2024 PGA Championship - Preview Day Three
Credit: Getty Images

We’re on the eve of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, 10 years after it was last here in Louisville. The conclusion of every championship played at the historic course has been decided at the very end, including all three PGA Championships (1996, 2000, 2014) and two KitchenAid Senior PGA Championships (2004, 2011).

There is no reason to think that this year will be different as many of the game’s top players come into this championship in great form with three of the favorites having all won their last start before coming to Kentucky. With that, here are five players to watch this week at Valhalla. (Odds are provided by ESPN BET, and can be found here)

Scottie Scheffler (+425): Any credible list has to start with the best player in the world, even if we haven’t seen him in three weeks. Wife Meredith gave birth to their son, Bennett, last week but Scheffler told the media on Tuesday that he’s plenty prepared and has been playing in games at home in Texas to keep him sharp. His last five starts: Win, win, T-2, win, win. Before that: T-10, T-3, T-6. Hard to envision a scenario where the Masters champion won’t contend again and compete for his second straight major title. Max Homa, earlier in the week, had this to say about Scheffler: “I did not think you could hit a golf ball this well this long. I did not know that was possible.”

PGA Championship - Final Round
LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 10: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the Wanamaker trophy after his one-stroke victory during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy (+700): When McIlroy gets on a roll he’s as dangerous as anyone. Last week’s runaway performance at the Wells Fargo Championship served notice that he’s ready to compete for his fifth major championship. McIlroy made the turn Sunday tied with Xander Schauffele, then made two eagles and two birdies to win by five, after making double bogey on the last hole. Yes, he was up seven shots. Mix that with his good vibes from winning at Valhalla in 2014 and the softer conditions this week – which have historically treated him well – and we have the potential for a Scheffler-McIlroy duel late into the final round.

2024 PGA Championship - Preview Day Three
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 15: Brooks Koepka of the United States plays his shot from the 11th tee during a practice round prior to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 15, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

Brooks Koepka (+1400): The 2023 PGA Champion has won all five of his major championships since McIlroy won his last and won two weeks ago in Singapore, his last start coming into Valhalla. Before that win, however, Koepka hadn’t done much this year, including a 45th place tie at the Masters after shooting 76-75 on the weekend. But with the three-time PGA Champion, he’s always ready for the game’s biggest events and that last victory showed anyone who thought he wasn’t going to prepared to defend his title that they’re wrong. Koepka, before he was major Brooks, tied for 15th place at Valhalla in 2014. Since then, in the PGA Championship, here are his results: T-5, T-4, T-13, win, win, T-29, T-2, T-55, win.

GOLF: MAY 13 PGA Championship - Practice Round
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 13: Cameron Young (USA) plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 2024 PGA Championship on May 13, 2024, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cameron Young (+4500): Ranked 16th in the world and still looking for his first victory, but Young has played his best in the biggest events and is playing well now, with five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, zero missed cuts, and a ninth-place tie at the Masters. Young also has five top-10 finishes in his last eight major championships. He missed the cut at the PGA last year at Oak Hill but tied for third place two years ago at Southern Hills. Young is also a tremendous driver of the golf ball, which is a trait that will serve him well at a place where all players who have talked this week have said will be a huge asset. If you’re not comfortable picking him to win, don’t be afraid to count on him for another top-10 finish.

2024 PGA Championship - Preview Day Three
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 15: Will Zalatoris of the United States lines up a putt on the second green during a practice round prior to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 15, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

Will Zalatoris (+5500): He did not play well last week at Quail Hollow and generally you’d like to pick someone who has good vibes heading into a major championship. But he’s been one of the best major players since 2020 with seven top-10 finishes in the biggest events, three of them second-place finishes, including two years ago after losing in a playoff to Justin Thomas. Zalatoris’ results in three of the bigger events so far this year were a T-2 at the Genesis Invitational, T-4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a T-9 at the Masters last month, where a final-round 69 was one of the best rounds of the week.

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