2023 PGA Championship Preview: Everything To Know About Oak Hill

Written By John Haslbauer on May 17, 2023
PGA Championship odds

Grab yourself a garbage plate, we’re heading to Rochester for the second Major Championship of the season – the 2023 PGA Championship. I graduated from Syracuse about an hour east of here exactly eight years ago to this day, so golf in upstate New York will always hold a special place in my heart (even if the weather is only playable for about half the year). I’ll be there in spirit this week, living vicariously through everyone else fortunate enough to get a seat at Dinosaur Barbecue. Below, we’ll dive into PGA Championship odds.

Set to host a Major championship for the sixth time in its storied history, Oak Hill brings a rejuvenated look and feel. Andrew Green completed an ambitious renovation project to restore the original design. Easy on the eyes, Oak Hill is in pristine shape to host a modern Major and features the length, narrow fairways, penal rough, quirky elevated and fast greens, and uncomfortable greenside hazards necessary to challenge the best players in the world. Another grind in difficult conditions is in store, as the course should play far more difficult now than when Jason Dufner won at -10 in 2013.

We are back for redemption after leaving the 2022 PGA Championship empty-handed with longshot tickets on Mito Pereira and Cameron Young. With a clean slate, we’ll look to bounce back for the same sweat and less heartbreak in my home state of New York.

Before we lock in our golf bets, let’s preview Oak Hill Country Club and find the best PGA Championship odds across sportsbooks.


Scroll to the bottom for complete outright odds and to compare prices across the best sportsbooks in your state. Find opening odds for favorites shorter than 25-1 below. Click on the odds below to bet now.

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S. Scheffler
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J. Rahm
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R. McIlroy
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X. Schauffele
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P. Cantlay
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B. Koepka
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Qualifying for the PGA Championship

It’s a Major Championship week, which means everyone who’s anyone is teeing it up at Oak Hill. The field of 156 players have qualified by meeting one of the following criteria to quality:

  • Former PGA Champion
  • Last five Masters, US Open, and Open Championship winners
  • Last three PLAYERS Championship winners
  • Senior PGA Champion
  • Low 15 scorers and ties in the last PGA Championship
  • Low 20 scorers in the previous PGA Professional Championship
  • Top 70 in PGA Championship points from 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson to 2023 Wells Fargo Championship
  • Players from the most recent US and European Ryder teams (if within OWGR top-100)
  • Any tournament winner co-sponsored or sanctioned by the PGA TOUR since the last PGA Championship
  • Special invitations offered by the PGA Championship committee

Plenty of discourse exists behind the grey areas within PGA Championship qualification criteria. I am all for the concept of offering special invitations to players who pass the eye test as Major contenders but don’t meet the set criteria, considering how antiquated the OWGR system is at the moment. Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, and Joel Dahmen each received special invitations this year.


Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler headline as co-favorites this week, establishing separation from a reeling Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, married to a Rochester native, is a member at Oak Hill and likely more familiar with this course post-restoration than anyone else in this field. After the “Big 2.5,” little separation exists from second-tier of favorites like Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and Tony Finau. They can all be found between 20-1 to 25-1 pre-tournament odds.

Tiger Woods highlights the list of qualified players unable to tee it up this week. He continues to recover back to full health post-leg surgery. Jason Dufner won the last PGA Championship at Oak Hill (2013), but withdrew early Friday.

Should there be any further withdrawals this week, Eric Cole stands to be the next alternate in line. He’s followed by Stephan Jaeger, Sam Stevens, Aaron Rai, and Chesson Hadley.

The list of PGA Champions in the field this week includes Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy.


Like many other classic northeast Major Championship venues, Oak Hill offers a stern all-around test of a player’s complete game from tee-to-green. The winner likely yields a score in single-digits under par.

Driving distance (particularly carry distance to clear the fairway bunkers modernized by Green in 2019) will be advantageous. However, the course isn’t just long for the sake of being long. The presence of long and penal rough surrounding pinched fairways rewards fairway-finders just as well, so long as they atone for their lack of driving distance with elite long irons and touch around the greens.

Patience and strategy around similarly-demanding Major venues is sure to reward veterans in the field this week proven in Major scoring conditions.

History at Oak Hill

Designed by Donald Ross 122 years ago, Oak Hill Country Club is one of the most storied championship golf venues in the United States. Upon completion of the 2008 Senior PGA Championship, Oak Hill became the only club to have hosted all six of the United States’ rotating Men’s Major championships (2x US Amateur, 3x US Open, 3x PGA Championship, 1x Ryder Cup, 1x US Senior Open, and 1x Senior PGA Championship).

The versatility to host this diverse list of tournaments is a testament to the pristine topography and care Oak Hill has undertaken over the last century-plus.

This will be Oak Hill’s third time hosting the PGA Championship. A decade prior to Dufner’s 2013 victory, Shaun Michael won the 2003 PGA Championship. Curtis Strange (’89 US Open), Jack Nicklaus (’80 PGA Championship), Lee Trevino (’68 US Open), and Cary Middlecoff (’56 US Open) round out the list of past Major champions at this venue.

Dufner set the course record with a 7-under 63 in the second round before going on to win at -10 in 2013. With all the work done to this course since to impose more of a stern test to the modern golfer, I think it’s safe to assume the course record won’t be in jeopardy this week.

A New Look in 2023

The 2019 restoration corrected some past renovation and returned it to its original design philosophy. A large part of that original philosophy includes challenging players with elevated, back-to-front sloping greens. Today, the course is less Oak and more Hill.

The course will look and play significantly different this week than it did in 2013. An ambitious tree removal project to turned Oak Hill from a tight, positional layout to a more long and open course that still rewards creating angles and hitting to the correct side of fairways and greens. The restoration also introduced a state-of-the-art drainage system that allows greens to roll faster than ever before. Of course, withstanding the uncertain climate of Rochester.

“We tried to be rustic and rugged and pretty aggressive. The bunkers are most definitely hazards. I might catch a little criticism from them being so penal in places. They’re going to be tough. But part of the personality of this course is being a tough test. What we tried to do with green shapes, bunker shapes, the way they interact with one another, the way the golf shots flow through the property is very much the way Ross intended.”

Green, on restoring the original intent with Oak Hill.

Unlike courses like Quail Hollow, Bay Hill, or Torrey Pines – which are difficult by way of being long and narrow – there is a true penalty for wayward approach shots at by way of awkward greenside runoffs and penal greenside hazards. Elite ball strikers will be rewarded on this layout, but the full field will still be forced to scramble from uncomfortable positions regularly.

How It Breaks Down

A par-70 at just under 7,400 yards, Oak Hill quickly exposes any mis-hits. Its great length, scattered tree lines, long rough, and deep bunkers neighboring the fairways and greens emphasize the need for precision.

If that wasn’t enough trouble to navigate, Allen Creek runs through half the holes on the East Course in a similar fashion to what we saw last year at Southern Hills. The presence of the creek results in forced layups off the tee on several holes, making the course play even longer than the scorecard may suggest.

Very few breather holes exist at Oak Hill. Typically, par-5s offer scoring opportunities on a given course, but two par-5s at Oak Hill measure over 615 yards. It will likely take three quality shots on either hole to generate a viable birdie opportunity. This should help level the playing field for both long and short hitters, as these will be three shot holes for the field at large.

The par-4 14th hole is technically reachable at just 320 yards. However, with severe hazards left, right, and behind the green, players may opt for a more conservative layup here throughout the week. Just four other par-4s measure under 460 yards and these serve as the best opportunities for birdies. Seven par-4s measure over 460 yards and two par-3s over 230 yards. These nine holes are all sure to have a scoring average over par by week’s end.

Using a weighted model of scoring from these exact hole ranges over the 36 rounds, the top-10 players best suited to score on this assortment of holes are: Max Homa, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Tony FInau, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Joaquin Niemann, and Sahith Theegala.

For even more Oak Hill course specs, hole-by-hole breakdown with yardages, and past PGA Championship winners with their pre-tournament odds, visit our PGA Championship odds page.

Editor’s Note


With so much work being done to overhaul Oak Hill since 2013, few actionable takeaways can be drawn from Course History. Green was brought in to help Oak Hill withstand the modern game and impose a stern test for future Majors to come. In that regard, it’s fair to assume that performance in recent PGA Championships will loom important this week.

Looking over the last five PGA Championship venues (Southern Hills, Kiawah Island, TPC Harding Park, Bethpage Black, Bellerive CC), the top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT are: Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, and Adam Scott.

This group predominantly features elite ball-strikers with plus-driving distance and great short game. Morikawa, winner at TPC Harding Park in 2020, is perhaps the only outlier in this group. His 2020 win came mid-COVID in considerably easier scoring conditions than the average PGA Championship.

Course Comps

It’s always difficult to find a perfect course comp for rotating major championship venues. What makes Majors so exciting is that we only see players tested with these extreme conditions and pressure four times per year. It’s not easy to simulate what’s expected of players at a weekly PGA TOUR stop.

What we do know is Oak Hill’s defining characteristics are length, long rough, pinched fairways, and elevated, odd-shaped-yet-small greens with very penal surrounding bunkers. That’s a very specific portrayal, and yet we’ve seen several other courses in the Northeast embody a similar layout.

Top Course Comps

I’m starting with recent Major Championship venues that feature a similar level of competition and difficult scoring conditions. Three clear courses present themselves: Bethpage Black, The Country Club, and Winged Foot. I favor The Country Club as the No. 1 course comp, with the former two truly eliminating players with below-average driving distance in a way I feel Oak Hill won’t. Distance is still an advantage, but strong long iron players who reliably play from the fairway certainly atone for a lack of distance here.

Other recent Major venues worth drawing from include Augusta National, Kiawah Island (for its length and tricky greenside hazards), Torrey Pines, and Southern Hills.

Other Course Comps, Top Performers

I also like Olympia Fields, Muirfield Village, and Riviera CC in a next tier as difficult venues that feature strong fields and a high percentage of long iron approaches from penal rough into difficult surrounding greenside hazards.

Combine performance across this list, and the top-10 players in Comp Course History here are: Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Justin Thomas, Joaquin Niemann, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Max Homa.

Note: While not included in this list of primary comp courses, I do think Quail Hollow, TPC Potomac, St. George’s G&CC, Wilmington CC, and East Lake will serve as viable reference points, though less challenging of a test overall than what is in store this week at Oak Hill. East Lake is an imperfect comp, but it is the closest Donald Ross design on the regular PGA TOUR schedule to the overall test that awaits at Oak Hill.


  • SG: T2G (Recent Form)
  • SG: OTT / Driving Distance
  • SG: APP / Prox 200+
  • SG: ARG / Scrambling / Sand Saves Gained
  • Par-4: 450-500
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Major History (L5 Years)
  • SG: TOT (Difficult Scoring Conditions) / Comp Course History
  • SG: Putting (Bent)

It’s always a great irony trying to pull a model together for a Major. These are the weeks we want to dig in the most for, and yet common sense often still prevails. A very short list of players are actually capable of leaning on their all around tee-to-green skillsets to separate from the pack on this difficult of a layout.

Players who lack a complete, all-around skillset will be exposed at Oak Hill and, although conveniently cliché, you are going to need to have a complete game in terms of SG: OTT, SG: APP, and SG: ARG in order to compete at this venue.

Top Performers

The top players in those main three categories are as follows:

  • SG: OTT: Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler, Hayden Buckley, Gary Woodland, Viktor Hovland, Keith Mitchell, Joaquin Niemann, Brendan Steele, and Cameron Young
  • SG: APP: Tom Hoge, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Wyndham Clark, Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler, Scottie Scheffler, Mito Pereira, and Jon Rahm
  • SG: ARG: Brendon Todd, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Ben Griffin, Tommy Fleetwood, Chris Kirk, Talor Gooch, Sungjae Im, Patrick Reed, and Jimmy Walker

In order of priority, I would have to rank SG: APP first and foremost, followed by SG: ARG, then SG: OTT. Regardless of how sharp a player’s irons are, good shots are going to miss the greens and require scrambling for pars. That makes skills and touch around the green essential here. While position off the tee determines how many scoring opportunities a player actually generates, the course is designed to get more challenging as you get closer to the hole.

Most Well-Rounded Players

In the spirit of well-roundedness, just 14 players in this field rank above-average in each of the four major SG categories (OTT, APP, ARG, P): Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Sungjae Im, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Wyndham Clark, Chris Kirk, Hideki Matsuyama, Nick Taylor, and Adam Svensson.

Weighting the priority stats, 10 players rank top-30 in SG: APP, top-40 in SG: ARG, and above-average in SG: OTT: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth, Wyndham Clark, Tom Kim, Mito Pereira, and Harold Varner III. Of that list, Day, Homa, Spieth, and Clark also rate out as above average putters.

With a return to the Northeast in mind, the top-10 putters on Bentgrass greens who are also above-average in SG: T2G are: Patrick Cantlay, Brendon Todd, Keegan Bradley, Thorbjorn Olesen, Denny McCarthy, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Max Homa, and Viktor Hovland.

Complete Game For Difficult Conditions

A difficult Major venue is known to put pressure on every aspect of your game, which is why Major champions are celebrated in the height of golf lore. While there are only four Majors per year, plenty of events feature difficult scoring conditions that we can draw from when modeling for top course fits this week.

The top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT across all US-based Majors over the last five years are: Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, and Collin Morikawa.

Looking beyond Majors to all courses played in difficult scoring conditions over the last two seasons, the top 10 grinders are: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sungjae Im, Jon Rahm, Sam Burns, Cam Smith, Max Homa, Justin Thomas, and Collin Morikawa.

To summarize, I’m looking for players who are proven in comp difficult conditions and past Majors, are well-rounded in SG: OTT, APP, and ARG, and excel in Par-4: 450-500 scoring and Proximity 200+. Just seven players in the field this week fit each of those criteria:

  • Jon Rahm
  • Tony Finau
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Joaquin Niemann
  • Si Woo Kim


I’m not running to bet Justin Thomas at the moment. I’m not saying he stacks up better than Rahm or Scheffler to attack Oak Hill, because he doesn’t. I would even go as far as to say that Plan A is to find the best number available on either Scheffler or Rahm on a pseudo-single bullet outright card.

But the case for the two co-favorites to play well at Oak Hill is clear. Even if I myself don’t land on Thomas for my outright card, he strikes me as an elite player in this field whose outright odds are most likely to drift, or to go overlooked in pools or in DFS.

A PGA Champion

A two-time PGA Championship winner in 2017 (Quail Hollow) and 2022 (Southern Hills), Thomas hoisted the Wannamaker trophy twice more than the two prohibitive favorites. It’s been just about a full calendar year since Thomas was in contention late into Sunday, which is a jarring statement for a player of his caliber. But that’s the reason I believe Thomas is most primed to slip down the odds board as the week goes on.

Thomas has been a model of consistency from tee-to-green. He ranks No. 8 in SG: T2G over the last 36 rounds and gained 5+ strokes from tee-to-green in seven of his first 10 starts this year.

The story with Thomas at this stage of his career centers around his putter. His inability to get hot on the greens capped him off with a slew of top-25 results. A positive showing on the greens in his last start at Quail Hollow (T14) may be the kickstart he needs entering a course that’s anything but a putting contest.

Difficult Major conditions accentuate SG: ARG to the highest degree as hazards become more hazardous and greens become increasingly more difficult to reach in regulation. That’s the strength of Thomas’ game. He ranks No. 2 in SG: ARG, a skillset he leaned on to separate from the field in his last two victories at the 2022 PGA Championship and 2021 PLAYERS. Thomas ranks top 10 in Comp Course History, SG: TOT in Majors, SG: ARG, and SG: T2G (L36) – the only player in this field who brings that level of elite all-around play for difficult conditions to Oak Hill.

It’s too early to tell whether he’ll make my final outright card. But if not, I’ll have plenty of exposure to the defending champion in both DFS and Pools this week.


It’s a return to the scene of the crime where Mito Pereira drowned our hopes of a 300-1 ticket in the creek on 18 at Southern Hills. I am a sucker for pain, so will in all likelihood find a way to expose myself to more Mito heartbreak in 2023.

The main headline leading into the Masters, the first major of the year, was how LIV players would fare after an extended break from 72-hole competition. LIV players passed that first test with flying colors as Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Patrick Reed all impressed with top-five finishes. Augusta National is the type of venue where course horses show up in the absence of immediate form. I believe a field of 156 at a thoroughly-demanding course in Oak Hill will be the first true litmus test to see how the best LIV players clash with the best players from the rest of the world.

I would say it’s less likely that a LIV player contends this week than at The Masters. But, it would make for compelling drama to see Koepka, Dustin Johnson, or Cam Smith battle down the stretch Sunday. Aside from those three, I have a hard time seeing any other LIV players in the all-around form needed to win at this course.

With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the 2023 PGA Championship odds, as well. I’ve broken the list down by tier for DraftKings, with DFS pricing and odds already released.

2023 PGA Championship Model Breakdown

In my model, I’m emphasizing Comp Course History, SG: APP, SG: ARG, SG: OTT, SG: T2G (L12), and SG: TOT (Difficult Scoring Conditions (L2 Years) followed by a more balanced mix of Par-4: 450-500, Prox: 200+, SG: P (L36, Bent), Bogey Avoidance, Sand Saves Gained, and Driving Distance.

Model Favorites

The reigning Masters champion is poised to sweep the first half of the Major season according to my model. Favorite Jon Rahm claims the No. 1 spot this week. He’s a logical fit for this course and makes for a sensible single bullet strategy, ranking No. 1 in SG: TOT in Majors over the last five years.

After Rahm, the rest of my model’s top 10 this week features: Tony Finau, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Scottie Scheffler, Sungjae Im, Justin Thomas, and Max Homa.

I’m attempting to stay patient and wait out continued PGA Championship odds drift in Major week. We’re starting to see more sportsbooks compete for market share with enticing odds boosts and promos. To date, my only PGA Championship future bet is a 50-1 on Max Homa, which I would still endorse at its current price. I am considering a short card of just Rahm or Scheffler in addition to the Homa bet but, if not, I also like the odds available on Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas in the next tier.

Check back in later this week for more updates, and best of luck navigating 2023 PGA Championship odds!


Find odds for the 2023 PGA Championship below:

John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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