PGA Championship at Valhalla 2024

PGA Championship at Valhalla 2024

16 May 2024

The next Major on the PGA Tour calendar, the PGA Championship, is this week so lets take a look at the course and some in-form players.

Valhalla Golf Club is a world renowned venue, featuring in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, for its incredible design by none other than golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.

This will be Valhalla’s fourth time hosting the PGA Tour Championship and is no stranger to hosting the game’s biggest events, having hosted the 2008 Ryder Cup. 

The course spans over 500 acres in Louisville Kentucky and one of the signature holes, The Limestone Hole, no. 13, promises some spectacular viewing.

The Limestone Hole is the course’s shortest par 4 but unlike other short par 4s, no one will be attempting to drive the green. Why not? Well it is built up 20ft by large boulders and surrounded by water making it another island green.

The Limestone Hole Valhalla Golf Club
Image Credit | Golf Digest

We have seen quite a few spectacular island greens of late with The Players, and The Sawgrass of Singapore.

Back to Valhalla, players will need to be precise with their approach play both in terms of spin control and accuracy. Perhaps not as daunting as the island greens mentioned above but still, when there is little room for error, drama is guaranteed. 

Let’s look at some players looking to add another Major to their resume.

The defending Champion, Brooks Koepka, Mr Majors. Koepka seems to play his best golf on the biggest stages and has been vocal about his mindset towards golf and Majors over the years.

Having overtaken Rory McIlroy’s Major tally in a shorter timeframe it is hard to argue with Koepka’s ability with five of his PGA Tour victories being Majors.

The last time the PGA Championship was played at Valhalla McIlroy was the victor with Koepka finishing T15, Koepka will be looking to improve and Rory will be hoping for more of the same!

From a stats perspective, Koepka currently ranks 7th in greens in regulation on the LIV Tour hitting 74% of greens. It is quite difficult to compare this with the PGA Tour stats due to the different courses and number of rounds played so make of that what you will.

That being said, Koepka did just win another LIV Tour event last month in Singapore and so is in good form ahead of his title defence, last time round he beat current world number one Scottie Scheffler by two strokes.

Scottie Scheffler, the most dominant man in the world of golf currently.

With the exception of the great Tiger Woods, in recent times there has not been someone who has been as consistently dominant on the Tour that we can think of – that is not to say there are not consistently good players like Rory.

But since finding himself world number one in March 2022 and jostling for top spot with Rahm and McIlroy, Scottie has found another level within himself in 2024 winning four of his ten starts this season and coming second in another.

The only golfer who we could argue is in better form is the LPGA Tour’s Nelly Korda who won five tournaments, including a Major, in a row…

Last season the talk was of Scottie’s putting holding him back from becoming dominant, well I guess the introduction of his Taylormade Spider has solved that issue – I would imagine a fair few have been sold globally as a result!

In April Scottie was presented with his second Green Jacket ahead of rookie Ludvig Aberg, both players eagerly eyeing up the Wanamaker Trophy.

From a strokes gained perspective, as you might expect, Scottie leads in four of the six stats. Incredibly, in SG Total, he is 1.1 strokes (a shot and a bit) ahead of second place (Wyndham Clark), for the the year-to-date.

Unsure on what Strokes Gained is? This blog will help.

So how is Wyndham Clark looking ahead of the PGA Championship?

Wyndham won his first Major last season at the US Open and has been in predominantly good form of late securing his third PGA Tour title at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

Clark and Scheffler gave us all a bit of deja vu at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players where Scheffler won and Clark came second in back to back weeks.

From a stats perspective, Clark ranks second in SG Total on the PGA Tour and inside the top 10 on both SG Tee-to-green and SG putting. 

The areas that appear to be letting Clark down is his approach play and short game, although he ranks 39th SG Approach the Green and 55th SG Around the Green.

So if he can tidy these areas up, the rest of his game is exactly where it needs to be. That being said he is still above average in the two previously mentioned stats but with Scottie’s form, there isn’t much margin for error.

Could we see Brooks defend his title, could Scottie maintain his sensational form, or will Wyndham win his second Major? Time will tell at Valhalla

If you want strokes gained insights into your game, check out one of the Shot Scope performance tracking products. Our users on average enjoy a 4.1 stroke reduction after 30 recorded rounds.

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