2024 PGA Championship Preview

2024 PGA Championship Preview

The last time the PGA's vikings descended upon Valhalla a decade ago, Rory McIlroy hoisted the Wanamaker for his fourth, and shockingly last major to date. At the Nicklaus designed course, the GOAT opined, "Rory is an unbelievable talent. I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors or whatever he wants to do if he wants to keep playing." No one, and I truly mean no one, believed that would be the last time Rory would own a major championship. But before we get silly, we saw Tiger ascend to the top of the mountain at Augusta after a similar Odyssian voyage with frankly much more difficult circumstances to overcome. Whether it be his game, or LIV/PGA fueled drama off the course, Rory is still seeking numero cinco for his major mantle, and this may be his best shot yet to attain it...

In 2014, it truly was a surreal ending in the darkness as Rory edged Uncle Phil, Rickie, and others to claim victory. So we know with his game as good as it's ever been, there may be no better chance for Rory to exorcise his demons next Sunday in Kentucky. This is a feat we know he's desperate to accomplish for his own self worth, but also to get back into a tie with Big Bad Brooksy with 5 Majors apiece. Coming off another LIV win (however you quantify that), and what he himself called an embarrassment at Augusta National last month, it seems to me Rory v. Brooks is the best potential duel we could have asked for.

Scottie Scheffler of course cannot be counted out after his second Masters title and with a legitimate shot at the illusive Grand Slam if he keeps up his 2024 form, but with the impending child birth, even an immortal ball-striking aficionado like himself may be a step or two behind his normal legendary acumen.

Wyndham Clark is arguably the second best player in the world (behind Scottie in case there was any doubt) since his shocking US Open conquest last June. As he tees off at Quail Hollow to defend his breakthrough win last year, he will be as live as anyone to capture his second major next week.

As for the other alphas, THE X MAN stands the best chance to get a few putts to roll his way after five plus years of close calls at majors; his time is near, and just slightly more near than his BFF and PGA Player Board Member of the Year (lol), Patrick Cantlay...LIV Stalwarts Jon Rahm and Cam Smith will always be live til retirement at every major, but neither are firing at all cylinders and the lack of week-to-week elite competition puts them a step behind the others for me. Now Harding Park PGA Champ Collin MoriKAWABUNGA! with his recent return to form in another story (a good one)...

Cameron "THE HUDSON HAMMER" Young is live as ever to win after a multitude of Top 3s over the last 18 months. As we've seen at Oak Hill last year and elsewhere, Driving is the key to success at most courses, but especially at the PGA where being in Position A off the tee will be paramount, and few do it better than this young stallion.

Speaking of young stallions, his Wake Forest teammate and perpetual major lurker Slick Willy Z was in the midst of a renaissance post back-injury and then stumbled a bit heading into the Masters, and we'll see how things go this week at Quail Hollow, but I'll be on him heavily barring a WD or anything serious injury wise heading into next week.

And while we're talking thoroughbreds in the great state of Kentucky, how about Justin "THE BLUEGRASS BANGER" Thomas, who, after splitting with Bones pre-Augusta which to no one's surprise was insane, he bounced back with a solid T5 at the Heritage, and in search of his THIRD PGA title, in his home state, he will  surely have the bourbon on deck come Sunday night.

Ludvig Aberg seemed ready to summon his Scandinavian powers to conquer Valhalla after his incredible runner-up on debut at Augusta, but a lingering knee issue had him WD from the Wells Fargo, and now must be taken with a bit of caution. Same goes for his neighbor from the North, GOOD BOY VIKTOR Hovland, still battling with his game after yet another insane swing change. He was my pre-season pick to win this, but unfortunately we must now look elsewhere...

It is a major after all, so the diminutive bulldawg Brian THE HARMANATOR will stay done lurking no doubt, as will MIGHTY MAX HOMA, who, after his first major T10 at The Open (of course won by Harman in run away fashion), followed it up with a Masters Top 5, further cementing how close he is to a major breakthrough which absolutely can be this week. His win equity over the past three seasons is impeccable and outside of the aforementioned uber elite major champs, he would be my pick to win it all...

Oh and let's not leave out Masters FRL and Winged Foot dismantler BRYSON D who could just rip this whole damn place apart if he so chooses.

Then there's a few guys a bit further down the board who certainly could lurk deep into the weekend, but realistically offer better value as T10 candidates, aka my soon-to-be HUMPDAY HAMMERS, and they will likely go as follows: Cousins Harris and Denny, Sepp "THE AUSTRIAN BULLDAWG" Straka, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Tige-just kidding, I think...MAD DAWG MITCHELL, and yes, Ex-Captain America, PATRICK REED.

With all that said, here's how I see the chips falling come Sunday evening...

Most Likely Winners: Rory McIlroy / Brooks Koepka (duh)

Gut Winner: Max Homa

Dark Hawse Winner: Cam Young

Of course, these musings will be subject to change as the Wells Fargo has just begun, with plenty still to unfold in the days ahead...

So let's pour a glass of Angel's Envy and enjoy one of the best weeks of the year, yes, the PGA Championship.


And of course, as Great Uncle Harvey taught us, Take Dead Aim, and BOL!




(on Twitter @Blatant_Chief)

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