Who are the favourites for the PGA Championship?

Golf Thursday May 9, 2024 By: Harry Howes

They say golf majors are like buses and after waiting so long for the Masters to come around, we’ve already got the PGA Championship to look forward to.

The second major golf event of the year gets underway next weekend, with four days of world class action set to take place at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s the fourth time the course has hosted the tournament, with the last time coming back in 2014 when Rory McIlroy stormed to victory.

This time around, competition veteran Brooks Koepka is looking to defend his title after winning in New York last year. He knows exactly what it takes to go all the way but he’ll face stiff competition from world number one Scottie Scheffler, who was on fire as he secured his second win at the Masters earlier this year.

This year’s PGA Championship gets underway on Thursday 16th May, with the tournament culminating with the final day on Sunday 19th May. Ahead of the action, we’ve taken a look at the likely contenders, as well as a few dark horses that will fancy their chances of coming out on top.

Scheffler looks to build on Masters success

Following a stunning performance to win at the Masters last month, Scheffler is in red-hot form and is targeting a second successive major title. The 27-year-old claimed his second Augusta title in three years a few weeks ago and all eyes will be on him next weekend.

Scheffler tied for second at last year’s PGA Championship along with Viktor Hovland. The pair finished two strokes behind eventual winner Koepka, and Scheffler will be hoping momentum can help him go one better this time around.

Elsewhere, world number two McIlroy is looking to bounce back following a disappointing showing at the Masters that saw him tie for 22nd. The Northern Irishman’s last major title came at the PGA Championship way back in 2014 as he won the competition for the second time in three years. In fact, his 2012 win saw him set the record for the highest-ever winning margin, seeing off runner-up David Lynn by eight strokes.

It remains the only major he’s won more than once and he’ll be desperate to fly back into form by claiming a hat-trick. McIlroy hasn’t enjoyed the best of years so far, although he did start strongly as he followed up a second-place finish in the Dubai Invitational back in January by winning the Dubai Desert Classic a week later.

Jon Rahm is looking to add the PGA Championship to his majors collection having won the US Open in 2021 before claiming the green jacket at the Masters a year ago. His best PGA showing to date was a fourth-place finish back in 2018 where he was five strokes shy of Koepka. That result is made all the more impressive when you consider that Koepka set the record score in PGA Championship history that day, winning the tournament with just 264 in 72 holes.

Speaking of Koepka, the 34-year-old has made the PGA Championship his playground in recent years and he’s looking to continue his dominance by claiming a fourth title since 2018. A win at Valhalla would be his sixth major having also won the US Open twice but he’s yet to taste victory at the Masters or the Open Championship.

Last year, Koepka became just the third person to win the PGA Championship three or more times in the open era, following in the footsteps of Jack Niklaus and Tiger Woods. He goes into this year’s competition in strong form having claimed his first LIV Golf title of the year in Singapore at the weekend.

TROON, SCOTLAND - JULY 15: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the 7th green during the second round on day two of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon on July 15, 2016 in Troon, Scotland. (Photo by Jan Kruger/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

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Who are the dark horses?

It seems slightly disrespectful to label Ludvig Åberg a dark horse following his performance at the Masters, but he’ll have a tough job repeating the feat at Valhalla. The Swede made his major debut in Augusta and shocked the golfing world by finishing second, four strokes behind Scheffler.

At just 24 years old, Åberg clearly has a huge future ahead of him. He only turned professional last summer and was picked for the Ryder Cup just a few months later, helping Europe overcome Team USA.

Also looking to build on strong Masters performances are Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood and 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa. The trio tied for third at the Masters, four strokes under and seven off the champion. They’re all outsiders based on the pre-tournament odds but form is everything going into these competitions.

Bryson DeChambeau is also slightly unfancied but the American finished sixth at the Masters and he has a decent history at the PGA Championship. He tied for fourth last year as well as back in 2020, which is the year he won his only major title at the US Open.

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