The second major of the 2022 season has arrived. The world’s best players will tee it up this week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma to compete for the Wanamaker Trophy.
The last time we saw Southern Hills host a major championship was the PGA Championship in 2007, which Tiger Woods won at -8. The course also hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2009 and the Senior PGA Championship in 2021. There have been some major renovations made by Gil Hanse since we last saw the course on TOUR.
Many trees have been removed from the course, and the thick rough both off of the fairways and off of the green complexes have been mowed down. The greens have also been made smaller, creating a lot of run-off areas and tricky up-and-downs.
Southern Hills Country Club is a par 70 measuring 7,558 yards and features Bentgrass greens par 70. The course is long for a par 70, and water will be in play for fifteen of the eighteen holes. Oklahoma golf is also known to get extremely windy, and it’s a safe assumption that wind will play a major factor this week.
The field this week will consist of 156 players, including 20 PGA professionals. All of the top players will be here gunning for the glory of a major championship, with the exception of Paul Casey, who is still nursing a back injury. Tiger Woods is expected to play, Phil Mickelson is not.
For GPP contests on DraftKings, I will be breaking down the key stats (past 24 rounds) and selecting golfers from different price tiers to provide flexibility for a DFS lineup.
And if you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
This analysis may reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Southern Hills is most definitely a second-shot golf course. It features small greens and will play even smaller than the measurements indicate with fall-off areas and false fronts protecting the pin locations. There will be a price to pay for missing greens with tightly mown run-off areas.
- High-end target: Justin Thomas — $10,700 (4th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Daniel Berger— $8,600 (12th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Value target: Cameron Tringale— $7,100 (14th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
Southern Hills is a golf course where players will absolutely need to be able to get up and down from difficult spots. There are challenging run-off areas that will be collecting golf balls all week.
Justin Thomas spoke after playing a practice round at Southern Hills and said:
It’s tough to chip. I mean, the balls roll off the green; they go pretty far away. You get some grainy, elevated greens to where it’s difficult to get the ball around the hole, and over the course of the round in a tournament, that can be quite a few shots, and the person I think that does that the best is going to have the best chance of winning.
- High-end target: Rory McIlroy— $10,000 (14th Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green)
- Mid-range target: Joaquin Niemann— $8,500 (4th Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green)
- Value target: Matt Kuchar — $6,800 (1st Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green)
Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par 70s
All signs point to this being one of the most difficult PGA Championships in recent memory. Small, firm, and fast greens combined with high winds typically results in a great deal of frustration for players. Combine the tricky greens with the fact that this is a very long golf course, and that makes it even more challenging. Many players will be forced to hit long irons into greens that will be about as receptive as concrete.
- High-end target: Dustin Johnson $9,500 (1st Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par 70s)
- Mid-range target: Tony Finau— $7,900 (12th Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par 70s)
- Value target: Cameron Tringale— $7,100 (6th Strokes Gained: Total on Difficult Par 70s)
Total Strokes Gained: Windy Conditions
Any golfer who wants to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy must be able to battle the elements. Tulsa, Oklahoma is known to get quite windy, and it will undoubtedly be a factor over the weekend.
- High-end target: Jon Rahm— $11,200 (1st Total Strokes Gained: Windy Conditions
- Mid-range target: Joaquin Niemann— $8,500 (9th Total Strokes Gained: Windy Conditions
- Value target: Cameron Tringale— $7,100 (12th Total Strokes Gained: Windy Conditions
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass)
We’ve seen over the past few weeks how important putting well on Bentgrass greens have been. Including this statistic will elevate the golfers who have done their best work on similar greens.
- High-end target: Patrick Cantlay — $9,100 (2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass)
- Mid-range target: Adam Scott— $7,700 (12th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass)
- Value target: Jason Kokrak — $7,300 (4th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass)