PGA Championship Power Rankings: Ranking Top Wanamaker Trophy Contenders

This setup is in line with recent PGA Championship history


May 14, 2024

The PGA Championship is one of the biggest tournaments in men’s professional golf, and not just because it’s one of the four majors on the schedule.

Nearly 160 players will tee it up this week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., with the field not only including the world’s elite professional players but also the top 20 finishers from the 2024 PGA Professional Championship, where the nation’s top club pros battle for a ticket to this week’s event. Despite Michael Block’s success last year at Oak Hill, those guys typically are just along for the ride.

In recent years, the group of non-contenders at the PGA Championship has grown. The PGA has leaned into a new identity where big-boy golf is even more prevalent, making it a lot more difficult for players with a certain skill set to contend.

“It’s actually kind of the old model of the U.S. Open but a bit easier,” Max Homa told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. “Typically hasn’t been super firm. But from tee to green, it’s incredibly similar to what the old U.S. Opens were. Maybe a little bit more forgiving fairways, but really thick rough, a lot of drivers, need to be in the fairway it feels like to score.”

With Valhalla playing to a par-71 at more than 7,600 yards this week, length off the tee is a must, and as Homa mentioned, you have to be in the fairway. There’s a paucity of players who fit that skill set. The best drivers will be the ones who contend.

With that in mind, here’s our PGA Championship power rankings for Valhalla.

(Betting odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)

10. Hideki Matsuyama (+7000)
This one might not age well. Matsuyama again is dealing with a nagging injury, with a back issue forcing him into a late withdrawal at the Wells Fargo last week. That’s nothing new, either, with his history of neck injuries. It could happen pretty much at any time. However, there aren’t many players on the planet who are better tee-to-green than the 2019 Masters champion, and his putting deficiencies don’t tend to be as prevalent at majors.

9. Max Homa (+3500)
The struggles at majors are becoming more and more a thing of the past, with Homa following up a 10th-place finish at The Open Championship last year with a top-five finish at the Masters in April. He’s a bit wild off the tee, but if he can harness that for a week, his ball-striking is among the best in the sport. Pair that with a deft touch around and on the greens, and you’re in business. We’ve seen past champions at Valhalla eat up the par-5s, and Homa has consistently been one of the best in that regard, too.

8. Xander Schauffele (+1400)
Eventually, he’s gotta win one of these … right? Schauffele does everything well, but as we saw last week in the final round of the Wells Fargo, he doesn’t often show an ability to close late. At 14-1, clearly someone believes in him, but a non-competitive top 10 feels far more likely.

7. Wyndham Clark (+4500)
Clark has played better at signature events than anyone not named Scottie Scheffler, indicating his best work comes on hard courses against elite fields. He also has a major championship under his belt. He bombs it off the tee, but the big question is whether he can keep it straight. Even if the driver gets a little squirrely, his short game is underrated, and he could make up for it around the greens.

6. Bryson DeChambeau (+2800)
If DeChambeau can keep it in the fairway, his length makes him a threat to win. Even if he can’t keep in the fairway, he showed at the 2020 U.S. Open that he’s as good as anyone at muscling a ball out of the rough, neutralizing some of the challenges the grown-up grass presents. A top-10 finish at the Masters last month, where he has struggled mightily in his career, might also be a sign his game is evolving in a good way.

5. Ludvig Aberg (+2000)
Aberg in his first career major finished second behind Scottie Scheffler at the Masters, done in by one bad approach shot on No. 11. He has lived up to the hype to this point in his career, and a Brooks Koepka-like skill set should have him in position to win multiple Wanamaker Trophies. He might be even higher on these rankings if not for some concerns about a potential knee issue.

4. Jon Rahm (+1600)
No one is talking about Rahm. The 16-1 jumps off the page for a guy who wasn’t any worse than 12-1 entering a major last year. For bettors, it might be a little out of sight, out of mind with Rahm on LIV now. He also has yet to break through and win on LIV. But the underlying metrics point to Rahm playing well, and his off-the-tee game fits this course well. There’s skepticism because of how he played at the Masters, but when he’s anything close to right, he contends.

3. Rory McIlroy (+750)
At the risk of falling for the banana in the tailpipe with McIlroy, the form is undeniable. He has two wins in the last three weeks, winning the team Zurich Classic with Shane Lowry before popping off another signature event at Quail Hallow in the leadup. Based on the Data Golf course fit model, Valhalla’s most similar comp on the PGA Tour schedule? That would be Quail Hollow. McIlroy also has a PGA Championship win under his belt … at Valhalla in 2014.

2. Brooks Koepka (+1600)
When you talk about the changes the PGA Championship has made over the years, the process of lengthening courses and making tests more challenging has benefited no one more than Koepka. He is a three-time winner, after all, hoisting the trophy in 2018, 2019 and 2023. There’s no reason to believe he’s not a fit at Valhalla, either. He comes in with momentum after winning at LIV Singapore, so the form is as good as can be. He feels like he should be an autobet just about every time he tees it up at the PGA.

1. Scottie Scheffler (+400)
The only real question with Scheffler is how sharp he’ll be after a layoff for the birth of his first child. Scheffler already has four wins this season, including the Masters. His ball-striking remains otherworldly, and he seemingly has fixed something in his occasionally wonky putting. Winning is harder than this guy makes it seem, but it’s a near sure thing he’ll be around the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

Thumbnail photo via Adam Cairns/USA TODAY Sports Images

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