PGA Championship Fact or Fiction: Schauffele Will Win More Majors, Hovland's the Best Without One

The SI Golf staff reviews the final round of the PGA Championship and wonders if Valhalla will get another major. 
Viktor Hovland may now own the title of best player without a major.
Viktor Hovland may now own the title of best player without a major. / Clare Grant-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the final 2024 PGA Championship edition of SI Golf’s Fact or Fiction, where we deliver a series of statements for writers and editors to declare as “Fact” or “Fiction” along with a brief explanation. Responses may also (occasionally) be “Neutral” since there's a lot of gray area in golf.

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know on the SI Golf X account.

Xander Schauffele birdied the 72nd hole to win the PGA Championship by one shot over Bryson DeChambeau for his first major title. Now that he’s off the schneid, Schauffele will win more majors.

Pat Forde: FACT. Allow me the obnoxious indulgence of basking in my pre-tournament prediction that Schauffele would win this one—and now let me warn you that there are more to come. He’s too consistently good in majors not to win more. Just as this one was inevitable, so are others to come. Phi Mickelson was 34 when he won his first, then won five more. Xander is only 30 and has the game—and the mental makeup—for 20 more great years on tour. 

John Pluym: FACT. He knows what it takes to close now, which is half the battle. Phil Mickelson struggled to win his first major, too. But after his Masters win, he proved he could win another and another. And Schauffele proved he can handle the heat, too. His last few holes Sunday with DeChambeau charging were outstanding. The shot he hit standing in the bunker on 18 was unbelievable. And the chip and putt were stuff of legend. I can’t wait to see how he plays in the next two majors. 

Bob Harig: FACT. It’ll be a lot easier to do it now. Somehow, despite not winning for 22 months, Schauffele remained one of the top players in the world, a testament to his consistency and resilience. He’s been working on a swing change and managed to trust it. And it should lead to more.

Jeff Ritter: FICTION. It’s not a knock on Schauffele, who’s a deserving champion. But winning majors ain’t easy, and when you factor just how long Schauffele lingered on the Best Without a Major list, it feels far more likely this one ultimately stands as his lone title.

John Schwarb: FACT. I wrote in Saturday’s Fact or Fiction about how the winner wouldn’t come from the final group as they’d have to hear the roars of someone on a gettable course coming up to steal the Wanamaker. Well, someone almost did and Schauffele had to hear it. And he still won. That’s the stuff of a guy with the makeup to win multiple majors now that No. 1 is out of the way.  

Schauffele’s win now leaves Viktor Hovland as the best player in golf without a major.

Pat Forde: FACT. He’s so good in general—and was so good for 71 holes here—that he now assumes one of the more dreaded distinctions in golf. But that’s O.K., it’s only temporary. He’s only 26 years old.

John Pluym: FACT. He has too much talent to not win a major and he knows what pressure is all about after his stellar Ryder Cup performance. His wait won’t be long. 

Bob Harig: FACT. Although an argument can be made for Schauffele’s good buddy, Patrick Cantlay. Both he and Viktor are in that realm of great players who are seemingly closer. Hovland has been closer.

Jeff Ritter: FACT. It’s a tough list to lead, and Hovland at age 26 has ascended quickly. I don’t expect him to be there for long—not sure I see a breakthrough on Pinehurst’s diabolical green complexes, but I can absolutely see him winning the Claret Jug at Troon. 

John Schwarb: FACT. Hovland won three times on Tour last year and now has three top-seven major finishes including Sunday’s solo third to go with last year’s T2 at Oak Hill. Assuming he’s done messing with his swing now that he’s back with coach Joe Mayo, he now owns the label no one wants. 

DeChambeau pushed Schauffele to the brink, firing a flawless 64 while birdieing the final hole to keep the heat on Schauffele. DeChambeau is the best LIV golfer today.

Pat Forde: FACT. I believe we had a question Saturday about which LIV golfer had the best chance to win a major this season, and I said DeChambeau. He damn near got it done at Valhalla, and I’d certainly put him on the very short list to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst next month. Brooks Koepka is clearly the other option, but DeChambeau’s game is in better shape right now. 

John Pluym: FICTION. I still think Brooks Koepka is the best in LIV and he has the majors to prove it. He’s also shown more consistency than DeChambeau, who is a terrific player but also erratic. It’s close between Koepka and DeChambeau, but I’m giving Koepka the edge. 

Bob Harig: FACT. Forget the LIV Golf results. Yes, Joaquin Niemann has two victories this year, but he’s been nowhere near the top at the Masters and PGA, where DeChambeau saw his name on the leaderboard for two straight majors.

Jeff Ritter: FACT. Joaquin Niemann may lead LIV’s season points race, but Bryson is 2-for-2 in delivering on golf’s biggest stages this year. If we’re handicapping the U.S. Open today, he’d be my second choice behind Scheffler. 

John Schwarb: FACT. Jon Rahm seems to be a little wistful for the PGA Tour, which may be seeping into his play, and Brooks Koepka hasn’t put four rounds together in either major this year. Bryson is the man for now. But this could change in a month. 

The 2024 PGA will always be remembered first for the tragic death of John Mills and arrest of Scottie Scheffler. But Valhalla Golf Club again delivered high drama in front of huge crowds, and it should get another PGA Championship. 

Pat Forde: FICTION. This pains me to say as a Louisville resident, and as someone who has covered every bonkers PGA and Ryder Cup hosted by Valhalla. They have been fun and memorable and dramatic—but there also is a lot of negative momentum to overcome. The course is no longer owned by the PGA of America, which clearly factored into his selection previously. The tragedy Friday, followed by the arrest of the world’s No. 1 golfer, left a cloud hovering over the tourney. And the Greater Greensboro Open scoring turned off some fans who want to see the best pros struggle more than they do here. I would love to have another, but I think it’s an uphill climb.

John Pluym: FICTION. Valhalla had drama all week right up until Schauffele made birdie on 18 to win it. But I disagree that the course delivered a stern test. Do we really want players winning major championships at 21 under par? I just can’t get past the 62s, 63, 64s, 65s and 66s. It’s not just about lengthening the golf course. Instead, narrow the fairways and grow the rough deeper. The course was way too easy. 

Bob Harig: FICTION. The course has undoubtedly delivered but it’s also no longer owned by the PGA of America. The logistical issues that led to a terrible tragedy are something that will be difficult to overcome at a place that has probably been far too easy. That and player grumbling might make it a tough sell down the road.

Jeff Ritter: FACT. Friday’s tragic accident and Scheffler arrest forever leave a mark on the 2024 edition, but this course is 4-for-4 in memorable PGA Championship finishes, a record very few tracks can match. I’d like to give it another shot, with longer rough and tighter fairways.

John Schwarb: FACT. I live in Indianapolis and am biased as I want to have majors close to home. And fans in this region have supported big-time golf for three decades at a course that delivers amazing drama. I’m not sure Valhalla will get another one—PGA Frisco is the PGA of America’s moneymaker now and will be a regular host, which means fewer available years—but the statement was if it should and I say yes.


Published
John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.

Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Jeff Ritter

JEFF RITTER

Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

John Pluym

JOHN PLUYM

John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.

Pat Forde

PAT FORDE

Pat Forde covers college sports, the Olympics and horse racing for Sports Illustrated. Pat wrote two books and was nominated for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize. In addition to his work at SI, Pat is also the co-host of the College Football Enquirer podcast. He is an analyst for the Big Ten Network and contributes to national radio shows. In a career spanning more than three decades, Pat has worked at Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and the Louisville Courier-Journal.