USPGA Championship Golf 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The second major of the year takes place this week when the stars of the golfing world across all three tours head to Rochester in New York for the USPGA Championship, arguably the lesser of the four but not necessarily this week.

Justin Thomas took advantage of a few Sunday slip ups to win this title in a play-off a year ago and he will bid to make a successful defence of the title when he goes up against a very strong field with the LIV players not banned from this event.

Recent Winners

2022 – Justin Thomas

2021 – Phil Mickelson

2020 – Collin Morikawa

2019 – Brooks Koepka

2018 – Brooks Koepka

2017 – Justin Thomas

2016 – Jimmy Walker

2015 – Jason Day

2014 – Rory McIlroy

2013 – Jason Dufner

The Course

We are Oak Hill Country Club for the tournament this week. This course is no stranger to hosting majors having hosted the US Open and the USPGA Championship on three separate occasions each. The last time the tournament was held here was 2013 but the Senior PGA Championship has been here since. The winning scores in the three PGAs here have been -6, -4 and -10 and we might be in that range again.

The course is a par 70 this week and it can stretch to 7,394 and with rain in the area this week it might well play to that full yardage, so even though accuracy and course management is said to be required this week I am looking for those with length who will be firing shorter clubs into the small but potentially soft greens. We have seen some surprise winners of this event in the past but I don’t see us getting one of those this week.

The Field

At the minute the majors are the only time the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and LIV Tour players combine to compete in the same tournament. We had it at The Masters and we have it here too which means that we get to see the likes of Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson on show in the same event as players such as Rory Mcilroy, Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, which makes this a very appealing event.

There are plenty of other star names in the field this week and they include the defending champion Justin Thomas and the man he took the title from in Phil Mickelson. One man who would have been in the field but isn’t fit to tee up is Tiger Woods but the reigning US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick is here, as are the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Jason Day who returned to the winners’ circle a week ago.

Market Leaders

We have a pair of 8/1 joint favourites for the tournament this week in the leading two men in the world rankings in Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm. Both would kind of fit the profile of the winner this week although I do think it is fair to say that both are better where there is a little more room on the fairways rather than these tighter tracks. Of the two I would probably favour the more level headed Scheffler but in a field of this depth both are plenty short enough.

Rory McIlroy is next in the betting at 14/1 this week. This doesn’t feel like a course he will be able to bring out the best of his talents on, although it should be said that despite him not winning a major in nine years, most of his major wins have come on soft courses. The problem I have with McIlroy is as I’ve said all year his PGA spokesperson role has a negative influence on his game and the other thing is the missed cut at The Masters seems to have hit him hard.

Xander Schauffele is 16/1 on the better prices this week. He is generally a player who plays tough golf courses well and that is particularly the case in majors but we are still waiting for him to take one of these things down and that might not be ideal when we are looking at betting at 16/1. Schauffele is in excellent form though. He comes in here off the back of five consecutive top five finishes so if you are happy with the price you are likely to get a run for your money.

Patrick Cantlay is next in the betting at a general 18/1. Much was made of the amount of time he took at The Masters and with the eyes of the world back on him here it will be interesting to see if he shifts along any quicker. Cantlay probably doesn’t have the length of some in the field. I think that eventually caught him out at Augusta and I fear that it might be his undoing this week. I wouldn’t want to be on him at shorter than 20/1.

Main Bets

Going into The Masters there was a fear that LIV golfers would be undercooked at this level and while I guess you could say that turned out to be the case on the Sunday, I wonder if Brooks Koepka was more inconvenienced by the snails in the group in front of him rather than the lack of 72 holes under his belt. The first 54 holes he was imperious and I think his length and his aggressive play, not to mention a smart head on his shoulders, could well be the recipe for success this week. We know Koepka has it in him to win majors and if the near-miss at Augusta has added fuel to the fire he could be the one to beat here.

I’m rarely a man who backs players to win a major as their first title but I do believe Cameron Young is that special that he could easily take this down. I actually backed him to win this tournament a year ago and he led it on the back nine on Sunday but didn’t have the experience to get the job done. Since then he has pushed Cameron Smith as close as anyone at The Open and went pretty well at The Masters for a long period. This time, Young has an experienced caddy on the bag and this tee to green monster has to be in the mix on a course where the small greens should really suit.


Gary Woodland ticks a lot of boxes this week. The biggest one for me is the fact that he is already a major champion having won the US Open. The other thing which I like is that he ranks eight for driving distance and in cold and damp conditions that has to be a big factor this week. He is also solid enough with the irons and on these smaller greens the putter shouldn’t need to co-operate, certainly if you think Jason Dufner, a renowned weak putter, won here 10 years ago. Woodland was in the top 15 at The Masters and at Quail Hollow a couple of weeks ago and in the top 10 at Riviera so he plays the tough courses well which bodes well here.

My other two picks are shots in the dark but live ones in my eyes. Harris English is another player who generally plays the tougher tests well and with little expectation on his shoulders this week I will pay to see how he goes here. He was third at Quail Hollow a couple of weeks ago and that followed T12 at Riviera and T2 at Bay Hill. The issue with English comes in a largely poor major record but in 2020 and 2021 he finished fourth and then third at the US Open so when it clicks he goes very well. He looks like a big price to me this week.

Kurt Kitayama won handsomely at Bay Hill earlier in the season and while his form has tailed off a bit since then I guess that is understandable after winning such a big event for his first win on the Tour. There was solid if unspectacular form from the American prior to that win but he is long off the tee and his iron play can be special when it clicks. Clearly he is an outsider this week but players who have won that year already have good records in this event and as a tournament winner and the fact that we can him at 200/1 I’ll pay to see how he goes.


Back B.Koepka to win USPGA Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back C.Young to win USPGA Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 31.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back G.Woodland to win USPGA Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)

Back H.English to win USPGA Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 201.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)

Back K.Kitayama to win USPGA Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 226.00 with Bet365 (1/5 1-8)

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