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We did it, everybody, we made it to tournament week. It feels like it was at least two years ago when The Players was canceled after the opening round back in March, but in actuality, it’s been less than three months since the sports world hit pause. Nevertheless, the PGA Tour is back as it makes its return to Fort Worth, TX for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
It’s clear that it isn’t just golf fans excited for golf’s return, the players are clearly ready to go as well given the strength of the field this week. Sixteen of the Top 20 players in the world will tee it up this week with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka headlining the field at Colonial.
Kevin Na won this event by four shots a year ago at 13-under.
Colonial Country Club is one of the more ‘traditional’ courses on the PGA Tour schedule and has been a regular stop since 1946. It’s a Par 70 track that will stretch just beyond 7,200 yards this week.
While Colonial is on the shorter side, it has two major defenses on its side which are narrow, tree-lined fairways and below-average size greens. This is the type of course that doesn’t necessarily favor one particular style golfer. Bombers can compete anywhere, but given its length, the shorter guys on Tour should contend this weekend as well. Keeping it in play off of the tee and then dialing in your irons and hitting these small putting surfaces in regulation are keys to success this week.
Pick To Win
While world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is the favorite this week, Rahm may honestly be the most chalky of picks in the field, which is totally fine. He’s a lot of people’s pick to hoist the trophy this week for a reason.
Prior to the pandemic, Rahm was playing exception golf with four Top 10 finishes in 2020 including a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open and a T-3 at WGC Mexico. The numbers tell the same sort of success story as well as he ranks among the Top 5 on Tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee, strokes gained: putting and strokes gained: total.
He has the ability to cut corners off the tee and essentially overpower Colonial while also possessing great iron play and a hot putter; that’s a recipe for success anywhere. He missed the cut here a year ago but picked up two Top 5 finishes in his two starts at Colonial the previous two seasons.
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Pick To Contend (Top 5 Finish)
Rose missed the cut in three of his previous four events prior to the Tour’s pause as his new relationship with Honma was off to a horrific start. Fast-forward to now and Rose has split with the club manufacturer and his bag is now (mostly) filled with TaylorMade equipment, his previous club sponsor.
While assuming all is going to fall into place just because of a club change may be a bit naive, this is a massive move that should get Rose back into the swing of things. Plus, the long break should have done nothing but rejuvenate the Englishman as things couldn’t really get much worse.
He won this event in 2018 and is more than comfortable at Colonial.
Player To Fade
I’m onboard the new-look, absolutely gigantic DeChambeau hype train, but I don’t see it entering the winner’s circle this week.
It’s tough to have DeChambeau as a fade given his last three starts he’s gone T-5, 2nd, 4th, but his track record at Colonial isn’t too stellar. He’s made the cut here just once, a T-42 finish in 2018, in five starts. He and his new outrageous swing speed should find some major success sooner rather than later, but just not this week.