Five Players That Need a Strong 2024 PGA Championship

The arrival of the 2024 PGA Championship provides another opportunity for some of the best players in the game to etch their names into the history of the sport. 

Whilst Scottie Scheffler heads to Kentucky as the overwhelming favourite, there are several players who will be hoping for a positive tournament in more ways than one.

With plenty on the line, in this article we will spotlight five players who will hope to have a memorable weekend.

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth will tee it up at Valhalla this week hoping to complete the career Grand Slam. A winner of The Open, US Open and Masters, it is just the PGA Championship that has eluded the Texan, but all signs point to him having another tough week.

Heading into the week ranked 24th in the world, Spieth has endured a wildly inconsistent year. Starting his year off with a bang with a sixth place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, since then Spieth has only been able to finish inside the top ten on two other occasions and has gone on to miss a string of cuts.

Whilst injuries have certainly played their part, the inconsistent nature of his game is the main reason for his troubles. Watching Spieth is reminiscent of riding a roller coaster. Thrilling one minute, he can then veer wildly off course. The crux of his problems often seem to start on the tee box. 

Ranked 66th on Tour for overall driving accuracy, Spieth has the ability to block the ball and on courses which demand accuracy, this can often lead to a multitude of dropped shots.

When Spieth was the dominant factor in the sport, everything seemed so natural and free. In an attempt to resolve his problems, Spieth constantly looks to be overthinking his game and isn’t allowing his talents to shine through.

Since finishing third in the tournament back in 2019, he hasn’t finished inside the top twenty and his fans will hope that this is the year where he discovers some consistent form and finds himself back in the mix for another major title.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

It’s been ten years since Rory McIlroy tasted major success and for a man of his talents, a tally of four majors simply isn’t enough.

Over the ten period since McIlroy last won a major, the Northern Irishman has suffered several near misses but he will be hoping that this is the year where it all finally comes together. 

When it comes to preparation, McIlroy can’t have any excuses. A winner of his last two starts, the world number two was in sensational form as he dominated the field at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship and he should be in flying form at a venue he has fond memories of.

What often holds McIlroy back at these huge events is his start, clearly eager to do well, he often starts slowly and finds himself with plenty to do in the final rounds. It has been a while since he has been able to string four decent rounds together at a major but if he can do it here, this could finally be the tournament that sees him back inside the winner’s circle. 

Widely tipped to be the man able to topple Scottie Scheffler, many will be hoping that this will be the moment that McIlroy finally wins major number five.

Viktor Hovland 

Viktor Hovland 

Having just won the 2023 FedEx Championship and powering Europe to an epic victory at the 2023 Ryder Cup, many in the golfing world believed that Viktor Hovland had the golfing world at his feet.

A monstrous driver of the ball, Hovland had worked so hard on his chipping that by the end of 2023 he was undeniably one of the best golfers on the planet.

However, despite his enormous success, it wasn’t enough for Hovland and instead of building on his momentous year, Hovland decided to completely remodel his swing and it's fair to say that since introducing the changes, the Norweigan’s form has been indifferent.

Considered a long-shot for victory, Hovland has posted just one top twenty finish all season and missed the cut at the 2024 Masters by a long way. 

A hugely popular figure on Tour, Hovland has the golfing world rooting for him and many would love to see his name back at the top of the leaderboard. A win seems unlikely, but if Hovland can play good enough golf to make it into the weekend, it could be the lift he needs to have a strong second half to the season.

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele is one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, a constant fixture in the world’s top ten, every time that the diminutive Californian tees it up you feel he has a great chance of winning, but the problem of late is that he hasn’t.

Without a title since the 2022 Scottish Open, Schauffele seems to lack the killer instinct that so many of his peers have.

At one point in last week’s Wells Fargo Championships, he enjoyed a five stroke lead over the field, but by the end of Sunday he trailed Rory McIlroy by five and the gap would have been wider had McIlroy not fluffed his lines heading up the last.

Nobody wants to be recognised as the best player not to have won a major, but that is a line that is slowly beginning to be attributed to the American and for a man of his talents it wouldn’t be right for him to finish his career without pocketing a major.

Placed in the top three in the betting for this week, Schauffele is in great form and has four top ten finishes in his last five starts. At a career high ranking of three, this could finally be the week where he breaks his major curse, but in order to do that he needs to find a ruthless streak that has been severely lacking of late.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

The 2024 PGA Championship will only be Tiger Woods’ eighth start since the start of 2022. The fifteen time major winner has been plagued by injuries and despite all of his talents, his body just hasn’t let him perform to the level that he is accustomed to.

It’s crucial to point out that ahead of this week’s tournament Woods wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t think he could win or hang with some of the best players in the game, but this year’s PGA is vital for Woods in more ways than one.

In the last few seasons, the only tournament that Woods has regularly played is the Masters and that makes sense as Augusta is a course that he knows like the back of his hand. However, when taken away from the confines of Augusta, Woods has often struggled.

Despite his ailments and his advancing years, Woods still believes that he can compete in tournaments like this, but in order for that to be a reality his body needs to survive the strain of four high pressure rounds.

Heading into the tournament with odds of 200/1, it would be unfair to assume that Woods has a chance of winning this week, but if he can make it through to the weekend and come out of the tournament unscathed it has to be seen as a positive step. 

The world will be watching Woods this week and many will hope that he can offer a timely reminder of all his brilliance.