Weekly PGA Preview: PGA Championship

Weekly PGA Preview: PGA Championship

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.

PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club
Louisville, KY

The PGA Tour heads to Louisville, KY, for another edition of the PGA Championship.

As we head into the season's second major, we've suddenly got quite the storyline emerging, one that after this past April, I'm not sure many were expecting and that's resurgence of Rory McIlroy. McIlroy won the team event in New Orleans along with Shane Lowry a few weeks ago, but that didn't really move the needle and with team events, you can never be sure of the form of either individual, but with his win this past week at the Wells Fargo, I think it's safe to say that McIlroy is peaking at the right time. It wasn't just the fact that he won either, it was the way he did it. Xander Schauffele appeared to be in complete of control heading into the weekend, but McIlroy slowly chipped away at his lead until a late-Sunday burst saw him pull ahead and leave Schauffele in the dust. Schauffele isn't ever going to be compared to Tiger on a Sunday, but he's still one of the best players in the world and that fact that McIlroy passed him like he was standing still was quite impressive. The question now is, can McIlroy do it at a major and break the decade-long drought? The fact that Scottie Scheffler wasn't there should not be overlooked, but it is what it is, you can only battle the golfers that are present. As for Scheffler, he's back, so it's a different ballgame this week for several reasons.                                   

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 4:30 PM ET Tuesday.                   

LAST TIME

Brooks Koepka shot a final-round 67 on his way to a two-stroke victory over Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (4-1) 

We've now come to the stage where when evaluating Scheffler, it's all about his state of mind, because there's really nothing to pick apart regarding his golf game. Heading into this week we actually have some questions, well just one question, and that's how is he going to play now that he's a new father? It may seem stupid to those that haven't gone through it, but becoming a father can be grueling if your one of those people who are dependent on a particular sleep schedule. We don't know the Scheffler's situation at home, perhaps they've got help and everything is covered, so it's no big deal, or maybe Scheffler shows up and he's a sleep deprived maniac. Okay, so that seems unlikely, I'm just throwing out a perfectly reasonable scenario where Scheffler might not be the machine he was when we last saw him.                                                          

Rory McIlroy (15-2)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that McIlroy was starting to lose his grip on his status as one of the betting favorites every placed he showed up, but that was short lived as he's now back in the top-2 after his two most recent wins. Look, if we're judging McIlroy on just his golf, he's certainly one of the players on a short list that can win this week, but that's not how this works. McIlroy has accumulated baggage from failing to win a major since he was last on this very spot 10 years ago. Overcoming that is not going to be easy, especially if he's in a great position entering the weekend. I think if he's to win, he'll have to do it like he did this past weekend, from behind.

Brooks Koepka (16-1)

It's not a knock on any of the players in the top-3 this week, but the fact that Jon Rahm is not one of the favorites is certainly an early indication that he made a mistake jumping to LIV...at least performance wise. Monetarily, I think he's fine, but legacy wise, I don't think this move is going to pay off in the long run. As for Koepka, he's done just fine with the move to LIV, after all, he nearly won the Masters in 2023 and he did win the PGA Championship. Then again, he was always one to peak at the right time. As for this week, he's no doubt in the mix. He's probably relishing the opportunity to take down Scheffler again, the one that no one can beat, because we all know how much Koepka likes proving people wrong.                                                         

THE NEXT TIER

Max Homa (35-1)

Homa has yet to win in 2024, but he seems to be playing his best against the stronger fields. Case in point, all three of his top-10s in 2024 have come at either signature events or majors. The most important result for this week was that top-10 at a major, which was actually a T3 at the Masters. Homa's non-major game improved dramatically a few years ago, but his play at the majors has only followed suit within the past year.            

Wyndham Clark (45-1)

For whatever the reason, Clark just hasn't caught odd with the odds makers or the betting public, but he continues to play at a high-level, winning more often than just about anyone else outside of Scheffler over the past 12 months. I'm still not sure where Clark's ceiling is, but he's already won a major and he's been the only one to challenge Scheffler on multiple occasions in 2024, so it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Clark in the mix again this week.  

Cameron Smith (50-1)            

Smith was expected to carry the LIV torch at the majors this past season, but that didn't happen as Brooks Koepka was the one who took control, but let's not forget how good Smith can be. He hasn't played his best since moving to LIV, but he's still young and likely working things out with his game. If he doesn't contend at a major this season, I might give up on him, but I'm not there yet. I think Smith will be in contention this week with a chance to win.                                                

LONG SHOTS

Min Woo Lee (70-1)       

Lee hasn't played poorly this season, but he has yet to splash, and I think he's about to up his game soon. Could it be this week? Lee has yet to show that he's intimated by the majors and when he's rolling, he's just about as good as anyone out there. Don't get me wrong, this is truly a hunch play this week, but I am confident that he'll at least play well. Whether or not he can win or even contend, I'm not sure, but that's why we're getting 70-1 here.            

Will Zalatoris (80-1)       

If you had told me two years ago that Zalatoris would be considered a long shot at a major in the near future I would have called you crazy, but here where are. We're here because Zalatoris was out due to injury for most of 2023 and he's been slow to regain his form, but let's not forget that form. Though he failed to win a major in 2022, he was one of the biggest stories of that year, finishing in the top-6 in the first three majors. I'm not sure if his form is where it needs to be to win this week, but at 80-1, he's certainly worth a look.                                                               

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-Chosen Pick: Rory McIlroy - If my OAD league is anything like yours, then half your league used McIlroy this past week, which doesn't leave that many owners to take him this week, but for those that missed out on him this past week, this is going to look like a great spot to use him. I'm also going on the assumption that most OAD players have already used Scheffler and if you haven't, what are you waiting for?                                                                                                                  

Moderately-Chosen Pick: Wyndham Clark - Clark was in this spot this past week and it didn't work out, but I have a feeling he'll get up for the major this week. Clark is close to joining the ultra-reliable category, but he's not quite there yet. With another good showing this week, he'll be locked into that group. As for this week, I don't think he'll get a lot of usage in this format as McIlroy, Koepka and Schauffele are bound to get most of the attention.  

Lightly-Chosen Pick: Will Zalatoris - As mentioned earlier, his injuries and recent play have moved Zalatoris into longshot status and as we know, OAD players don't like taking "longshots" at majors. That fact will provide you with an opportunity to gain ground on the competition with Zalatoris...if he plays well this week, which I'm expecting.          

Buyer Beware: Viktor Hovland - This is low hanging fruit at the moment, but it's Viktor Hovland, someone that you should always be weary of, and yet, I'm not worried at all placing him here this week. Hovland has too many issues with his game right to think he could somehow fix everything with one good round. He will bounce back at some point this season, but I doubt it will be this week.  

This Week: Cameron Smith - This is only the second major of the season and I've already burned a lot of good players. Scheffler, McIlroy, Homa, Aberg, Clark, Zalatoris and Koepka are not options, which is crazy because I like all of those guys this week. Though there are some other good options, that pretty much leaves me with Smith and Schauffele as the top options. I'm going to go with Smith because I only have two more places to use him this season, while I'll have many more places to use Schauffele.                                                                                                                 

Previous Results

TournamentGolferResultEarningsRunning Total
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRory McIlroy1$3,600,000$10,626,124
CJ Cup Byron NelsonStephan JaegerT20$112,100$7,026,124
Zurich Classic of New OrleansNick Taylor10$122,375$6,914,024
RBC HeritageLudvig AbergT10$521,000$6,791,649
The MastersBrooks KoepkaT45$57,200$6,270,649
Valero Texas OpenCorey ConnersT25$67,735$6,213,449
Texas Children's Houston OpenJason DayMC$0$6,145,714
Valspar ChampionshipSam BurnsMC$0$6,145,714
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipScottie Scheffler1$4,500,000$6,145,714
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardWill ZalatorisT4$920,000$1,645,714
Cognizant Classic in The Palm BeachesEric ColeMC$0$725,714
Mexico Open at VidantaBrandon WuT13$145,125$725,714
The Genesis InvitationalMax HomaT16$329,000$580,589
WM Phoenix OpenWyndham ClarkT41$30,404$251,589
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJordan SpiethT39$70,125$221,185
Farmers Insurance OpenHarris EnglishT64$19,080$151,060
The American ExpressSungjae ImT25$63,980$131,980
Sony Open in HawaiiSahith TheegalaMC$0$68,000
The SentryTom KimT45$68,000$68,000

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range:  Rory McIlroy ($12,100)
Middle Range: Max Homa ($10,700)
Lower Range: Tom Hoge ($8,300)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

This Week: Rory McIlroy - McIlroy hasn't always been the most reliable guy in this format, especially when expectations are high, but I think this week might be different. I'm not calling the win, but I'd be shocked if McIlroy missed the weekend. Scheffler is an option here as well, but there are things we don't know about how he'll play this week and that might be the only time all year that we can say that. I'll wait on him.

Previous Results      

TournamentGolferStreak
CJ Cup Byron NelsonAlex Noren5
Zurich Classic of New OrleansNick Taylor4
The MastersJon Rahm3
Valero Texas OpenCorey Conners2
Texas Children's Houston OpenMackenzie Hughes1
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns0
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas0
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardCameron Young9
Cognizant Classic in The Palm BeachesShane Lowry8
Mexico Open at VidantaPatrick Rodgers7
The Genesis InvitationalSahith Theegala6
WM Phoenix OpenHideki Matsuyama5
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJordan Spieth4
Farmers Insurance OpenTony Finau3
The American ExpressSungjae Im2
Sony Open in HawaiiChris Kirk1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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