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US PGA Championship Tips 2023


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The 2023 US PGA Championship returns to the East Course at Oak Hill Country Club in New York, as Major Championship golf returns this May.

Freshly renovated by Andrew Green, Oak Hill will welcome the strongest field in Major Championship golf. Last seen in 2013 when Jason Dufner defeated Jim Furyk by 2 strokes and Henrik Stenson by 3, the East Course is set to be a great PGA Championship venue. Fascinatingly it’s also 1,200 miles north-east of Oklahoma, where last year’s PGA was played at Southern Hills.

Now into our 14th season, Golf Betting System will, as ever, be hunting for profit with our US PGA Championship tips from Paul Williams and Steve Bamford. Golf Betting System has full 2023 coverage with PGA Championship tips, long-shot and alternative market selections, a full range of free course and player statistics, plus of course our famous free statistical Predictor Model. You can also listen to our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), which is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and on the Steve Bamford Golf Channel.

Now ensconced in May, the PGA Championship has seen Brooks Koepka (2019), Phil Mickelson (2021) and Justin Thomas (2022) lift the Wannamaker Trophy in its new spot in the schedule. Traditionally in August, we used to have a World Golf Championship tournament the week before the PGA, but the revised positioning of the tournament has been a learning curve for both the players and punters alike.

2023 sees the world’s best professional golfers with the choice to play the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina or the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in Texas in the direct build-up to the PGA Championship. What is for sure though is that the PGA will be the fourth US-based Major Championship to be played in New York State since the 2013 U.S. Open won by Justin Rose at Merion.

US PGA Championship Insight And Tips Research

Golf betting at the Major Championships, and especially the PGA Championship, is a complex subject. Mistakes can be costly, however select the right player or player portfolio and the rewards can be excellent. Golf Betting System’s goal is to provide you with informed PGA Championship tips, free tournament research guides and insight and information that will help you make educated decisions about who to back at the 2023 US PGA Championship.

The PGA Championship in recent history has seen a plethora of long hitters getting the job done, with many capturing their first Major titles in this event. The PGA of America’s choice of Oak Hill in 2013 raised eyebrows as the classical and downright claustrophobic nature of the course was totally alien to its mantra of testing through course length. As it transpired, the neat and tidy Jason Dufner won his first Major that week.

Either side of Oak Hill, Y.E. Yang (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010), Keegan Bradley (2012), Jason Day (2015), Jimmy Walker (2016) and Justin Thomas (2017) have, like Dufner, all captured first-time Majors. All can hit the ball a long way, as can Rory McIlroy (winner at both Kiawah Island in 2012 and Valhalla in 2014), Brooks Koepka who drove the field into submission at both Bellerive (2018) and Bethpage Black (2019), plus Phil Mickelson (2021) who despite being the wrong side of 50 years of age, averaged 313 yards off the tee when winning at Kiawah Island in 2021. Justin Thomas won his 2nd PGA Championship title last year, averaging the mere matter of 321 yards with the driver.

As we expected, 2020 proved slightly different with the tighter 7,200 yard, Par 70 at TPC Harding Park falling to another Major first-timer in the form of Collin Morikawa. Now you can’t classify Morikawa as a ‘bomber’, but averaging 297 yards off the tee and in the top 80 for ‘Driving Distance – All Drives’ across 2020, Collin is certainly no slouch from off the tee.

Course Information

East Course, Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York: Designer: Donald Ross, 1925, with Andrew Green 2020; Course Type: Classical, Technical, Long; Par: 70; Length: 7,394 yards ; Holes with Water Hazards: 6; Fairways: Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Rough: Ryegrass, Bluegrass and Tall Fescue; Greens: 4,500 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass.

The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club has hosted 6 Major Championships, including the U.S. Open 3 times (1956, 1968, 1989) and 3 PGA Championships (1980, 2003, 2013), plus the 1995 Ryder Cup. The 2023 PGA Championship though will be the first time that we see a new East Course, which has been facilitated by a 2019 renovation under the auspices of Andrew Green. This will be the first time that top-level competitive action takes place on the course, which has seen significant changes since Jason Dufner plotted his way around here in 2013 to win his one and only Major Championship.

The East Course is a Donald Ross 1925 original, which has been updated by Andrew Green. An old-style parkland golf course described as one of America’s finest classical golf courses, it has little water in-play and now stretches to 7,400 yards, which makes it very much a typical PGA Championship venue, especially as it plays as a Par 70. A list of Donald Ross designs are listed below:

Donald Ross

  • Aronimink – 2010/11 AT&T National & 2018 BMW Championship
  • Detroit Golf Club –  Rocket Mortgage Classic
  • East Lake Country Club – Tour Championship
  • Pinehurst Number 2 – 2014 US Open
  • Plainfield – 2011 & 2015 Barclays
  • Sedgefield Country Club – Wyndham Championship

The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club, post-2013 PGA Championship won by Jason Dufner, became a little tired. Green complexes had become smaller than Donald Ross’ original design. They had unnatural rounded edges caused by bunker sand splashing over decades, in essence creating a punchbowl feature, allowing for more approach shots to stay on the putting surface. Original Bentgrass green putting surfaces had also been infested with Poa Annua, as is the norm with golf courses.

Oak Hill had always been a parkland Major Championship course with small, sloping greens and tight fairways shadowed by trees. However the trees had outgrown where they had originally been located, meaning that the East Course had become so overgrown with mature trees that tee shots landing in the fairways sometimes didn’t have clear lines into the greens.

Bunkering was tired and in essence pretty scattergun in its approach, via multiple re-designs from the pencils of Trent Jones and then George Fazio, in tandem with his son Tom. Their work prior to the 1989 U.S. Open won by Curtis Strange went down badly with Oak Hill club members and the world’s best golfers alike. New holes at 5, 6 and 15 didn’t fit with this Donald Ross classic, with a freshly constructed pond in front of the 15th green prompting outcry.

So Andrew Green was given the task to bring the East Course at Oak Hill back to life and make it a venue that was fit again for Major Championship golf, while taking the course back to what the original designer had in mind.

In summary, the East Course now features a new short par-3 5th with an elevated green guarded by bunkers on 3 sides. The new 6th hole is now the most difficult hole, a 500 yard par-4 curving around Allen Creek. At the par-3 15th hole, the unpopular rock wall and pond added by the Fazios has been removed by Green, who borrowed design aesthetics from Ross’s 3rd to revive a postage stamp green.

Significant work has been done on all the greens, which in the main are tiered and elevated. Each green complex was rebuilt and redesigned to reclaim corners and edges that had receded or built-up due to sand build-up. Most of the putting surfaces were enlarged and patterned in square-like formations with the occasional extended lobe for precision hole locations. This will allow tournament officials to move pins out to green edges. In most cases the greens are not extremely contoured, and many are long and relatively thin. No Sub-Air is on the property, but with new USGA specification green complexes using the latest materials, the greens are sure to be Major Championship speed, despite the May scheduling. And most noticeably green complexes now have shaved run-off areas which feed into multiple collection areas. For the previous 2013 PGA Championship, greens were surrounded by thick penal rough. That effect is very similar to what we saw at Southern Hills last year.

Every bunker on the course has been re-worked and made to be more in Donald Ross styling. They are more rugged, bolder and do undoubtedly present a challenge. Fairway bunkering, dependent on ball positioning, can penalise half a shot up to a full shot, making players very aware of them as part of their course management strategy.

In summary, with freshly opened holes via tree removal, wider fairways, new bunkers and exposed green edges, Oak Hill’s East Course won’t look or function much like the restricted layout that Jason Dufner dissected in 2013. At the 2013 PGA Championship the East Course was a tight affair, with hundreds of trees encroaching on the course and the lines of approach. Accuracy over power won out in the end. Andrew Green’s renovation adds over 200 yards to the course length, but the removal of over 500 trees will ultimately mean that the East Course, like most PGA Championship venues, will now play more towards power off the tee rather than accuracy.

The key for punters though will be to dissect in detail the weather and what course conditions will be in play during May. Indeed it’s well worth mentioning Oak Hill’s New York State location. With the banks of Lake Ontario within 6 miles, this is a very northerly location for a mid-May hosted PGA Championship. Snow will have still been on the ground in mid-March, and with snowmelt saturating the local water table, plus plenty of precipitation as temperatures increase in the early Spring, you cannot see the East Course playing anything else bar extremely long with limited or no run on the fairways.

The PGA Championship traditionally plays to the advantage of the longer hitters and Oak Hill’s design, allied to soft turf conditions, looks like distance will reap rewards on this PGA of America layout, especially as the super elite hitters will be able to carry most of the fairway bunkers and cut corners on the dog-leg holes.

East Course at Oak Hill Country Club. A long, parkland classic, with elevated greens

Northeastern Major Championship Results Since 2013

8 Major Championships have been played in the Northeastern United States since the start of 2013. New York has staged 3 Majors, Pennsylvania and New Jersey 2 Majors apiece, with Massachusetts holding one, going back to the 2013 U.S. Open won by Justin Rose at Merion. Nationality-wise, Justin and Matt Fitzpatrick have been the only non-Americans to triumph, with Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka (twice) and Bryson DeChambeau all being victorious for the home nation.

Below you’ll find the top 10 finishers across those 8 Majors held in the Northeastern United States since 2013:

2022 U.S. Open – The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts

  • 1st: Matt Fitzpatrick; 2nd: Scottie Scheffler, Will Zalatoris; 4th: Hideki Matsuyama; 5th: Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa; 7th: Keegan Bradley, Adam Hadwin, Denny McCarthy; 10th Joel Dahmen, Gary Woodland.

2020 U.S. Open – West Course, Winged Foot, Mamaroneck, New York

  • 1st: Bryson DeChambeau; 2nd: Matthew Wolff; 3rd: Louis Oosthuizen; 4th: Harris English; 5th: Xander Schauffele; T6: Dustin Johnson, Will Zalatoris; T8: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas.

2019 PGA Championship – Black Course, Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, New York

  • 1st: Brooks Koepka; 2nd: Dustin Johnson; T3: Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Matt Wallace; 6th: Luke List; 7th: Sung Kang; T8: Matt Kuchar, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Erik van Rooyen, Gary Woodland.

2018 U.S. Open – Shinnecock Hills GC, Shinnecock Hills, New York

  • 1st: Brooks Koepka; 2nd: Tommy Fleetwood; 3rd: Dustin Johnson; 4th: Patrick Reed; 5th: Tony Finau; T6: Daniel Berger, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Henrik Stenson; T10: Justin Rose, Webb Simpson.

2016 PGA Championship – Lower Course, Baltusrol, Springfield, New Jersey

  • 1st: Jimmy Walker; 2nd: Jason Day; 3rd: Daniel Summerhays; T4: Branden Grace, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama; T7: Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Robert Streb; T10: Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, William McGirt.

2016 U.S. Open – Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania

  • 1st: Dustin Johnson; T2: Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry, Scott Piercy; T5: Sergio Garcia, Brendan Grace; Woodland; 7th: Kevin Na; T8: Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Daniel Summerhays.

2013 PGA Championship – East Course, Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, New York

  • 1st: Jason Dufner; 2nd: Jim Furyk; 3rd: Henrik Stenson; 4th: Jonas Blixt; T5: Adam Scott, Scott Piercy; 7th: David Toms; T8: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy.

2013 U.S. Open – Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania

  • 1st: Justin Rose; T2: Jason Day, Phil Mickelson; T4: Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Billy Horschel, Hunter Mahan; T8: Luke Donald, Steve Stricker; T10 Nicolas Colsaerts, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama.

Northeastern United States Pedigree

Another intriguing aspect to the last 7 winners of Major Championships held in the Northeastern United States is a proven track record in the area, prior to capturing their title. Now the degree of pedigree varies across champions – as it would with winning prices which vary from 16/1 (Dustin Johnson) to 150/1 (Jimmy Walker) – but what is irrefutable is that every winner of a Major Championship held in this area since the start of 2013 had previous wins or top-12 finishes in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania, prior to lifting their respective trophy.

Matt Fitzpatrick – 2022 U.S. Open Winner

  • 12th – 2018 U.S. Open – Shinnecock

Bryson DeChambeau – 2020 U.S. Open Winner

  • 8th –     2019 Travelers Championship – TPC River Highlands
  • 1st –     2018 Dell Technologies Championship – TPC Boston
  • 1st –     2018 Northern Trust – Ridgewood – New Jersey
  • 8th –     2018 Travelers Championship – TPC River Highlands

Brooks Koepka – 2019 PGA Championship Winner

  • 1st –     2018 U.S. Open – Shinnecock Hills
  • 4th –     2016 PGA Championship – Baltusrol
  • 9th –     2016 Travelers Championship – TPC River Highlands

Brooks Koepka – 2018 U.S. Open Winner

  • 4th –     2016 PGA Championship – Baltusrol
  • 9th –     2016 Travelers Championship – TPC River Highlands

Jimmy Walker – 2016 PGA Championship Winner

  • 9th –     2014 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston
  • 5th –     2009 Turning Stone Championship – Atunyote GC

Dustin Johnson – 2016 U.S. Open Winner

  • 9th –     2015 The Barclays – Plainfield
  • 8th –     2013 PGA Championship – Oak Hill
  • 4th –     2012 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston
  • 3rd –    2012 The Barclays – Bethpage Black
  • 1st –     2011 The Barclays – Plainfield
  • 9th –     2010 The Barclays – Ridgewood
  • 4th –     2009 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston
  • 1st –     2008 Turning Stone Championship – Atunyote GC

Jason Dufner – 2013 PGA Championship Winner

  • 4th –     2013 U.S. Open – Merion
  • 2nd –    2009 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston

Justin Rose – 2013 U.S. Open Winner

  • 6th –     2011 The Barclays – Plainfield
  • 1st –     2010 AT&T National – Aronimink
  • 9th –     2010 The Travelers – TPC River Highlands
  • 4th –     2006 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston
  • 3rd –    2005 Buick Championship – TPC River Highlands
  • 3rd –    2003 Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston

U.S. PGA Championship Tips - Key Points

Donald Ross Winners

Fancy a list of Donald Ross golf course winners on the PGA Tour, who are in the PGA Championship field, going back 5 years?  Thought you might! Oak Hill Country Club member Rory McIlroy leads the way with 2 victories at East Lake:

  • 2018 BMW Championship – Aronimink GC – Keegan Bradley
  • 2018 Tour Championship – East Lake – Tiger Woods
  • 2019 Wyndham Championship – Sedgefield CC – J.T. Poston
  • 2019 Tour Championship – East Lake – Rory McIlroy
  • 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic – Detroit GC – Bryson DeChambeau
  • 2020 Tour Championship – East Lake – Dustin Johnson (Xander Schauffele 72 hole score)
  • 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic – Detroit GC – Cam Davis
  • 2021 Wyndham Championship – Sedgefield CC – Kevin Kisner
  • 2021 Tour Championship – East Lake – Patrick Cantlay (Jon Rahm 72 hole score)
  • 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic – Detroit GC – Tony Finau
  • 2022 Wyndham Championship – Sedgefield CC – Tom Kim
  • 2022 Tour Championship – East Lake – Rory McIlroy

Week Before Finish

This trend was established back in 2006 when the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was added to the schedule a week before the PGA Championship. Naturally the annual visit to Firestone South is no more, but the idea that a player will need to be playing well in their immediate start should be one to consider.

2019 saw the PGA Championship take place in May, and in 2020 the USPGA made an unscheduled return to an August date, the week after the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational played at TPC Southwind. There’s no doubt though that form players win the PGA Championship. 2019 saw Brooks Koepka finish 4th at Trinity Forest GC in Texas the week before lifting the Wannamaker Trophy in 2019. 2020 saw Collin Morikawa finish a hard-charging 20th, powered by a 67/66 across the weekend the week before at St Jude. And 2022 saw Justin Thomas finish 5th at TPC Craig Ranch, shooting 64/67 across Saturday/Sunday which was T4 in that AT&T Byron Nelson field.

Phil Mickelson, as ever, destroys this trend, but even so he was the first round leader at Quall Hollow in his outing before winning the PGA at Kiawah Island, and was still 10th after 36 holes.

The WGC-status Bridgestone Invitational the week before at Firestone South was always a real indicator of who went on to win the PGA Championship. The Firestone-based tournament became the PGA ‘warm up’ in 2006, and from that point onwards the winner of the PGA Championship was firstly always in the Bridgestone field and secondly was always in the top 28 of the tournament.

Previous Week Performance

YearUS PGA ChampionWeek Before Finish
2022Justin Thomas5th
2021Phil Mickelson69th (First Round Leader & 10th after 36 holes)
2020Collin Morikawa20th
2019Brooks Koepka4th
2018Brooks Koepka5th
2017Justin Thomas28th
2016Jimmy Walker11th
2015Jason Day12th
2014Rory McIlroy1st
2013Jason Dufner4th
2012Rory McIlroy5th
2011Keegan Bradley15th
2010Martin Kaymer22nd
2009Y.E. Yang18th
2008Padraig Harrington20th
2007Tiger Woods1st
2006Tiger Woods1st


We also have other precedents here. 2016 saw the Olympic Golf Competition creating massive changes with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational moving to July. Instead the RBC Canadian Open directly preceded the PGA Championship, where Jimmy Walker finished fast on Sunday to grab 11th spot at Glen Abbey.

Excellent immediate tournament form was also key to both Mickelson and Singh’s triumphs in 2005 and 2004 respectively. Mickelson finished 10th in Colorado before jumping on his private jet to New Jersey and winning the following weekend at Baltusrol.  Singh won his prior tournament 2 weeks before the PGA at Warwick Hills, before travelling across to neighbouring Wisconsin to capture his 3rd Major at Whistling Straits. Even Rich Beem in 2002 won at Castle Pines (The International) and then won a fortnight later at Hazeltine.

For me, I will be keeping a very close eye on the preceding Wells Fargo Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson tournament leaderboards, to ascertain who is playing great golf prior to arriving in Oklahoma.

Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green

We all love a statistic, and in the era of the PGA Tour’s Strokes Gained analysis we have plenty to wade through.

Looking at PGA champions’ last tournament performance since 2010, it’s fascinating to see that there are real similarities across the Strokes Gained Tee to Green numbers. Koepka, Thomas, McIlroy (twice), Dufner and Kaymer all ranked within the top 10 of that category at Firestone the week before. 2019 saw Brooks Koepka rank 6th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green and 8th for Greens in Regulation at the Byron Nelson played at Trinity Forest the week before triumphing at Bethpage Black. And in outliers Jimmy Walker – who played the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey – Jason Day (at Firestone), and 2020 champion Collin Morikawa, they still ranked in the top 27 for the SG Tee to Green category and finished 14th, 12th and 20th respectively in their warm-up event, with Jason Day and Collin Morikawa ranking in the top 5 and top 10 respectively for Greens in Regulation.

2022 saw Justin Thomas play the week before the PGA at the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in Texas. JT continued this trend of strong Tee to Green play in the outing prior, ranking 10th for that category as he finished 5th.

Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green

YearPGA WinnerPrevious EventGIRSG Tee-To-Green
2022Justin Thomas5th40th10th
2021Phil Mickelson69th66th72nd
2020Collin Morikawa20th3rd21st
2019Brooks Koepka4th8th6th
2018Brooks Koepka5th1st1st
2017Justin Thomas28th6th3rd
2016Jimmy Walker14th30th25th
2015Jason Day12th9th27th
2014Rory McIlroy1st25th1st
2013Jason Dufner4th18th2nd
2012Rory McIlroy5th2nd2nd
2011Keegan Bradley15th14th12th
2010Martin Kaymer22nd15th8th


Driving Distance is the Key

So what’s the key player attribute that a PGA Championship winner needs in his arsenal to get the job done?

Well with the PGA Championship being played on a stretching 7,400 yard, Par 70, a premium advantage will inevitably return to longer drivers of the golf ball. In recent times that’s always been the case. Taking 2013’s exceptionally tight Oak Hill setup out of the overall picture, every winner of the PGA Championship since 2010 has been a minimum 295 yard hitter from off the tee. To put that into perspective, a 295 yard driver of the golf ball in 2010 ranked in the top 25 for Driving Distance on the PGA Tour:

Driving Distance Analysis

YearPGA WinnerSeason Driving Distance (Yards)
2022Justin Thomas314
2021Phil Mickelson302
2020Collin Morikawa297
2019Brooks Koepka309
2018Brooks Koepka313
2017Justin Thomas310
2016Jimmy Walker301
2015Jason Day314
2014Rory McIlroy306
2012Rory McIlroy312
2011Keegan Bradley301
2010Martin Kaymer294
2009Y.E. Yang291
2008Padraig Harrington296
2007Tiger Woods302
2006Tiger Woods306
2005Phil Mickelson301
2004Vijay Singh301


This is Steve Bamford’s pre-event trends and pointers article. Steve’s final US PGA Championship tips for 2023 will be published here on the Monday of the event.

Thoughts or comments? You can tweet Steve @Bamfordgolf