Complete Guide to the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2022

Complete Guide to the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills

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    Rob Carr/Associated Press

    There are few weeks like a major championship week.

    The best of the best in the game of golf will converge on Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to vie for the second of four majors on the 2022 calendar—the 104th PGA Championship.

    It's the eighth time a major has been played on the course, which is configured this time around as a par 70, 7,556-yard gauntlet. The PGA was played there previously in 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2007, and it's also hosted the U.S. Open in 1958, 1977 and 2001.

    Guaranteed entrants in this year's field include past PGA winners; recent winners of the other three majors and the Players Championship; the top 15 finishers from the 2021 PGA; and the playing members of the 2021 Ryder Cup teams who are ranked within the world's top 100 players as of May 9.

    Phil Mickelson, last year's champion, declined to come to Tulsa to defend his title, but 2020 winner Collin Morikawa is on the short list of favorites. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods—who won when the event was last played at Southern Hills—has decided to play in his second competitive appearance of the year.

    It's certain to be a memorable week, and the B/R golf team has put together a comprehensive collection of all the information you'll need as you prepare to be immersed all tournament long.

Where to Watch on Television

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    ESPN and CBS will provide 30 hours of live broadcast coverage Thursday through Sunday, with an early evening finish scheduled for the final round.

    ESPN+ will be the primary streaming home for the tournament, including early round coverage, featured groups and featured hole coverage for all four days.

    Weekend CBS telecasts can be streamed on Paramount+.

        

    Thursday

    2-8 p.m., ESPN    

    Friday

    2-8 p.m., ESPN    

    Saturday

    10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN

    1-7 p.m., CBS

    Sunday

    10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN

    1-7 p.m., CBS

Biggest Storylines

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    Ben Jared/Getty Images

    The Champ is NOT Here

    It's news when a major champion doesn't elect to defend a title.

    It's even bigger news when that champion is one of the most recognizable players in the sport.

    Such is the case with Phil Mickelson, who won an unlikely title at age 50 last year at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, but won't be going for a repeat in Tulsa thanks to the fallout of a running feud with the PGA Tour.

    He's the first major champ to not defend since Rory McIlroy missed the Open Championship in 2015 because of an injury, and Mickelson is just the third PGA winner to not return in the last 75 years. Tiger Woods missed the 2008 PGA while rehabbing from knee surgery following his win at the 2007 event at Southern Hills, and Ben Hogan was unable to play in 1949 after suffering significant injuries in a car accident. 

         

    But Tiger IS Here

    So, about that Woods guy.

    Indeed, the 15-time major winner—including four PGA Championships—is back at the site of his win 15 years ago as he continues to search for his game following a car accident in February 2021.

    Woods was an attention magnet last month at Augusta, Georgia, when he returned to the Masters for his first competitive tournament since the crash and managed to make the cut with rounds of 71 and 74.

    A pair of 78s on the weekend saw him fall to 47th place, but the mere effort won him almost universal praise. The idea that he's feeling better in time for a major being played on a course at which he's won is fueling the buzz even more.

         

    The Career Grand Slam

    McIlroy has never won the Masters. Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open.

    And Jordan Spieth has never won the PGA Championship.

    But unlike the first two players, who'll have to wait a while before getting another crack at their missing pieces, Spieth arrives in Tulsa with a shot at becoming the sixth player in history to win the career Grand Slam.

    He'll make his attempt on the heels of a successful post-Masters stretch in which he won the RBC Heritage in a playoff over Patrick Cantlay last month and finished second at the AT&T Byron Nelson, just a shot off the pace of winner Kyoung-Hoon Lee last weekend. 

    Only Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Gary Player have won all four majors.

The Top Groupings

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Thursday, 9:11 a.m. ET; Friday, 2:36 p.m. ET

    Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods

    Even if you're just a casual golf fan, there's an excellent chance you'll find a way to tune in as a trio with 22 major victories—including six at this event—makes its way around the Southern Hills layout.

    We'll concede that it's Woods with the lion's share (15 majors, four PGAs) of those numbers, but there's always a buzz when McIlroy plays and Spieth arrives in Tulsa with a chance at a career Grand Slam.

    Must-see TV. Period.

           

    Thursday, 2:36 p.m. ET; Friday, 9:11 p.m. ET

    Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler

    Where Spieth, McIlroy and Woods provide 36 holes of sizzle, it's a good bet that the threesome of Rahm, Morikawa and Scheffler will produce a significant amount of steak.

    Not only are they the top three players in the world—Scheffler first, Rahm second, Morikawa third—heading into the weekend, but they've each won a major since 2021.

    The fact that Morikawa is also a past PGA champ? We'll call that the gravy. 

             

    Thursday, 2:14 p.m. ET; Friday, 8:49 a.m. ET

    Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas

    Sheesh. Talk about hard acts to follow.

    While one group has a room full of major trophies and the other possesses the most desirable rankings real estate, it's not as if Johnson, Cantlay and Thomas are arriving as crash test dummies.

    DJ is a two-time major winner and has a pair of second-place finishes at the PGA, while Thomas won the thing in 2017, and Cantlay is coming in hot, with a victory, two seconds and six top-10s in 10 2022 events.

The Top Contenders

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Jon Rahm

    Get used to it, because Rahm is going to be listed as a top contender at every major for the foreseeable future—unless his game goes to pieces or he's elevated outright to the favorite's position.

    The Spaniard won the U.S. Open last season and was eighth or better at the other three majors, too. He has finished as high as a tie for fourth at the PGA. If not for Scheffler's torrid play, he'd be first in the world.

    He was a one-shot winner at the Mexico Open earlier this month in his last event. He'll be in the mix.

        

    Collin Morikawa

    You can go ahead and file Morikawa's name alongside Rahm's as one of those recurring top contenders, guys, and it applies even more here because the kid is somehow still just 25 years old.

    Nevertheless, he's already a two-time major champion after having won the PGA in his first try in 2020 and adding the Open Championship to it last year. In fact, nine major starts have yielded five top-10 finishes.

    He's gotten four top 10s this year, too, including a fifth-place finish at the Masters. He's ready to challenge again.

          

    Jordan Spieth

    Rahm and Morikawa already have a pretty nice head start when it comes to Hall of Fame careers. But Spieth is a guy who has proved that just becomes it comes easy, it doesn't stay easy.

    The Texan was the best player in the world in 2015 after bagging two majors but sank to 82nd by the end of 2020 after three straight seasons without a win of any kind. And now, he's back in the high life again.

    Spieth can secure a career Grand Slam at age 28 with a win this week, and he arrives with a hot hand having won the RBC Heritage last month and finished second at last week's AT&T Byron Nelson. 

The Dark Horses

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Tiger Woods

    OK, we know. He's still a guy in his mid-40s who's coming off a significant injury and has played just one competitive tournament in the last 15 months.

    But he's still Tiger Woods. And that still matters.

    Would we suggest anyone wager the mortgage money on the prospect of him winning a 16th major? No way. Still, he says he feels better, and he's playing a course on which he's won a major. So...maybe?

        

    K.H. Lee

    There's something smart about suggesting that a guy who played well enough to win the last tournament heading into the PGA Championship might have a chance of maintaining that mojo for another week.

    With that said, we give you Lee, who won his second straight AT&T Byron Nelson with a nine-under-par 63 in the final round that provided a one-stroke cushion over Spieth.

    The win jolted his world ranking from 88th to 41st, which indicates a statistical roller coaster heading in precisely the right direction as the field moves to Tulsa. Of course, given that he's missed the cut at all five majors in which he's previously played, make sure your seat belt is securely buckled.

           

    Tyrrell Hatton

    Hatton fits the clinical definition of a dark horse. He's a world-class player, but he's well under the radar to anyone other than hardcore fans, and he's never won an event on the level of a PGA Championship.

    Still, he's worthy of a hunch. Four top-10 finishes in 10 events this year indicate he's got a top end to his game, and five career top 10s at majors prove he can have it ready to show off during big weeks.

    He tied for 10th at the PGA in both 2016 and 2018 and is an elite putter. In fact, he stands second on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting—23 spots ahead of some guy named Scheffler. That might matter.

The Favorite

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.

    Those who were slow to buy in to Scottie Scheffler's torrid start to the 2022 season may have downplayed his chances heading into the Masters last month, but that won't happen again.

    Leading after the second, third and final rounds on the way to a three-shot win will ensure that.

    Scheffler has played just once since Augusta and managed just a tie for 15th at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but it would be ridiculous to dismiss his chances at bagging the second piece of a calendar Grand Slam.

    He tied for eighth at the event last year at Kiawah Island and went on to record top-10 finishes at both the U.S. Open and the Open Championship later in the year before busting through for his first title in April.

    A strong track record of contention at majors, four wins in nine tournaments this year and the confidence that comes with being regarded as the world's best player—it's all lining up for the 25-year-old Texan.

        

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