Justin Thomas PGA Championship 2023 Preview – More of the same from the champ?

The pressure builds for the best players when it comes to the majors. The cream is expected to rise to the top in the biggest and best events, and rightly so. One player who may have added expectations, or added pressure on their shoulders this year is Justin Thomas, who goes to Oak Hill Country Club as the defending champion having won the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club last year.

PGA Championship
Photo by Icon Sport

Claiming his second major since winning this event at Quail Hollow back in 2017, Thomas emerged from the pack on the final day of what was a dramatic finish to proceedings at Southern Hills last year, eventually triumphing in a play-off against Will Zalatoris. Could he do it again? If he does, he’ll become the first champ to defend his PGA Championship title since Brooks Koepka, who in 2019 became the sixth back-to-back winner of this event, joining big-name golfers such as Tiger Woods, Denny Shute, Leo Diegel, Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen.

Has Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship?

The answer is a resounding yes. As touched on above, not only did JT win the PGA Championship in 2022, but he also won this tournament back in 2017. As a result, the two-time major winner now bids to become one of only six players to win the PGA Championship on three separate occasions. The other four players to have won this tournament at least three times are Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen.

Justin Thomas PGA Championship Record

As a double winner, it’s probably fair to say that Justin Thomas likes the PGA Championship. At the very least, he’s brought his top game on a few occasions.

Overall, though, Thomas has a promising record in this particular major. He followed up his 2017 win with a very respectable 6th place at the 2018 renewal at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri, while his major form in the last few years in general is pretty strong. Prior to winning this tournament last year, he finishing eighth at the Masters, while he finished fourth at Augusta in 2020 too. He knows how to get down in these big events, that’s for sure.

Justin Thomas’ full PGA Championship record since debuting in the competition back in 2015 reads T18, T66, Winner, T6, T37, Cut, Winner.

Form heading to Oak Hill Country Club

So, we know that the 30-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky has performed very well in this competition before, but how has he been performing in the lead up to 2023 renewal.

Well, the defending champion doesn’t exactly come into this tournament in red-hot form, though he hasn’t exactly been struggling either. When last seen, he finished a respectable T14 at the Wells Fargo Championship, while he finished T25 at the RBC Heritage prior to that.

Since finishing fourth at the WM Phoenix Open in February, though, Thomas hasn’t exactly been in serious contention for a title, which may worry some. However, he’s a big-tournament player, who is more than capable of raising his game for an event of this nature, as we’ve seen twice before.

Moreover, in recent times, metrics such as strokes gained: tee-to-green have proved to be quite important when it comes to the PGA Championship, so it’s not exactly a negative that Thomas currently ranks 11th on the PGA Tour in that area. He’s also rank three for strokes gained: around-the-green, as well as rank 16th for strokes gained: total.

Justin Thomas PGA Championship Betting Odds

Given that he is the current title holder, coupled with the fact that he’s also currently 13th in the world rankings, the bookmakers aren’t exactly giving away any fancy prices.

At the time of writing, a day out from the first tee-off, Thomas is rated as a rather solid 25/1 chance, so he’s far from an outsider, but isn’t exactly considered among the favourites, such is the form of some other players right now. PaddyPower and Coral are less generous with their pricing, going 22/1, while other firms such as Skybet, Betvictor and Unibet have pushed last year’s winner out to 28/1.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!