50 players to watch at the PGA Championship (2023)

The strongest field in golf is set for the season's second major at Oak Hill this week for the PGA Championship.

With 99 of the top-100 players in the world set to tee it up, it can be difficult to figure out who to hone in on over the four days.

Luckily, we've done that part for you with this list of 50.

The big names

1. Jon Rahm - The World No. 1 is on an absolute heater in 2023 with four wins already, including the Masters and the Genesis Invitational. Enters as the clear betting favorite, but the PGA Championship has been his worst major with only one top-five finish in six starts.

2. Scottie Scheffler - A threat to win every single time with a game that should fit Oak Hill perfectly. Already won The Players and Phoenix Open this year and comes in off a fifth-place finish at the Byron Nelson.

3. Rory McIlroy - This is somewhat of a home game for McIlroy as his wife's family are longtime members at Oak Hill. Missed cuts at both The Players and the Masters cast doubt upon his ability to finally secure a fifth major win this week.

4. Brooks Koepka - Silenced those suggesting his move to LIV eroded his skills with a brilliant showing at the Masters. Can become just the sixth man to win at least three PGA Championships with a victory.

50 players to watch at the PGA Championship (1)

5. Cam Smith - The PGA Championship hasn't traditionally been favorable toward Smith with just one top-20 finish in seven starts. However, he comes in showing decent form with a sizzling 61 in the final round of LIV Tulsa.

6. Collin Morikawa - Doesn't get the same fanfare as the five names ahead of him but is just as dangerous to claim a victory this week. Would become the 10th player since World War II to win two PGA Championships and an Open Championship - a remarkable feat at age 26.

7. Justin Thomas - Defending champion captured his second PGA Championship in thrilling fashion with a seven-shot comeback in last year's final round. Will need to turn things around on the greens to contend as he currently ranks 132nd on TOUR in strokes gained: putting.

8. Jordan Spieth - A PGA Championship would make him just the sixth man ever to win the career grand slam. Was forced to withdraw from last week's Byron Nelson due to a wrist injury but is good to go this week.

9. Matthew Fitzpatrick - Last year's U.S. Open winner has become a force in major championships with five straight finishes of 21st or better. His distance gains should prove very beneficial on the challenging Oak Hill layout.

10. Dustin Johnson - Remains one of the world's most talented players, as evidenced by his victory this past weekend at LIV Tulsa. Looking to become the eighth player ever to win the U.S. Open, Masters, and PGA Championship.

11. Hideki Matsuyama - The 2021 Masters champion has shown up in the biggest events this season with a fifth-place showing at The Players and a top-15 at the Masters. Placed inside the top 20 last time the PGA was held at Oak Hill in 2013 with a final-round 66.

Stars seeking 1st major

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12. Xander Schauffele - With 16 top-25 finishes in 23 career majors, he's regularly spotted on the first page of the leaderboard. The time has come for him to finally break through and bag one of the sport's biggest events.

13. Sam Burns - The 26-year-old now has five wins on TOUR but has yet to crack the top 20 in 11 career major starts.

14. Patrick Cantlay - Struggled for years in major championships but now has three straight top-15 finishes to his name.

15. Tony Finau - The man who couldn't close has now racked up four wins in the last two years on TOUR. His all-around game should make him a big threat for his first major victory at Oak Hill.

16. Max Homa - One of the strongest players on TOUR weekly but has struggled mightily in majors, with just one top-25 finish in 14 events.

17. Viktor Hovland - Still only 25 years old and trending in the right direction with two top-seven finishes in his last two majors. His elite ball-striking should keep him out of the lengthy rough at Oak Hill.

18. Sungjae Im - Missed eight of 14 cuts in the majors and has zero top-15 finishes away from Augusta National. Comes in hot after winning the Korean PGA event on the weekend.

Fan favorites without a major

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19. Rickie Fowler - Due to a severe dip in form, he's qualified for only three of the last eight majors. He's fresh off returning to the top 50 of the OWGR for the first time since the 2020 Masters.

20. Tommy Fleetwood - His iron game still holds up against the world's best, allowing him to thrive in tough conditions. Has two top-five finishes in his last four majors.

21. Sahith Theegala - One of the stars of Netflix's "Full Swing" has never played in the PGA Championship but is fresh off a ninth-place finish at the Masters in just his third major as a professional.

22. Joel Dahmen - One of the more likeable players on TOUR, he's attracted a solid following in recent years. While he likes to downplay his skills, a T-10th at last year's U.S. Open shows he has the game to compete in majors.

23. Tyrrell Hatton - Perhaps the most relatable golfer in the world thanks to his hilarious antics on the course, Hatton is another entrant whose strong TOUR play hasn't translated to majors. Oak Hill's setup should suit his pinpoint iron game.

LIV contingent

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24. Phil Mickelson - Went from the oldest major champion in history at the 2021 PGA to not defending his title last year due to the firestorm surrounding his comments about LIV Golf. Mickelson is back and comes in full of confidence after his blazing final round at the Masters.

25. Talor Gooch - One of the hottest golfers on the planet the last few weeks due to his back-to-back wins on LIV. Has failed to produce in majors, with just one top-15 showing in nine starts.

26. Bryson DeChambeau - There was a time when he would have been one of the betting favorites for this event, but DeChambeau's game has fallen off a cliff since joining LIV. Despite that dip, he's still must-watch television.

27. Patrick Reed - Reed's poor driving doesn't seem like a good fit for the challenging Oak Hill layout - something that will almost surely make him rise to the occasion and contend.

28. Joaquin Niemann - The Chilean remains one of the best young talents in the game but has only one top-20 finish in 11 career major starts. Caused a stir ahead of the Masters with his comments about LIV golfers beating PGA TOUR players in the majors.

29. Mito Pereira - Lost last year's PGA Championship in heartbreaking fashion thanks to a double-bogey on the 72nd hole. Game is trending in the right direction with three top-six finishes on LIV this season.

30. Abraham Ancer - Another player whose game has declined on LIV, with just one finish inside the top 10 since he joined the 48-man circuit. At his peak, one of the more accurate ball-strikers in the world.

Trending veterans

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31. Adam Scott - Shared the first-round lead at Oak Hill for the 2013 PGA Championship before eventually finishing tied for fifth. Trending upward with top-eight finishes in his last two TOUR events.

32. Jason Day - Another Aussie who played well in 2013 at Oak Hill, tying for eighth. The 2015 winner is looking to become the first Australian player to claim two PGA Championships in his career and just notched his first PGA TOUR win since 2018 last week in Dallas.

33. Keegan Bradley - The winner of the 2011 PGA Championship already has a win and a second-place showing this season on TOUR. His iron play should make him a trendy pick at Oak Hill.

34. Wyndham Clark - The 29-year-old finally broke through with his first career TOUR win two weeks ago at Quail Hollow. He's played well all season with 16 straight made cuts and four top-six finishes in his last six events.

35. Si Woo Kim - Good, bad or ugly, it's always an entertaining round from the electric South Korean. While he has zero top-10 finishes in 24 major starts, he comes to Oak Hill fresh off a second-place showing at the Byron Nelson.

36. Justin Rose - Rose's solid all-around game is tailor-made for major championship golf. The 2013 U.S. Open champion already has a win under his belt this year at Pebble Beach and sat in fifth place after 36 holes at Oak Hill in 2013.

Young hitters

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37. Cameron Young - One of the longest players in golf, Young's power game will attempt to dominate Oak Hill from tee to green. While he's only played in a handful of majors in his young career, Young has three top-seven finishes in his last four.

38. Tom Kim - The international star of last year's Ryder Cup brings his exciting game to Oak Hill for his second career PGA Championship. The 20-year-old is battling a wrist injury as he looks for his first career top-10 finish in a major.

39. Nicolai Hojgaard - One half of the twin brothers from Denmark is ranked 107th in the world - eight spots better than Rasmus. The 22-year-old Nicolai already has two wins on the DP World Tour.

40. Rasmus Hojgaard - The young Danish star has one more professional win than his brother and made the cut in his PGA Championship debut last year.

41. Min Woo Lee - Was in contention to win The Players until a final-round 76 dropped him into a tie for sixth. The 24-year-old has an appealing style of play that can result in very volatile scoring.

42. Justin Suh - The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year has only missed one cut in his last 16 events. Unfortunately, it happened last weekend at the Byron Nelson - not the type of result you want heading into a major.

International players eyeing breakthrough

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43. Corey Conners - The Canadian with the smooth tempo possesses the ball-striking skills to compete in majors, but he has yet to deliver outside of three top-10 finishes at Augusta National. Conners is trending in the right direction with a victory and an eighth-place showing in his last four events.

44. Mackenzie Hughes - Another Canadian looking for a major breakthrough who already has a win on TOUR this season. Enters after a strong week in Dallas with a 14th-place finish at the Byron Nelson.

45. Cam Davis - Flashed his immense talent at last year's Presidents Cup in Charlotte. Has only played in four career majors but has made the cut each time.

46. Thomas Detry - Played three great rounds in his native Belgium last weekend before fading Sunday at the Soudal Open. Only made the cut at two of five career majors but has the type of all-around game that should play well at Oak Hill.

47. Ryan Fox - New Zealander who absolutely mashes the ball off the tee, ranking second on the DP World Tour last year with a 318-yard average drive. Has yet to find much success at majors with one top-20 finish in 15 starts.

48. Adrian Meronk - The lanky 6-foot-6 standout has won three DP World Tour events since last July - all national opens. Unfortunately, this is the PGA Championship and not the U.S. Open, but it's worth keeping an eye on the best Polish golfer of all time.

49. Shane Lowry - The Irishman thrives in difficult conditions, a quality that should serve him well at Oak Hill. However, it's been a grind lately for Lowry as he's failed to break par in seven of his last nine rounds on TOUR.

50. Adam Hadwin - Has only one top-10 major finish in his career but it came in his last start at the U.S. Open last June. His game has been up and down all season, but he did fire three 67s last week in Dallas.

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