2024 PGA Championship sleeper picks: Here’s who might break out at Valhalla 

PGA Championship Valhalla

The PGA Championship Wanamaker Trophy on the 18th tee at Valhalla.

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The average height of the PGA Championship winner? Five-foot-nine. 

The most successful astrological sign? Capricorn. 

Did the champion wear a baseball hat? About half did.  

This week, as the year’s second major tees off at Valhalla, going about trying to pick a sleeper can be laborious, simply because we are skipping past the obvious contenders and scrolling down to the underdogs, whose odds number tend to match their warts tally. Digging is demanded in this exercise — and the good folks at sportshandle.com have, should you believe in their data. 

Their complete research can be found here, where you’ll find the following on previous champions — which may help you unearth a gem:

— Average age 

— Country of birth 

— State of birth, should the winner have been born in the U.S. 

— Average height, as noted above 

— Average weight 

— The most common first-name initial 

— The most common birth month 

— The most common star sign, as noted above 

— Whether they attended college 

— Whether they wore a short-sleeved golf polo shirt on the final day 

— The color of their shirt on the final day 

— The most common clothing sponsor 

— Whether they wore a baseball hat on the final day 

Good stuff. With that, let’s continue to mine. Below, members of our staff have each made a long-shot 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 sleeper picks to watch 

Ryan Barath

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 

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 

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   

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.

Emma Devine

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 sweet Malbon pants.

Nick Dimengo    

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 this 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  

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.
How often favorites win tournaments (and when to bet on them)
By: Nick Piastowski

Jack Hirsh 

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +5,500. Theegala is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings this season without a victory this year. 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

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 

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 

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

Josh Sens

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala. +6,600. 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.