Scottie Scheffler, who owns a PGA Tour-best four wins this season, is expected to be a top contender at the 2022 PGA Championship this weekend in Tulsa, Okla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
May 18 (UPI) -- Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are co-favorites to win the 2022 PGA Championship, the second major tournament of the PGA Tour season, which runs from Thursday through Sunday in Tulsa, Okla.
The tournament will air on ESPN and CBS live from Southern Hills Country Club's Championship Golf Course. The 156-player field will compete for a $12 million prize purse, which includes $2.16 million for the winner.
Justin Thomas, the No. 9 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, No. 7 Rory McIlroy and No. 8 Jordan Spieth join the top-ranked Scheffler and No. 2 Rahm among the Top 5 favorites to win the Wanamaker Trophy.
"I think you are going to see a lot of different strategies this week, with guys hitting drivers where maybe other guys aren't," McIlroy told reporters Tuesday at a news conference.
"It's a really good track. I think it's going to be a wonderful test."
No. 3 Collin Morikawa, No. 4 Cameron Smith, No. 5 Patrick Cantlay, No. 12 Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Viktor Hovland and No. 10 Xander Schauffele are among the other expected contenders.
"I've been able to see all 18 holes," Morikawa said Tuesday, when asked about the course layout. "It will test every aspect of your game.
"Some tee shots you really have to put in good spots. ... You just have to place your ball really, really well."
No. 818 Tiger Woods, who returned from a 17-month hiatus to finish 47th in April at the Masters, is not among the Top 20 favorites to claim the major title.
Woods is a four-time PGA Championship winner. He also won the title the last time the tournament was hosted at Southern Hills. He carded a course-record-tying 63 in the second round en route to that 2007 title.
No. 16 Phil Mickelson, the defending PGA Championship winner, withdrew from this year's tournament. Mickelson announced in February that he was taking a break from golf after he made "reckless" comments about the PGA Tour and the organizers of a Saudi-backed breakaway league.
Scheffler -- the 2022 Masters champion -- owns a PGA Tour-best four wins through 15 appearances this season and leads the FedExCup standings. Scheffler and Thomas are tied with a season-best seven Top 10 finishes in 2022.
Southern Hills will play as a nearly 7,600-yard, Par-70. The course will feature two Par-5s, which each measure longer than 630 yards. Accurate tee shots and precise approach strategies will likely prove vital to secure low scores throughout the weekend. Many of the greens on the course are shielded with heavy bunkers.
Southern Hills also is crowded with dogleg hole layouts, sloped greens and pesky trees and creeks. The Top 70 scores and ties through the first two rounds will advance to the third round, while the other half of the field is eliminated.
"I remember there being a lot more trees the first time I came here," Hovland said. "They added a bunch of length and made it a little bit more open, but you still have to drive it really well out here. That aspect, I feel like, fits me really well.
"You've gotta have a lot of good short-game shots around the green."
No rain is expected on Thursday, but showers could be a factor after the first round. Friday's forecast for Tulsa calls for scattered thunderstorms from the afternoon through the evening. Winds are expected to reach speeds of up to 25 mph.
"The forecast is going to be different every day, with winds in all different directions," Woods said. "We are going to see a different golf course almost every day."
Woods, McIlroy and Spieth will tee off in the same group at 9:11 a.m. EDT Thursday. Dustin Johnson, Thomas and Cantlay will tee off at 2:14 p.m. Scheffler, Rahm and Morikawa will tee off in the same group at 2:36 p.m. The full list of groups and first- and second-round tee times will be available Wednesday on the PGA Tour website.
PGA Championship (all times EDT)
First round from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday on ESPN
Second round from 2 to 8 p.m. on ESPN
Third round from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN; from 2 to 7 p.m. on CBS
Final round from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN; from 2 to 7 p.m. on CBS