The 2024 PGA Championship is shaping up to be a showdown between Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka. All three are coming to Valhalla Golf Club off the back of impressive wins.

Scheffler made a surprise start at the RBC Heritage after winning the 2024 Masters and once again classed the field on the way to his fourth win in five starts. He has taken some time off the last few weeks to be there for his wife and newborn child.

McIlroy was in the news for multiple reasons over the last few weeks. He won the Zurich Classic alongside Shane Lowry and then won the Wells Fargo Championship for the fourth time in dominant fashion.

Koepka has the most major championships out of the three after winning his fifth major championship at last year’s PGA Championship and comes into this week after winning on the LIV Golf Tour in Singapore.

Valhalla Golf Club is a huge golf complex on the outskirts of Louisville, Ky. Jack Nicklaus designed this golf course to reward the best ball strikers in the world. This is not a golf course that can be played along the ground. Players need to drive it long and accurately while also dialing long iron shots into small greens. The only place that Valhalla gives the players a bit of a break is on the greens where the undulations are understated. The breaks are more subtle, but the speed is still up there with the fastest the players will see this year.

The list of major champions and senior major champions at Valhalla looks like a list of the best ball strikers in golf. Mark Brooks bested Kenny Perry in 1996 in a playoff after Phil Mickelson slept on a three-shot lead going into the weekend. Tiger Woods needed a birdie putt on 18 to send the 2000 PGA Championship to a three-hole playoff against Bob May. Woods prevailed. McIlroy defeated Rickie Fowler and Mickelson in 2014 while battling darkness and very odd circumstances at the end of the final round. Two of the best ball strikers that the PGA Tour has ever seen, Hale Irwin and Tom Watson, won Senior PGA Championships on this golf course.

My model for this week will be going off of strokes-gained weighted statistics. That way my model won’t accidentally spit out senior or small tour players at the top of the model. We can scratch off at least 35 to 40 players before we even begin whittling down who we want to focus on this week. Former champions who are now seniors and PGA teaching professionals are easy to cut out of the potential player pool. With what’s left my model will focus on driving distance, driving accuracy, strokes gained on approach and strokes gained around the green. I may include some distance buckets as I go over the new approach shot distances after over 150 yards was added to the golf course, but it won’t be weighted heavily.

Course Information

Course: Valhalla Golf Club (Louisville, Ky.)

Designed by: Jack Nicklaus

Par: 71

Yardage: 7,609 yards

Average green size: 5,000 square feet

Features: Valhalla hosted its first PGA Championship in 1996. The PGA of America bought a 25 percent stake in the club after that tournament and got an almost immediate bang for its buck when Tiger won the 2000 PGA Championship as his third straight major championship win on the way to his “Tiger slam” from 2000 to 2001.

The course features two different creeks that come into play on seven of the holes and 62 bunkers are positioned along the sides of the fairways and guarding some greens. The tees and fairways feature zoysia grass which should see them playing harder and faster than the course played during the 2014 PGA Championship. The greens are smaller than average.

Betting slip

Ludvig Åberg +1800 didn’t tee it up at the Wells Fargo Championship and the official announcement was a sore knee. He has gained more than 15.5 strokes on approach combined in his last four tournaments. He has gained 2.8 or more strokes off the tee in five straight tournaments. He placed second at Pebble Beach, which is one of two courses that feature smaller greens than Valhalla. Åberg has been the third or fourth best golfer on the planet since he turned professional. He has only one major championship start and he finished second to Scheffler.

Jon Rahm +2000 gets a bit of a pass for his mediocre performance at the Masters. Rahm’s play on the LIV Golf Tour has been excellent and probably would include a few more wins if they played four rounds. Rahm comes into this week third in the field in strokes gained off the tee and in strokes gained from tee to green over his last 36 rounds. He is still hitting 75 percent of his greens in regulation.

Wyndham Clark +4000 probably put too much pressure on himself at the Masters when he took a dig at the LIV golfers before he blew up on Friday. Clark has been really good in spots this season, but hasn’t been quite as sharp since he suffered a back injury. His short game let him down last week after he was in contention at the RBC Heritage. He hasn’t performed well at a PGA Championship yet, but this golf course will fit his game. He won at Pebble Beach and finished T3 at the RBC Heritage, which both feature small greens.

Byeong Hun An +7000 has gained strokes off the tee in five straight tournaments. He’s coming off of back-to-back top-four finishes and looks as locked in as I have ever seen him. He has gained more than 10 strokes combined putting over his last two tournaments.

Si Woo Kim +12000 has gained strokes off the tee in every tournament since the Open Championship in July 2023. He has gained more than 11 strokes combined in his last two tournaments. He has gained strokes around the green in seven straight tournaments. Kim is the ultimate no-putt candidate this week. He lost more than 5 strokes putting at the Wells Fargo Championship and still managed to finish T16.

DFS

Scottie Scheffler $13,200 has won four of his last five starts and is first in the field in strokes gained from tee to green, second in strokes gained on approach, and second in strokes gained around the green. His entire game is built to win major championships and there is no reason not to use him at this high price with some of the lower-price values we can find.

Rory McIlroy $12,000 had his price set before he dominated the field at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday. He comes to the course where he won his fourth major championship almost 10 years ago in his best possible form. I will play Scheffler more than McIlroy, but I wouldn’t argue if you chose to save the $1,200 and ride with McIlroy.

Jon Rahm $11,400 See above.

Xander Schauffele $10,900 has one top 10 finish in his last five PGA Championships. I have been fooled by backing Schauffele at these tournaments. His price is too low for his current ball-striking form. He should be priced at $11,500 if the Wells Fargo Championship was factored in. The problem becomes do you trust him not to fumble it away on Sunday when you have a five-time major winner priced right behind him coming in off a win?

Brooks Koepka $10,800 placed top 15 here back in 2014 before he went on his epic run of winning U.S. Opens and PGA Championships. Koepka comes into this week off a win and looks to have his putter situation figured out after gaining more than 4 strokes putting in Singapore. He gained over 3.4 strokes off the tee on the field over his last two rounds in Singapore so his long game is in shape. Koepka is the safe play in this price range even if I want to play the younger Åberg.

Ludvig Åberg $10,500 See above.

Max Homa $9,700 has taken some time to come into his own in major championships. His performance at the Masters this year impressed and he is coming into this week after gaining strokes everywhere except off the tee at the Wells Fargo Championship. Homa is a high-ball hitter and that helps him at Valhalla. I think Homa will beat his previous best finish of 13th at the PGA Championship and should be in the mix as your second-most rostered player in the 9K range.

Wyndham Clark $9,500 See above.

Joaquin Niemann $9,400 is battling a balky putter right now and hasn’t been quite as sharp off the tee over his last two tournaments on the LIV Golf Tour. He still finished no worse than seventh thanks to the rest of his game and gained more than 8 strokes on approach in Singapore. Before Niemann left for LIV, I was convinced he could win multiple major championships with the PGA Championship being his ideal fit as one of the best ball strikers in golf. I won’t roster him nearly as much as I want to.

Justin Thomas $9,300 has been driving the ball better lately and is a wizard around the green. The two-time PGA Championship winner is a good fit for this golf course, but his game hasn’t been consistent enough for me to back him over a Clark or Homa. The pricing isn’t inviting enough for me.

Cameron Young $9,000 was trending a bit before the Masters, but he has struggled since finishing T9. He isn’t as long or as accurate off the tee as he needs to be to dominate this golf course the way he can at his best.

Hideki Matsuyama $8,600 killed me last week with his withdrawal. I should have looked at his layoff since the Masters with more skepticism about his health, but instead, I made up my narrative. A healthy Matsuyama should contend here without a doubt. I will put him in a few GPPs.

Sam Burns $8,500 is starting to drive the ball better. His approach numbers haven’t been good since the Phoenix Open and that concerns me at this price. If he were priced lower I would be taking more shots with Burns in GPP lineups, but it’s tough to justify.

Tyrrell Hatton $8,200 has two straight top 15 finishes at the PGA Championship and is coming off of a top 10 at the Masters. He gained more than 6 strokes on approach in Singapore finishing T4 and has the type of game that has won PGA Championships. Love him at this price.

Patrick Reed $8,000 finished T12 at the Masters and did it all with his short game. I don’t think Valhalla is a great fit for his game, but he is a golfer who figures out a way to score no matter how he is playing. He finished top 18 in three of his last four PGA Championships. I’m taking more shots in the 7K range than playing Reed here, but I’m not fading him completely.

Sungjae Im $7,900 has gained strokes off the tee in five straight tournaments. After the RBC Heritage, I was excited to bet him in Texas, but unfortunately, he was forced to withdraw due to illness. He bounced back at the Wells Fargo Championship placing T4. His iron play has been an issue this season. He has only gained strokes on the field on approach in two of his last twelve golf tournaments. Those statistics do scare me a bit. He’s close to figuring it out.

Byeong Hun An $7,800 See above.

Min Woo Lee $7,700 has struggled with his irons since gaining over 8 strokes combined at the Cognizant Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has gained over 16.8 strokes combined off the tee over his last four tournaments. I like playing Lee in GPPs because of his upside off the tee.

Si Woo Kim $7,700 See above.

Corey Conners $7,600 is coming into the PGA Championship off the back of gaining over 9.7 strokes ball striking at the Wells Fargo Championship. Conners’s game is built to compete at the PGA Championship. He has two top 17 finishes in his last three PGA Championships.

Sepp Straka $7,500 has gained strokes off the tee in 12 straight measured golf tournaments and most of those gains are because of his accuracy. He has gained over 3.5 strokes on approach in three straight measured events. His around the green game scares me a bit at major championships, but you can’t ignore his current form. He finished T7 at the PGA Championship last year.

Stephan Jaeger $7,100 is the only man to beat Scheffler in Scheffler’s last five starts and that happens to be the only tournament that Jaeger has gained strokes on approach in his last five starts. Jaeger gained distance off the tee this season and that has helped him gain strokes on the field consistently, but I’m a little scared that his iron play isn’t sharp right now even if this price is inviting.

Dean Burmester $7,000 crushes the ball off the tee averaging over 312 yards per drive. He has gained 2.9 strokes or more off the tee in three straight events. He has five straight top 15 finishes on the LIV Golf Tour. He has made the cut in two of his last three PGA Championships, but comes into this week in his best form. Tough for me to not use him this week at this price.

Aaron Rai $6,700 is in play for me this week because of his ball striking and I am hoping his accuracy off the tee can help him set up some second shots. He gained over 8.9 strokes ball striking at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson his last time out.

Keith Mitchell $6,600 is getting back to dominating off the tee gaining over 10 strokes combined off the tee in his last two measured events. He has gained strokes on approach in eight straight measured events and has the type of game you see win or contend for PGA Championships. Love getting him at this price to pair with some high priced players.

Kurt Kitayama $6,500 is on team no-putt this week for me. Kitayama is an excellent ball striker who pops up leaderboards when his putter allows him to convert all the chances he creates. He has gained strokes off the tee in five straight measured events and has gained more than 3 strokes on approach in three of his last five measured events. He finished T4 at last year’s PGA Championship so he has a taste for it.

Ryan Fox $6,400 is a player I never get right. When I think he’s going to contend he misses the cut. When I think he has no shot he’s on the leaderboard and mocking me the entire time. I think this is a good fit for his game and he is coming off of a T4 in Myrtle Beach where he gained over 5.7 strokes ball striking.

Tom Hoge $6,400 is coming off of two mediocre finishes otherwise he would be getting some hype as a low priced play this week. He hasn’t lost strokes on approach since the Irish Open in September of 2023. He plays great on small green golf courses like Pebble Beach and has the type of wedge game that wins PGA Championships. I love Hoge at this price even if his around the green game scares me a bit.

Denny McCarthy $6,300 has four straight made cuts at PGA Championships, but this golf course is made for big-time drivers. He has two top six finishes in his last four starts. I believe he can make the cut, but I don’t love the upside with his current iron play.

Lucas Glover $6,100 has gained over 13.6 strokes on approach combined over his last four golf tournaments. He has gained off the tee in three of his last four despite being a short hitter. His putter isn’t as sharp as it was last year, but I’m not concerned with that here. He finished top 25 in his last trip to the PGA Championship.

Taylor Pendrith $6,000 is going to get a lot of ownership in almost every tournament at this price. His driver is on fire as he has gained over 3.8 strokes in each of his last two measured events. His short game has been particularly sharp, helping him to a win at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

Keita Nakajima $5,900 is a long hitter off the tee (over 320 yard average) and won the Hero India Open at the end of March. He hasn’t played a lot worldwide in the last few months so his form is a bit of a mystery. His driver travels no matter what.

Beau Hossler $5,800 has been doing it all with his short game lately. He contended in Myrtle Beach before his iron play took him out of contention. I think people will look at him as a familiar name down in this range, but should probably avoid even if he does play small green golf courses well.

David Puig $5,800 has gained more than 2.3 strokes off the tee in three straight measured events. He has a win and two other top five finishes on the Asian Tour this season, but hasn’t been as consistent on the LIV Golf Tour. I’m looking forward to watching him this week and I will take a flier on him in some GPPs.

Austin Eckroat $5,700 has the type of game that PGA Championship winners all have. He is strong off the tee with solid irons throughout his bag. He has struggled since he missed the cut at the Masters and it really showed last week when he lost over 7 strokes around the green at the Wells Fargo Championship. Be careful rostering Eckroat too much with his current form.

Patrick Rodgers $5,500 has gained strokes off the tee in four straight tournaments. His iron play has been poor, but he gained over 1.4 strokes on approach in the last round at the Wells Fargo so I’m hoping that sparked something with him. He finished T29 at last year’s PGA Championship.

One and done

Each week, we will pick in reverse order of the standings, and we can’t duplicate picks in the same week. Reference this spreadsheet for tracking who we have used.

Standings

  • Hugh Kellenberger: $7,112,305.13
  • Brody Miller: $6,009,111.83
  • Dennis Esser: $2,480,211

Dennis Esser: Rahm gets the nod this week over Koepka by a hair. I wanted to take Åberg, but I want to see him fully healthy before taking him this year in one and done.

Brody Miller: The time has come to use McIlroy. The explanation isn’t very nuanced. After a disappointing first few months, McIlroy has won his last two starts. But more than results, McIlroy just looks confident out there in a way we haven’t seen in years. Then, you add in that he, of course, won the last PGA here in 2014. And then you realize Quail Hollow (where he’s won four times including last week) is an extremely close course fit to Valhalla. It just seems like the best time to use him.

Hugh Kellenberger: Any list of the best players without a major championship now has to include Niemann, but I’m not so sure he’s not going to take himself off that list this week at the PGA Championship. He’s been the best player on the LIV tour — two wins and six top 10s in seven starts is a sick run of consistency. He was pretty good at the Masters with a T22 finish, but the circumstances of his arrival there assigned more pressure to Niemann. He’ll go under the radar this week at a course that should set up well for him.

(Photo of Jon Rahm: Lionel Ng / Getty Images)

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