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14D AGO

The First Look: PGA Championship

7 Min Read

The First Look

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    Written by Adam Stanley @Adam_Stanley

    The season’s second major championship is here – and there's no shortage of exciting storylines as the TOUR returns to the Bluegrass State.

    This year’s PGA Championship features a hearty 1-2 punch of Scottie Scheffler – returning to action after the birth of his first child – and Rory McIlroy, who's arriving in Kentucky with momentum after Sunday’s Wells Fargo Championship victory – near the top of the board in terms of favorites.

    Valhalla Golf Club, now lengthened and completely renovated, will make for a solid championship test once again, with Mother Nature sure to have her say as well.

    Whether it’s someone seeking their first major, or Scheffler or McIlroy looking to add to their legacy (or even Jordan Spieth, eyeing the final leg of the career Grand Slam), it’s set to be a loaded week in Louisville.

    Here’s everything else you need to know for the 106th PGA Championship.

    FIELD NOTES: Scottie Scheffler is expected to return to action after nearly a month off as he and wife Meredith have been expecting the birth of their first child. Scheffler, who leads the way on TOUR in basically every key statistical category, has won four of his last five starts on TOUR, including his last two – the Masters and RBC Heritage… Rory McIlroy comes to Valhalla the same way he did in 2014 – off a win. McIlroy has won his last two TOUR starts (alongside Shane Lowry at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship) and now looks to break a decade-long drought without a major title. He won the last PGA contested at Valhalla 10 years ago… Jordan Spieth eyes the career Grand Slam once again. This will be his seventh attempt. His best finish at the PGA Championship – since he started chasing the Grand Slam – came in 2019 when he finished T3… returns to action for the first time since he made the cut at the Masters. Woods, who won the 2000 PGA Championship played at Valhalla, has three Wanamaker Trophies in his collection… Xander Schauffele leads the pack of notables eyeing their first major title, an illustrious group that includes Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau and Max Homa – to name a few. Schauffele had the 54-hole lead at the Wells Fargo but fell victim to McIlroy’s late surge; he’s now 3-for-9 in converting 54-hole leads on TOUR. He also held the 54-hole lead at this year’s PLAYERS (finishing T2) and is even hungrier to get the major monkey off his back and snap a nearly two-year winless drought on TOUR… Ludvig Åberg will make his PGA Championship debut. Åberg finishing runner-up at last month’s Masters, his first career major start, and now he’ll try to do one better at his latest major debut… Two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas will tee it up at a major in his home state. Thomas has four top-15 finishes in nine starts so far this season… Chris Gotterup will make his PGA Championship debut after earning a spot in the PGA Championship thanks to his victory Sunday at the Myrtle Beach ClassicBrooks Koepka is the defending champion.

    HIGHEST-RANKED PLAYERS IN THE FIELD
    World RankingFedExCup
    1. Scottie Scheffler1. Scottie Scheffler
    2. Rory McIlroy2. Xander Schauffele
    3. Xander Schauffele3. Wyndham Clark
    4. Wyndham Clark4. Rory McIlroy
    5. Jon Rahm5. Sahith Theegala
    6. Ludvig Åberg6. Byeong Hun An
    7. Viktor Hovland7. Ludvig Åberg
    8. Patrick Cantlay8. Hideki Matsuyama
    9. Max Homa9. Chris Kirk
    10. Brian Harman10. Matthieu Pavon

    SIGNATURE EVENT STORYLINES: The next Signature Event on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday… The top 10 players on the season-long FedExCup standings, not otherwise exempt, will earn spots at the Memorial via the Aon Next 10… Ludvig Åberg remains atop the Aon Next 10… Taylor Pendrith was the only player to move inside the Aon Next 10 at the Wells Fargo Championship, finishing T10 a week after his maiden TOUR title… The top five FedExCup points earners across the Myrtle Beach Classic, Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Canadian Open, not otherwise exempt, will earn spots via the Aon Swing 5… Thanks to his win in Myrtle Beach, Chris Gotterup leads the Aon Swing 5, with Davis Thompson in the No. 2 position and six players tied for the final three spots.

    COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10 UPDATES: With his win at the Wells Fargo Championship, Rory McIlroy jumped into the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 for the first time this season, moving from No. 16 to No. 4 in the standings… Byeong Hun An, after finishing third at Quail Hollow, moved from No. 8 to No. 6. An and Chris Kirk remain the only players to have stayed in the TOUR TOP 10 every week so far this season… Xander Schauffele, after finishing second at the Wells Fargo Championship, moved up one spot from No. 3 to No. 2, swapping with Wyndham ClarkJason Day’s T4 result in Charlotte jumped him up the standings from No. 27 to No. 12 – he’s now knocking on the door of moving into the TOUR TOP 10.

    FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 750 FedExCup points.

    COURSE: Valhalla Golf Club, par 71, 7,609 yards. In comparison to the previous PGA Championship at Valhalla (in 2014), the Kentucky club has been completed renovated. An extensive fairway renovation was coordinated by the PGA of America in 2021: The project consisted of changing fairway turf and tees from bent grass to Zeon Zoysia. Zeon Zoysia fairways (requiring less water) allow for firm, fast playing conditions all season long, as opposed to the seasonality of bent grass. The PGA Championship team, with consultation from the Nicklaus Design team, decided to create new championship tees on Nos. 1, 12, 13, 14 and 18. The total length of the 2024 PGA Championship is 151 yards longer than 2014.

    The club was purchased by the PGA of America in 2000 but sold in 2022 to a group of Louisville investors with a continued desire to host elite events.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Brooks Koepka (2018 at Bellerive Country Club)

    18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Bruce Crampton (Round 2, 1975 at Firestone CC), Raymond Floyd (Round 1, 1982 at Southern Hills), Gary Player (Round 2, 1984 at Shoal Creek), Michael Bradley (Round 1, 1993 at Inverness), Vijay Singh (Round 2, 1993 at Inverness), Brad Faxon (Round 4, 1995 at Riviera CC), José María Olazábal (Round 3, 2000 at Valhalla), Mark O’Meara (Round 2, 2001 at Atlanta AC), Thomas Bjorn (Round 3, 2005 at Baltusrol), Tiger Woods (Round 2, 2007 at Southern Hills), Steve Stricker (Round 1, 2011 at Atlanta AC), Jason Dufner (Round 2, 2013 at Oak Hill), Hiroshi Iwata (Round 2, 2015 at Whistling Straits), Robert Streb (Round 2, 2016 at Baltusrol), Brooks Koepka (Round 2, 2018 at Bellerive; Round 1, 2019 at Bethpage Black), Charl Schwartzel (Round 2, 2018 at Bellerive), Bubba Watson (Round 2, 2022 at Southern Hills).

    LAST TIME: Brooks Koepka won his third PGA Championship, topping Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland by two shots at Oak Hill in Rochester, New York. Koepka joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Wanamaker Trophy three times in the stroke-play era. He had a one-shot lead through 54 holes and raced out of the gate, making birdie on Nos. 2-4. He made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 but shot a 2-under 33 on his back nine to top Hovland and a hard-charging Scheffler, whose 5-under 65 tied for the low round of the day. Among those who also shot 65 in the final round were Cam Davis and Kurt Kitayama, who shared fourth place alongside Bryson DeChambeau. It marked a career-best major finish for both Davis and Kitayama.

    McIlroy won the previous PGA Championship contested at Valhalla, in 2014.

    HOW TO FOLLOW (all times ET):

    Television:

    • Thursday: 7 a.m.-noon (ESPN+), noon-8 p.m. (ESPN)
    • Friday: 7 a.m.-noon (ESPN+), noon-7 p.m. (ESPN)
    • Saturday-Sunday: 8-10 a.m. (ESPN+), 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN), 1-7 p.m. (CBS).
    • Thursday-Friday: 1-7 p.m
    • Saturday-Sunday: 2-7 p.m. (SiriusXM)

    Streaming:

    • More information on International YouTube streaming of the 2024 PGA Championship will be available during tournament week.

    Editor's note: The PGA of America, which owns and operates the PGA Championship, controls all digital streaming and broadcast rights to this event. PGA TOUR LIVE coverage will resume next week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

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