The PGA Championship is on the horizon next week at Oak Hill in Rochester, New York. This weekend, the tour travels to TPC Craig Ranch for the AT&T Byron Nelson. Home to a $9.5 million prize, 11 of the top 50 in the official world golf rankings will be in the field. Won the last two years by K.H. Lee, the 31-year-old is looking to become the first person to capture the event three straight years since Tom Watson in 1980. He is 51 under par in his last two appearances in the tournament, including a final round 63 in 2022. With current world number two, Scottie Scheffler, set to return to action after sitting out the Wells Fargo a week ago, the Texas native is the betting favorite with a strong track record in his home state.
Designed by one-time Open Championship winner Tom Weiskopf in 2004, TPC Craig Ranch is a par 71 that measures over 7,400 yards from the back tees. One of the most forgiving courses, the layout features the sixth widest fairways across the PGA Tour, allowing players to blast away with their drivers off the tee. Home to The Rowlett Creek, the waterway runs through all 18 holes and is in play on 15 of them. With greens that are above average in size, an emphasis will be placed on approach play this week, giving an advantage to strong iron players who can gain strokes on the fairways and create opportunities for birdies. Lastly, with bentgrass covering the greens, hot putters can capitalize on scoring chances and set themselves up for success.
Highlighted by the return of Scheffler, the 26-year-old took three weeks off after the RBC Heritage. Arguably the hottest golfer in the world behind John Rahm through the early parts of the 2023 season, he has won twice already at the Players Championship and the Waste Management Pheonix Open. Along with this, the University of Texas product placed fourth at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and second at the Hero World Challenge. The rest of the field is strong, with players looking to get one final tune up before the year's second major. Without Jordan Spieth, after he was forced to withdraw due to a wrist injury, Hideki Matsuyama, Tom Kim, Tyrell Hatton, Jason Day, Adam Scott, and the two-time defending champion in K.H. Lee are all set to tee it up on Thursday.
Already looking for his third victory of the season, Scheffler is making his third consecutive start in his home state. Continuing to enjoy a red-hot stretch of golf, the 2022 Masters Champion has not finished outside the top 12 in any event since last October. Furthermore, he ranks second on tour in scoring average (69.161) and in strokes gained tee to green (2.27). Looking for his first top-10 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson since the event moved to TPC Craig Ranch, the 26-year-old has finished T-47 and T-15 during his two starts at the course. Entering the week as the overwhelming betting favorite at +450, he is set to play in a group with Lee and Jason Day.
Fresh off a tie for third at the Wells Fargo Championship a week ago, Hatton held a share of the lead through 36 holes. The six-time European Tour winner now has four top-10s in just 11 starts this season. He finished second at the Players Championship and fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Still searching for his second PGA Tour victory, the High Wycombe, United Kingdom native possesses one of the most well-rounded games in the world. Over the last 36 rounds, he is sixth in the field in strokes gained off the tee and third in strokes earned approach. Along with this, the current world number 27 also ranks 36th on tour in driving accuracy (64.0) and 31st in scrambling (31.0).
Set to play in just his fourth event since March, Hoge nearly captured The Players Championship. He shot a scintillating third-round 62 to tie the course record at TPC Sawgrass and finish in solo third place behind Hatton and Scheffler. However, the North Carolina native has struggled lately, leading to missed cuts at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Masters, and the RBC Heritage. Remaining one of the best iron players in the game, Hoge can go low and give himself plenty of looks at birdie. The Texas Christian University product ranks 15th on tour in greens in regulation (69.76) and second in proximity to the hole (33'10"). If he can heat up with his putter, look for the 33-year-old to be in the mix on Sunday afternoon.
A winner for just the second time in his 12-year PGA Tour career a year ago, Power edged out Thomas Detry by one stroke to capture the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course. Carrying over that success through the early part of the 2023 season, the current world number 39 placed fifth at the RSM Classic in November. Additionally, he also recorded top 20 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (15th), the Waste Management Pheonix Open (20th), and the Genesis Open (14th). Maintaining a stellar track record at TPC Craig Ranch, the 36-year-old has placed ninth and 17th in the last two years at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Currently listed at +4500 to capture the tournament, he offers tremendous value.
Bursting onto the scene at the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in September, Kim dragged the international team back into contention versus the Americans after their hopes were lost. Lauded by many as the next superstar on the PGA Tour, he has enjoyed an up-and-down rookie season. This includes missed cuts at the Sony Open, the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, and the RBC Heritage in early April. Nonetheless, the South Korean native has the game to contend at TPC Craig Ranch. One of the best ball strikers in the game, he is 20th in scoring average (70.208) and 52nd in birdie average. Furthermore, a year ago, the 20-year-old earned a top 20 finish (t-17th) at the event. It is only a matter of time before he joins the winner's circle on the PGA Tour again.