US PGA Championship 2023: 10-year trends point to...

The Wanamaker trophy
Who will win the Wanamaker trophy this year?

Dave Tindall looks at the make-up of the last 10 US PGA champions to try and find this year's winner...

Switching these trends features to a scoring system seems to have had a bit of success so far.

In the two US Masters previewed, the top picks have finished runner-up (Rory McIlroy in 2022) and fourth (Jordan Spieth in 2023). Both were around the 16/1 mark.

So let's apply the same thinking for next week's US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

One slight disadvantage compared to the US Masters is that this tournament moves around although the 2013 edition was also held at Oak Hill.

However, as we'll note, the course has become a different beast since then.

Right, time to get stuck in and list the categories involved.

They are: Age, Nationality, World Ranking, Form in 2022/23, Current Form, US PGAs Played, Past US PGA Performance, Recent Major Form and Course Fit.

Age - Young players fare best

Let's use the opening category to remind ourselves of the points scoring system. The key is frequency and I'll award points based on how often each age group won across the last 10 editions of the US PGA. So as seven 20-somethings won, anyone in their 20s this year is awarded 7pts. Here's the allocation.

In their 20s = 7pts
In their 30 = 2pts
In their 40s = 0pts
In their 50s = 1pt

Previously, I'd have just struck a line through anyone 30 or over given that 'in their 20s' was the dominant trend. So 34-year-old Rory gets fewer points rather than being eliminated.

Nationality - Home team deliver winners

This has been a good tournament for home American players. They've been successful in eight of the last 10 editions including each of the last seven. The other two were won by McIlroy and Australian Jason Day.

American = 8pts
European/Rest of World = 2pts

World Ranking - A tournament for the elite

Seven of the last 10 winners were ranked in the world's top 15, showing how this has been a good event for golf's elite. A couple of surprise winners (Phil Mickelson 116th and Jimmy Walker 48th) give some hope to those not high up the world rankings.

Ranked 1-15 = 7pts
Ranked 16 or higher = 3pts

Winning Form - Wins in 2022/23 are big

This used to be an excellent event for players who had already posted a win that same season. Phil Mickelson hadn't but he broke just about every trend. Six of the last 10 champions had already banked some silverware in the season of their US PGA triumph while three others had posted at least a top four.

Won this season = 6pts
Best of 2nd to 4th this season = 3pts
Top 20 this season = 1pt

Current Form - Top 20s a positive pointer

This is where it gets a little tricky given that I'm writing this before the AT&T Byron Nelson is completed but more on that later. The big trend is that playing well before the US PGA is a great pointer to success. Again Mickelson bucked it two years ago but eight of the last 10 champions had posted a top 20 on their previous start.

Top 20 on previous start = 8pts
No top 20 on previous start = 2pts

US PGAs Played - 0-5 is the bracket to focus on

Again, ignore Mickelson the outlier and focus on another strong trend that has emerged. This has turned into the best major for relative newcomers and eight of the last 10 winners had teed it up in no more than five previous US PGAs. Collin Morikawa in 2020 was making his US PGA debut, as was Keegan Bradley in 2011 although he's now fallen out of the study period (2013-2022). That's very different to the US Masters where no first-timer has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Played from zero to five previous PGAs = 8pts
Played in over five previous PGAs = 2pts

Collin Morikawa.jpg

Past US PGA Performance - Look for event top 20

Even though it's the major won early in a career, nine of the last 10 champions had already signalled their intentions with a previous top 20 in the event. That's one trend that Mickelson actually does help with!

Top 20 in a previous PGA = 9pts
No top 20 in a previous PGA = 1pt

Recent Major Form - Top 10 in previous two

US PGA winners rarely come out of thin air. Often they've telegraphed their victory with a strong performance in a relatively recent major.

The stats show that seven of the last 10 winners had posted a top 10 in one the previous two majors. Justin Thomas added to the list last year having finished tied eighth at the US Masters before landing this trophy.

Top 10 in one of previous two majors = 7pts
No top 10 in one of previous two majors = 3pts

Course Fit - Big hitters preferred

When Jason Dufner won at Oak Hill in 2013, it seemed the course had thrown up an appropriate winner given that he was a straight hitter, not a long one.

But for this year's edition, the course has been lengthened, trees have been removed and it looks set up to be more like a typical US PGA track which rewards big hitting. That's reflected in the fact that seven of the last 10 US PGA winners ranked in the top 30 for Driving Distance in the season of their victory.

So, quite simply, let's head to the PGA Tour's Driving Distance stats and give big hitters more points.

Ranked 1-30 = 7pts
Ranked 31-100 = 2pts
Ranked 101 or higher = 1pt

And that's all nine categories complete. So...

The Top Points Scorers

The scores are in and - drumroll - these are the top eight in the rankings:

58 Scottie Scheffler
57 Cameron Young
56 Jon Rahm, Sam Burns
54 Xander Schauffele
52 Max Homa, Will Zalatoris
51 Collin Morikawa

It's close although Scheffler could actually pull clear by a decent margin if he posts a top 20 in this week's AT&T Byron Nelson. If he can't, he'd still be a point clear so either way the trends say that the Texan is in great position to land his second major.

Scottie Scheffler in action at the Match Play.jpg

Scheffler, a winner of the Phoenix Open and The Players Championship this season, is [9.6] on the Betfair Exchange.

If you want to look beyond the very front end of the market, Cameron Young and Sam Burns rank second and joint third in the trends and are 32.031/1 and 50.049/1 respectively on the exchange. On the Sportsbook, Young is 22/1 and Burns 33/1.

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