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PGA Championship picks 2024: Yes, we're going right back to Xander Schauffele

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 14: Xander Schauffele of the United States signs autographs during a practice round prior to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 14, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

So far, the headlines at this week's PGA Championship have had very little to do with the golf that's set to take place at Valhalla. To that we say that Thursday morning cannot get here soon enough.

And once it does, enjoy it as much as you can, because sadly it's only so often we get to see the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm competing against one another these days. If their recent play is any indication, we're on track to watch all of them do serious battle on Sunday afternoon in Kentucky.

Our betting panel is comprised of a caddie reporting anonymously from the grounds of Memorial Park, Pat Mayo of Underdog/Mayo Media Network, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel, Andy Lack of RunPureSports.com, your two authors and Keith Stewart, the CEO of Read The Line. Stewart, our newest member of the panel, is our new betting content partner as well.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 PGA Championship

PGA Championship picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Xander Schauffele (14-1, DraftKings) — He is going to win a major at some point. His form has been there the entire season. He did not lose last week, he just got beaten. I think a little bit of limelight will shy away from him and it’s a great golf course for him to succeed on. Obviously, he's not known as a big hitter, but he has all the length you would need to win around this big golf course.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Brooks Koepka (16-1, FanDuel) — Since the PGA of America decided to set up their courses to mimic U.S. Opens, Koepka has been the safest bet to contend. He enters off a win and is peaking at the exact time he does every year.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Brooks Koepka (16-1, FanDuel) — Koepka won last year’s PGA Championship after two top-five finishes on the LIV Tour, and this year, he enters with a T-9 and a two-shot win on a long course with small greens. While I don’t have as much data on Koepka as I’d like, it’s not the hardest case to build for Koepka when the form is clearly good overall and he’s still nuking it off the tee.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Brooks Koepka (16-1, FanDuel) — Valhalla Golf Club was built for Brooks Koepka. Tiger was the most prolific major winner of his time when he won here in 2000. The same comparison holds true for Rory McIlroy in 2014. Koepka has three PGA Championships and is the defending champion. Oak Hill is an excellent comp course for what I see this week on property in Louisville. Coming off a win at LIV Singapore, Brooks beat the field on the same exact agronomy as Valhalla; bentgrass greens and Zoysia fairways. I can keep going, but the reality is everyone on the PGA Tour has tried to beat Scottie Scheffler and can’t. I believe Koepka can’t wait for his turn this week in Kentucky.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Wyndham Clark (45-1, FanDuel) – You’re not here to hear Scottie will win. We bet numbers, and this number is preposterous. This is the defending U.S. Open champion who has shown he has top-five upside with his off-the-tee game, has one of the best short games in the world and can get hot with the putter. He’s also objectively a top-five player in the world, having won two additional signature events in the past 12 months. The implied probability of 2.2 percent that these odds imply simply are not correct.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Xander Schauffele (14-1, DraftKings) — You can pencil his name in my slot for Pinehurst and Royal Troon, too (unless he wins this week in which case I’ll move on to someone new who will break me). It’s just something that I believe in my heart—Xander Schauffele is going to win a major in his career, and now would seem like the perfect time given how well he is striking the golf ball.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Jon Rahm (18-1, BetMGM) — Any time I’m getting who I still believe may be the second-best player in the world at 18-1, I have to bite. While Rahm’s lack of wins on the LIV Tour this season has been disappointing, he is still the only player to finish top 10 in every event. Valhalla feels like a tremendous course fit for the two-time major winner as well, as Rahm has dominated the Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village, and has a ton of strong finishes on longer golf courses with thicker rough that test driving and long iron approach play.

Past results: The boys are officially HOT. Following Andy Lack’s correct prediction of Stephan Jager’s victory at the Houston Open (50-1), three of our experts—Stephen Hennessey, Pat Mayo and our anonymous caddie—hit on Akshay Bhatia (65-1) at the Valero Texas Open. That’s now our biggest hit of 2024, and it gives Mayo and our anonymous caddie their second wins of the year. Let’s keep it rolling in Louisville.

PGA Championship picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Will Zalatoris (80-1, FanDuel) — Go bet on this man. Last week doesn’t count. He has played well this year and has become an average putter, which is all he needs to be.

Mayo: Will Zalatoris (80-1, FanDuel) — Zalatoris has played in five tournaments in 2024 that resemble Valhalla in terms of field, length and difficulty: Quail Hollow, Augusta, Riviera, Bay Hill and Torrey Pines. He was horrible at Quail a week ago, but holds finishes of second, T-4, T-9, and T-13 in the others. His betting odds have been crushed since two bad weeks post-Masters, and I’ll gladly scoop it up. Zalatoris trails only Scheffler and Rory in SG/total per round at major championships over the past three years, resulting in six top-10s in his past eight major starts.

Gdula: Sahith Theegala (70-1, FanDuel) — Theegala has plus distance and irons and is a great putter, so he checks the boxes for this week at Valhalla. He also has been in contention often enough due to the spike-week potential of his stats profile.

Stewart: Cam Smith (50-1, FanDuel) — Cam Smith is not a good enough ball-striker to win the PGA Championship. That’s what I’m told far too often. Smith finished 13th at Southern Hills and ninth at Oak Hill. Throw in a fourth place at LACC in the U.S. Open and sixth at this year’s Masters. Cam contends in every major because he can score better any other player in the field. Compare his short-game acumen to anyone under his odds, and he has the edge. Cam finished runner-up to Brooks in Singapore and has two top-three results in his last four starts on LIV. When things get messy this week, look for Smith to clean up.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Hideki Matsuyama (75-1, FanDuel) — Again, we bet numbers. I recognize Hideki was a late WD at Wells Fargo, but if the Japanese star tees it up, you’re getting an elite player who has been a top-five player at his peak this year. If he WDs again before the PGA, you’ll likely get your money back (if not, you can surely fight with the book for it back)—but if he does play, you have a player who’s an ideal fit for this course.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (60-1, FanDuel) — For the past 15 months the Englishman has clearly been one of the best players on the planet, rising as high as fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking and still sitting at 18th currently despite his move to LIV. The top 10 at the Masters certainly helped, and I see no reason he won’t be in the mix again this week. Hatton is a high-end player who is at the peak of his powers, and he thrives on hard golf courses. If he can keep his head (unlikely), I love his chances.

Lack: Will Zalatoris (80-1, FanDuel) — I know that Will Zalatoris is coming off a disappointing performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, but we are still getting one of the best major players of the last five years at an incredibly disrespectful price. Zalatoris has not been shy to admit that these are the four weeks of the year that he builds his entire schedule around, and his skill set fits major championship setups to a tee.

PGA Championship picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Collin Morikawa (30-1, FanDuel) — This was a hard one. Usually, I think one of the top players either might not be in form or a course might not fit them. It looks like all the top guys are playing well. The reason why I’m fading Morikawa here is simply because of length. With the rain, the golf course will play very long, and I think will give him more problems than the other top players.

Mayo: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — I’m concerned enough by this injury that his inflated price is just going to keep me away. Double his number and I’d buy back in. But that’s not happening.

Gdula: Jon Rahm (16-1, FanDuel) — Picking a fade at the very top is tough, but I’d rather go with Scheffler, Rory, Xander and Brooks of the favorites than Rahm, so he’s the least likely name among the favorites that I’d be in on this week.

Stewart: Xander Schauffele (14-1, DraftKings) — If I told you Xander Schauffele has EIGHT top-10 finishes in 11 starts this season, would you bet him TO WIN? When does contending too often without victories become a negative consideration? Schauffele had complete control at The Players and finished runner-up to a charging Scottie Scheffler. Last week at Wells Fargo, an even-par final round looked awfully tentative. His ability to break through will be challenged even more at a major championship. To put it in perspective, he essentially has the same odds to win as Brooks, who owns five of these. Now would you bet him?

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Yes, he finished second in his first-ever major. He’s a bonafide superstar. But he might still be nursing an injury, and there are a ton of great players without question marks.

Powers, Golf Digest: Joaquin Niemann (25-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — I’m a huge Niemann guy but I’ll just say it – the dude has zero top 10s in majors, and he’s played in 20 of them. Not exactly a small sample size for a supposedly elite player. Let’s see him do it for once before betting him at 25-1.

Lack: Max Homa (25-1, Bet365) — While it was a definite step in the right direction to see Max Homa contend at the Masters, he has still yet to prove his meddle on other major championship setups. In 10 U.S. Open and PGA Championship appearances, Homa has just one top-25 finish and zero top 10s. I’m going to need see a little bit more before I back him at this short of a price.

PGA Championship picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Justin Thomas (+100) over Wyndham Clark (DraftKings) — Another hard golf course might be just what JT needed. A solid showing last week with some sporadic form over the last eight months and an underdog makes this too hard to pass up.

Mayo: Max Homa (-139) over Patrick Cantlay (Bet365) — Like Zalatoris, Homa has cleaned up at difficult, long courses this year. On the other hand, Cantlay has been pretty terrible overall. A little bit of juice wouldn’t scare me off this one.

Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (-115) over Max Homa (FanDuel) — Fleetwood tends to show up at majors with four straight top 20s in them, and he has a long-term edge on Homa, who has started to turn things around in the big events. There’s value here.

Stewart: Cameron Young (+100) over Viktor Hovland (DraftKings) — Viktor Hovland showed some life on Sunday at Quail Hollow. His Sunday 69 on a tough golf course was his first clean scorecard in quite some time. With only one top 20 this year and a missed cut at the Masters, we still have more questions than answers. Cameron Young has five top-10 results in his last eight majors. We’re looking for a Louisville slugger at Valhalla, and Young is an elite driver of the ball. That advantage alone sets him apart enough to win this weeklong matchup.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Akshay Bhatia (-125) over Tom Kim (Bet365) — Akshay will be vibing around Valhalla, where he won the 2017 Junior PGA title. He returns a two-time PGA Tour winner and playing the best golf of his life. Bhatia loves shaping the ball off the tee and into the greens, which Valhalla can allow him to do. Tom Kim, on the other hand, hasn't had a top 10 on the PGA Tour all season and has lost strokes ball-strking in all but one event since February.

Powers, Golf Digest: Max Homa (+115) over Collin Morikawa (DraftKings) — Morikawa’s recent results look OK—three straight top 20s—but he’s somehow pieced them together with some shoddy iron play, normally the best area of his game. He’ll need that to be better to play well at Valhalla, which has me leaning with plus-money Max Homa, who has quickly gone from “stinks in majors” guy to a guy going for his third consecutive top-10 finish in the majors.

Lack: Joaquin Niemann (-150) over Cameron Smith (DraftKings) — This is an easy one, as I’m getting one of my favorite plays on the board against a player who I believe could largely struggle on this golf course. Driving has never been Cameron Smith’s strong suit, but his off-the-tee play has regressed even further this season, and he has yet to gain a stroke off the tee in any start this year. Modern PGA Championship setups tend to strongly penalize short and inaccurate driving, and I worry this aspect of his game will put Smith behind the eight ball.

Matchup Results from the Wells Fargo: Lack: 1 for 1 (Conners (-130) over Hoge); Caddie: 1 for 1 (B. An (-120) over Spieth); Mayo: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Stewart: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 12-6-1 (up 5.74 units); Lack 12-6-1 (up 4.83 units); Caddie: 12-6-0 (up 4.51 units); Powers: 8-8-2 (up 0.08 units); Gdula: 9-8-2 (down 0.13 units); Hennessey: 8-8-3 (down 1.01 units); Stewart: 8-11-0 (down 3.72 units)

PGA Championship picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Cameron Young (+450, DraftKings) — He’s long. He’s played well most of the season. He’s proven big tournaments are where he shines.

Mayo: Keegan Bradley (+1200, Bet365) — As a former Wanamaker hoister in decent form, it’s weird to see him priced behind some players who have absolutely no chance of winning. Good by me. Over 50 percent of PGA Championship winners have been repeat champions in the past 30 years, and Keegan hasn’t been bad as you might think. A lousy driver the last month has thrown some otherwise good numbers in the trash. After a top-25 finish at the Masters, Keegan has gained over four strokes on approach in each of his past two starts, both elevated events. The putter has reverted to bad Keegan, but he’s one of the few players in the field who can lose five strokes one week and gain five the next. If you really want to get frisky, join me in the $40 into $11K challenge!

Gdula: Bryson DeChambeau (+260, FanDuel) — DeChambeau has the distance (of course) to contend here and is in pretty good form of late. He was T-6 at the Masters and then followed it up with two finishes outside the top 25 on the LIV Tour – but really had just one weak round out of those six.

Stewart: Bryson DeChambeau (+260, FanDuel) — Walking the grounds at Valhalla, I am reminded of two major setups in recent years. The first, Oak Hill last year, where Bryson DeChambeau finished fourth. The second comp is Winged Foot in 2020, where Bryson won the U.S. Open by six strokes and was the only player under par. Long, wet golf courses give him such an advantage. Throw in a very carefully orchestrated sixth place at Augusta National last month and I’m all-in on this bomber and 10 places.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Bryson DeChambeau (+260, FanDuel) — Bryson’s run at Augusta National, a course where he’s traditionally struggled, is a great sign for Valhalla. He’ll thrive here with the extreme length needed and the thick rough.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jason Day (+500, DraftKings) — Once a top-10 machine in the majors, Day has just one major top 10 in his last 10 major starts. But that one came last year at the Open Championship and, as he’s proven numerous times over the last year, the Aussie still has very good golf left in him. Coming off a top five at Wells Fargo, Day appears in solid form and ready to make another run.

Lack: Joaquin Niemann (+300, DraftKings) — Joaquin Niemann has been playing arguably the best golf on the LIV Tour this year, with six top 10s and two wins in seven starts. The young Chilean has always possessed the modern skill set of power off the tee and long iron play that should suit major championship golf, and it is only a matter of time before his inevitable breakthrough.

Top-10 results from the Wells Fargo: Gdula: 1 for 1 (Russell Henley +400); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 4 for 19 (up 0.65 units); Caddie: 4 for 18 (down 0.65 units); Mayo: 3 for 19 (down 3 units); Gdula: 3 for 19 (down 3.5 units); Lack: 4 for 19 (down 4.45 units); Powers: 3 for 19 (down 8.4 units); Stewart: 3 for 19 (down 9.42 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME. 

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also the head of golf content for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports