One quick note about the Charles Schwab challenge. How great was it to have a playoff on the first tournament back. The question I have, is this tournament, a definitive step towards a newer era of golfers or was it just clearing off the rust for some of the traditional greats. These golfers missed the cut last week: Jimmy Walker, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar. Meanwhile, those in the top 10 included: Daniel Berger, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, J.T. Poston, Sungjae Im, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas all of whom are under 30.
Date: June 18th – 21st
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links
Purse: $7.1MM ($1.3MM to winner)
FedEx points: 500 to winner
OWGR Points: 74
2019 Winner: Pan Cheng-tsung (-12)
Harbour Town Golf. Built in 1967 by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, this 7,100 par 71 course has extravagant beauty running up against the Atlantic Ocean. The narrow fairways force golfers into the thick Bermuda roughs which are tough to navigate (some are Rye). This course forces golfers to be patient and not force shots. Water traps lie around many of the greens and wind off the ocean can cause havoc on shots.
My Starting 4
Collin Morikawa (1st selection this year) — 22 consecutive missed cuts including a narrow loss last week almost giving the young player another win to add to his belt. He has been the definition of efficient this season. He’s in the top 10 in strokes gained in both approaching the green and tee to green.
J.T. Poston (1st selection this year) — J.T. had a strong push last week finishing in the top 10. J.T. has not only made the cut in 10 of his last 12 tournaments but he has also finished in the top 30 in six of his last 12 tournaments. He finished sixth at the RBC Heritage last year and looks primed to make another strong placing this year.
Webb Simpson (2nd selection this year) — It has been about 20 tournaments since Webb Simpson last missed a cut (prior to last week). The tournament after he missed that cut he finished in 5th. In fact, going further into that, he has rebounded with a top 10 finish in four of the last five tournaments where he missed a cut. He has been a top 20 finisher at RBC Heritage each of the last three seasons. I feel very confident Webb will rebound this week.
Daniel Berger (1st selection this year) — After a dominant win last week, he now has top 10 finishes in each of the last four tournaments. Last year he finished 33rd here. Daniel is currently 11th in FedEx ranking and 14th in total strokes gained.
My Bench 2
Bud Cauley (1st selection this year) — Bud has been a top 40 finisher at the RBC Heritage each of the last three years. Last week, he finished in the top 30 at the Charles Schwab Invitational and has only missed three tournaments across 12 tournaments this year. His irons have been excellent, he’s in the top 40 in strokes gained approaching the green and around the green.
Rory Sabbatini (1st selection this year) — Rory finished 14th last week at Ft. Worth. He has made the cuts on quite a few tournaments with the same type of Bermuda grass but he has not really been a strong top 20 golfer, that is where I’m hesitant. He has been in the top 25 at Harbour Town the last two years.
Fun Fact: Three time US Open champion Hale Irwin had his first and last tour victories here. The first was in 1971, the last in 1994.
Starting 4: Avg finish 48th (35th percentile)
Bench 2: Avg finish 66th (48th percentile)