PGA Championship 2022: Latest Expectations for Golf's Top Favorites and Sleepers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 17, 2022

PGA Championship 2022: Latest Expectations for Golf's Top Favorites and Sleepers

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    The top golfers in the 2022 PGA Championship field enter Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with massive expectations. 

    Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and others set the bar high for their respective performances with their play over the last few months and years. 

    Rahm has been a fixture in the top 10 at major championships, and that made his tie for 27th at the Masters feel a bit disappointing. 

    Scheffler is expected to be on the first page of the leaderboard at every tournament he enters right now given the blazing hot form that led to his win at the Masters. 

    The favorites will receive the most attention ahead of Thursday's first round, but there are some sleepers worth looking at because of their recent play on the PGA Tour and previous major results. 

Jon Rahm

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    Jon Rahm started off his major season in disappointing fashion by his standards.

    Rahm landed in a tie for 27th at the Masters, and he was not in the conversation for the green jacket all weekend.

    That performance was a steep change from the four top-10 finishes he produced on the major circuit in 2021.

    Rahm won the U.S. Open, landed in a third-place tie at The Open, tied for fifth at The Masters and finished in a tie for eighth place at the PGA Championship.

    Rahm owns one other top-10 placing at the PGA Championship from 2018. He also finished in a tie for 13th at the 2020 tournament.

    The Spaniard rebounded from his average performance at Augusta, Georgia, with a win at the Mexico Open in which he shot four rounds in the 60s.

    The victory was a nice confidence boost for Rahm, who once again assumes the role of pre-tournament favorite.

    Since the start of the 2019 season, Rahm has not gone more than two majors without a top-10 finish.

    The super high standard set over the past few years has been met in most tournaments by Rahm, and we should expect to see him rebound from his worst major finish since he missed the cut at the 2019 PGA Championship.

Scottie Scheffler

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    Emil Lippe/Associated Press

    Scottie Scheffler might be the most popular golfer to pick to win at Southern Hills.

    Scheffler blazed through the Masters to capture his first major title, and he has played well since that triumph.

    The newest major winner produced two rounds under 65 at the Zurich Classic, which is a team event, and then he shot four rounds in the 60s at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Scheffler finished outside the top 20 in one of his last nine starts. That was a tie for 55th at the Players Championship.

    Scheffler has been able to conquer almost every challenge in front of him on the PGA Tour this season, and he is expected to be high on the leaderboard come Sunday.

    As if you needed one more reason to watch out for Scheffler this weekend, Southern Hills is one of his favorite courses.

    Scheffler went to school at Texas and has played on the Tulsa course quite a few times. 

Max Homa

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Max Homa has some sentimental value among the golf fanbase.

    Homa built a large fanbase through his social media following, and his fans have had plenty to celebrate over the last few months.

    Homa won his last start at the Wells Fargo Championship, and he has four other top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour since February.

    He has found consistency in the non-major events, but he has yet to become a contender on the major circuit.

    Homa made the cut at the Masters, but he did not card a round better than 73 at Augusta.

    The 31-year-old American has more missed cuts at majors than top-40 finishes, but this weekend could be the time for those results to turn in his favor.

    Homa could bank off the confidence gained from his recent win and earn his best major finish.

Tony Finau

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Tony Finau's string of major championship results makes him an intriguing sleeper pick to win at Southern Hills. 

    Finau produced consecutive top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship, and he has six top-10 placings across all majors since the start of the 2019 season.

    Finau played some promising golf in two tournaments after the Masters.

    He took second behind Rahm at the Mexico Open, and he started the Wells Fargo Championship with two straight 69s.

    Finau is not in the best form of his career, but he is more than capable of stringing together four solid rounds to be in contention come Sunday.

    Even if he does not win, Finau could come away from Southern Hills with positivity about his performance if he puts himself in contention Sunday.