Read The Line Betting Breakdown: PGA Championship

Read The Line Betting Breakdown: PGA Championship

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

Full article available at Read The Line.

Look what I found


We were so close to winning FOUR WEEKS in a row. Madelene Sagstrom (+6000) held the lead late on a Sunday at the Cognizant Founders Cup. The super swede looked unflappable. Truth is, she just got beat. And that happens in golf. Rose Zhang birdied four of her remaining five holes to take the title from Sagstrom. Even though we didn't win our fifth outright of the season, it's safe to safe we are red hot heading into the men's next major championship.

The 106th PGA Championship has descended upon Louisville, Kentucky. It has been 10 years since Rory McIlroy won the Wanamaker Trophy on this very venue. Who could believe at the time, this would be his last major trophy. Valhalla Golf Club is hosting its fourth PGA Championship. Prior winners include Mark Brooks (1996), Tiger Woods (2000) and the aforementioned McIlroy who captured the Championship in 2014. Valhalla sounds like a cool word we should all know the meaning of. It comes from Norse mythology. Valhalla was a banquet hall in Odin's palace in Asgard, the realm of the gods, where Viking warriors who die in battle go to in the afterlife.

Most modern Marvel fans know Odin's son is Thor, the God of Thunder. Well, if that doesn't fit the image of a perfect winner for this championship, I'm not sure what does...

2024 PGA Championship: Thoroughbred track

Valhalla Golf Club was a par 72 layout measuring 7,144 yards in 1996 when Brooks won. The official scorecard this week is a par 71 test covering 7,609 yards! Now you start to see the meaning behind the Thor reference. Outside of Brooks, Valhalla's two other winners were the longest players at that time. You will hear a ton of talk about ball speed and length as keys to contend. If 7,600 yards wasn't enough, the golf course is playing long. The Louisville region has received over two inches of rain in May. The forecast calls for another one to two inches during the week. Long, thick, dense rough puts an extreme premium on ball striking.

A field of 156 competitors vying for the top 70 and ties to make the weekend must keep the ball out of the long grass as much as possible. The PGA of America will announce the purse later in the week, but you better believe these guys will be playing for "signature" style cash. As such, we have ALL the best players in the world here ready to compete. And are they READY! The three favorites are all coming in as winners. Brooks Koepka won his last LIV start in Singapore. McIlroy just won his last two starts (Zurich, Wells Fargo), and Scottie Scheffler comes in having won a green jacket and four of his last five starts. We have a real race brewing in horse country, and it would be tough to find a better trifecta anywhere else.

Does anyone else have a legitimate chance considering these three are showing such form? When you start to consider the weather situation and course conditions, I wholeheartedly believe the answer is yes. The Louisville region has received over two inches of rain in May prior to PGA week. It poured most of the morning on Tuesday and the forecast calls for more precipitation. Since 2014, Valhalla has committed to some serious agronomic changes. The greens were re-surfaced and still have bentgrass, but the fairways were transitioned over to Zoysiagrass. This beautiful ball striking blend is much better at handling rain and humidity. The 2014 Rory edition was plagued by super soft conditions.

A couple of quick regional course comps are Bellerive in St. Louis and TPC Southwind in Memphis. Both have Zoysia fairways and Bellerive even has bentgrass greens. With all of the rain Valhalla has received, the fairways still retain a little bounce, but a softer golf course will help the field. Seasonal temperatures and wind in the low teens will create easier scoring conditions. Those three thoroughbreds will have a tougher time differentiating themselves than if the track was firm and fast. The harder the course, the more the favorites should be favored.

We are not just talking about the third longest course on TOUR, but also the one with the third smallest greens! Valhalla has both and that's the real challenge. Extreme length combined with very small putting targets creates a stern exam. This is the main reason why our card will sound familiar. Since the PGA moved to May, the winner has not only been a household name, but they have all entered the test in terrific form. One must play well on this beast. Sixty bunkers and seven holes where water comes into play as players climb and descend over the eastern hills of Louisville. The terrain is a real part of the test this week. Numerous up and down approach shots will cause the best to estimate carry yardages and landing areas.

Don't go too far awry with four inches of rough awaiting everywhere. Continue to monitor the weather situation, but overall, this big course is bigger, and slightly easier than the test really could be if it were dry. Let's dive into the skill set a little further before we debut our winning PGA card.

2024 PGA Championship: Who's a mudder?

Wet conditions and a nuisance rain will deter probably one third of the field. The competitors will need to be sharp playing from wet, medium wet, and dry lies. The weather conditions only add to the difficulty of a major moment. We know Scottie won't be thrown by the conditions. Baby or not, I believe he looks extremely ready to win his second major in a row. To compete with him, stay close, and ultimately win you'll need to do the following. Keep in mind, the deciding factor even if you perform every outright skill tremendously is that you will need to look him in the eye on Sunday before you win. Scheffler is not going to back down, and neither will the men on my card.

Soft, 7,600 yards, and elevation changes call for length and ball speed. Accuracy counts as this is a major championship and Valhalla only has 23 acres of fairway. When you see the rough, one would think Championship Officer Kerry Haigh might have been hurt by a lawn mower when he was a child. Four inches plus of wet, dense, and uniform grass surrounding all of the landing areas will present a problem to wild OTT play and errant approach shots. Bombers are proven winners here and our card reflects that fact.

Just like Quail Hollow, Augusta National, Torrey Pines, and Muirfield Village GC you need long iron acumen to win. Tiger taught us for twenty years; this is the way you separate from your competition. Two thirds of iron shots are coming from over 175 yards. Throw in the third smallest greens on TOUR and you can really separate with this skill. Zoyisa fairways will also play a role on approach. The best ball strikers love Zoysia because the ball sits up. The ability to shallow that angle of attack and launch it off this super surface is a true skill and one we are featuring on the card.

Most pundits are going to skip putting and keep preaching length. Trust me, short and medium length hitters are a non-starter for me in the outright discussion. In 2014, seven of the top 10 were in the top 12 of strokes gained putting for the week. After length, this was the most correlated characteristic of the contenders. Team no putt will not be able to keep up with our contenders. If Scottie slips with his putter, this will be the most effective way to beat him. Many elite players struggle with the flat stick, so this one skill really helped me build our betting card.

Seven of the 11 par 4s are over 460 yards in length. Three of them are under 415 yards. The ability to score on both is a valuable commodity. I looked at the 2014 top 10 closely, and those 12 players (ties) gained an average of eight strokes on the field on the 4s. Considering the winning score will be right around 10 under par, getting it done on all types of par 4s is a huge scoring advantage. The winning score in 2014 (par 71) was 16 under par. Those same 12 players averaged 19 sub-par scores. The course wasn't nearly as difficult in 2014 as one might think a major championship should be.

The PGA has changed their philosophy since then. Our Sunday contenders will need to save par much more than their counterparts from 2014, 2000, or 1996. Bogey avoidance may ultimately decide this championship versus one last birdie on the par 5 eighteenth. Savvy short game players not only save par, but they score on the 5s and short par 4s. One last consideration for the card, no doubt our winner will be the most well-rounded bomber, but they will also be someone who has proven they can beat Scottie and has done it before. The Valhalla vibe is real and everyone on property can feel it. Get locked in for a very entertaining week.

The field and the conditions are all aligned for a close finish. Plan for an epic Sunday sweat down to the last hole. But just like Dallas and Taylor Pendrith, I believe the guys on our card have the moxie to nose ahead when it comes down to a photo finish.

2024 PGA Championship: Outright Winners

Brooks Koepka (+1600)

Koepka tends to win his major championship in pairs. To date he has won two U.S. Opens and PGAs back to back. Did I mention, he also the defending champion this week.

  • Koepka won his last LIV start in Singapore on the same exact agronomy as Valhalla.
  • His 2018 PGA win was at neighboring Bellerive (same agronomy) and he has also won at TPC Southwind in Memphis. Guess what another Zoysiagrass golf course.
  • Oak Hill is another tremendous course comp for Valhalla.
  • In his last 22 majors, Brooks has 5 wins and 12 top 10s.

Bryson DeChambeau (+3000)

If we are targeting length, DeChambeau is the longest player in the field. What was once a side show is now a strategic attack.

  • DeChambeau won the 2020 US Open by six at Winged Foot GC in similar conditions.
  • Bryson came into Oak Hill last year with mediocre form and finished fourth. Again, another long, wet test.
  • He is the 2018 Memorial winner at Muirfield Village GC.
  • Sixth place at the Masters was all I needed to see. He handled a very cerebral test and stayed competitive all week. THAT Bryson is a problem on this course for the field.

For tips and picks, check out Read The Line!

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