2024 PGA Championship: LIV Golf Contenders

2024 PGA Championship: LIV Golf Contenders

The PGA Championship

Course: Valhalla Golf Club (Par 71, 7,609 yards)
Purse: $20,000,000 
Winner: $3,600,000

Preview

The 2024 LIV Golf season is officially at the halfway point of the season, and 16 players from the league will head to Valhalla Golf Club to participate in The PGA Championship. Leading the LIV representation is defending PGA champion and Smash GC captain Brooks Koepka, who put the golfing world on notice with a two-stroke victory over Australians Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman at LIV Golf Singapore. With his victory in Singapore, Koepka became the first player in the LIV Golf league to capture four individual trophies, and he sits in fifth place in the individual season standings. 

Ahead of Koepka in the standings are Torque GC captain Joaquin Niemann and Legion XIII captain Jon Rahm, who each finished T7 and T10 in Singapore, respectively, and both are looking to improve on their Masters performance in April. HyFlyers captain Phil Mickelson and Cleeks GC captain Martin Kaymer haven't exactly been lighting up in the LIV Golf league this season, but as previous winners of the PGA Championship, they're hoping that Valhalla returns them to form. 

The Jack Nicklaus designed Valhalla Golf Club makes its return to the PGA Championship. The last time it hosted the second major of the season was in 2014, in which Mickelson was runner-up to Rory McIlroy. Since then, the course has been lengthened to 7,601 yards while staying at par 71. Striking the ball true off the tee won't be enough on its own, however; tight fairways and small greens gives advantage to those who can convert on their scrambling opportunities. Weather will certainly add a wrinkle, with rain and thunderstorms looming in the forecast over the four rounds of the tournament, which would slow the speed of the greens a bit.

The second golf major of the season is on the horizon, and here is how the LIV Golf representation shapes up heading into Valhalla:

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 12:00 PM ET Wednesday

Past PGA Champions

Brooks Koepka (16-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: Winner by two strokes 
  • LIV Golf Standings: 5th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 11
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: Winner
  • Performance in recent Majors: T45 at 2024 Masters, T64 at 2023 Open Championship, T17 at 2023 U.S. Open

After back-to-back T45 placements at LIV Golf Miami and the Masters, Koepka rebounded with a T9 finish at LIV Golf Adelaide and a two-stroke victory in Singapore. The Smash GC captain cracked into the top five of the LIV Golf individual season standings thanks to his latest victory in the league, and he has finished in the top-15 in five-of-seven LIV Golf tournaments this season. Koepka has won the PGA Championship in three of the last six years, and a victory at Valhalla Golf Club would put him in company with Tiger Woods as four-time PGA champions.

Phil Mickelson (400-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T22
  • LIV Golf Standings: 34th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 30
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T58
  • Performance in recent Majors: T43 at 2024 Masters, MC at 2023 Open Championship, MC at 2023 U.S. Open

Mickelson's T22 placement at LIV Golf Singapore marked just the second time this season that the HyFlyers GC captain has scored points towards the individual season standings. Majors are what veterans like Mickelson live for, however, and he managed to make the cut at the Masters despite finishing T52 at LIV Golf Miami the week prior. Mickelson won the PGA Championship in 2021 at 50 years old, making the oldest winner in major championship history.

Martin Kaymer (2500-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T19
  • LIV Golf Standings: 42nd
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 14
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: MC
  • Performance in recent Majors: MC at 2023 U.S. Open

Like Mickelson, Kaymer hasn't exactly been lights out during the LIV Golf season, and he has the lowest rank of captains in the individual standings outside of RangeGoats GC's Bubba Watson and Majesticks GC co-captain Lee Westwood. Still, Kaymer has finishes of T19 and T14 at LIV Golf Adelaide and Singapore, respectively. The Cleeks GC captain beat Watson in a three-hole aggregate playoff at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. 

The Rest of the Field

Joaquin Niemann (35-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T7
  • LIV Golf Standings: 1st
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 6
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: MC
  • Performance in recent Majors: T22 at 2024 Masters, MC at Open Championship, T32 at U.S. Open 

Niemann continues to sit at the top of the LIV Golf individual season standings, thanks in large part to victories in Mayakoba and Jeddah. He's finished in the top-10 in every LIV Golf tournament outside of a T30 placement in Las Vegas, and he has been one of the most consistent players in the league alongside Jon Rahm and Dean Burmester. Niemann's appearance at the PGA Championship marks the 14th-consecutive major start for the Chilean. His best placement at the PGA Championship was a T23 finish at Southern Hills Country Club in 2022.

Jon Rahm (16-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T10
  • LIV Golf Standings: 2nd
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 7
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: 2023 Masters Champion; 2021 U.S. Open Champion
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T50
  • Performance in recent Majors: T45 at 2024 Masters, T2 at 2023 Open Championship, T10 at 2023 U.S. Open

A LIV Golf trophy still evades the 2023 Masters champion, but Rahm has been the moniker of consistent success, placing in the top 10 in all seven LIV Golf tournaments this season. Thanks to his efforts and teammate Tyrrell Hatton, Legion XIII sit in second place in the LIV Golf team standings with victories in Mayakoba and Miami. Rahm's best outing at the PGA Championship was a T4 placement at Bellerive Golf Course in 2018, and the Spaniard will look to add this upcoming major to his impressive resume.

Dean Burmester (130-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T14
  • LIV Golf Standings: 3rd
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 3
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: 54th

Burmester has finished in the top 10 in four LIV Golf tournaments this season, including a playoff victory in Miami over Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia. Burmester received a special invitation to the PGA Championship due to his performance on the LIV Golf tour, as well as back-to-back victories on the DP Tour late last season at the Joburg Open and Investec South African Open Championship. Burmester has made the cut in two of his three appearances at the PGA Championship, and he'll look to crack the top-50 for the first time this weekend.

Cameron Smith (45-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T2
  • LIV Golf Standings: 7th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 8
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: 2022 Open Champion
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T9
  • Performance in recent Majors: T6 at 2024 Masters, T33 at Open Championship, 4th at 2023 U.S. Open

Food poisoning caused Smith to drop out of LIV Golf Miami, but he's bounced back in spectacular fashion. His T6 placement at the Masters was tied with Bryson DeChambeau for best out of the LIV Golf players at Augusta, and Smith has followed that up with finishes of T14 and T2 at LIV Golf Adelaide and Singapore, respectively. What's more, the Ripper GC captain has enjoyed back-to-back team victories, including a nail-biting, two-hole playoff in front of a home crowd at The Grange. Smith has finished in the top-10 in four of his last six major appearances, starting with his victory at the 2022 Open Championship. He has finishes of T13 and T9 at the PGA Championship in 2022 and 2023, respectively. 

Talor Gooch (90-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: 4th
  • LIV Golf Standings: 8th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 4
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: MC
  • Performance in recent Majors: MC at 2023 U.S. Open

Gooch received a special invitation to the PGA Championship thanks to his 2023 performance on the LIV Golf circuit, when he won three trophies and the season-long Individual Championship. He hasn't managed to win a LIV Golf tournament halfway through the 2024 season, but he has four top-10 finishes. After saying in February that a Rory McIlroy Grand Slam would "be an asterisk," Gooch finally has the opportunity to put weight behind those words at Valhalla Golf Club this week. 

Dustin Johnson (80-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T7
  • LIV Golf Standings: 9th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 14
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: 2020 Masters Champion
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T55
  • Performance in recent Majors: MC at 2024 Masters, MC at Open Championship, T10 at 2023 U.S. Open

Following his victory at LIV Golf Las Vegas in February, Johnson failed to crack the top-20 over the next four LIV Golf tournaments and missed the cut at the Masters. His dry spell ended in Singapore when he finished T7 thanks to a strong five-under 66 final round. Johnson will be making his 59th major start this week, and the 4Aces captain will look to add a PGA Championship victory to his impressive record. He finished T2 in both 2019 and 2020.

Tyrrell Hatton (50-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T5
  • LIV Golf Standings: 11th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 9
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Top-15 at 2023 PGA Championship
  • Performance in recent Majors: T9 at 2024 Masters, T20 at Open Championship, T27 at U.S. Open

Hatton is the only other player outside of Legion XIII teammate and captain Rahm to accrue points in every LIV Golf tournament this season. Like Rahm, Hatton has yet to capture an individual trophy, but he's finished in the top five in two of the last three LIV Golf events and has helped the debutant team capture two trophies this season. The Englishman has finished in the top-15 four times at the PGA Championship, and his best performance at the major is a T10 in both 2016 and 2018.

Bryson DeChambeau (28-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T27
  • LIV Golf Standings: 12th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 6
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: 2020 U.S. Champion
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T4
  • Performance in recent Majors: T6 at 2024 Masters, T60 at Open Championship, T20 at U.S. Open

After starting the LIV Golf season with a T25 in Mayakoba, DeChambeau rattled off four consecutive top-10s, including a fourth-place finish in Jeddah. He held the clubhouse lead after the first round of the Masters, but he wasn't able to maintain that cushion and had to settle for a T6 finish. DeChambeau hasn't found his form since then, finishing T26 and T27 at LIV Golf Adelaide and Singapore, respectively, but he did finish T4 at the PGA Championship in 2023. Competing in the second major of the season could be what the Crushers GC captain needs to get his mojo back.

Adrian Meronk (250-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T10
  • LIV Golf Standings: 18th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 1
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T40
  • Performance in recent Majors: MC at 2024 Masters, T23 at Open Championship, MC at 2023 U.S. Open

The LIV Golf debutant was in contention for his first individual trophy in Singapore, but he faltered in the final round to fall back to a T10 finish. Still, the Polish golfer has been one of the best performers over the past year, and he peaked at 39th in the OWGR before joining the LIV Golf league. Meronk finished T40 at the PGA Championship in 2023, and he has plenty to prove after missing the cut at the Masters in April.

Andy Ogletree (2000-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T45
  • LIV Golf Standings: 28th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 0
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Top-three International Federation Ranking

Like his HyFlyers teammate and captain Mickelson, Ogletree hasn't been one of the top performers of the LIV Golf circuit, with his spot in the individual season standings solely due to his T3 placement in Adelaide. Ogletree earned an invitation to the PGA Championship after finishing in the top-three of the International Federation Rankings with Keita Nakajima and Ryan van Velzen, mostly thanks to his play on the Asian Tour in 2023. Ogletree will make his PGA Championship debut at Valhalla this week, with his only other golf major experience coming in 2020 when he finished T34 at the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open as an amateur. 

Patrick Reed (150-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T14
  • LIV Golf Standings: 30th
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: 10
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T18
  • Performance in recent Majors: T12 at 2024 Masters, T33 at Open Championship, T56 at U.S. Open

After finishing sixth in the 2023 LIV Golf individual season standings, Reed sits in 30th this year, though he does have a top-15 in two of the last three tournaments. He rode his momentum from his T9 at LIV Golf Miami into Augusta, where he finished T12 at the Masters, which kept him in the top-100 of the OWGR to earn an invitation to the PGA Championship. Reed has made the cut at the PGA Championship in each of the last four years, and his best placement at the second major was T2 in 2017.

Lucas Herbert (350-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T27
  • LIV Golf Standings: 41st
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: Five
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance at 2023 PGA Championship: T40
  • Performance in recent Majors: MC at Open Championship, MC at U.S. Open

Herbert has cracked the top-15 just twice during the LIV Golf season, with his best outing coming in front of a home crowd in Adelaide. He played a key role in Ripper GC's back-to-back team victories in Adelaide and Singapore, along with captain Smith. Herbert has made the cut in four of his five previous PGA Championship appearances, with his best finish coming in 2022 (T13).

David Puig (350-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Singapore: T27
  • LIV Golf Standings: 43rd
  • Number of PGA Championship Appearances: Debut
  • Qualification for PGA Championship: Special Invitation
  • Performance in recent Majors: T39 at 2023 U.S. Open

The points Puig has accrued this season have come from back-to-back T15 finishes at LIV Golf Las Vegas and Jeddah, respectively. Outside of that, the Spaniard has failed to crack the top-25, and he has finished T34 or worse in four LIV Golf tournaments. It's been a different story for Puig outside of LIV Golf, however, as he's finished in the top-10 in four tournaments on the Asian Tour this season, including a victory at the IRS Prima Malaysian Open in February. He sits in second and third place in the Order of Merit standings and International Series Rankings, respectively.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cullum Brownbridge
Cullum is a RotoWire contributor for the NFL, NBA, MLB and Golf. He is irrationally pessimistic about his favorite sports teams.
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