Xander Schauffele goes wire-to-wire to claim his maiden Major at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club

Having been dubbed the 'nearly man' Xander Schauffele spent most of this week at Valhalla answering questions about his struggles to get across the winner's line:

"You get your blood flowing. You want to see what you've got. Unfortunately, I haven't had the results in the end, but I've definitely had a lot of the adrenaline, the final groups, the close calls and things of that nature. I learned to appreciate those times in my game because when you're in 50th place playing on Sunday, it just doesn't feel like it's for much."

It's true that he was the highest ranked player not to have a Major title, hadn't won since July 2022 at the Genesis Scottish Open and was coming into the week off the back of a second place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship after Rory McIlroy's runaway win.


Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele after his opening round 62 - image credit PGA of America

An opening round 62, set the scene but the questions around not winning continued:

"I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is. For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder. The top feels far away, and I feel like I have a lot of work to do. But just slowly chipping away at it."

And chip away at it he did as he came into the final round of the PGA Championship still at the top of the leaderboard but sharing it for the first time with Collin Morikawa.

Whilst others in contention felt the pressure of the Major Sunday and didn't mount a charge, Schauffele remained calm and composed throughout. After nine holes and four birdies, it almost looked like a done deal but it's never that easy. A bogey on 10 followed, then two birdies on the trot showed why he is the current third best player in the world.

The American would have known from the cheers ringing around the course that Bryson DeChambeau had tied for the lead whilst he was on the 17th hole. A crucial par save followed and a chance of birdie on 18 stood between him and the Wanamaker Trophy or a potential play-off with DeChambeau.

106th PGA Championship winner

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 19: Xander Schauffele celebrates winning the 2024 PGA Championship on the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America)
Xander Schauffele - image credit Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

Schauffele handled the 18th as he had the rest of his round. Calmly and with the composure of a Major champion. As his six-foot birdie putt lipped in off the left, he raised his hands to the sky. He was the 'nearly man' no more.

How did the 30-year-old really feel about all the questions surrounding him not quite making it?

"Definitely a chip on the shoulder there. It just is what it is at the end of the day. You guys are asking the questions, probing, and I have to sit here and answer it. It's a lot easier to answer it with this thing [Wanamaker trophy] sitting next to me now, obviously. It's just fuel, fuel to my fire. It always has been growing up, and it certainly was leading up to this."

Bryson DeChambeau comes close

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 19: Bryson DeChambeau reacts to his made putt on the 18th green during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America)
Bryson DeChambeau - image credit Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

There was so much to like about Bryson DeChambeau's performance this week. He put on a show in the way he only he can and he took the competition to Schauffele. He pulled off extraordinary shots and showed many PGA Tour golf fans what they have been missing since his move to LIV.

A final round of 64 was the joint round of the day and his birdie on 18 pushed Schauffele all the way to the final putt. After finding out there wouldn't be a play-off, he assessed his performance this week:

"First emotions, proud of Xander for finally getting the job done. I mean, he's an amazing golfer and well deserved major champion now. He's played well for a long, long time. Played against him as a junior. It's cool to see him win, not only he's just a great human being, but an unbelievable golfer, and it shows this week. Super happy for him.

"On my side of the coin, disappointing, but, whatever. I played well. Didn't strike it my best all week. Felt like I had my "B" game pretty much. My putting was A+, my wedging was A+, short game was A+, driving was like B. You know, shot 20-under-par in a major championship. Proud of myself for the way I handled adversity.

"Definitely disappointing, but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the majors. I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully, hopefully over the next couple majors."

Hovland back on form

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 19: Viktor Hovland watches his shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America)
Viktor Hovland - image credit Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

Viktor Hovland had to settle for third. After having the lead briefly, you thought that momentum would go in his favour but he just couldn't find any more birdies on the final five holes and a bogey at the last after having a chance of birdie dropped him to 18-under-par.

Considering he had thought about pulling out of the PGA Championship "because I wasn't playing good at all," we hope that the Norwegian was happy to be back in contention.

The biggest story of the week will still be the arrest of Scottie Scheffler on Friday morning. The World Number one saved his best round till last with a six-under-par 65 to share eighth place. How would Scheffler describe this week? "I'm not really quite sure. I think "hectic" would probably be a good description. Overall right now how I'm feeling, I'm fairly tired, definitely a lot more tired than I have been finishing some other tournaments."

The 106th PGA Championship is likely to be remembered more for what happened off the course, than what happened on it but that does not take away from the performance of Xander Schauffele who showed everyone he has everything it takes and in the end, it was his own self-belief "when you believe something enough, it'll happen" that finally got him across the line.

View the full PGA Championship leaderboard here.