Power Rankings (and Sleeper Picks): 2019 PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson putts during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 14, 2019 in Bethpage, NY. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Joel Cook ranks his top 15 players for the 101st PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black Course in Farmingdale, New York. The names are all familiar with only Patrick Cantlay (17), Phil Mickelson (22) and Adam Scott (27) not part of the current Official World Golf Rankings top 15.

PGA Championship: Top 15

Power Rank-Player (World Rank)
15. Bryson DeChambeau (8)
14. Phil Mickelson (22)
13. Matt Kuchar (13)
12. Adam Scott (27)
11. Patrick Cantlay (17)
10. Justin Rose (2)
9. Rickie Fowler (10)
8. Jon Rahm (11)
7. Jason Day (14)
6. Rory McIlroy (4)
5. Francesco Molinari (7)
4. Xander Schauffele (9)
3. Tiger Woods (6)
2. Brooks Koepka (3)
1. Dustin Johnson (1)

Sleeper Pick: Eddie Pepperell

While it feels like a little weak to pick the world’s 33rd ranked player as a “sleeper,” it is a lot more tenable in a field THIS strong (99 of the top 100 this week). Also, given how rarely recent major winners have come from outside the top 25 (just two of the past 20), and how in the past 15 years of the PGA Championship, just three winners started the week ranked lower than 21st: Jimmy Walker (2016, 48th), Keegan Bradley (2011, 108th), and Y.E. Yang (2009, 110th), going too far down the list feels unrealistic.

Eddie Pepperell 2018 British Open, Round 4
Eddie Pepperell walks to the 18th green at Carnoustie Golf Club with caddie Mick Doran during the final round of the 2018 Open Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland. Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Pepperell, a 28-year-old Englishman, won twice on the European Tour last season, and burst onto the PGA Tour radar when a ridiculously good final round at The Open Championship led to a T6 finish. His 2019 did not start well, but he has come back around, finishing T3 at THE PLAYERS Championship, and then T2 a week ago at the British Masters.

Maybe the best professional golf follow on Twitter, the amiable, self-deprecating Pepperell would also be popular among the crowds if he gets into contention.

We also strongly considered two other international players who have posted some eye-popping results in their current seasons, Spain’s Jorge Campillo (No. 59) and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond (No. 72), but there just is not enough major experience, or American golf experience for that matter, to quite pull the trigger.

For anyone looking for an even deeper bet, Jhonattan Vegas (No. 80), has four finishes of 23rd or better in his last six starts, and he tends to be streaky as it is. He is a three-time Tour winner with elite length and his tee-to-green game has been surging lately. He could be an excellent fit at Bethpage Black.


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