PGA Championship 2020 Picks, Sleepers and Best Outsiders

Predicting the winner of a major is a difficult exercise at the best of times, let alone in a season as unusual as the current one. The novel coronavirus pandemic has reshuffled golf's calendar, meaning the PGA Championship this week will be the first major of the campaign and the first in over 12 months.

Of the last 34 PGA Championship winners, 21 have been first-time winners and 12 of the last 17 majors have been won by a golfer who had never landed a major before. With that in mind, here's a selection of outsiders and dark horses to keep an eye out for when the PGA Championship gets underway on Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.

Collin Morikawa

With odds of 30/1, Morikawa can just about be considered an outsider and there's plenty to like about the 23-year-old, one of many California natives along with Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele who will be hoping to celebrate on home soil come Sunday night.

Morikawa has missed the cut just once in six starts since the PGA Tour resumed in June after a three-month hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. While he finished in the top-20 on just three occasions, two of them were a second place at the Charles Schwab Challenge and a win at the Workday Charity Open.

According to official statistics, Morikawa ranks first in approach over the past 50 rounds among the players in the field this week and has displayed an elite long game and great accuracy from distance. His short game continues to be a work in progress but the 23-year-old could be a man to monitor this week.

Eight of the last ten winners at the PGA Championship have been in their 20s and nine of the last 10 winners had finished in the top-20 in one of their two previous starts. Morikawa fits the bill on all fronts and don't be surprised to see him involved at the business end on Sunday.

Collin Morikawa, PGA Tour
Collin Morikawa looks over a putt on the 13th green during the third round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on August 1 in Memphis, Tennessee. Michael Reaves/Getty

Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood's form since returning to the PGA Tour last month has been negligible, with a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament followed by a tied for 35th finish at the WGC-FedEx.

However, there were some encouraging signs for the Englishman at TPC Southwind, chief among them the 65 he signed off with in Memphis, Tennessee, last week.

This week's course should suit Fleetwood's ball-striking and the 29-year-old knows what it takes to compete for a major, having finished runner-up at both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The PGA Championship has proved fertile ground for first-time major winners before and at 38/1, Fleetwood could well be a dark horse worth backing.

Tyrell Hatton

The reigning Arnold Palmer Invitational champion arrived at the WGC-FedEx last week ranking first in strokes gained on putting, second in shots gained on approach and fifth in shots gained from tee to green and is 10th in Golfweek ranking ahead of the PGA Championship.

Based on those figures, 50/1 odds may seem exaggeratedly long but they're largely due to the nightmare weekend Hatton endured at TPC Southwind a week ago, when he finished tied for 69th at 7-over par.

His performance in Memphis was more exception than rule. In four events he's played this year, Hatton has finished tied for sixth at the WGC-Mexico Championship, won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished tied for third and tied for fourth at the RBC Heritage and the Rocket Mortgage Classic since the restart.

Nine of the last 10 PGA Championship winners had finished in the top-20 in one of their two previous starts and it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Hatton join the list.

Shane Lowry

The Irishman was denied the chance to defend the Claret Jug after The Open Championship was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but could he add a second major to his trophy cabinet before he returns to The Open next year?

At 60/1 odds, Lowry is an outsider but one who deserves attention as he ranks first in proximity to the flag in terms of approaches of over 200 yards over his previous 12 rounds and gained the sixth-most strokes tee-to-green at the WGC-FedEx last week.

Lowry finished tied for sixth at TPC Southwind, his best result in six starts since June, which also included three missed cuts. He may be coming into form just at the right time.

Brendon Todd

After shooting 64 and 65 in the first two rounds, Todd ran out of steam at TPC Southwind last week to finish tied for 15th, notching a third top-20 finish in his last four starts.

Despite his current form, the 35-year-old remains a 110/1 long shot ahead of the PGA Championship, which is somewhat surprising given how well he played in the first two rounds in Memphis a week ago and that he won the Bermuda Championship and the Mayakoba Classic in back-to-back weeks at the end of last year.

Cameron Champ

At 150/1, Champ is very much a long shot but one worth keeping an eye on. The Texan has three top-25 finishes in five entries since the PGA Tour resumed in June and the data backs up his steady improvement.

Champ ranks second in driving distance and 22nd in birdie average and has played twice at Torrey Pines, a course that shares similar traits with TPC Harding Park.

Cameron Champ, PGA Championship
Cameron Champ of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the first hole during the second round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on July 31 in Memphis, Tennessee. Stacy Revere/Getty