US PGA Championship

US PGA Championship 2024: 10-year trends point to...

The Wanamaker trophy
Who will win the Wanamaker trophy this year?

Dave Tindall looks at the make-up of the last 10 US PGA champions to try and find this year's winner...

It's natural to want to hit the bullseye in a feature like this and go all in on the player who comes out with most points.

But perhaps we need to be a little bit cuter than that.

These trends articles have produced top picks who finished runner-up and in the places many times while others ranked highly have gone on to win.

Take last month's US Masters. Top-ranked Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy finished in the pack but third-ranked Scottie Scheffler won and, more interestingly, fourth-ranked Tommy Fleetwood took tied third, his best ever Augusta finish.

Fleetwood's name was surprisingly high in the trends and yet he wasn't in the top dozen in the betting, going off at prices of 33s and up.

By all means, back the guy who comes out on top but there's money to be made, hopefully, from slightly less obvious names who rank highly.

Right, time to crack on and list the categories involved for the 2024 US PGA at Valhalla.

They are: Age, Nationality, World Ranking, Winning Form, Current Form, US PGAs Played, Past US PGA Performance, Recent Major Form and Course Fit.

Age - Young players fare best

Let's use the opening category to remind ourselves of the points scoring system. The key is frequency and I'll award points based on how often each age group won across the last 10 editions of the US PGA. So as seven 20-somethings won, anyone in their 20s this year is awarded 7pts. Here's the allocation.

In their 20s = 7pts
In their 30 = 2pts
In their 40s = 0pts
In their 50s = 1pt

Previously, I'd have just struck a line through anyone 30 or over given that 'in their 20s' was the dominant trend. So 35-year-old Rory gets fewer points (2) rather than being eliminated.

Nationality - Home team deliver winners

This has been an excellent tournament for American players and Brooks Koepka added to it last year. Home golfers have been successful in eight of the last 10 editions, including each of the last eight. The other two were won by McIlroy and Australian Jason Day.

American = 8pts
European/Rest of World = 2pts

World Ranking - A tournament for the elite

Seven of the last 10 winners were ranked in the world's top 15, showing how this has been a good event for golf's elite. A couple of surprise winners (Phil Mickelson 116th and Jimmy Walker 48th) give some hope to those not high up the world rankings.

As with the US Masters, this category has been thrown into chaos due to the false rankings of LIV players, whose tour isn't awarded any OWGR points.

Therefore, this time I'm going to switch to the world rankings provided by Datagolf. I'll relax it a little to the top 20. LIV players who make the top 20 under Datagolf's system are Jon Rahm, Joaqin Niemann, Tyrrell Hatton and Bryson DeChambeau.

Ranked 1-20 in Datagolf rankings = 7pts
Ranked 21 or higher = 3pts

Winning Form - Trophies give confidence

Helped by its previous August date, this used to be an excellent event for players who had already posted a win that same year. But it's still a stat worth respecting as Brooks Koepka had won on the LIV Tour (LIV Golf Orlando) just over a month before winning his third US PGA crown last year.

That win means seven of the last 10 champions had already banked some silverware in the season of their US PGA triumph. Two others had posted at least a top four.

Won this season = 7pts
Best of 2nd to 4th this season = 2pts
Top 20 this season = 1pt

Current Form - Top 20s a positive pointer

There's a very big form trend in this event and it's a simple one: a strong performance last time out. Phil Mickelson bucked it three years ago but eight of the last 10 champions had posted a top 20 on their previous start.

Koepka continued the trend by going into last year's US PGA on the back of a top five in the LIV Golf Tulsa event.

Top 20 on previous start = 8pts
No top 20 on previous start = 2pts

US PGAs Played - 2-6 is the bracket to focus on

Collin Morikawa won on his US PGA debut in 2020, as did Keegan Bradley in 2011 although he's now fallen out of the study period (2014-2023). That's very different to the US Masters where no first-timer has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 although it's still a rare feat to win the US PGA first time up.

Looking at history, there is definitely a sweet spot as seven of the last 10 US PGA winners had played in the event from two to six times inclusive.

Played from two to six previous PGAs = 7pts
Played in under two or over six previous PGAs = 3pts

Past US PGA Performance - Look for event top 10

The last three winners, in fact four of the last five, already had their name on the trophy. Five of the last 10 champions had won it before but you could equally say that five hadn't.

However, a strong previous performance in the event is clearly a very good pointer as eight of the last 10 winners had already posted a US PGA top 10.

Top 10 in a previous PGA = 8pts
No top 20 in a previous PGA = 2pts

Recent Major Form - Top 10 in previous two

US PGA winners rarely come out of thin air. Often they've telegraphed their victory with a strong performance in a very recent major.

The stats show that seven of the last 10 winners had posted a top 10 in one the previous two majors. Koepka added to the list last year having finished runner-up at the US Masters just over a month before landing this trophy.

Top 10 in one of previous two majors = 7pts
No top 10 in one of previous two majors = 3pts

Course Fit - Big hitters preferred

Most US PGA courses suit the longer hitters and that's reflected in the fact that seven of the last 10 US PGA winners ranked in the top 30 for Driving Distance in the season of their victory.

That should be the case again at Valhalla where Rory ranked 1st for DD when winning there in 2014.

So, quite simply, let's head to the PGA Tour's Driving Distance stats and give big hitters more points. LIV have their own stats too so anyone on those who averages over 306.5 yards (good for top 30 on the PGA Tour) gets maximum points. That's basically the top 11 players in the LIV DD charts.

Ranked 1-30 in DD on PGA Tour or 1-11 on LIV = 7pts
Ranked 31-100 in DD on PGA Tour or 12-37 on LIV = 2pts
Ranked 101 or higher in DD on PGA Tour or 38 or above on LIV = 1pt

And that's all nine categories complete. So...

The Top Points Scorers

The scores are in... but...

Okay, this is where it gets tricky. The Current Form category gives big points to those who head to Valhalla with a top 20 last time out.

For many in the US PGA field, that can only be calculated when we see how they perform in this week's Wells Fargo Championship.

However, let's check the scores before that is known and no surprises to see who comes out on top.

Scottie Scheffler isn't playing the Wells Fargo due to the new baby so his 8pts for a top 20 on his latest start (a win at the RBC Heritage) are secure. His tally of 61pts gives him a clear lead.

61 Scottie Scheffler
51 Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Wyndham Clark
50 Joaquin Niemann, Bryson DeChambeau
49 Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson
48 Jake Knapp
46 Cameron Young
45 Will Zalatoris, Ludvig Aberg

But here's how it could change for certain players if they log a top 20 (worth six extra points) at Quail Hollow.

55 Collin Morikawa
52 Cameron Young
51 Will Zalatoris
47 Xander Schauffele
45 Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood

Collin Morikawa would go second and Camerong Young third. Will Zalatoris climbs to 51 alongside Rahm, McIlroy and Clark

Things change even further if any of those players actually post a victory at the Wells Fargo, earning them an extra five points.

62 Cameron Young
60 Collin Morikawa
56 Will Zalatoris
52 Xander Schauffele
50 Max Homa, Ludvig Aberg

With a win (something he hasn't achieved yet on the PGA Tour it should be noted), Cam Young would actually bank 16 further points: six more for a top 20, five more for the win and four more for climbing into the top 20 in the Datagolf rankings (he's currently 26th).

That would take him to 62, one more than Scheffler.

I'll update this page after Quail Hollow but the summary now is this:

Scottie Scheffler comes out on top but could be surpassed if Cam Young wins the Wells Fargo.

Collin Morikawa will move to second in the final points tallies with a top 20 at Quail Hollow unless Young or Zalatoris wins. A top 20 seems a modest ask so I'll make the 2020 US PGA winner my first bet at 25/126.00.

If you want to take the trends as they are now, Scheffler is the bet at 7/24.50 to make it back-to-back majors. At the time of writing (day one of the Wells Fargo), the Schefflers are still on baby watch so there's a chance he doesn't tee it up at Valhalla next week.

For those looking for an outsider, 150/1151.00 Jake Knapp has a surprisingly high ranking although, as with several others (McIlroy, Fitzpatrick, Clark), he could lose points this week. How? He currently has 8pts for a top 20 in his previous event but if finishes outside the top 20 at Quail Hollow that would knock his Current Form score down to 2pts.

Check back here on Monday morning for an update.

Update (after Wells Fargo)

And here is that update!

So, no win for Cameron Young at Quail Hollow. In fact he didn't even make the top 20 (tied 34th) so his score remains on 46 and that means Scottie Scheffler retains top spot with 61.

Collin Morikawa did manage a top 20 at the Wells Fargo (tied 16th) so those extra 6pts bump him up to second place.

Two players in the original top 11, Jake Knapp and Wyndham Clark, fall back after their 8pts for a top 20 on their latest start are reduced to 2pts following modest displays at Quail Hollow.

Knapp falls out while Wyndham Clark drops to tied ninth.

These are the top 15.

61 Scottie Scheffler
55 Collin Morikawa
51 Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy
50 Joaquin Niemann, Bryson DeChambeau
49 Dustin Johnson
47 Xander Schauffele
46 Cameron Young
45 Will Zalatoris, Ludvig Aberg, Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood, Wyndham Clark
44 Brooks Koepka

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