Why Taylor Pendrith is Canada's best chance at winning the PGA Championship

The Richmond Hill, Ont., product could be Canada's best chance at clinching a second men's major championship this week. 

Lara Kuipers's picture
Tue, 16 May 2023
Why Taylor Pendrith is Canada's best chance at winning the PGA Championship

The season's second major championship is here with the US PGA Championship, which means so is another chance for a player from Canada to join Mike Weir as a men's major champion, writes GolfMagic's Canadian-born Junior Writer Lara Kuipers.

This year, the PGA Championship is set for 18-21 May at Oak Hill Country Club, just outside of Rochester, New York. 

There are six Canadians playing this week, double the amount that there were last year at Southern Hills Country Club when Justin Thomas defeated Will Zalatoris in an exciting playoff. 

Two Canadians, Taylor Pendrith and Adam Svensson, will also be making their PGA Championship debut this week.

Svensson, along with Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners, are all heading into this week as a winner on the current PGA Tour season. Conners is also the highest-ranked Canadian at No. 29 in the world. 

Here's a full breakdown of how we think the Canadians will do this week at Oak Hill, and who we think has the best shot at coming out victorious:

Taylor Pendrith

At No. 129 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), Pendrith may seem like a bit of a long shot to make a run at the PGA Championship this week, but the 31-year-old actually has an incredibly well-suited game for the Oak Hill course. 

Pendrith is one of three Canadians in the field this week from southern part of Ontario, growing up just a couple of hours away from Rochester, so the weather and course conditions should be more comfortable for him than even many of the Americans. 

He's also one of the longest hitters in the game with a 307.2-yard average that has him ranked 32nd on the PGA Tour, and it appears as though Oak Hill is going to favour those heavy hitters. 

Pendrith also did well at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, another New York course that favoured long distance as Bryson DeChambeau won that year. 

GolfMagic ranking: 7/10

Corey Conners

Avoiding the rough and bunkers could be crucial this week, and there are few people who are as accurate as Corey Conners. 

The 31-year-old is ranked 10th on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation with a 70.29 percentage. He already has the confidence of a win behind him this season and is the top-ranked Canadian in the field. 

Like his good friend Pendrith, Conners grew up just a few hours away from Rochester and could find his way around the conditions a bit easier than the rest of the field. He also has the best previous finish in a PGA Championship out of the six Canadians in it this year, with a tie for 17th from the 2021 tournament at Kiawah Island. Conners shot a 5-under par 67 in the first round that year to take the 18-hole lead by two strokes. 

GolfMagic win ranking: 6/10

Mackenzie Hughes

The third in the trio of Ontario products is Mackenzie Hughes, who grew up the closest to this year's course as he's from Hamilton, just a two-hour drive from Rochester.

Hughes is the third Canadian in the OWGR rankings at No. 59, and is one of the three with a win this season after he took home the Sanderson Farms Championship title in 2022. He's played in four PGA Championships, but has only made the cut at one, when he finished tied for 58th at the 2020 tournament held at TPC Harding Park. 

Hughes' strength is his putting, and while a hot putter can change anyone's round, it might not be enough to win at Oak Hill. 

GolfMagic win ranking: 5/10

Adam Hadwin

Adam Hadwin could be a bit of a dark horse on this list when it comes to Canadians at the PGA Championship. The 35-year-old is one of the more experienced Canadians at major championships and has played in six PGA Championships in the past. 

While he hasn't broken the top 25 at the PGA, he has made the cut in each of the past four tournaments, so he seems to understand how to navigate the PGA Championship setups. 

Like Hughes, putting is largely Hadwin's strong point, which may not be able to set him apart this week in Rochester. However, like Conners, he's also one of the more accurate hitters on the PGA Tour, which could help him avoid this week's thick rough and bunkers. 

GolfMagic win ranking: 5/10

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is another Canadian whose strength is his putting, ranked sixth on the PGA Tour in putting average. However, the 35-year-old is not the strongest on the PGA Tour when it comes to driving, which could hurt him at Oak Hill. 

Historically, he also hasn't excelled at past PGA Championships, finishing tied for 68th in 2015 and missing the cut in 2020 for his two appearances. 

However, going for Taylor is ability to scramble, which could be clutch to make crucial up-and-downs to avoid bogeys. The Abbottsford, B.C., product is ranked 14th on the PGA Tour in scrambling from the rough and 41st in general scrambling. 

GolfMagic win ranking: 3/10

Adam Svensson 

Adam Svensson, another B.C. product, is making just his second major championship start after making his debut at The Masters last month.

The 29-year-old won for the first time on the PGA Tour in the fall of 2022 at The RSM Classic and has quickly become the second top-ranked Canadian in the OWGR at No. 58. He isn't the longest hitter off the tee, but what he lacks in distance he makes up for in accuracy as he's ranked 72nd in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour. He's also a solid iron player like Conners, which could help him avoid the thick rough and bunkers around the Oak Hill course. 

GolfMagic win ranking: 3/10

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