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The Official Barstool 2024 PGA Championship At Valhalla Betting Preview

David Cannon. Getty Images.

It's time for major championship golf baby! Welcome to PGA Championship week, the red-headed stepchild of golf's major championships. This year's edition brings us to Valhalla Golf Club, located in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Valhalla was founded as a Jack Nicklaus design in 1986 of all years. This is the 4th PGA Championship held here, having also hosted in 1996, 2000, and 2014. It also hosted the 2008 Ryder Cup, where the Americans rolled the Europeans 16.5 to 11.5.

Last time it was contested here in 2014, Rory held a one shot lead going into Sunday before faltering with an over par front 9 and trailing by as many as 3. Rickie, Phil, and Henrik Stenson each charged ahead, but Rory was able to eagle #10 to close the gap to 1. He and Phil each stood at -15 on the 16th tee, but Phil bogeyed and Rory made birdie on the 17th to stretch his lead to 2 shots. Infamously as the sun was setting, Phil managed birdie on the par 5 18th after narrowly missing a bunker shot for eagle, but Rory was able to make a par of his own to close out a 1 shot win. It was Rory's 3rd straight start resulting in a win after having just won The Open and WGC-Bridgestone, and his 4th major championship win… which needs no more commentary.

Last year it was Brooks Koepka reaching the mountaintop yet again after some tough years for his 5th major championship. It was the type of Sunday where it looked like we were going to get great drama, but Koepka just played solid mistake-free golf on the back 9 and nobody was able to really make a charge at him. Scottie fired a final round 65 to put some pressure on him and it easily could've been Viktor Hovland's tournament given he was one back of Koepka heading into Sunday, but his hopes were dashed when he failed to get out of a fairway bunker on 16 and made double bogey to Koepka's birdie. Ballgame.

Oh yeah, and Michael Block happened.

Last year's and 2014's leaderboards, along with recent winners of the PGA and at Valhalla.

2023 PGA Championship Leaderboard

2014 Leaderboard at Valhalla

Recent Winners of the PGA Championship

Winners of Major Championships at Valhalla

The Course

Gary Kellner. Getty Images.

Valhalla is a behemoth measuring out at 7,609 as a par 71 featuring 3 par 5's and four Par 3's. It's a massive facility that can easily support a major championship crowd. Winning scores here have been pretty low historically, coming in at -11, -16, and -18…but they've lengthened the course and have grown the rough out pretty thick this week. The fairways aren't overly tight, but the rough should be as penal a few feet off the fairway as it is 20 yards off the fairway. The wet weather we've already seen this week (with more in the forecast) will make the rough that much lusher, but will also take the teeth out of the firm greens a bit. 

The PGA has definitely made an effort in recent years to make their tracks tougher for their Championship than in years past. The PGA had started to earn a reputation as the major that was sorta like any other tournament on Tour. Birdies galore with a cut line well under par. That tune has changed a bit with 4 of the last 5 winners finishing at single digits under par. But even with the length and the longer rough, guys who can hit it long and straight will still eat on the softer greens this weather will bring. I'd probably expect the winning score to come in around -15.

Best Hole - 13th Hole, 350 Yard Par 4 - "The Limestone Hole"

David Cannon. Getty Images.
David Cannon. Getty Images.

This might not be the toughest or most pivotal hole in the tournament, but it's definitely the most picturesque. Short par 4 that forces a layup, but there's nowhere to hide on the approach. Most players will hit something around a 250-260 yard club to leave themselves a good number in, but you're gonna hate life if you miss the fairway. 

From the club's website:

"Don’t let the distance deceive you: Yes, it’s the shortest two-shot hole on the course, but those two shots have to be good. A cluster of six bunkers sits just to the left of the fairway landing zone, while the green is a true island, surrounded by water and built up nearly 20 feet on large limestone boulders."

The Format

Stroke Play, 72 holes, 156 golfers. The PGA Tour shifted to a 65-man cut a few years ago, but the PGA Championship has stuck with the Top 70 and ties cut. Playoff is a 3-hole aggregate, as we saw in 2022.

This field is comprised of a variety of the world's best who have qualified on the merit of their current game, past PGA Championship winners, and 20 PGA professionals who are more or less club pros who qualified through their own qualification process. Typically only a couple (if any) of those guys make the cut, and when you factor out the Rich Beems and Shaun Micheels of the world, the true field size of this event is more like 125 golfers. 

The Weather

Friday could be a long day that forces the 2nd round into Saturday. I don't think there's enough rain in the forecast to bring any risk of not finishing by Sunday into the mix, but the wet conditions will certainly make its presence known.

The Coverage

Thursday: ESPN+ from 7 AM to 7 PM, Main coverage on ESPN from Noon to 7 PM.

Friday: ESPN+ from 7 AM to 7 PM, Main coverage on ESPN from Noon to 7 PM.

Saturday: ESPN+ from 8 to 10 AM, ESPN from 10 AM to 1 PM, CBS from 1 to 7 PM.

Sunday: ESPN+ from 8 to 10 AM, ESPN from 10 AM to 1 PM, CBS from 1 to 7 PM.

The Trophy

David Cannon. Getty Images.

If this is your first time to my preview blogs, welcome. This is the section where I review the week's hardware. The Wanamaker is right up there with the best. It's just a classic design. Many other trophies emulate this design and come up short. Those aren't major championship trophies and they shouldn't try to be. Stay in your fuckin lane, RSM Classic. Anyways, it's an iconic trophy, it's got great size for the mantlepiece, and hopefully it stays in one piece thru the ceremony on Sunday. It's an 8.6/10

Obligatory Tiger Did Awesome Shit Here In A Major Championship Segment

This blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning the way Tiger at his peak dripped all over this place back in 2000. Him and Bob May went tit for tat in what has been voted as the best PGA Championship in the history of the event. Each made pressure packed putts on 18 for birdie to force the 3-hole playoff, where Tiger made birdie on the 1st playoff hole featuring the sauciest chase and point these eyes have ever seen.

With each trading pars on the final 2 holes, that birdie proved to be the difference in winning him the tournament. Legendary.

The Board (as of Tuesday at 9 PM ET)

Scottie Scheffler is an obvious favorite at +400 at the Draftkings Sportsbook #DKPartner. Rory is coming off a win both last week and last time this tournament was played here, so he's closed the gap considerably to +750. As far as narratives go, it seems to be those two guys and everybody else.

Maybe that's exactly how this thing goes. It'd be fucking sweet if it did. It feels like it's been forever since we've had a 1v2 heavyweight bout a la Tiger vs Phil… or Tiger vs Duval… or Tiger vs Vijay… and there are plenty of guys talented enough to take their run at Scottie (not just this week but as a whole) but nobody is in better form than world #2 Rory McIlroy. Doesn't hurt that he's won here before either.

With that said… I continue to see value in betting LIV golfers in major championships. Jon Rahm hasn't really made ripples yet this year, but should his odds really each be 4x as long as Scottie? I find that hard to believe. Even though he hasn't won on LIV, he's managed to Top 10 every LIV tournament he's played in. Brooks Koepka is a big game hunter too and obviously has won 3 Wanamakers… he's in the same boat as Rahm?

Of everyone on the board… I can't believe I'm saying this… but I think the best value is Bryson DeChambeau at +2800 and Top 10 +275. Guy obviously hits it long and straight and is a sneaky good ball striker. His T-6 at Augusta was a vast improvement over what he's scored there historically. This is a relatively straightforward golf course where he can eliminate a lot of variables in his processes, lean on the rangefinder, and just focus on hitting good golf shots. The courses where he's had his biggest wins share a lot of similarities with this place (Winged Foot, Muirfield, TPC Boston, Detroit GC) where his steep approach on the ball should help him power through any rough he finds himself in.

Other Plays

Any LIV Player to Win +250

Jon Rahm To Win +1600

Brooks Koepka To Win +1600/Top 10 +175

Wyndham Clark to Win +4000

Jason Day To Win +6500/Top 10 +500

Akshay Bhatia Top 10 +800

Rickie Fowler Top 10 +1200

Robert MacIntyre Top 20 +800

Winning Score Under 271.5

That's what I got! Enjoy the PGA Championship.

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