Kyoung-Hoon Lee (175-1) earned his first PGA Tour victory last weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson with a 25-under score to win by three strokes over Sam Burns, who followed his maiden win at the Valspar Championship with a runner-up. Two of this column’s selections, Daniel Berger and Charl Schwartzel, tied for third. Lee ranked second in the field for strokes gained: approach and strokes gained tee to green, and he took the most advantage of a soft course in Dallas en route to earning the final spot in this week’s PGA Championship field.
The PGA Championship returns to its now-customary mid-May spot after being back in its old August slot last year due to COVID-19. The year’s second major also returns to Kiawah Island for the first time since 2012. The more things change, the more they stay the same as Rory McIlroy, the last player to win a PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, is the tournament favorite. McIlroy earned his first victory in over 18 months at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago. That triumph cut McIlroy’s price from 16-1 to its current tag of 10-1. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson has drifted to 18-1 as he withdrew from the Byron Nelson due to a knee injury and has been nowhere near his form of last fall, having failed to post a top-10 finish since February. World No. 2 Justin Thomas (14-1) already has a big win for 2021 at the Players Championship, and No. 3 Jon Rahm (15-1) has six top-10 finishes despite not looking his best this year.
Kiawah Island might play as the longest course in major history, but Jordan Spieth (14-1), not known for length off the tee, is a shorter price due to returning to form he had not seen in three years. Spieth has a victory at the Valero Texas Open, five top-5s and seven top-10s in his last nine events, and he is arguably the hottest player in the game. No course on the planet is too long for world No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau (18-1), who won the Arnold Palmer this season, tied for third at the Players and is looking to rediscover that March form. World No. 4 Xander Schauffele (20-1) has top-3 finishes in three of the four majors (the PGA being the outlier) and earned another one last month at the Masters. Defending PGA champion Collin Morikawa (28-1), who will attempt to defend his Wanamaker Trophy, has been hit-or-miss in 2021 but does have a victory this season at the WGC Workday at the Concession. Viktor Hovland (22-1) could very well be peaking at the right time, as the Norwegian comes in off back-to-back top-3 finishes at the Valspar and Wells Fargo. Hideki Matsuyama (35-1) is the most recent major champion from the Masters in April, and he returned last week after a five-week hiatus with a T-39 at the Byron Nelson.