2024 PGA Championship predictions, picks: Ranking the field, favorites from 1-24

The 2024 PGA Championship has arrived, and there remains a clear pecking order at the top of major championship golf. That order is Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy, no matter who you wish to place first, second and third. This triumvirate has taken the game by storm partly because of how they’re playing now but certainly because of what they’ve accomplished in the past.

Scheffler is so good at the moment that one could feasibly put his “B” game into the No. 2 spot and feel fine about it. All three enter this tournament having won the last two events they started. McIlroy won this tournament the last time it was played at Valhalla, while Koepka — the reigning PGA champion — enters playing more consistent golf overall.

After the top three, the 2024 PGA Championship appears to be a bit of a free for all. There are a lot of different golfers one could slot into the Nos. 4-10 spots, but none of them particularly stand out above the rest. That led to leaning on  current form and historic win equity (who wins at a high rate) to break a bunch of ties.

2024 PGA Championship field, ranked

Parenthesis indicates the golfer’s best finish at a PGA Championship

1. Scottie Scheffler (T2 in 2023): One of the most impressive aspects of Scheffler’s game is how well it travels to different golf courses. Think about the places he has won in 2024 alone: Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass, Augusta National and Harbour Town. Different conditions, a variety of setups and styles — yet none of it seems to matters. That’s underrated but also meaningful when it comes to the major championships, which are all structured and set up somewhat differently. If needing to single out one major that should be Scottie’s worst stylistically, it would probably be the modern PGA that calls for some bombing and gouging at times. And yet … he’s finished in the top five at two venues (Harding Park and Oak Hill) that I wouldn’t say are great Scheffler venues. Again, this ability to morph himself into whatever the course and venue demands is extraordinary, and it’s one of the many reasons he is such a heavy favorite.

2. Brooks Koepka (Won in 2018, 2019, 2023): Here’s something I need to confess — Koepka was at the bottom of the top 10 on this list until his win at LIV Golf Singapore. That felt like a ridiculous spot for a five-time major champion who is also the reigning winner of this tournament, so I’m glad he won and justified me moving him to this position. Here’s an insane stat from Joseph LaMagna of The Fried Egg that gets at how good Koepka has been at the majors in recent years.

Since the start of 2017, Brooks has finished in the top 2 of major championships nine times, five of which were wins. No other golfer has finished in the top 2 more than four times over that period. When Koepka is in form, he is a proven killer on the biggest stages in golf. 

3. Rory McIlroy (Won in 2012, 2014): Don’t necessarily feel great about having McIlroy here, but who else is playing well enough to place in this slot? Rory’s 2024 struggles have been greatly exaggerated, and while the iron play is perhaps still a touch suspect (though better at Quail Hollow last week!), he’s also not that far off. I’m leaning on past history at this golf course (won in 2014) as well as his recent history at major championships where he’s been the second-best major golfer over the last two years. Here’s a fun stat for McIlroy fans: Since the start of 2022, he has the second-best score to par of anyone who has made at least eight major championship cuts (throwing out the missed cut score). 

  • Scottie Scheffler: -53 (2 wins)
  • Rory McIlroy: -42 (0)
  • Cameron Smith: -29 (1)

4. Ludvig Åberg (n/a): It feels outrageous to put somebody who has never played a PGA this high, but that’s where we’re at with Åberg. I’m slightly less confident in his abilities at a sprawling ballpark like Valhalla compared to a precision contest like Augusta National, but major championships tend to identify the best hitters of the golf ball, and there might not be three in the world better than him right now. 

5. Wyndham Clark (T75 in 2021): One could certainly make the case that Clark is the most underrated player in the world. In his last eight starts, he has four top-three finishes, one of them a victory and all of them at signature events. In those four tournaemnts, he has lost to Scheffler three times and Sahith Theegala once. Valhalla should fit his distance and his game well.

6. Bryson DeChambeau (T4 in 2023): It’s time to buy on Bryson, especially at a place like this that would seemingly reward his style more than Augusta National, where he finished T6 a month ago. He is a difficult figure to evaluate and analyze, if only because he iterates his own trajectory so often. Sometimes, he seems more focused on being a YouTube golfer than an actual one. Other times, he seems more intrigued by ball speed than scores. On and on it goes. What is unmistakable, though, is that he is gifted, and when those gifts are focused — it seems like they are right now! — he’s a menace at important tournaments on big-boy golf courses like this one.

7. Hideki Matsuyama (T4 in 2016): Matsuyama is one of just four golfers to make the cut at each of the last nine major championships; the other three (Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton) all play on LIV Golf. Yet Matsuyama has actually made 15 consecutive cuts. You have to go back to the 2019 Open Championship to find the last time he missed one, which is extraordinary. The flip side of this is that Matsuyama has only been OK at PGA Championships over the last several years. The bomb-and-gouge style PGA setups have sometimes required does not necessarily fit him best. Still, it’s tough to find somebody who’s been more consistently solid at majors than him. 

8. Jon Rahm (T4 in 2018): There’s something goofy going on with Rahm right now. I have attributed it to emotional and mental reconciliation with the fact that he is now playing on a tour that I’m not sure he actually wants to be on. Rahm may have unintentionally sabotaged one of the better post-Tiger Woods careers going. That’s not to say he won’t win future majors (he will), but he does not seem to be in the best place mentally to thrive. He was better than his T45 finish at the Masters where he putted horribly, and a top 25 here would not be surprising. A win right now, though? Well, it would be a shocker.

9. Xander Schauffele (T10 in 2020): Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me at over two dozen consecutive majors, and it’s time to change the rankings. Schauffele is a great player to have on your major fantasy team. I don’t believe he’s a great player if you’re trying to figure out who is going to win the actual event.

10. Patrick Cantlay (T3 in 2019): Cantlay has put together a bit of an odd year, but he’s started to pop of late with a top 25 at the Masters and a T3 the week after at the RBC Heritage. He has not been as good at majors as it seems like he should be. Since the start of 2021, Cantlay ranks 21st in total strokes gained at the four majors (minimum 10 rounds played). He’s behind Patrick Reed, Ben An and Rickie Fowler in that span.

11. Cameron Young (T3 in 2022): He’s been so tremendous at the major championships but so up and down so far this year. After nearly winning the Valspar Championship, he had a quiet uncompetitive top 10 at the Masters, followed by a T62 (!) at the RBC Heritage in which he lost strokes in every category. His major record is fairly unassailable. Here are the strokes gained leaders at the majors since the start of 2022:

  1. Scottie Scheffler: 3.30
  2. Rory McIlroy: 3.04
  3. Will Zalatoris: 2.97
  4. Cameron Smith: 2.56
  5. Tommy Fleetwood: 2.35
  6. Matt Fitzpatrick: 2.21
  7. Xander Schauffele: 2.20
  8. Collin Morikawa: 2.18
  9. Cameron Young: 2.09
  10. Viktor Hovland: 2.05  

12. Will Zalatoris (2nd in 2022): A tough one to figure out. He has a pair of top 10s in his only two PGA Championship starts and is coming in off a T9 at the Masters. But the play outside of that has only been all right, and he had to withdraw from the CJ Cup Byron Nelson with an injury. I’m going to lean on the insane major record thus far — since the start of 2022, only Scheffler has a better strokes gained number — but I’m more wary going into this week than I was at Augusta National.

Who will win the 2024 PGA Championship, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine to see the projected PGA Championship leaderboard, all from the model that has nailed 11 golf majors, including the last three Masters.

13. Collin Morikawa (Won in 2020): It’s a little smoke and mirrors for me right now, though it got a bit better at the Wells Fargo Championship. Get this: Morikawa had lost strokes on approach in three of the four events leading into Wells Fargo, which is absolutely wild for him. I’m not totally convinced that he’s fully locked in, but more than that, I don’t believe this is the best golf course for him to step up his game. In terms of the career grand slam, the two he has left — U.S. Open and Masters — are actually the two at which he’s best suited to play well and win.

14. Max Homa (T13 in 2022): Homa seems to have taken the lid off the cup, so to speak, with his contention at this year’s Masters. It was his first real contention at a major, and it seemed to awaken him to the idea that he can truly compete with the world’s best in the biggest events. It would fit with the rest of his career for him to start contending in majors now. Compared to some of his peers — wunderkinds like Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth — his learning curve and success curve has been a bit longer. It’s more similar to the curve of a normal successful tour pro, but when you’re judged against superstars, it can look less successful (even if it’s not). All that to say, he seems more prepared to contend in majors than he was this time three years ago.

15. Cameron Smith (T9 in 2023): I keep disbelieving, and he keeps proving me wrong. On paper, PGAs are not a good setup for Smith, who seems to thrive at U.S. Opens and Open Championships. Smith doesn’t play golf on paper, though, which is bad news for the rest of the field. The odd thing, of course, is that he leaned so heavily on his short game at Oak Hill last year. That’s tough to maintain, even for somebody with his game. He was one of just two golfers in the top 10 last year who were negative strokes gained off the tee. If he can figure out how to make that positive, it could be a great week for him.

16. Tommy Fleetwood (T5 in 2022): Like a few others on here, Fleetwood is built more for the U.S. Open and Open Championship than he is for the PGA. However, he has two top 20s in a row at this event and is coming off a T3 at the Masters. He certainly deserves a look, though I would rather play him at one of the last two majors of the year. 

17. Justin Thomas (Won in 2017 and 2022): I’m just throwing my hands up in the air here because I have no idea what to expect. He won the PGA two years ago but then finished T65 last year. He’s missed the cut in each of his last three majors, but he’s also Justin Thomas and played tremendous golf at RBC Heritage the week after Augusta National. This spot feels both too high and too low at the same time.

18. Matt Fitzpatrick (T5 in 2022): Fitzpatrick is currently having his “worst” season since 2019. That’s not to say it’s been bad, but it’s been a slight step back from how he’s played the last three years. Still, there’s a ton of good in there — like a top five at the Players and a top 25 at the Masters. One thing to watch? The 2022 U.S. Open champion hasn’t been as good around the greens as he used to be. That could be more of a problem at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but he’s still in the tier where he’ll need every part of his game to be sharp to win any major championship.

19. Viktor Hovland (T2 in 2023): After his performance last year, if you would have told me Hovland was this low on my list, I would have said you were crazy. This week, though — just this week! — I have had multiple people in golf tell me how broken down he appears and how lost he is with his swing. I have little doubt he’ll get it back at some point, but I just don’t believe that time is going to be at this year’s PGA. 

20. Jordan Spieth (2nd in 2015): Spieth must be included because he’s going for the grand slam, but I don’t have to feel good about it. Spieth has missed four of his last six cuts, his iron play is terrible, and he was simply bad at the Masters. The slam has never felt further away.

21. Joaquin Niemann (T23 in 2022): Niemann is ranked No. 7 in Data Golf’s rankings, which is crazy high and his best spot ever. The resume this year is solid, perhaps not excellent, but really good. In addition to his recent LIV Golf wins, he has five other top 10s on LIV and a nice T22 at the Masters. Is he ready to win his first major? I would settle for his first top 10 to start.

22. Tyrrell Hatton (T10 in 2018): Lowry has put together a nice season punctuated by an under-the-radar T9 at the Masters in April. Is he a threat to win his first major championship? Doubtful. Is he a thread to contend for one? Absolutely.

23. Tony Finau (T4 in 2020): Finau has been consistently solid at this tournament. He has made seven consecutive cuts and finished in the top 30 in three of his last four. He should (!) be one of the seven or eight guys who has the best chance at winning this event given his prolific talent off the tee and ability to get around big ballparks. 

24. Sahith Theegala (T40 in 2023): Theegala is quietly turning into an excellent player who can pop up at any event, as evidenced by top-six finishes at The Sentry, the Phoenix Open, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the RBC Heritage (three of those being signature events). He hits it plenty far enough off the tee, too. It will be a matter of whether the iron play is precise enough to give himself a chance.

Others to watch

Brian Harman (T13 in 2017): The great overlooked major player right now. Harman is not built for PGA Championship setups, per se, but I’m through doubting him. He’s been awesome in general for most of the past year and a half with not just his Open Championship victory but also a T2 at the Players and seven top 10s worldwide in his last 25 starts.

Si Woo Kim (T13 in 2020): I’m buying what Si Woo is selling. He has been positive strokes gained tee to green in every start this year going into the Wells Fargo Championship and has had a sneaky quiet great few months with a T6 at the Players, a T30 at the Masters and top 20s at the RBC Heritage, CJ Cup Byron Nelson and Houston Open.

Shane Lowry (T4 in 2021): Lowry has quietly had a great run at the PGA Championship, and though he’s not been playing well in general of late, he’s been flushing the golf ball. It’s his putter that’s been trouble. I have confidence he can turn that around in a hurry, and he’s already proven himself to be a major champion. He’s quite interesting at 50-1 or 60-1.

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