The 2024 PGA Championship

Six bets I like, a guess at the weather, and more zoysia thoughts

Go time now.

I’ve got bets locked up. I’ve been reading player quotes and transcripts all morning, and I’m fully ready to take it all over the next four days.

This isn’t a “stop everything for four days” event like Augusta, but it’s damn close. Let’s see what kind of form some of the top players are coming in with:

Still getting plenty of reports from the players and folks on site about conditions, but something I didn’t touch on yesterday that keeps coming up about the Zoysia: it’s a dense, thick blade and can almost act like a natural tee, holding your ball up slightly off the ground, leaving some very easy to control shots from the fairway.

As Theegs says in this quote, the rough will act a bit in the same way, (at least when you’re just chipping onto the small greens and not having to hit 200+ out of it from a wayward drive.)

On to the course, from Ron’s preview article:

Valhalla Golf Club

Valhalla will play as a par 71 measuring over 7,600 yards. It has the reputation of a course that favors “total drivers” of the ball with fairways that are somewhat wider than normal for a major. Back in 2014, it played as the longest par-71 course in PGA Championship history. Said Tour veteran Brandt Snedeker about the course, “You’ve got to drive the ball in play there, first and foremost, if you’re going to have any chance at all of being successful. Par 5s are a key factor. If they’re reachable for guys like me, the medium hitters, then I have a good chance. If they’re not, the big hitters have a huge advantage.”

The countryside property features a rolling terrain with elevation changes throughout providing uneven lies on many shots. While there are plenty of hazards, including 62 bunkers and seven holes with water danger, there is plenty of room to play away from the trouble. One of the best things about Valhalla is the numerous options to navigate holes that Nicklaus provides.

Keeping the ball in the fairway, however, remains crucial. Doing so will give players a green light to attack the flag. On the other hand, if constantly playing from the 4″ bluegrass/fescue rough, golfers will be forced to play defensively and fight for par. In the 2014 PGA Championship, the course averaged 0.54 strokes over par per round which would rank it as the eighth toughest course on Tour.

The change in playing turf will be the biggest difference from the 2014 tournament. “The biggest change, which I think is one of the neatest things, in 2021, the PGA of America came in and made the decision to change the tees and the fairways from a cool season Bentgrass to a warm season Zoysia grass,” John Ballard, Valhalla’s superintendent said. The grass, Ballard said, is more environmentally friendly, requiring less water, fewer chemicals, and fewer fertilizers to maintain.

For the players, the grass provides a firmer (and less forgiving) surface. “It can be good and bad,” Ballard said. “If you hit a really good shot straight, it’ll go a lot further, but you could hit one that’s maybe marginal, and because it’s so firm and fast, it may run out of the fairway, get you into the rough, get you into a bunker, get you into trouble.”


Recap: Can’t believe that Zal did that to me. He was looking good all weekend and came into Sunday with a very nice lead over Tony at a dog price. Hell, Finau had his worst round of the week on Sunday! Unfortunately, so did Zal, and it was an EIGHTY! Matchup bets YTD at 10-7-1, +2.36u

Bet for this week: So many great names in the field, so I went to the bottom of the page to play a 40-something Aussie over a LIV golfer.

Adam Scott > Dean Burmester -110 (DK)

I like bombers here! Just maybe not the ones who can really struggle with accuracy as well and haven’t played many courses near this level of difficulty. I have these golfers fairly close in my ratings but have Scott much more “stable” with a floor and ceiling near each other. Meanwhile, Burmester’s lack of accuracy off the tee has me looking at him with a long tail towards a disaster hole or two with some of the thick rough, fairway bunkers, narrow landing areas, and water.

My outrights will be small and measured this week, but I did end up picking a few finishing position bets I like, including one of the guys who can seemingly just show up and win one of these at any given time:

Brooks Top 5 (including ties) +270 (FD)

Bryson Top 5 (including ties) +400 (FD)

Xander Schauffele Top 10 (including ties) +105 (FD)

Tommy Fleetwood Top 20 +165 (DK)

Jordan Spieth top 20 +220 (DK)

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Model Top 11

I built out a new one and saved it as an “Expert Ranking” so members can go view it, play around with it, or even download it as .csv if they’d like.

I’ve seen others this week and honestly, with this field and this course it’s going the hard to get weird results and not just have this look mostly like the top of the betting board.

I focused on overall play in majors and then stats on LONG courses: Ball striking, total driving, GIR% from the fairway, and bogey avoidance.  

I think that’s the formula: have the guts to play a major alongside the best of the best, hit the fairways without pulling the 3-wood, find the greens, and avoid big numbers when you find trouble (or just difficult holes).

Noonan laid out his top 25 guys using the Rabbit Hole data as well.


The rain was a bit of a pain, but as it turned out, the actual course got more like a tenth of an inch yesterday rather than the higher amounts predicted. Some more this morning, but it sounds as if most of the day should be ok until we see some evening storms rolling through and dropping another quarter inch of rain.

As for the week ahead, Friday is still looking kind of rough, and there’s a possibility of delays if we get storms/lightning. Without knowing the extent of how Friday will play out, I think it’s awfully tough to say there’s an AM/PM advantage, but I’d lean that way with the possibility of the first groups outplaying their first two rounds on Thursday and Saturday mornings.

Winds appear to be in the 5-15 mph range most of the week, with Saturday possibly seeing some gustier conditions early.

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News and Notes

This is a perfectly executed tweet here by TM:

More Scottie news you likely already saw: He will have a different caddy on Saturday.

Brandel is starting to grow on me more and more. This is not a story I’m familiar with.

I’ll be honest. I had to look up the “one-ball-rule” and was surprised that there were tournaments where you could switch the type or brand of ball you’re using from hole to hole. I’m now trying to figure out if anyone does this. My first thought was possibly using a different type for the par 3s, where you’d want more control than distance.

As always, bet responsibly, have fun, and enjoy the strongest field of the season.

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