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US PGA Championship Tips 2024

The 2024 US PGA Championship returns to the Valhalla Golf Club, Kentucky, as Major Championship golf returns this May.

Freshly renovated, Valhalla will welcome the strongest field in Major Championship golf. Last seen in 2014 when Rory McIlroy defeated Phil Mickelson virtually in the dark by a single shot, Valhalla is set to be a great PGA Championship venue. Interestingly it’s also 600 miles south-west of New York where last year’s PGA was played at Oak Hill Country Club, so will feature very different conditions and agronomy to 12 months ago.

Now into our 15th season, Golf Betting System will, as ever, be hunting for profit with our US PGA Championship tips from Paul Williams and Steve Bamford. Golf Betting System has full 2024 coverage with PGA Championship tips, long-shot and alternative market selections, a full range of free course and player statistics, plus of course our famous free statistical Predictor Model.

You can also listen to our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), which is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and on the Steve Bamford Golf Channel.

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Now ensconced in May, the PGA Championship has seen Brooks Koepka (2019 & 2023), Phil Mickelson (2021) and Justin Thomas (2022) lift the Wannamaker Trophy in its new spot in the schedule. Traditionally in August, we used to have a World Golf Championship tournament the week before the PGA, but the revised positioning of the tournament has been a learning curve for both the players and punters alike.

2024 sees the world’s best professional golfers playing the CJ Cup Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in Texas, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina, or LIV Golf League Singapore in the direct build-up to the PGA Championship. What is for sure is that the PGA returns to very similar agronomy we saw at the 2018 PGA Championship played at the Bellerive Country Club in nearby St Louis.

US PGA Championship Insight And Tips Research

Golf betting at the Major Championships, and especially the PGA Championship, is a complex subject. Mistakes can be costly, however select the right player or player portfolio and the rewards can be excellent. Golf Betting System’s goal is to provide you with informed PGA Championship tips, free tournament research guides and insight and information that will help you make educated decisions about who to back at the 2024 US PGA Championship.

The PGA Championship in recent history has seen a plethora of long hitters getting the job done, with many capturing their first Major titles in this event. The PGA of America’s choice of Oak Hill in 2013 raised eyebrows as the classical and downright claustrophobic nature of the course was totally alien to its mantra of testing through course length. As it transpired, the neat and tidy Jason Dufner won his first Major that week.

Either side of Oak Hill, Y.E. Yang (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010), Keegan Bradley (2012), Jason Day (2015), Jimmy Walker (2016) and Justin Thomas (2017) have, like Dufner, all captured first-time Majors. All can hit the ball a long way, as can Rory McIlroy (winner at both Kiawah Island in 2012 and Valhalla in 2014), Brooks Koepka who drove the field into submission at both Bellerive (2018) and Bethpage Black (2019), plus Phil Mickelson (2021) who despite being the wrong side of 50 years of age, averaged 313 yards off the tee when winning at Kiawah Island in 2021.

Fast forward to recent years and Justin Thomas won his 2nd PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 2022, averaging the mere matter of 321 yards off the tee. 2023 saw a return to an extended East Course at Oak Hill upon which Brooks Koepka averaged 319 yards when capturing his third PGA Championship.

As we expected, 2020 proved slightly different with the tighter 7,200 yard, Par 70 at TPC Harding Park falling to another Major first-timer in the form of Collin Morikawa. Now you can’t classify Morikawa as a ‘bomber’, but averaging 297 yards off the tee and in the top 80 for ‘Driving Distance – All Drives’ across 2020, Collin is certainly no slouch from off the tee.

Course Information

Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky: Designer: Jack Nicklaus 1984/85, with Nicklaus renovation 2011 plus 2021 course lengthening; Course Type: Classical, Technical, Long; Par: 71; Length: 7,609 yards; Number of Holes with Water In-Play: 7; Number of Sand Bunkers: 60; Acres of Fairway: 23; Fairways: Zeon Zoysiagrass; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass with, Tall Fescue 4″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring T1 Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 13ft.

Valhalla Golf Club has hosted 3 PGA Championships (1996, 2000 and 2014), plus the 2008 Ryder Cup. The 2024 PGA Championship will feature a lengthened golf course, from that we saw when Rory McIlroy won in 2014, and fascinatingly the course will also feature different agronomy.

Valhalla is a Jack Nicklaus design which was originally completed in 1985. The course played as a Par 72 at the 2000 PGA Championship, but by the 2008 Ryder Cup a Nicklaus course update had changed the format to a more stretching Par 71, something which is very much the case today.

2014 saw another piece of Nicklaus inspired course re-routing on 6 holes combined with 18 new green complexes and a lengthened 542 yard Par 5 closing hole, which meant that Valhalla played as a stretching 7,458 yard Par 71.

Take a look at the Valhalla course and you will see a track which is wide off the tee, tree-lined in parts and undulating in set-up. Green complexes feature T1 Bentgrass, which provide resistance to the harsh Kentucky temperature extremes. The layout of the course is designed for drama with the closing, reachable Par-5 likely to relinquish a tournament-changing eagle or two in the closing stages. Indeed 2 of the 3 previous PGA Championships hosted at Valhalla ended in play-offs, with Rory McIlroy winning by a single shot in 2014.

So what changes will we see in 2024?

Firstly the course has been extended from 7,458 to 7,609 yards, that’s an increase of 151 yards. New tee boxes have been added to the 1st (484 yard par-4), 8th (190 yard par-3), 12th (494 yard par-4), 14th (254 yard par-3) and 18th (570 yard par-5). A 7,600 yard, Par 71 in a parkland setting is what I think of as a typical PGA Championship venue, and it’s a course that Kerry Haigh, Chief Championships Office of the PGA of America, will be able to tinker with both before and during the tournament. The PGA of America traditionally like a single digit under par winning score – 5 of the last 6 PGA Championships played on long golf courses have been won with a single digit under par score – and unless Valhalla plays as soft as it did in 2014, they will get their way again in 2024.

In a detailed bid to help make Valhalla tougher, another change to the golf course is that Bentgrass fairways have been removed and replaced with Zeon Zoysiagrass. Zoysiagrass needs less water and is renowned for the additional roll that it provides, essentially meaning that the fairways will tolerate more water if it rains and will dry out far faster. If all goes to plan, they should make for a faster golf course.

For your research, Zoysiagrass fairways also feature at:

  • East Lake (Tour Championship)
  • Narashino CC (2019, 2021-2023 ZOZO Championship)
  • TPC Southwind (FedEx St Jude Championship, WGC-St Jude Invitational & FedEx St Jude Classic)

For reference only Narashino Country Club, home of the ZOZO Championship across, 2019 (Tiger Woods), 2021 (Hideki Matsuyama), 2022 (Keegan Bradley) and 2023 (Collin Morikawa), features the same combination of Zoysiagrass fairways and Bentgrass greens as Valhalla.

Zoysia isn’t the most popular of fairway grasses with many players who claim the quirky grass promotes flyers. These fairways also featured at the 2011 PGA Championship hosted at Atlanta Athletic Club and interestingly at Bellerive Country Club which hosted the 2018 PGA Championship. Bellerive is located in St Louis, Missouri, only 300 miles to the west of Louisville, Kentucky.

It’s also worth referencing the green complexes at Valhalla. They feature A1 Bentgrass, but it’s their size I find fascinating – 5,000 sq.ft. on average. So in essence we have smallish sized greens on a 7,600 yard golf course. This is how they compare to 2022 and 2023 PGA Championship venues.

  • 2022 – Southern Hills CC – 5,277 sq.ft. average – Bentgrass – 7,365 yard Par 70.
  • 2023 – Oak Hill CC – 4,500 sq.ft. average – Bentgrass – 7,394 yard Par 70.
  • 2024 – Valhalla GC – 5,000 sq.ft. average – Bentgrass – 7,609 yard Par 71.

Valhalla Golf Club is a 1985 Jack Nicklaus original.  Jack Nicklaus PGA Tour designs are listed below:

Jack Nicklaus

  • Annandale Golf Club – Sanderson Farms Championship through 2013
  • Glen Abbey – RBC Canadian Open – 2008, 2013, 2015-2018
  • Montreux Golf & Country Club – Barracuda Championship through 2019
  • Muirfield Village – The Memorial Tournament
  • Old Greenwood GC – Barracuda Championship 2020-2023
  • PGA National – Cognizant Classic
  • PGA West – Nicklaus Private – Humana Challenge through 2015
  • PGA West – Stadium Course – The American Express
  • Sherwood Country Club – Thousand Oaks – World Challenge through 2013 + 2020 ZOZO Championship
  • The Concession – WGC Workday Championship 2021

My synopsis is that the PGA Championship traditionally plays to the advantages of the longer hitters and Valhalla’s design pretty much guarantees the same in 2024, as the super elite hitters will be able to carry most of the fairway bunkers and cut corners on the numerous dog-leg holes.

us pga championship tips

Valhalla Golf Club. A long, undulating, parkland classic

Key Skill Sets for Valhalla

Here’s how Rory McIlroy won the 2014 PGA Championship here at Valhalla from a statistical perspective:

Strokes Gained:

  • 2014, Rory McIlroy (-16). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 11th, SG Around the Green: 34th, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 12th.

Statistically from a Stroke Gained perspective, Rory gained 3.03 strokes per round from Tee to Green (73%) and 1.11 Putting (27%). Fascinatingly both Victor Dubuisson and Jason Day were better than Rory from Tee to Green, but both putted negatively on the greens finishing 7th and 15th respectively.

That in itself is interesting as it highlights that Rory putted very well for the week on Valhalla’s Bentgrass greens. Indeed Rory (1st), Mickelson (2nd), Fowler (3rd), Stenson (3rd), Stricker (7th) and Mikko Illonen (7th) all finished in the top 10 positions and were in the top 12 for Strokes Gained Putting for the week. Only Victor Dubuisson putted negatively and finished in the top 10, highlighting that progressive Bentgrass putting may well be essential in 2024 for genuine contention.

2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club

As I have mentioned in my course synopsis, the 2018 PGA Championship was played at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, which is 250 or so miles west of Louisville, Kentucky. Bellerive featured very similar agronomy to Valhalla as in Zoysiagrass (Meyer) Fairways, Fescue Rough (4″ in length) and A4 Creeping Bentgrass greens.

Below you will find the top 20 finishers at the 2018 PGA Championship in this year’s PGA field.

2018 PGA Championship – Bellerive Country Club, St Louis, Missouri

1st: Brooks Koepka; 2nd: Tiger Woods; 3rd: Adam Scott; 4th: Jon Rahm; 6th: Francesco Molinari, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland; 10th: Tyrrell Hatton; 12th: Rickie Fowler, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth; 19th: Jason Day.

U.S. PGA Championship Tips - Key Points

Location, Location, Location  

Kentucky hosts the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship every year and is bordered by Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. These states have all had PGA Tour / LIV Golf League events on courses which feature Bentgrass or Bentgrass/Poa greens. Here’s a list of players in the 2024 PGA Championship with ‘local’ relevant wins on their CVs:

  • Patrick Cantlay – 2 Wins – 2019 Memorial Tournament, 2021 Memorial Tournament.
  • Jason Day – 1 Win – 2015 BMW Championship
  • Bryson DeChambeau – 4 Wins – 2017 John Deere Classic, 2018 Memorial Tournament, 2023 LIV Greenbrier, 2023 LIV Chicago
  • Jason Dufner – 1 Win – 2017 Memorial Tournament
  • Lucas Glover – 1 Win – 2021 John Deere Classic
  • Brian Harman – 1 Win – 2014 John Deere Classic
  • Billy Horschel – 1 Win – 2022 Memorial Tournament
  • Viktor Hovland – 2 Wins – 2023 Memorial Tournament, 2023 BMW Championship
  • Dustin Johnson – 3 Wins – 2010 BMW Championship, 2016 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, 2016 BMW Championship
  • Brooks Koepka – 1 Win – 2018 PGA Championship
  • Matt Kuchar – 1 Win – 2013 Memorial Tournament
  • Shane Lowry – 1 Win – 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational
  • Hideki Matsuyama – 2 Wins – 2014 Memorial Tournament, 2017 WGC Bridgestone Invitational
  • Rory McIlroy – 3 Wins – 2012 BMW Championship, 2014 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, 2014 PGA Championship
  • Phil Mickelson – 1 Win – 1996 NEC World Series of Golf
  • Collin Morikawa – 1 Win – 2020 Workday Charity Open
  • Joaquin Niemann – 1 Win – 2019 Greenbrier Classic
  • J.T. Poston – 1 Win – 2022 John Deere Classic
  • Jon Rahm – 2 Wins – 2020 Memorial Tournament, 2020 BMW Championship
  • Justin Rose – 2 Wins – 2010 Memorial Tournament, 2011 BMW Championship
  • Xander Schauffele – 1 Win – 2017 Greenbrier Classic
  • Adam Scott – 1 Win – 2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational
  • Cameron Smith – 1 Win – 2022 LIV Chicago
  • Jordan Spieth – 2 Wins – 2013 John Deere Classic, 2016 John Deere Classic
  • Sepp Straka – 1 Win – 2023 John Deere Classic
  • Steve Stricker – 4 Wins – 2009 John Deere Classic, 2010 John Deere Classic, 2011 Memorial Tournament, 2011 John Deere Classic
  • Justin Thomas – 2 Wins – 2018 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, 2019 BMW Championship
  • Camilo Villegas – 1 Win – 2008 BMW Championship
  • Tiger Woods – 20 Wins – 13 in Ohio, 7 in Illinois

Jack Nicklaus Golf Course Winners

Fancy a list of Jack Nicklaus golf course winners on the PGA Tour, who are in the PGA Championship field, going back 5 years? Thought you might! Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa lead the way with 3 victories apiece across Muirfield Village Golf Club, Montreux G&CC, The Concession and Sherwood Country Club:

  • 2019 Honda Classic – PGA National – Keith Mitchell
  • 2019 Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village GC – Patrick Cantlay
  • 2019 Barracuda Championship – Montreux G&CC – Collin Morikawa
  • 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship – Jackson CC – J.T. Poston
  • 2020 Honda Classic – PGA National – Sungjae Im
  • 2020 Workday Charity Open – Muirfield Village GC – Collin Morikawa
  • 2020 Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village GC – Jon Rahm
  • 2020 ZOZO Championship – Sherwood CC – Patrick Cantlay
  • 2021 WGC Workday Championship – The Concession GC – Collin Morikawa
  • 2021 Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village GC – Patrick Cantlay
  • 2021 Barracuda Championship – Old Greenwood GC – Erik van Rooyen
  • 2022 Honda Classic – PGA National – Sepp Straka
  • 2022 Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village GC – Billy Horschel
  • 2023 Honda Classic – PGA National – Chris Kirk
  • 2023 Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village GC – Viktor Hovland
  • 2023 Barracuda Championship – Old Greenwood GC – Akshay Bhatia
  • 2024 Cognizant Classic – PGA National – Austin Eckroat

Week Before Finish

This trend was established back in 2006 when the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was added to the schedule a week before the PGA Championship. Naturally the annual visit to Firestone South is no more, but the idea that a player will need to be playing well in their immediate start should be one to consider.

2019 saw the PGA Championship take place in May, and in 2020 the USPGA made an unscheduled return to an August date, the week after the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational played at TPC Southwind. There’s no doubt though that form players win the PGA Championship. 2019 saw Brooks Koepka finish 4th at Trinity Forest GC in Texas the week before lifting the Wannamaker Trophy in 2019. 2020 saw Collin Morikawa finish a hard-charging 20th, powered by a 67/66 across the weekend the week before at St Jude. And 2022 saw Justin Thomas finish 5th at TPC Craig Ranch, shooting 64/67 across Saturday/Sunday which was T4 in that AT&T Byron Nelson field.

In the modern Major Championship world we now have to build the LIV Golf League into trends and 2023 saw Brooks Koepka play in Tulsa the week before the PGA Championship. He finished 5th shooting 65/65 across Saturday/Sunday.

Phil Mickelson, as ever, destroys this trend, but even so he was the first round leader at Quall Hollow in his outing before winning the PGA at Kiawah Island, and was still 10th after 36 holes.

The WGC-status Bridgestone Invitational the week before at Firestone South was always a real indicator of who went on to win the PGA Championship. The Firestone-based tournament became the PGA ‘warm up’ in 2006, and from that point onwards the winner of the PGA Championship was firstly always in the Bridgestone field and secondly was always in the top 28 of the tournament.

Previous Week Performance

YearUS PGA ChampionWeek Before Finish
2023Brooks Koepka5th
2022Justin Thomas5th
2021Phil Mickelson69th (First Round Leader & 10th after 36 holes)
2020Collin Morikawa20th
2019Brooks Koepka4th
2018Brooks Koepka5th
2017Justin Thomas28th
2016Jimmy Walker11th
2015Jason Day12th
2014Rory McIlroy1st
2013Jason Dufner4th
2012Rory McIlroy5th
2011Keegan Bradley15th
2010Martin Kaymer22nd
2009Y.E. Yang18th
2008Padraig Harrington20th
2007Tiger Woods1st
2006Tiger Woods1st


We also have other precedents here. 2016 saw the Olympic Golf Competition creating massive changes with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational moving to July. Instead the RBC Canadian Open directly preceded the PGA Championship, where Jimmy Walker finished fast on Sunday to grab 11th spot at Glen Abbey.

Excellent immediate tournament form was also key to both Mickelson and Singh’s triumphs in 2005 and 2004 respectively. Mickelson finished 10th in Colorado before jumping on his private jet to New Jersey and winning the following weekend at Baltusrol.  Singh won his prior tournament 2 weeks before the PGA at Warwick Hills, before travelling across to neighbouring Wisconsin to capture his 3rd Major at Whistling Straits. Even Rich Beem in 2002 won at Castle Pines (The International) and then won a fortnight later at Hazeltine.

For me I will be keeping a very close eye on the preceding CJ Cup Byron Nelson, Wells Fargo Championship and LIV Singapore tournament leaderboards, to ascertain who is playing great golf prior to arriving in Kentucky.

Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green

We all love a statistic, and in the era of the PGA Tour’s Strokes Gained analysis we have plenty to wade through.

Looking at PGA champions’ last tournament performance since 2010, it’s fascinating to see that there are real similarities across the Strokes Gained Tee to Green numbers. Koepka, Thomas, McIlroy (twice), Dufner and Kaymer all ranked within the top 10 of that category at Firestone the week before. 2019 saw Brooks Koepka rank 6th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green and 8th for Greens in Regulation at the Byron Nelson played at Trinity Forest the week before triumphing at Bethpage Black. And in outliers Jimmy Walker – who played the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey – Jason Day (at Firestone), and 2020 champion Collin Morikawa, they still ranked in the top 27 for the SG Tee to Green category and finished 14th, 12th and 20th respectively in their warm-up event, with Jason Day and Collin Morikawa ranking in the top 5 and top 10 respectively for Greens in Regulation.

2022 saw Justin Thomas play the week before the PGA at the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in Texas. JT continued this trend of strong Tee to Green play in the outing prior, ranking 10th for that category as he finished 5th.

From a LIV Golf League angle, Strokes Gained weren’t captured across Brooks Koepka’s LIV Tulsa event before capturing the PGA Championship last year at Oak Hill. He is to this point LIV’s first and only member to win a Major Championship. The fact he ranked 8th for Greens in Regulation, 6th for Total Accuracy and 6th for Ball Striking in Tulsa certainly helped me to back him at 18/1 to take his 5th Major title. Clearly his Strokes Gained number would have been very high ranking.

Naturally 50 year-old (at the time) Phil Mickelson, who won the PGA in 2021 at a uniquely coastal and windswept Kiawah Island, destroys this trend completely, but in general it’s clear to deduce that those struggling to keep the ball in front of them immediately prior to playing the PGA Championship ultimately don’t win it.

Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green

YearPGA WinnerPrevious EventGIRSG Tee-To-Green
2023Brooks Koepka5th8thN/A
2022Justin Thomas5th40th10th
2021Phil Mickelson69th66th72nd
2020Collin Morikawa20th3rd21st
2019Brooks Koepka4th8th6th
2018Brooks Koepka5th1st1st
2017Justin Thomas28th6th3rd
2016Jimmy Walker14th30th25th
2015Jason Day12th9th27th
2014Rory McIlroy1st25th1st
2013Jason Dufner4th18th2nd
2012Rory McIlroy5th2nd2nd
2011Keegan Bradley15th14th12th
2010Martin Kaymer22nd15th8th


Driving Distance is the Key

So what’s the key player attribute that a PGA Championship winner needs in his arsenal to get the job done?

Well with the PGA Championship being played on a stretching circa 7,600 yard, Par 71, a premium advantage will inevitably return to longer drivers of the golf ball. In recent times that’s always been the case.

Taking 2013’s visit to Oak Hill and 2020’s visit to TPC Harding Park out of the overall picture as they were both untypically tight PGA Championship set-ups, every winner of the PGA Championship since 2011 has been a minimum 301 yard hitter from the tee.

That 301 yard number goes all the way back to 2011 and Keegan Bradley and putting that into perspective he ranked in the top 20 for Driving Distance on the PGA Tour arriving in Atlanta before winning his PGA Championship.

Driving Distance Analysis

YearPGA WinnerSeason Driving Distance (Yards)
2023Brooks Koepka307
2022Justin Thomas314
2021Phil Mickelson302
2019Brooks Koepka309
2018Brooks Koepka313
2017Justin Thomas310
2016Jimmy Walker301
2015Jason Day314
2014Rory McIlroy306
2012Rory McIlroy312
2011Keegan Bradley301


This is Steve Bamford’s pre-event trends and pointers article. Steve’s final US PGA Championship tips for 2024 will be published here on the Monday of the event.

Thoughts or comments? You can tweet Steve @Bamfordgolf