We covered Rory, Scottie, Brooks, and Valhalla in deeper detail for Wednesday’s Fried Egg Golf newsletter to get you set for the PGA Championship, but there’s so much more to watch for this week!

To cover more of the bases, we convened the Fried Egg crew to dive into an array of players and storylines we’re keeping our eyes on this week in Louisville.

Jon Rahm, Under-the-Radar

By Joseph LaMagna

Entering this week, the lack of buzz around Jon Rahm is somehow both surprising and understandable. Since his move to LIV Golf at the beginning of the year, Rahm has been mostly out-of-frame for golf fans. He hasn’t yet won on LIV, and turned in an uninspiring T-45 at the Masters, his worst career start at Augusta National. On the other hand, Rahm’s form is fine! He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in his seven LIV starts. He made the cut at Augusta; it’s not like he looked completely lost en route to a missed cut. 

Jon Rahm has the firepower and pedigree to win this golf tournament. He’s flying under the radar, but he is among the handful of names most likely to win the 2024 PGA Championship.

The Quietest Grand Slam Attempt

By Andy Johnson

Jordan Spieth will set out this week to become just the sixth player to win the career Grand Slam. Like Rory, Spieth has been in a major drought; unlike Rory, his drought has been mired by lackluster performances across the board. For Spieth fans seeking hope, the club that has plagued him in recent years, the driver, has become a revelation in 2024. For the past five years, Spieth has an average PGA Tour rank of 115th off the tee. Simply put, this club has held him back from being the superstar he once was. This year, he ranks 15th, which equals the best mark of his career, set in 2014-2015. This year, his issue has been approach play, which was a lethal skill at his peak. If Spieth can pair better iron play with his hot driver, he can contend at Valhalla and at majors in general. Until he can boost that iron play, though, winning majors again seems unrealistic.

Heat Check

By Will Knights

Coming off a runner-up finish at the Masters and top 10s at the Players and Harbour Town, Ludvig Åberg is seemingly deserving of more attention than he’s getting right now. But that’s what happens when Scottie, Rory, and Brooks all win in consecutive weeks. The Swede is a ball-striking machine who sets up very well for Valhalla. If Åberg makes another run this week, it’s time to start considering him as a top-5 favorite in majors moving forward.

The Next Step

By Meg Adkins

Max Homa got a monkey off his back at the Open last year when he finally finished in the top 10 at a major. He followed that up with an even bigger step forward last month at the Masters,  where he had a legitimate shot at winning going into Sunday’s final round. Homa is figuring out the puzzle that is major championship golf, just like he’s done at every step of his career. 

The Other Pros

By Will Knights

PGA of America professionals remain a key component of the PGA Championship. (Arguably too big a component, but that’s a discussion for a different day.) A few stories from their ranks that will be fun to follow this week include Preston Cole, one of the assistant pros at Valhalla who earned his way into the field at the home club; Tracy Phillips, a 61-year-old teaching pro from Oklahoma who is making his major championship debut; and Ben Pollard, the 2024 PGA Professional Championship winner who is making his fourth appearance in the PGA Championship. (Ben teaches out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so things are pretty good in his life right now.)

Welcome Homecoming?

By Jay Rigdon

Justin Thomas has won two PGA Championships, most recently in 2022. He also has had a horrible run of major form, and his overall results haven’t been much better. Thomas has presumably had this event circled for a while; the Louisville native winning in front of his hometown fans would be a true moment for golf. He’s likely to find plenty of gallery support this week. He’s also made one cut in his last five major starts (last year at Oak Hill), and has only occasionally flashed the kind of form that once made him at least a threat to win any event he played. Maybe home cooking will get him back on track. 

Stingers and Fireballs and Cleeks, Oh My

By Meg Adkins

Adrian Meronk, Lucas Herbert, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, David Puig, Dean Burmester, and Talor Gooch represent LIV Golf’s seven special exemption invitees. Louis Oosthuizen was also extended an invitation, though he declined due to personal commitments. Will LIV’s sheer numbers help improve upon the league’s lackluster performance at the Masters? Will Talor actually cash the massive check his mouth wrote and silence the asterisk haters? Will Greg Norman be spotted stalking around Valhalla cheering for another LIV major victory? For the sake of the content, let’s hope so. 

The Starting Block

By Jay Rigdon

Is Michael Block destined to become a sort of mascot emeritus of the PGA Championship? He’s out first this year, and has clearly become a fixture of sorts over the past calendar year. His omnipresence has predictably (and perhaps understandably) led to Blockie fatigue, but his turn last year at Oak Hill was objectively fun. From his relaxed and assured performance bantering with Scott Van Pelt during a walk-and-talk straight through his weekend ace, he stole the show and turned that into a year at the top of the golf visibility charts. Even if I am weary at this point of the non-stop appearances, I also kind of hope he posts some early numbers, just to see the haters from last year salivating at the potential of a Thursday 84, have to holster their Twitter guns. 

Put Up and/or Shut Up

By Jay Rigdon

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay might be the most obviously linked buddy duo on the PGA Tour, thanks to years of partnering in team events and documented off-course tightness. Neither has won a major, and both are very close to the top of the list of players who might want to get that done sooner rather than later. Xander finished second at Quail Hollow, is a top-three betting favorite, and has had more showings in majors. Cantlay has at times flashed a killer instinct in lesser tournaments, though his best major finish since 2020 is a T-8. If either are near the lead on Sunday, watch to see if they hold up, especially if Rory (who might be in score-settling mode on the course) has it going too. 

Shane Bacon’s Corner

By Shane Bacon

There is a storyline floating around this week that isn’t being talked about enough: Brooks Koepka and his push to become the greatest PGA champion of all time. Koepka already has three Wanamakers (a trophy that seems built for a man with those biceps) and he’s coming in as one of the favorites this week. Another win and he’d be a single PGA back of Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus. Considering how well he seems to play in this event each year (three other top-5s outside of the wins), getting to six doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility if he snags another PGA this week. That’s the story I’m watching.


Related Articles: 

 Scottie Scheffler Is the PGA Favorite for a Reason

 The Stakes for Rory McIlroy Are Clear

 Three Valhalla Talking Points Ahead of the PGA Championship

 – For Brooks Koepka, Every Major Is a Shot at History

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