2024 PGA Championship expert picks to win, sleepers to watch at Valhalla

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka earlier this month at LIV Golf's event in Singapore.

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The answer was somehow both vague and clear. It was maybe frightful, though perhaps aspirational. 

It was Brooks Koepka’s response to what gives him “that winning edge.”

We’ve heard his thoughts on the subject multiple times, as he’s set a standard for matching his play with the event’s magnitude. Five majors speak for themselves there. But his latest answer came Sunday, after his win at LIV Golf’s event in Singapore, and it came as he heads into his title defense this week at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, so there’s some value here, especially if you’re looking to pick a winner — which we we imagine you are if you’ve come to this article — and are curious on player mindset. 

To start his response, Koepka talked about the physical. He said iron play helps. He said he thinks he’s a good ball striker. There’s been previous discussion around a mantra of aggressive swings to conservative targets, and iron skill allows this. 

Koepka also said he’s solid around eight feet on the green. The testy putts. 

He then finished his answer with this:

“But I think the big thing that kind of separates me is my ability to lock in and go someplace where I think a lot of guys can’t go.”

OK then. 

With that, members of our staff have each made both a to-win and a sleeper selection to assist you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook. It’s an enjoyable endeavor for us. Deploy it as you wish. 

On to our analysis. 

2024 PGA Championship expert picks to win, sleepers to watch

Ryan Barath

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,400. Brooks has become a PGA Championship specialist, and his game seems to be coming into form after a recent win on LIV. The course will be long, the rough will be thick, and if he just does “Brooks things” like he did last year at Oak Hill, it would give him four of the past seven PGAs, which is a pretty incredible feat. 

Sleeper pick: Jake Knapp, +15,000. Jake absolutely smashes the golf ball, and that will be a huge advantage at Valhalla. He had a good showing a couple of weeks ago at the Byron Nelson, and he’s already won this year so I’m willing to bet that he could have a sleeper’s chance in Louisville.

Adam Christensen 

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,800. Xander feels like too talented a player to finish his career without a major win. He’s been putting the ball extremely well and has gained some speed off the tee recently, which will help at Valhalla. It’s probably going to be Scottie, but if it’s not, I love Xander’s chances.

Sleeper pick: Sam Burns, +6,600. His early season form has disappeared the past few events, but Burns has the type of game that can thrive at Valhalla. If he can be above average with his mid-irons and wedges, he will put himself into the mix on the weekend. 

James Colgan 

To-win: Scottie Scheffler +400. Has anyone proved they can beat him? No? OK, still rolling with Scottie.

Sleeper pick: Jake Knapp +15,000: I feel like Knapp has some shock factor in his game, and any of us who’ve been paying attention to the week-to-week proceedings of the PGA Tour know he can certainly score.

Dylan Dethier   

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,800. Schauffele at 18-1 is a massive bargain. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I pick him for the 18th consecutive major. But other than Scottie, nobody is playing much better golf than this fella. He’ll be in the mix. [Update from Dylan: This pick came before Xander’s weekend in Charlotte. After watching him smoke the rest of the field while also getting smoked by Rory I don’t know if I like this pick more or absolutely hate it].

Sleeper pick: Akshay Bhatia, +10,000. He’s been consistently good and for one week was notably great. He’s also made it clear: He’s hunting majors. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in the mix. [Another update, while we’re at it: Dean Burmester has my attention.]

Emma Devine

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,400. Yes, Brooks is fresh off a win. Yes, Brooks historically dominates PGA Championships. But the real reason Brooks is taking it home at Valhalla?  He was a recent guest of the “Scoop,” of course! PLUS, his wife, Jena, Sims was featured last year, making that duo the only married couple to both be featured guests. Tough to bet against the Scoop Effect on this one.

Sleeper pick: Jason Day, +5,500. With a handful of top-10 finishes under his belt this year, I think it’s about time Day hoists up that trophy, rocking those Malbon pants.

Nick Dimengo    

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +400. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this, but, whatever, nobody’s been better than Scottie this year. Though he’s about to become a new dad, meaning little-to-no sleep and lots of distractions, the world’s No. 1-ranked player can be running off adrenaline and fumes and still shoot lower than anyone in the field. He’s that good, and I think we’re about to see a historic 2024 from him!

Sleeper pick: Cameron Young, +4,000. I’m still convinced that the 27-year-old Young is the best young golfer in the game, and his previous finishes in majors give me confidence that he’ll get one of his own soon. With a T9 at the Masters, Young has now placed within the top 10 in five majors in his career, along with two T3 finishes. Now it’s time to finish the job.

Connor Federico  

To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,200. Ten years ago, Rory won his fourth major title with a victory at Valhalla, edging out the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. But he’s been major-less since. Can he recapture that magic from a decade ago? I like his odds of repeating history. 

Sleeper pick: Justin Thomas, +4,000. You’re welcome to disagree that these 40-1 odds make Thomas a long-shot pick, but he’s certainly worth a mention. Thomas missed last year’s playoffs and hasn’t won an event since the 2022 PGA Championship, but what better place to get his career back on track than in his hometown of Louisville? Justin just got his very own hometown hero award this week, so here’s to hoping he can turn that into positive momentum on the golf course.

Viktor Hovland and caddie Shay Knight at the Puerto Rico Open in February.
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Jack Hirsh 

To win: Rory McIlroy, +1,200: The heart wants what the heart wants. He was really ticked last year when Brooks got his fifth major title to move ahead of him. It’s safe to say that McIlroy has finally found his form in 2024 with his team win at the Zurich. What a way to end his major title drought than to win at Valhalla — where he won 10 years ago.

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +5,500. Theegala is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings this season without a victory. He’s already proven he can win on Tour with his win in Napa last fall. Would love to see Team Theegala take over Louisville as the 26-year-old takes his next step with his first major title.

Jessica Marksbury

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,400. Koepka has proven himself to be a PGA king over the past decade, with eight top-15 finishes since 2015 — not to mention three wins and one runner-up in the past six years. Valhalla seems like a course that will play to his strengths, so there’s no way I’m going to underestimate him now.

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +5,500. This feels like a very nice price for Sahith! He’s had five top-10s in 12 events this year, including two runner-ups. And as our betting expert Brady Kannon noted last week, as of the Wells Fargo, Theegala is coming up big in all the important categories, including SG: Off the Tee, Greens in Regulation Gained and Scrambling. He seems due for a big one, and this could be the week.

Zephyr Melton 

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +400. It’s tough to pick anyone but Scottie at this point. Until someone proves they can dethrone him while he’s playing this well, I’ve got to continue picking him.

Sleeper pick: Dean Burmester, +10,000. Burmester is having a sneaky good season this year playing on the LIV circuit with three top 10s, including a win in Miami, as he sits third in the season-long standings. It remains to be seen if his game will hold up under major pressure, but it’s impossible to argue with his form.

Nick Piastowski 

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,400. He was mad after his Masters finish. That’s all I need to hear. 

Sleeper pick: Nicolai Hojgaard, +12,500. I love these odds. He’ll contend. 

Josh Sens

To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +2,500. Bryson might as well be in the witness protection program these days for all we see of him. But our glimpse of him at Augusta was a good reminder of how much game is lurking in him. And Valhalla should be the perfect kind of course for him to bomb-and-gouge his way around.

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala. +5,500. I’d be surprised if Scheffler’s newborn baby doesn’t nab at least a T25, but since I don’t see those odds on the board, I’ll go with another youngster with a ton of natural talent who has acquitted himself well in a few majors already. Theegala is the real deal. Just a matter of time before he wins a biggie. He’s a tempting play at this number.

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.