It’s hard to believe that we have already reached the year’s second major, but PGA Championship week is upon us. The Wanamaker Trophy returns to Valhalla Golf Club this week in Louisville for the venue’s fourth major championship. We last saw the Jack Nicklaus design at Rory McIlroy’s most recent major championship victory in 2014, when he triumphed at 16-under par over Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler on a rain-soaked golf course. Though some changes have been made to Valhalla since 2014, including five new tee boxes and a fairway surface change to Zoysiagrass, we should expect similarly wet conditions this week in Louisville. The PGA of America has certainly made an active effort in recent years to protect par, as single digits under-par winners have characterized four of the last PGA Championships.

PGA Championship 2024 power rankings: Our deep dive into every player in the field competing at Valhalla

Storylines are aplenty this week as McIlroy returns to the site of former glory on the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory. McIlroy is undeniably in his best form of the season, coming off back-to-back victories at the Zurich Classic and Wells Fargo Championship. Will this finally be the week that McIlroy breaks his major drought?

Scottie Scheffler might have something to say about that, who is chasing history in his own right and looking to become just the 21st player to win multiple majors in the same season. We would be remiss not to mention Brooks Koepka, who also has the opportunity to cement his place in golf history this week with his sixth major. We have yet to mention the likes of Ludvig Aberg, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa, who all set up tremendously well for Valhalla and are sure to provide a legitimate challenge in their own right. Here are my favorite plays and fades for DFS contests this week at the PGA Championship.

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There are very few certainties in golf, but Brooks Koepka at PGA Championship and U.S. Open setups remains one of the safest bets in golf. In 21 U.S. Open and PGA Championships, Koepka has recorded 11 top-five finishes and five wins. He is contending at over a 50-percent clip in these events and winning nearly one in every four chances. I would expect the five-time major winner to proceed with business as usual at Valhalla, which bears in mind a striking resemblance to Oak Hill, Bethpage Black and Bellerive, all sites of former PGA victories for Koepka. Coming off a win at LIV Singapore, Koepka is one of the few players in this field that I trust to go toe-to-toe with Scheffler and come out on top.

RELATED: PGA Championship 2024: Our 13 best bets to win at Valhalla

Fade: Ludvig Aberg, $10,500: 2152783759

Michael Reaves

I remain incredibly bullish on Ludvig Aberg’s talent, but the lingering knee injury that caused him to withdraw from the Wells Fargo Championship last week raises a major red flag. Aberg is still competing in only his second career major, and while the early returns at the Masters were as strong as anyone could have hoped for, the combination of the injury and lack of experience are still enough for me to settle for more proven commodities in this price range.

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Sarah Reed

A much bigger storyline at the Masters, Joaquin Niemann feels a little more under the radar the radar this week. This surprises me, as Niemann is coming off a seventh-place finish at LIV Singapore where he led the field in approach play, and the young Chilean has been the most consistent performer on LIV all season with six top-10s and two wins. Mix in a fourth in Dubai, a third in Oman, and a 22nd at the Masters, and Niemann is playing some of the best golf in the world right now. His combination of total driving, long iron play, and bentgrass putting should provide a perfect match for the task at hand at Valhalla this week.

Fade: Cameron Smith, $9,800:

While Cameron Smith is always a threat to lead the field in strokes gained/around the green play and putting, I’m worried that he will be behind the eight ball this week off the tee. Smith has not put together one solid driving performance on the LIV Tour this season, and he ranks below average in both distance and accuracy. Many of his best major championship performances have come on wide open golf courses such as Augusta National, Los Angeles Country Club and St. Andrews—with negligible rough. Smith’s lack of power and inability to find the fairway with any consistency creates a difficult pathway to success at longer golf courses with thick rough such as Valhalla.

$8,000 range Play: Tyrrell Hatton, $8,200: 2151235599

Jason Butler

There are only two players in this field that have finished inside the top 20 at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive and the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill: Brooks Koepka and … Tyrrell Hatton. Both prior PGA venues have a lot in common with Valhalla, and Hatton has sneakily one of the strongest resumes in this field on longer, challenging golf courses with thick rough. Coming off a fifth at LIV Singapore, where he gained 6.8 strokes on approach, the Englishman has been one of the best approach players on LIV this season as well, and a top-15 finish at the Masters leaves me feeling even more encouraged that his form is translatable to another big-time event.

Fade: Jordan Spieth, $8,800:

One of the more subdued storylines this week is Jordan Spieth’s attempt at the career Grand Slam. Expectations have been quelled for a reason, as Spieth is simply not playing at a high level right now. The main reason for concern is his recent iron play, as the three-time major winner has now lost strokes on approach in seven of his past eight starts. It appears to be getting worse before it gets better as well, as Spieth lost 5.1 strokes on approach last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, his worst mark of the season. On a golf course with smaller greens and such a high plurality of long irons, Spieth’s approach play is simply not sharp enough for me to pay this price tag.

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$7,000 range Play: Min Woo Lee, $7,700: 2151622390

Aric Becker/ISI Photos

Min Woo Lee always has my attention on long and difficult courses due to his elite driving ability. It is not a coincidence that Lee quietly finished top 20 at both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open last year, and I expect him to continue his strong play on these types of setups in the future. Coming off a performance at the CJ Cup where he gained 5.6 strokes off the tee, Lee’s driving ability is one of the most bankable skill-sets in this field, and one that will play major dividends at a course like Valhalla.

Fade: Tom Kim, $7,800:

Something has looked off with Tom Kim all season, and the three-time PGA Tour winner has now lost strokes in both ball-striking categories in back-to-back starts. Kim has failed to finish top 10 on the PGA Tour all season largely due to inconsistent play off the tee. Valhalla is not the type of golf course that will be kind to poor drivers of the ball, and this aspect of his game is too much of a liability for me to trust the 21-year-old.

Flier: Dean Burmester, $7,000:

While far from a household name playing on the LIV Tour, Dean Burmester is one to watch this week at Valhalla. The South African has recorded six top-15 finishes in seven starts on LIV this season, including a win at Doral, a long golf course that emphasizes total driving and long iron approach play. That skill-set should translate to Valhalla, and at $7,000, there are few players in this price range that possess such ball-striking upside.

$6,000 range Play: Keith Mitchell, $6,600: 2120127554

Raj Mehta

Keith Mitchell has always been one of the best drivers of the ball on the PGA Tour, but he has also developed into one of the best long iron players, too. Mitchell ranks top 20 in this field in driving distance, recent off-the-tee play, recent approach play, and proximity from 200-plus yards. There are few players in the $6,000 range that possess the ball-striking chops of Mitchell, and I’m expecting a breakout performance from the 32-year-old.

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports

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