2022-23 Golf Draft Kit: Majors Preview and Predictions

2022-23 Golf Draft Kit: Majors Preview and Predictions

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club

Recent History

2022 – Scottie Scheffler (-10)
2021 – Hideki Matsuyama (-10)
2020 – Dustin Johnson (-20)
2019 – Tiger Woods (-13)
2018 – Patrick Reed (-15)
2017 – Sergio Garcia (-9)
2016 – Danny Willett (-5)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-18)
2014 – Bubba Watson (-8)
2013 – Adam Scott (-9)

Tournament Preview

It's pretty crazy thinking that it will be nearly nine months from Cameron Smith winning the Open Championship at St Andrews to the start of the next major championship. That's why there is not more anticipated day in golf than the first round of the Masters. It brings us golf enthusiasts back to our childhood on Christmas morning, just instead of checking what Santa brought us we're refreshing the Masters app to see how Sandy Lyle played the first hole.

Last year we witnessed a historic performance by then newly-crowned World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. He showed that he had all of the shots and the ability to pull them off under pressure, which is exactly what is needed to win a green jacket. What makes the Masters great is that it is the only major played at the same course every year. Even people who aren't really huge golf fans will watch the Masters and they remember some of the iconic holes on the back nine.

We don't know what the weather will look like, who is going to come in with the best form, or who else

The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club

Recent History

2022 – Scottie Scheffler (-10)
2021 – Hideki Matsuyama (-10)
2020 – Dustin Johnson (-20)
2019 – Tiger Woods (-13)
2018 – Patrick Reed (-15)
2017 – Sergio Garcia (-9)
2016 – Danny Willett (-5)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-18)
2014 – Bubba Watson (-8)
2013 – Adam Scott (-9)

Tournament Preview

It's pretty crazy thinking that it will be nearly nine months from Cameron Smith winning the Open Championship at St Andrews to the start of the next major championship. That's why there is not more anticipated day in golf than the first round of the Masters. It brings us golf enthusiasts back to our childhood on Christmas morning, just instead of checking what Santa brought us we're refreshing the Masters app to see how Sandy Lyle played the first hole.

Last year we witnessed a historic performance by then newly-crowned World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. He showed that he had all of the shots and the ability to pull them off under pressure, which is exactly what is needed to win a green jacket. What makes the Masters great is that it is the only major played at the same course every year. Even people who aren't really huge golf fans will watch the Masters and they remember some of the iconic holes on the back nine.

We don't know what the weather will look like, who is going to come in with the best form, or who else is going to make the jump to LIV Golf from now until then. We do, however, know that it is going to be spectacular. No matter the winner, the weather, or if it's close down the stretch, Augusta National always delivers.

Winning Prediction

Will Zalatoris (-12)

Zalatoris was finally able to get the monkey off his back of not having won with a clutch putting performance at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. We all knew he had plenty of talent as evidence by his incredible record at majors, but now he proved it to himself that he can pull off all the shots under pressure. Zalatoris has played in two Masters and finished second in 2021 and T6 in 2022. Above all else at Augusta National you need to be elite with your approach game because of all the uneven lies and extremely tricky hole locations. I think we can all say that there is nobody better with their irons in the game right now than Zalatoris. The 26-year-old gets it done for his first major championship victory after outdueling Xander Schauffele in the final group and withstanding another late Sunday charge from Rory McIlroy.

PGA Championship

Oak Hill Country Club

Recent History

2022 – Justin Thomas (-5, Southern Hills)
2021 – Phil Mickelson (-6, Kiawah Island)
2020 – Collin Morikawa (-13, TPC Harding Park)
2019 – Brooks Koepka (-8, Bethpage Black)
2018 – Brooks Koepka (-16, Bellerive)
2017 – Justin Thomas (-8, Quail Hollow)
2016 – Jimmy Walker (-14, Baltusrol)
2015 – Jason Day (-20, Whistling Straits)
2014 – Rory McIlroy (-16, Valhalla)
2013 – Jason Dufner (-10, Oak Hill)

Tournament Preview

The PGA Championship's move from August to May beginning in 2019 was a positive. It reduced the major gap from the Masters to the U.S. Open and overall just helped the flow of the PGA Tour schedule to end the season before football starts. The one thing that it did open up, however, is the threat of potential cold weather for Northern venues like Oak Hill in Rochester, New York. It didn't prove to be much of a factor in 2019 at Bethpage, but it isn't completely uncommon to see temperatures in the 30's on a May morning this far North. Cold and blustery conditions would certainly create quite a test for the players and a good/bad side of the draw may become relevant.

2023 will mark 10 years since Oak Hill hosted its last PGA Championship when Jason Dufner held on to beat Jim Furyk by two strokes in 2013. 10 years prior to that, Shaun Micheel shocked the golf world with his PGA Championship victory in 2003. Oak Hill has hosted a total of three PGA Championships, three U.S. Open's, two U.S. Amateur's, two Senior PGA Championships, and the 1995 Ryder Cup won by Europe (14.5 to 13.5).

Since that 2019 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill, a lot of work has been done by Andrew Green to renovate the golf course. Dozens of trees have been taken out to try to make for better sightlines into the greens. Many of the trees had gotten so mature that even a shot into the fairway would be blocked out by some overhanging branches. That also allowed for some widening of what were very narrow fairways. There was also a lot of work done to the edges of the greens, which became extremely severe over time. The setup crew will now have significantly more options for hole locations than they did in the past. Lastly, a lot of the bunkering was reworked to make those hazards more severe both around the greens and bordering the fairways.

Winning Prediction

Tom Kim (-13)

Kim was one of the best stories from the second half of the season. He picked up a top-25 at the U.S. Open right before his 20th birthday. Then went on to finish third at the Scottish Open, seventh at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and then win the Wyndham Championship to make it into the FedExCup playoffs. The last few months Kim has just been a fairways and greens machine. That's exactly what the name of the game will be at Oak Hill. It's not an overly long course, but you just need to be in control of your golf ball to shoot a decent score. Kim will do just that and break Tiger Woods' record for the youngest major championship winner in the modern era. Don't be surprised if Kim's fellow countryman Sungjae Im is right there as well.  

U.S. Open

Los Angeles Country Club (North Course)

Recent History

2022 – Matt Fitzpatrick (-6, The Country Club)
2021 – Jon Rahm (-6, Torrey Pines)
2020 – Bryson DeChambeau (-6, Winged Foot)
2019 – Gary Woodland (-13, Pebble Beach)
2018 – Brooks Koepka (+1, Shinnecock Hills)
2017 – Brooks Koepka (-16, Erin Hills)
2016 – Dustin Johnson (-4, Oakmont)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-5, Chambers Bay)
2014 – Martin Kaymer (-9, Pinehurst)
2013 – Justin Rose (+1, Merion)

Tournament Preview

For the third time in five years, the U.S. Open will be held on the West Coast and set up some primetime golf for most of the viewing audience. This will be the first time that Los Angeles Country Club hosts a major championship. The course did host the Los Angeles Open five times back in the day, which is now known as the Genesis Invitational and held at nearby Riviera Country Club. Like Riviera, LA C.C. is just an architectural gem that is annually ranked inside the top-25 courses in the U.S. In 2010, Gil Hanse was brought in to do an extensive restoration of the North Course to bring it back to the original George C. Thomas Jr. design. Many will remember that Hanse also restored The Country Club at Brookline before the U.S. Open came there in 2022.

This tournament will be determined on how the USGA wants to set up the golf course. The USGA has had a history of sometimes screwing up the setup just for the sake of trying to protect par. However, the setup at The Country Club was probably their best since 2016 at Oakmont. Hopefully they don't try to bring the rough in too tight at LA Country Club. The beauty of the design is that the ball can run in all different directions off slopes, but angles are necessary to be able to attack these small greens that are extremely well bunkered. As long as the USGA doesn't overstep, this will be a much different style of U.S. Open than we have seen in some time.

The last time the golf spotlight shined on LA C.C. was when it hosted the Walker Cup in 2017. The U.S. team would win in dominating fashion thanks to a roster that included Scheffler, Zalatoris, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Champ, Maverick McNealy, Doug Ghim, and Doc Redman. One of those players will end up winning the 123rd playing of the U.S. Open…

Winning Prediction

Scottie Scheffler (-9)

This place just has a Scheffler vibe to it. It has a lot of elevation changes and quirks that remind me a bit of Austin Country Club where Scheffler made the championship match each of the last two years. We also got to see his prowess playing off uneven lies at a place like Augusta National where he dominated en route to a three-stroke win in 2022. Scheffler finished T7 and T2 each of the last two years at the U.S. Open. Too many things line up for a man that drives it long and straight, has excellent distance control, and great imagination. Scheffler will best fellow Longhorn Spieth by a couple and Schauffele will once again come up just shy in a major.

The Open Championship

Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Recent History

2022 – Cameron Smith (-20, St Andrews)
2021 – Collin Morikawa (-15, Royal St George's)|
2020 – Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019 – Shane Lowry (-15, Royal Portrush)
2018 – Francesco Molinari (-8, Carnoustie)
2017 – Jordan Spieth (-12, Royal Birkdale)
2016 – Henrik Stenson (-20, Royal Toon)
2015 – Zach Johnson (-15, St Andrews)
2014 – Rory McIlroy (-17, Royal Liverpool)
2013 – Phil Mickelson (-3, Muirfield)

Tournament Preview

The Open Championship will be held at Royal Liverpool for the 13th time in 2022. There was nearly a 40-year gap between Open's at Royal Liverpool when the world's best gathered in 2006 and Tiger put on an iron performance for the ages. On an extremely brown and dried out golf course, Woods hit one driver all week to try and better control his golf ball. The plan worked to perfection and Woods would beat Chris DiMarco by two shots and win for the first time since losing his father. Fast forward eight years later and it was another superstar of the game that won the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool. That would be McIlroy who would win his third major championship in wire-to-wire fashion.

Weather plays a bigger role at the Open Championship than any other tournament in the world. It's unclear exactly how Royal Liverpool will play next summer, but just looking back to the two most recent Open's at Hoylake it's clear that it is one of the easier courses in the rotation. It likely won't be quite as gettable as St Andrews last year, but we should expect to see good scores. In very dry conditions in 2006 the winning score was 18-under-par by two and  in 2014 when a storm rolled through during the tournament the winning score was 17-under-par by two.

The par-5s will be a big key to the week, as all four of them should be reachable by nearly every player in the field. Three of them will be on the back-nine, with two coming on the final four holes. In 2014, McIlroy stretched his lead to six going into the final round behind eagles at 16 and 18. A brand new short par-3 was created for the 151st Open Championship that will play as the 17th hole and setup a fun 5-4-3-5 finish.

Winning Prediction

Jon Rahm (-16)

Royal Liverpool requires a ball-striking tactician to navigate around it and there hasn't really been anyone better in that department for the last five years than Rahm. It can be a challenging driving course with deep fairway bunkers and fescue rough lining relatively narrow fairways compared to some other course on the Open rota. The greens all have narrow openings in the front as well, but there is quite a bit of depth to the putting surfaces. Even in a down year by Rahm's lofty standards, he still ranked first in SG: Off-the-Tee, first in total driving, fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green and second in GIR percentage. I'm expecting his short game and putting numbers to revert to the mean next season and for the Spaniard to rechallenge for that No. 1 spot after he wins the Claret Jug at Hoylake. Viktor Hovland will come up short in the final group of the Open for the second straight year.  

Major Conclusions

From a venues perspective, it's really hard to get any better than last season. For one we played at the two most iconic courses in the world in Augusta National and St Andrews. Then you add in The Country Club and Southern Hills, which both have a ton of major championship history that featured incredible restoration projects by Gil Hanse. The 2023 major courses don't have quite the same amount of history as last year's venues, but I think the product could be just as good or better. The U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club in particular could be one of the most interesting National Championships in recent memory with all the slopes and unique greens to navigate. We also haven't got true Open Championship conditions in a few years now, so hopefully we get a taste of that at Royal Liverpool and see some carnage for a day or two.

Going off my predictions we will have two first-time major champions in Zalatoris and Kim, who each have one win on the PGA Tour. Then we will also see two players in Scheffler and Rahm add to their resume with a second major championship victory. I was close to selecting Schauffele to pick off one of these in 2023 because I think he has the most complete game in golf. Ultimately he will be in that boat after next year with the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Tony Finau, Hovland and Im as proven PGA Tour winners who haven't been able to break through at a major. McIlroy will make it nine straight years without a major and Spieth will make it six since his last victory. That's pretty astonishing to think about for the two biggest names in the sport outside of Tiger, who once held all the major championships trophies at once, with McIlroy winning the Open and PGA in 2014 and Spieth taking home the trophy at both the Masters and U.S. Open the following year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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