home with a T-6 in the Players and a T-3 at the RBC Heritage. Snuck into his first Masters by being inside the top 50 and posted a respectable T-23. On the flip side, he’s been a negative strokes-gained player throughout his career on difficult courses and on windy days, both of which are expected at Southern Hills.

54: Sepp Straka

Age: 29 World Ranking: 53 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-66, 2020
If golf had a most improved player award—why doesn’t it?—he’d be a frontrunner. Became the first Austrian (albeit with a Georgia accent) to win on the PGA Tour with a gutsy performance at the Honda Classic, and a T-3 at the RBC Heritage will have him aiming for a first Tour Championship appearance.

53: Chris Kirk

Age: 37 World Ranking: 101 PGA Championship starts: 8
Best PGA Championship finish: T-31, 2018
Posted a couple top-10s in Florida but hasn’t done much in his four starts since. He’s a lovely ball-striker, ranking 10th on tour in SG/tee to green, but it hasn’t carried over into the majors thus far in his career. Missed the weekend in five of eight PGA Championship starts.

52: Webb Simpson

Age: 36 World Ranking: 50 PGA Championship starts: 11
Best PGA Championship finish: T-13, 2016
In danger of falling outside the top 50 in the world after he peaked as high as No. 4 in the summer of 2020. Ranked 22nd or better in SG/putting for four consecutive seasons before this one and now ranks 129th, and when you’re as (relatively) short off the tee as he is, you simply can’t afford to struggle getting the ball in the hole like he has. He takes tremendous pride in his week-to-week consistency and has been grinding like mad to turn things around but hasn’t been able to post a single top-30 finish in seven starts in 2022. No top-10s in 11 career PGA Championship starts.

51: Stewart Cink

Age: 48 World Ranking: 81 PGA Championship starts: 20
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 1999
Hanging tough in the top 100 of the world despite his age, he’s still able to compete on his style of golf course: the Hilton Heads, Innisbrooks and TPC Potomacs of the world, where accuracy is premium. His best finish in this event, a T-3 at Medinah, came when Matt Wolff was four months old. One of very few players that played in the ‘07 PGA at Southern Hills, he finished T-32.

50: Davis Riley

Age: 25 World Ranking: 130 PGA Championship starts: First
Move over Louis, Rory and Scotty, for you’ve got some company in the all-world swing department. The rookie out of Alabama won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and lost in a playoff to Sam Burns at the Valspar Championship in March. Also has top-fives in his last two starts, though one of those was the team-competition Zurich Classic. A player on the rise.

49: Erik van Rooyen

Age: 32 World Ranking: 61 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-8, 2019
Max Homa’s been on a quest to be known as more than just the Twitter Guy, and van Rooyen’s on a similar journey to shed the Joggers Guy label. He’s doing a nice job, winning late in the season to jump-start a FedEx Cup run that took him all the way to the Tour Championship. Missed the cut in each of his last four majors, a curious stretch for a player whose game looks elite when he’s clicking.

48: Robert MacIntyre

Age: 25 World Ranking: 79 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-49, 2021
Money seems to be all anyone’s talking about in golf these days, which made his comments at the British Masters so intensely refreshing: “At the end of the day, there's crazy, crazy money getting thrown at it,” he said of the upcoming LIV Golf event, which he will not be at. “If you ask me, it's obscene money to be throwing at sport. There's only so much money that a human needs.” Good on ya, lad. Also playing nicely after beginning the year with back-to-back missed cuts, and he’s made the cut in each of his eight career major-championship starts.

47: Sebastian Muñoz

Age: 29 World Ranking: 51 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: MC, 2020, 2021
The man from Colombia can get hot, that’s for sure. Became the first player in PGA Tour history to post two rounds of 60 or lower in a single season at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, where he shot 12 under on Thursday. That was two better, at least to par, than the 10-under 60 he shot at the RSM Classic last fall. He took the lead into the final round at TPC Craig Ranch, which has to give him good vibes. Missed the cut in both of his PGA Championship appearances.

46: Ian Poulter

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Jamie Squire

Age: 46 World Ranking: 83 PGA Championship starts: 19
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 2012
Still makes a bunch of cuts but seems glued to T-30 on the leaderboard. Another 40-something who has been heavily linked with LIV Golf, he’s surely mulling his playing future as he knows his days of being able to hang at the elite level won’t last forever. Always fighting an uphill battle at PGA Championships given his lack of length off the tee.

45: Mackenzie Hughes

Age: 31 World Ranking: 69 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-58, 2020
Took advantage of some weak fields in the fall to post two top-four finishes and added his third top-10 of the season this month at the Wells Fargo. The Canadian has been one of the better putters on tour over the last couple years—he ranks 15th in SG/putting this season—and posted top-15s in both the U.S. Open and Open Championship last year. Hasn’t shown the ball-striking chops needed to contend on big, demanding courses.

44: Kevin Kisner

Age: 38 World Ranking: 29 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-7, 2017
Has three finishes of fourth or better this season, including a runner-up in his personal ATM known as the WGC-Dell Match Play. He’s among the best scorers on the planet, but his game—152nd in SG/off the tee, 147th in approach, 11th in putting—often leaves him fighting an uphill battle on big major-championship courses. In his last six major starts, he has three missed cuts and three finishes outside the top 40. If it’s firm and windy, he can hang.

43: Maverick McNealy

Age: 26 World Ranking: 76 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: MC, 2021
Definitely the only current PGA Tour player with an engineering degree from a top-five global university. The Stanford grad and former World No. 1 amateur has finally found firm footing in the professional ranks, and it’s only a matter of time until he breaks through with a first victory. Comes in off 13 consecutive made cuts.

42: Sergio Garcia

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Jamie Squire

Age: 42 World Ranking: 47 PGA Championship starts: 23
Best PGA Championship finish: 2/T-2, 1999/2008
Stuck his foot in his mouth (again) when a hot mic caught him telling a rules official at TPC Potomac that he can’t wait to leave the PGA Tour. Four holes later, he flushed a perfect iron shot that took one hop past the flag and spun back-in, dead-center. That is the full Sergio experience. Showed at last year’s Ryder Cup that when he’s up for it, his ball-striking is still impress-his-competitors level good. But with him seemingly part of the first wave of players to essentially pledge their future to LIV Golf, you wonder how much he’s focusing on his game these days. His lone top-10 in 10 starts so far this year came at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba last fall.

41: Tom Hoge

Age: 32 World Ranking: 40 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-58, 2016
Did enough damage on the West Coast—a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a runner-up at the American Express—to put himself in great position to advance deep into the FedEx Cup playoffs, even if he’s been unremarkable since. Most of the struggles have come close to the hole, and the once-streaky ball-striker has developed far more consistency with the driver and irons.

40: Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 31 World Ranking: 44 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-29, 2020
Trending in the right direction after a disappointing 2021. Continues to play a truly global schedule that has him flying transatlantic at a ridiculous rate and has seen success on both tours this year, most notably a T-14 at the Masters and a T-10 at the RBC Heritage. We think of him as a terrific ball-striker, but the stats suggest otherwise—he’s outside the top 90 in SG/off the tee and approach but fourth around the green and sixth putting. We’ve all been there: just when one part of your game starts to excel, the other part lags. Oh, golf.

39: Russell Henley

Age: 33 World Ranking: 43 PGA Championship starts: 8
Best PGA Championship finish: T-12, 2015
Finished in the top six in the all-important SG/approach in each of the past two full seasons and currently leads that statistic this season—just ahead of Will Zalatoris, Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas. He’s not as well rounded as any of those players, however, which is why he has just two top-10 finishes in 15 starts despite the precise iron play. Still looking for his first major-championship top-10 in what will be his 30th start.

38: Seamus Power

Age: 35 World Ranking: 42 PGA Championship starts: First
A proper late bloomer, he was stuck on the Monday qualifier grind until winning last summer to ensure some job security. Has backed it up with three top-10s and a number of solid finishes since, and now he’s inside the top 50 and surely has at least thought of a Ryder Cup. Played his first major at the Masters and finished T-27.

37: Cameron Tringale

Age: 34 World Ranking: 49 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: 72, 2012
He’s cashed $16.6 million in 327 career starts, the highest haul of any player without a victory in PGA Tour history. Has a runner-up and a T-3 this season but might have the ugliest PGA Championship history of anyone in the field: in seven starts he’s finished 72nd, 84th, missed the cut twice and been disqualified twice. Strange indeed.

36: Jason Kokrak

Age: 36 World Ranking: 31 PGA Championship starts: 8
Best PGA Championship finish: T-19, 2018
Won his third title in a 13-month stretch at last fall’s Houston Open but doesn’t have a top-10 in 10 starts since. Has long been linked with the Saudi-backed golf league and has been open about wanting to make as much money as possible before retiring in his mid 40s. You’d think given his size that he’d overpower courses with his length, but comparatively speaking his best attribute in recent years has been his putting.

35: Keith Mitchell

Age: 30 World Ranking: 80 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-43, 2020
Had four top-12 finishes in his first five starts of 2022 and has driven it excellently all year—he ranks fourth on tour in SG/off the tee for the wraparound season. He has the firepower to contend on big, difficult courses; his lone PGA Tour victory came at PGA National and he contended at Quail Hollow last year. A T-12 at the Players also suggests comfort against top-flight fields. As you might be able to tell, we’re a bit bullish on Mr. Mitchell this week.

34: Anirban Lahiri

Age: 34 World Ranking: 75 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-5, 2015
Thoroughly impressed at the Players, where he hung tough all weekend to finish solo second against the strongest field of the season. It’s proven not to be a one-off, too—he has three top-15 finishes in his four starts since TPC Sawgrass and continues to knock on the door for a first PGA Tour victory. Meditates daily, which helps explain his calmness in high-pressure moments. Grew up playing less-than-pristine golf courses back in India. Easy guy to root for.

33: Louis Oosthuizen

Age: 39 World Ranking: 15 PGA Championship starts: 12
Best PGA Championship finish: T-2, 2017 and 2021
Emerged as Phil Mickelson’s chief challenger last year at Kiawah before a wayward drive at the 13th on Sunday torpedoed his chances. We didn’t know at the time, but that would prove to be the first of three consecutive majors that Oosthuizen would have a legitimate chance to win on Sunday but leave without the trophy. Perhaps all those near-misses took their toll, as he doesn’t have a top-10 this season and hasn’t played since withdrawing from the Masters after an opening-round 76.

32: Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 30 World Ranking: 24 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-10, 2018
Never afraid to speak his mind, he complained vociferously about the course setup at the Masters. Perhaps Southern Hills will be more to his liking, especially after Gil Hanse’s renovation removed a bunch of the Augusta-like qualities from the course. Started the year solidly in Europe and has been OK in the U.S., buoyed by a fantastic putting stretch—he’s gained strokes on the greens in nine consecutive measured tournaments—but somewhat hamstrung by very average ball striking.

31: Alex Noren

Age: 39 World Ranking: 52 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: T-22, 2020
The hard-working Swede has four top-20 finishes in 2021 and is creeping back up toward Ryder Cup-team territory. Ranks an impressive 40th in SG/overall this season and has made eight straight cuts. Entered the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson firmly in the mix. Both of his major top-10 finishes have come in the Open, but we like his chances as a deep sleeper this week, particularly in DFS formats.

30: Matt Kuchar

Age: 43 World Ranking: 78 PGA Championship starts: 13
Best PGA Championship finish: T-7, 2015
Showing major signs of life after a rather poor 2020-21 season that saw him just sneak into the FedEx Cup playoffs and drop outside the world’s top 100. Any time a 40-plus guy goes through a stretch like that there is legitimate concern that it’s the beginning of a decline rather than a blip in the road–which makes his T-2/T-3 run at the Valero Texas Open and RBC Heritage so encouraging, and he looked sharp in the early going at the AT&T Byron Nelson. We hate to be somewhat of a buzzkill, but both of those finishes came on remarkable top-three finishes came on weeks where he gained more than seven shots on the field putting, and that doesn’t tend to be sustainable.

29: Adam Scott

Age: 41 World Ranking: 39 PGA Championship starts: 21
Best PGA Championship finish: 3, 2018
Has five top-10 finishes in his last 11 worldwide starts. While that on its own is not surprising given his pedigree, the way he’s done it is: with the putter. It’s bucked conventional wisdom, which is that Scott swings it at an all-time level but hasn’t putted well enough to be an all–time great. He’s stroking it beautifully with that broomstick (non-anchored) putter, ranking seventh on tour in SG/putting over his last 50 rounds, and surely it’s just a matter of time until he rediscovers his rhythm on the full swing. Another guy who’s been linked with LIV Golf, there will be many a keen eye focusing on what his next tournament after this one is. Finished T-12 at the 2007 PGA at Southern Hills.

28: Tiger Woods

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Jamie Squire

Age: 46 World Ranking: 818 PGA Championship starts: 21
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 1999, 2000, 2007
In some ways, his performance this week will say more about his long-term prospects than his 47th-place finish at the Masters did. That week, you knew Woods’ surgically rebuilt right leg likely wouldn’t be able to hold up for four rounds, and it didn’t. He was visibly hobbled all weekend and shot two 78s, both his worst scores ever at the Masters. He’s now had another month of training and rehabilitation, and the golf world is eager to see how he looks. If he’s walking better and can hold up for three rounds instead of two, he’ll send the message that Augusta wasn’t a one-off; that he will continue to improve with time and that he absolutely could win again. If he looks similarly gimpy, it’ll paint a sobering picture of his physical reality and dampen any hopes for a 16th major championship. Returns to the site of his 2007 PGA win, though this course has been seriously touched-up since. Warm temperatures—but not as warm as that August week in 2007—should play into his hands, as he’s struggled in the cold since he returned from his spinal fusion surgery. With Phil not playing, all eyes are on Tiger.

27: Brian Harman

Age: 35 World Ranking: 55 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-13, 2017
Not going to stop anyone in their tracks on the driving range, but he’s a master of managing his game and squeezing the most out of his natural gifts. Posted top-20s in three of the four majors in 2021 and comes in off a top 10 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Might not have a big enough game to win a PGA, whose setups typically favor bombers, but he’s a gamer and could absolutely hang around for a top-15 finish.

26: Daniel Berger

Age: 29 World Ranking: 25 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-12, 2018
Putter went ice cold at the Honda Classic to keep him from a fifth PGA Tour victory, and he’s flown under the radar since, as is his habit. These days, seemingly every tour pro is trying to hit up on the ball to add distance, but Berger’s gone the other direction—after ranking 18th in driving distance in his rookie season and just past 302 yards per pop, he’s made a concerted effort to hit down on the ball, bring the flight down and now ranks 178th at 289.3 yards. His fairway percentage is way up, however, and his seventh-place standing in SG/tee to green suggests there’s nothing wrong with his ball striking. Surprising that he does not a top-five finish in 23 career major starts.

25: Joaquin Niemann

Age: 23 World Ranking: 16 PGA Championship starts: 4
Best PGA Championship finish: T-30, 2021
He blitzed a world-class field to win at a world-class golf course at the Genesis Invitational in February, he’s a top-20 player in the rankings and yet you still get the sense he’s only just scratching the surface of his all-world potential. Known for his ball-striking but all you need to see is this ridiculous pitch from last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, where he contended up through Sunday, to know that the Chilean has all the tools to hang around the top 10 for years. The next step in his progression is to contend in a major.

24: Talor Gooch

Age: 30 World Ranking: 35 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-44, 2021
Might be the least recognized player in the top 50, but you get the sense he likes it that way. Soft-spoken Oklahoman and Oklahoma State grad gets a major championship in his home state and comes in playing some fine golf: he has seven top-30 finishes in 2021 and looked rather comfortable in cruising to a T-14 at the Masters. With a win in the fall, he’s in great position in the FedEx Cup and will have his eyes set on the Tour Championship this year.

23: Tony Finau

Age: 32 World Ranking: 19 PGA Championship starts: 7
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2020
He has just one top-10 on the wraparound season, a T-2 against a very weak field at the Mexico Open—and that came despite losing two strokes to the field on the greens that week. That’s been the theme; the good news is the ball striking numbers are more or less unchanged from the past few years, but his putting has been atrocious. Like, almost worst-on-tour bad. That’s surely been the focus of his practice in the lead-up, and good putting weeks are far easier to manufacture than good ball striking weeks. He plays big-boy golf, and few have been more consistent in majors—he has nine top-10 finishes in his last 16 major starts, including the last two PGA Championships. He’s flying under the radar because of one club only.

22: Brooks Koepka

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Stacy Revere

Age: 32 World Ranking: 18 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2018, 2019
Came into the Masters as a popular pick off back-to-back solid showing at the Valspar and the match play, then uncharacteristically missed the cut. He hasn’t played since, withdrawing from the AT&T Byron Nelson for reasons unspecified. His health is still a significant concern and has been for the better part of the last three years. That’s the bad par. The good is that he’s absolutely feasted on PGA Championship layouts in his career. In nine PGA starts he has: seven top-25s, five top-fives and two victories. Been pretty feast or famine thus far this year with four top-16 finishes and four missed cuts in his last eight events

21: Cameron Young

Age: 25 World Ranking: 38 PGA Championship starts: First
The overwhelming favorite to win rookie of the year, this former prodigy has three runners-up on tour already, including in his last start at the Wells Fargo, and yet still genuinely feels he could’ve and should’ve accomplished more. Ranks second on tour in SG/off the tee, sixth in birdie average and ninth in scoring average. His father is a longtime PGA professional and the head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in New York, so this tournament will carry some extra significance for the Young clan.

20: Corey Conners

Age: 30 World Ranking: 32 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-17, 2021
A proper flusher, he’s earned a reputation as one of the game’s premier ball-strikers. Hit baby draw after baby draw through the wind on Thursday of last year’s PGA Championship and carried a two-shot lead into Friday but faded over the weekend. Statistics usually don’t tell the whole story, but they get the gist here: sixth in SG/off the tee, 33rd in SG/ approach, 101st in SG/putting. His flatstick is the only thing standing between him and a major breakthrough; that’s how good his ball-striking has been for the last few years. Tied for sixth at the Masters and posted two solid finishes since. As always, it’ll come down to the putter.

19: Sam Burns

Age: 25 World Ranking: 13 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-29, 2019
Has two wins already this season—one in the fall, at the Sanderson Farms, and a repeat victory at the Valspar Championship—and has made the leap from promising young player to one of the best in the world. He’s too young and the sample size is too small for us to label this a legitimate problem, but his major-championship starts have produced a bunch of duds so far. Withdrew from last year’s PGA Championship, missed the cut at the U.S. Open, took T-76 at the Open Championship and missed the cut at this year’s Masters. He’s too good of an iron player for that trend to continue.

18: Billy Horschel

Age: 35 World Ranking: 14 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: T-23, 2019
Having a really nice season, he hasn’t missed a cut in any of his 12 starts and has eight top-25 finishes. Was runner-up alongside Sam Burns in his last start at the Zurich Classic and is eighth on tour in strokes-gained overall over his last 24 starts. Should come into this major as confident as he’s ever been—perhaps this is the week he kicks it into gear and posts just his second top-10 major finish in 34 starts.

17: Dustin Johnson

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Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

Age: 37 World Ranking: 12 PGA Championship starts: 12
Best PGA Championship finish: 2/T-2, 2019, 2020
Will play his first major as a married man after wedding his longtime fiancee Paulina Gretzky in a glamorous affair last month. Finished runner-up in the 2019 and 2020 PGA Championships before curiously missing the cut last year at Kiawah. Still hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2020 Masters, which counts as a drought for a player as prolific as he’s been. Struggled with the driver throughout last season but has gained ground on the field off the tee in each of his last five measured starts, which is encouraging. Strange to see two numbers next to his name in the World Ranking, but he’s the last guy to be bothered. A victory here would give him three legs of the career Grand Slam and suddenly make joining that ultra-elite club a distinct possibility. All that said, he hasn’t looked nearly as sharp in the last 18 months as he did in the 18 before that.

16: Keegan Bradley

Age: 35 World Ranking: 45 PGA Championship starts: 11
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2011
He’s been hard at work with putting guru Phil Kenyon, and it’s paying off massively. Rolling the rock the best he has since the belly-putter days, and he’s had multiple chances to win this season—including two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo, where he hung tough on Sunday before eventually losing a mano-y-mano battle with Max Homa. His strength has always been his ball-striking, and he’s long felt that if he can just putt averagely he’ll have a chance. Of the four majors his record at the PGA is by far the best, and it includes a victory in his first major-championship start 11 years ago at Atlanta Athletic Club.

15: Viktor Hovland

Age: 24 World Ranking: 6 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-30, 2021
Still just 24, he’s firmly entrenched in the world’s top-10 despite a noticeable weakness in his game: his chipping. Fantasy National keeps stats on 237 PGA Tour players, and over his last 24 rounds Hovland is 234th in SG/around the green. Lived on the front page of leaderboards throughout the winter and into the spring, which made his T-27 at the Masters a slight disappointment. As good a ball-striker as there is, he’s never missed a cut in a major but also hasn’t yet posted a top-10. Perhaps it happens in his adopted home state of Oklahoma; he went to Oklahoma State and still calls Stillwater home. The one note of caution is that, at least according to the head professional at Southern Hills, the winner of this tournament will need to be a great chipper.

14: Xander Schauffele

Age: 28 World Ranking: 10 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-10, 2020
He’s been his own harshest critic in recent weeks, telling media time and time again that he’s unsatisfied with what he feels has been a disappointing year, particularly in the big events—he missed the cut at the Players and the Masters. The bad taste has been dulled a bit by he and Patrick Cantlay’s runaway win at the Zurich Classic, but Schauffele expects more out of himself while playing his own ball. Has nine top-10 finishes in 19 career major starts but only one of those, a T-10 at TPC Harding Park, came in a PGA Championship. Ball-striking numbers look solid this season but his chipping and putting have dropped a level from recent years. Still plenty of time to salvage the year, however.

13: Hideki Matsuyama

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Stacy Revere

Age: 30 World Ranking: 11 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2016
A neck injury manifested at the worst possible time, because he was on quite the heater to begin the year. There was a minute there where it appeared he might not defend his title at the Masters, but he toughed it out and posted a very respectable T-14 finish. Took three weeks off afterwards to rest the body and looked to be 100 percent through the early going at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Putting continues to be his Achilles heel—he’s 154th in strokes gained for the season—but he excels on demanding ball-striking courses and has finished T-35 or better in each of his nine career PGA Championship starts. As close to a lock to make the cut as you can be.

12: Matt Fitzpatrick

Age: 27 World Ranking: 17 PGA Championship starts: 6
Best PGA Championship finish: T-23, 2021
Without googling it, who leads the tour in SG/overall this season? Wow! What a guess! That’s right, Matt Fitzpatrick. That statistic isn’t wholly accurate, as ShotLink was not at some of the fall events he struggled in, but the Englishman is putting together his finest PGA Tour season yet. Already has five top-10s on the calendar year and has been T-18 or better in eight of his last 10 starts—including a solid T-14 at the Masters and a runner-up in his last start at the Wells Fargo. Still stuck on just one major top-10 in his career; he should’ve added to that total at last year’s PGA and was tied for third after 70 holes only to make a quadruple-bogey on 17 on Sunday. Seems to excel on tough courses in hard conditions, so he’ll hope for a windy week.

11: Max Homa

Age: 31 World Ranking: 28 PGA Championship starts: 3
Best PGA Championship finish: T-64, 2019
A commanding performance at TPC Potomac brought him his fourth PGA Tour victory since May 2019—only Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas have more. He’s finally beginning to believe that he belongs in the elite tier, and a golfer with belief is a very dangerous golfer indeed. Clearly comfortable closing out tournaments in high-pressure moments, which makes his awful major record hard to decipher. He’s simply far too good, and too well-rounded a player, to have missed the cut in seven of 10 major starts with no top-40 finishes. He spoke candidly after his Wells Fargo victory about truly feeling like he has a chance to win at Southern Hills, and he’ll be a trendy pick despite his barren major history.

10: Cameron Smith

Age: 28 World Ranking: 4 PGA Championship starts: 6
Best PGA Championship finish: T-25, 2016
If Scheffler’s a runaway favorite to win player of the year, Smith’s the favorite to finish second. Began the year by shooting 36 under and holding off then-world No. 1 Jon Rahm to win in Hawaii and added another huge victory with a dazzling short-game display at the Players. Might have the best short game on the planet, but that’s been the case for a while; he’s now hitting his irons at a top-10 level, and it has made all the difference. Relishes the big moment and kept pace with Scheffler at Augusta before the 12th hole did what the 12th hole does and ruined his tournament. Still finished T-3 that week before running out of gas at the RBC Heritage. Returned home to Jacksonville Beach for some needed chill time and should feel fresh. If the wind blows as expected and this turns into a short-game grind fest, it’s hard to like anyone’s chances more than his.

9: Will Zalatoris

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Jamie Squire

Age: 25 World Ranking: 30 PGA Championship starts: 1
Best PGA Championship finish: T-8, 2021
His game is tailor-made for major championships—he’s a top-five ball-striker on tour—and has four major top-10s in his first seven appearances. Has finished T-6 or better in each of his last three starts, including the Masters, and ranks second on tour in strokes gained tee to green. Still chasing that first PGA Tour victory and there’s no reason it couldn’t come in a major championship. If Keegan Bradley can do it, why not Will Zalatoris?

8: Rory McIlroy

Age: 33 World Ranking: 7 PGA Championship starts: 13
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2012, 2014
Enters another major championship in more-than-good-enough form to end the drought, which is inching toward eight years. Showed that his best is still pure electricity with a final-round 64 en route to a solo second at the Masters and looked solid in his only start since at the Wells Fargo, when he took solo fifth at TPC Potomac. His driver is always a weapon, but it’s his improved approach play and putting that’ll have Rory fans believing the wait will come to a merciful end this week. That, and his four top-five finishes, including two victories, at PGA Championships. Seems to have thrown the “I don’t need more majors” attitude into the garbage and looked a man possessed at Augusta. How sweet it will feel, then, when he hoists another most important trophy.

7: Patrick Cantlay

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Jamie Squire

Age: 30 World Ranking: 5 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-3, 2019
He and Xander Schauffele were a wagon at the Zurich Classic, breaking nearly every scoring record at the team event and looking rock-solid for the entire week. Not sure if that scratched the victory itch, however—he’s been tantalizingly close on his own ball twice this year, losing playoffs to Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open and to Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage. As such, he’s still riding high in the World Ranking despite repeated subpar performances in major championships. He has just two top-10s in the big four in his career, none since 2019, and never factored in finishing T-39 at the Masters. Comes in off three weeks of rest.

6: Justin Thomas

Age: 28 World Ranking: 9 PGA Championship starts: 6
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2017
Five years removed from his maiden major victory at Quail Hollow, he’s added nine PGA Tour wins since then but has not properly challenged for a major. He said at the Masters that he feels he’s grossly underachieved in the big four, perhaps a product of putting too much pressure on himself and deviating too far from his clearly successful regular-event routine. Then he looked out to lunch during an opening-round 76 at the Masters that ended his chances, though he did fight back for a T-8 finish. He’s been the best iron player on the planet this year and still reigns King of the Birdie Binges, but he’s had difficulty stringing together 72 solid holes in majors. Desperate to add a second major that feels long overdue, perhaps the solid play a week prior at the AT&T Byron Nelson (T-5) will propel him this week at Southern Hills.

5: Collin Morikawa

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Jamie Squire

Age: 25 World Ranking: 3 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: Win, 2020
He was (rightfully) overshadowed by his playing partner Rory McIlroy that day, but Morikawa’s final-round 67 at Augusta National brought him his third consecutive top-five finish in a major. It’s no surprise a generationally good iron player has had success in the toughest events, but that doesn’t make the start to his major championship career—two wins, five top-10s in nine starts—any less impressive. Putting has improved since its nadir early last year, but it’s the recent leap in his chipping and overall creativity around the greens that has his camp so excited. Sniffed becoming World No. 1 before collapsing at the Hero World Challenge last December, so he has some major unfinished business in that department. Has no familiarity with Southern Hills, but that’s the same for nearly everyone in the field this week.

4: Shane Lowry

Age: 35 World Ranking: 27 PGA Championship starts: 10
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2021
His top-five finish last year at Kiawah kicked off a 12-month period in which he’s been one of the best players in the world. Over his last 24 rounds, his fifth on tour in SG/overall and has gotten it done on a variety of different course types. Has top-25s in each of his last nine stroke-play starts and has been particularly dialed in with his irons, ranking fifth on tour in strokes gained approach this season. Was T-3 at Augusta and T-3 at the RBC Heritage the week later, and now comes into Southern Hills off three weeks of rest. Wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to add a second major this week. He’s playing that well–while the OWGR has him at 27, the folks at Data Golf peg him as the seventh-best player in the world at the minute.

3: Jon Rahm

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Ben Jared

Age: 27 World Ranking: 2 PGA Championship starts: 5
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2018
For all his consistency last year there was just one victory—it was a major, and he likely would’ve won the Memorial if not for a horrific break, but the aforementioned statement remains true. Must have felt great, then, to win in his last start at the Mexico Open even if he did enter the weak as a massive favorite. Leads the tour in SG/overall over his last 50 events and has been a machine with driver this year; he’s hitting it seven yards longer than his 2020-21 average and leads the PGA Tour in SG/off the tee for the season. As has been the case for the last two years, and as will be the case for the next 10, the Spaniard enters a major as one of the favorites.

2: Jordan Spieth

Age: 28 World Ranking: 8 PGA Championship starts: 9
Best PGA Championship finish: 2, 2015
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Jordan Spieth has a chance to complete the Career Grand Slam this weekend. OK, now that that’s out of the way … a missed cut at the Masters seemed a low point—his tempo is noticeably slower than it was last year and looked fully engrossed in swing mechanics, including a ponderous pre-shot routine. But then he won the next week at the RBC Heritage and contended all week at the AT&T Byron Nelson in finishing solo second. The renovation of Southern Hills should play into his hands; it won’t play as a normal, Bethpage Black beast-type PGA Championship layout but firm, fast, windy and requiring boatloads of touch and guile. That’s Spieth’s ballgame.

1: Scottie Scheffler

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Patrick Smith

Age: 25 World Ranking: 1 PGA Championship starts: 2
Best PGA Championship finish: T-4, 2020
Golf’s leading man couldn’t have written it any better—he arrives at the year’s second major with four wins, including a green jacket, under his belt already this year … and now gets a crack at what he’s called his favorite golf course in the world. Took a few weeks off after the Zurich Classic—we’d usually say that’s to rest and recharge the batteries, but he’s so lowkey and unaffected that you get the sense this whirlwind stretch hasn’t really impacted him all that much. Returned at the AT&T Byron Nelson and had a pretty ideal week of preparation, pouring in a bunch of birdies but not having to deal with the stress of being in contention. Everything’s humming in Team Scheffler right now; his relationship with caddie Ted Scott has enriched them both and his wife, Meredith, supports him while keeping him grounded. The golf he’s played this year has been nothing short of remarkable, and it’s been so well-rounded. Yes, he’s a fantastic ball-striker, but you don’t win the Masters comfortably without being able to chip and putt the hell out of it. At this point, it’d be a semi-shock if he’s not a factor come Sunday afternoon.