Upcoming Match-ups

2021 PGA Championship Sleepers and Longshot Picks

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in Golf

Updated May 21, 2021 · 10:19 AM PDT

Xander Schauffele admires a shot
Xander Schauffele watches his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
  • The PGA Championship tees off Thursday (May 20th) at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, in South Carolina
  • Xander Schauffele has finished 6th or better seven times in his 15 Major starts
  • Read below for analysis of the event and our favorite sleepers and longshot plays

Golf’s second Major of the season is here, and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, on paper anyways, projects to be the most difficult Major Championship venue of all-time. Measuring in at over 7,800 yards, with a 155 slope, and nestled along the Atlantic Ocean, this track is a beast and if the wind picks up, look out.

Of course, sky high scores were also projected at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, a course of similar length that can also play treacherous in the wind, but the breeze never surfaced that year and the winning score was -16.

2021 PGA Championship Odds

Golfer Odds to Win Top-10 Odds Top-20 Odds
Xander Schauffele +2200 +225 +110
Paul Casey +7000 +500 +175
Matt Wallace +9000 +800 +400
Si Woo Kim +13000 +900 +400
Matt Kuchar +17500 +1100 +450

Odds as of  May 17th at DraftKings and Bet365

As of right now, the weather this week looks relatively calm, but regardless of the forecast one thing is for sure. A tournament of this magnitude is most likely going to be won by a top-15 player in the world. Since the 2017 Masters, 11 of the past 12 Major winners on U.S. soil have been claimed by players ranked inside the top-15 in the world, with the lone exception begin Gary Woodland at the 2019 U.S. Open.

As a result, we’re not going to stray too deep when searching for a longshot winner, and the first name showing a ton of value is World #4 Xander Schauffele.

X Gon’ Give It to Ya

Xander currently owns the seventh shortest odds to win the PGA Championship, which feels disrespectful given his recent history at Majors. He’s going to breakthrough and win one of these tournaments soon, and this course feels like a prime spot to do so. He’s racked up seven top-6 finishes in his 15 Major starts, with four of those results being T-3 or better.

He hovered around the lead over the weekend at the Masters last month before finishing 3rd, and finished T-5 at the previously mentioned U.S. Open at Erin Hills. He ranks third in this entire field in total strokes gained over the past 100 rounds, while checking in at number seven in strokes gained tee-to-green, eighth in short game, and 13th in ball striking.

As for his recent form, he’s finished fifth or better six times this season in 12 events, and has gained strokes tee-to-green and ball striking in all but one start. He’s one of the premier drivers in the world, and has played some of his best golf at the longest courses on Tour.

Pick: Xander Schauffele to Win Outright (+2200)

Casey Can Handle Major Championship Conditions

It wouldn’t be a Major week without at least some action on Paul Casey. The Englishman came so close at last year’s PGA Championship, finishing runner-up to Collin Morikawa, and his game has been rock solid ever since.

He’s gained strokes ball striking in eight straight tournaments, and has also shown a huge improvement with the putter. Notoriously his weakest link, Casey has actually been positive with the flat stick in four of his past six measured events, and gained 5.3 strokes on the greens at TPC Sawgrass, a Pete Dye designed track just like Kiawah Island.

Pick: Paul Casey Top-10 Finish (+500)

Top-20 Value Picks

  1. Matt Wallace (+400): Since the beginning of April, few players have flashed a better tee-to-green game than Matt Wallace. He’s gained at least 6.1 strokes tee-to-green over each of his past three measured events, and at least 4.6 strokes with his ball striking during that same stretch. He excels on long, difficult tracks, and has finished 19th or better in two of the past three PGA Championships, including a 3rd place result in 2019.
  2. Si Woo Kim (+400): If you’re looking for narratives this week, don’t sleep on Si Woo Kim’s dominance on Pete Dry tracks. Two of his three career wins have come at Dye courses (Players Championship and AmEx) and he also owns a runner-up finish at the RBC Heritage. Over the past 50+ rounds, only six other players have gained more strokes total on Dye designed courses than Kim.
  3. Matt Kuchar (+450): One of those players to gain more strokes than Kim is Matt Kuchar, who’s racked up three top-18 results in his past four starts. After nearly a year’s worth of miserable ball striking, Kuch has found some consistency with his irons, gaining on approach in three straight measured events. If the wind picks up, and the conditions toughen, he’s exactly the type of player who can grind out a t-20 finish, in large part thanks to his terrific short game.
Author Image