10 Players Under 30 to Watch at the 2022 PGA Championship
Southern Hills is a vastly different golf course than the one players encountered the last time the PGA Championship visited in 2007, and frankly, many in this week’s field are seeing the course for the first time.
Gil Hanse, who with his design partner Jim Wagner oversaw a historic restoration of Perry Maxwell’s 1936 gem, thinks the winner of the 104th PGA Championship will be a player who thinks his way around the course well. This surely will be a complete test.
Those winning the PGA Championship recently have skewed younger. In the last 12 years, 10 players in their 20s have captured the Major Championship.
Here are 10 young guns in their 20s completely capable of getting the job done at this week’s PGA Championship.
- Joaquin Niemann (23): At such a young age, an incredible talent who dusted the field earlier this year at Riviera (Genesis Invitational), one of the Tour’s more demanding courses. Has yet to put it together at a major, but he’s a fighter, and could be a factor this week.
- Cameron Young (25): Has quietly been having a sensational rookie campaign, with three runner-up finishes on his record. Ranks seventh in driving distance (315.7 yards) and second overall in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. The driver could set him up to have a big week.
- Jordan Spieth (28): Spieth comes into Southern Hills in excellent form, with a victory (RBC Heritage) and a runner-up finish (AT&T Byron Nelson) in his last two starts. It’s a great chance for him to finish off a career Grand Slam.
- Scottie Scheffler (25): If Scheffler wins for the fifth time in 2022, and collects his second consecutive major, then will he get his due? The World No. 1 has played better than anyone this year and is coming to a place he loves. Scheffler won the 2015 Big 12 Conference tournament at Southern Hills.
- Xander Schauffele (28): He was 3 over par through 23 holes of last week’s Byron Nelson event, then took off like a jet. His next 47 holes he played in 26 under par. Different test, but great momentum. He likes big stages. Good time to be hot with the putter.
- Jon Rahm (27): You could not have a list of 20-something contenders and leave off this talented Spaniard. He was playing well but didn’t have a recent win, then got it with a hot performance at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Great ball striker, wants to start adding more majors.
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout (28): The South African likes his chances on tougher courses, where par means something, hits it straight and ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in scrambling. A good combo at Southern Hills.
- Justin Thomas (29): Winning at Southern Hills will take a complete game, and Thomas has all the tools. Ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, so if he can get his driver in play, it will allow him to play aggressively. Winner of the 2017 PGA.
- Viktor Hovland (24): The smiling Norwegian hits it so pure, it’s just a matter of him holing enough putts to keep momentum on his side. Played his college golf at Oklahoma State, so very familiar with conditions. If the wind blows, he likes his chances.
- Collin Morikawa (25): At such a young age, Morikawa has the complete package, and his overall ball-striking is difficult to overlook. Winner of the PGA in 2020 at Harding Park, he learns courses fast, and will be ahead of many at a venue that few players know very well.