There’s a saying in sports that ‘form is temporary, class is permanent.’ But if you can combine the two? Well, that’s a heady mix for potential success and explains why Jason Day has been so well-backed to win this year’s PGA Championship at the Oak Hill Country Club in New York.
That Winning Feeling
In every sport, there’s a clear connection between form, confidence, and winning – the three very much go hand in hand. So Day’s victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which acts as the final warm-up event for the second major of 2023, was both timely and noteworthy. And it didn’t go unnoticed, with the Australian backed into 22/1 from 40/1 by those that have bet on PGA golf in the past few days.
Of course, Day still sits behind the hot trio of Scottie Scheffler (15/2), Jon Rahm (15/2), and Rory McIlroy (10/1) in the betting, but he has the benefit of that recent success to call upon – no wonder so many PGA tips columns are heralding the 35-year-old as such a likely contender for the tournament that gets underway on May 18.
Mind you, he certainly took the circuitous route to success at the Byron Nelson, which is played each year at the TPC Craig Ranch Club in Dallas, Texas. Day opened up his account with a round of 64 there but meandered down the leaderboard as others – notably Scheffler and Ryan Palmer – exerted authority at the top of the standings.
Emotional Jason Day breaks five-year PGA Tour drought with Mother’s Day victory https://t.co/V29pVHqpDe— The Guardian (@guardian) May 15, 2023
But an outstanding final round of 62, which featured nine birdies – including a clutch four at the Par 5 final hole – and zero bogeys, ultimately saw Day hold off the chasing pack and land what is his thirteenth PGA TOUR title; albeit his first since claiming the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2018. If timing is everything in sports, Day could not have wished for a better lead-in display than his dynamics in Dallas.
Horses for Courses
Golf is a sport where the stats don’t lie – they reveal plenty about each player and their specific talents (and weaknesses). Across the entirety of the 2022/23 season, Day is one of the few players on the PGA TOUR who ranks inside the top 30 for all four of the most important Strokes Gained categories: Off the Tee, Approach, Around the Green, and Putting. The takeaway point? His all-around game is in the rudest of health.
The Aussie will need to utilize all of those weapons at Oak Hill, a golf course that tests every single department of a player’s game. It typically favors those who are long off the tee as it’s a very demanding layout with tiny, contoured greens – those that hit the ball further are able to take more lofted clubs on approach, which will ensure a softer landing on the slick greens from a higher trajectory.
Pure.— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 15, 2023
📍 Oak Hill Country Club pic.twitter.com/T3v7kwUCBx
Day averages 303 yards with his drives this season, which will be ample to compete at Oak Hill, and as we have learned he is also excellent on approach and in tidying up around the greens when he does miss with his irons. When any player or team’s betting odds are slashed in half ahead of a fixture, you know that there’s a strong feeling about their chances. In Day’s case, such positivity about his chances at the 2023 PGA Championship seems to be wholly justified.