News All Articles
US PGA Championship 2024: Five Things to Know

US PGA Championship 2024: Five Things to Know

The US PGA Championship returns to Valhalla Golf Club this week for the second men’s Major Championship of the season. Here are your five things to know.

Valhalla GC-453458426
Valhalla Golf Club is hosting the US PGA Championship for a fourth time

Valhalla no stranger to championship golf

The 106th edition of the US PGA Championship is the fourth time Valhalla has played host, tied for second most in the history of the event.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1986, the Kentucky-based course staged its first Major Championship in 1996, before subsequent editions in 2000 and most recently 2014.

In 1996, Mark Brooks defeated Kenny Perry on the first play-off hole, while extra holes were also required four years later when Tiger Woods overcame Bob May in a three-hole aggregate play-off to win his third straight Major.

In advance of hosting the event in 2014, Valhalla underwent a big renovation with all 18 greens rebuilt, bunkers added or renovated, and a new irrigation system was installed to help with some drainage issues.

And again, the venue delivered a dramatic climax as Rory McIlroy finished one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson just before darkness to secure him the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time in three years.

The club is also familiar for having staged the 2008 Ryder Cup, two Senior PGA Championships, and a boys and girls Junior PGA Championship.

Since the last US PGA Championship almost a decade ago, Valhalla replaced its former bentgrass fairways with Zeon Zoysiagrass which plays faster and firmer.

Also in 2021, and in another nod to placing a greater importance on accuracy off the tee, the club also removed the strips of bluegrass rough between the fairways and fairway bunkers, meaning even slightly misplaced shots can find trouble.

Koepka defends

Brooks Koepka claimed his third US PGA Championship title with a two-shot victory over Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler at Oak Hill Country Club last year.

The pivotal moment of last year’s final round came at the 16th when Hovland – trailing by one shot at the time – made a double bogey after his second shot embedded into the face of a fairway bunker while Koepka made birdie to open a four-stroke lead.

By lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time, the American became the 20th male golfer to win five Majors.

He also became the sixth player to win the championship on three or more occasions - joining Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus (five), Tiger Woods (four), Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead (three).

Victory this week would see him become the first player to successfully defend the title since he went back-to-back in 2018 and 2019 at Bellerive and Bethpage Black respectively.

Koepka trophy
Brooks Koepka is bidding to go back to back at the US PGA Championship for the second time in his career

Can McIlroy end quest for elusive fifth Major?

Is McIlroy’s luck at the Majors finally about to change?

Since finishing just outside the top 20 at the Masters Tournament, he has won on his last two starts on the PGA TOUR at the Wells Fargo Championship and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Shane Lowry.

Like Quail Hollow was last week, Valhalla is another venue with good memories for McIlroy, having clinched the most recent of his four Major wins here almost a decade ago.

At the time, it was his third win in a row, having emerged victorious at the Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his previous two starts. Could history repeat itself this week?

While Major triumphs have since proven elusive for the Northern Irishman, he still has won worldwide with regularity in the intervening years while coming up just short on a few occasions at golf’s biggest events.

The signs are encouraging but to end that long wait to add to his Major haul, he will likely have to outperform a player who is on a run of form comparable to the dominance Tiger Woods enjoyed.

Scheffler goes for second leg of the Grand Slam

After skipping last week’s stop on the PGA TOUR at the Wells Fargo Championship, World Number One Scheffler embarks on the second leg of the Grand Slam at the US PGA Championship following the birth of his first child.

Unquestionably the dominant force in the men’s game this year, the American has won on four of last five starts and finished second in the other.

That run includes claiming a second Green Jacket at last month’s Masters and becoming the first player to successfully defend THE PLAYERS Championship.

Even if it has been three weeks since his most recent victory at the RBC Heritage, he still comes into the week as the pre-tournament favourite.

Scottie Scheffler-2149439798
Scottie Scheffler arrives in Kentucky in imperious form

DP World Tour members aim to shine in Louisville

Less than a month on from finishing runner-up on his Major debut, Ludvig Åberg will hope to go one better and add another chapter in his remarkable rise since turning professional less than a year ago.

The 2023 Ryder Cup star is one of seven Swedes in the field, including Jesper Svensson who is set for his first Major after receiving an invite from the PGA of America following his maiden DP World Tour title in Singapore earlier this season.

Countryman Sebastian Söderberg is another set for his first start at the US PGA Championship having finished top of the Asian Swing rankings, with Keita Nakajima and Adrian Otaegui securing exemptions by the same route.

Tommy Fleetwood finished in a tie for third at Augusta National and will hope this might be the week he can make his first victory stateside a Major triumph.

For the second year running, the Højgaard twins Rasmus and Nicolai are both teeing it up at the US PGA Championship, while a host of dual members including Robert MacIntyre, Victor Perez and Sami Välimäki are making their first Major start of the year.

Read next