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COLONIAL COUNTRY CLUB (Fort Worth)
We’re going back to Texas after an enthralling PGA Championship in which Justin Thomas prevailed after a play-off with Will Zalatoris. It was everything and more I expected at Southern Hills, it’s been there five times and I don’t think you will have to too long to see it there again.
Colonial Country Club is a Par 70 measuring at 7209 yards.
The greens are Bentgrass.
The Charles Schwab has been hosted here since 2014, prior to that it was called the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the Dean & Deluca, the bank of America, Southern West Bell and the Fort Worth invitational.
The tournament is associated with Ben Hogan (unofficially) and is commonly referred as Hogans Alley, he was a long-time resident at Fort Worth and won the tournament five times.
The signature holes of this course are holes 3,4 and 5, which are known as the Horrible Horseshoe, the holes are made up of two par 4s and a par 3-4th they are the toughest stretch of the course, year in year out.
CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE HISTORY
Looking back at the past ten winners there seems to be a mix of players who have a short game to die for, or players who have excelled as good ball strikers.
Looking over all the stats, form past tournaments and past winners, there are some obvious pointers, it seems were looking for a mix of players who are straight off the tee, with a mix of good iron players and short game wizards, players have excelled here with good SGOTT-SGTTG-SGAPR.
As correlations go there are a couple of courses that keep popping up, the Heritage is one of them, with most the players who have won the Charles Schwab have played well or won at Harbour Town, also the Sony and Houston open have shown the same similarities.
The weather predicted is , sunny thursday and friday with highs of 89, but saturday and sunday is predicted to be windy with gusts up to 20-30mph.
Jordan has seen a very good few months in the golfing world, unfortunately he didn’t win the PGA, but was won last month at Harbour town and 2nd at the AT&T, Hes, been steady all year and has missed three cuts along the way.
Spieth has worked hard on his swing and is getting more consistency off the tee, Hes’s 12th in SGT2G and 18th SGAPR, which is a vast improvement from the past two years.
The thing Jordan was renowned for which was his putting has let him down of late but this is just a phase and it will start working for him again, even when he won at the RBC he lost –0.57 on the field for putting.
Jordan is no stranger to this tournament with him winning here in 2016, the local lad also posted a 2nd- T10th- T8th- T32- T2nd – T2nd- T7th, as you can see, he likes it here, with six top ten and three 2nds, make no mistake he will be contending this come Sunday.
Mr Ancer who is another player from around these parts, born in Mcallen- Texas he now resides in San Antonio.
The last time Abraham won was in 2021 in the ST Jude Invitational, so Hes now chasing his second win, he ranks 21st in the world at the moment and has established himself as a consistent player and is renowned for his good ball striking.
We are going for another former winner Kevin Na, Hes no stranger to this course, with him winning in 2019, Hes also posted 4TH- T32- T22- T42 here with a couple of missed cuts along the way.
Kevin has also posted the course recorded 61 in 2018 and also posted 62 in the same week but still lost to Justin Rose.
So far this year he has posted four top 20s and two missed cuts along the way he T14th at the masters, all the stats lean towards SGT2G and Kevin hasn’t got great stats this year so far but as you now things can change, in 2019 when he won, he gained 3.38 T2G in round four so please don’t discount him.
Davis is a bit of an enigma, he turned professional at 2019 , he went to college in Alabama. He has two professional wins to his name on the KFT but hasn’t broken his Maiden on the PGA Tour yet.
His form this year has been really good, he has gone close on several times he finished T13th at the PGA Championship, T9th at the Byron Nelson, 5th Mexico Open, 2nd at the Valspar, yes there are three missed cuts along the way but he comes into this in good heart.
Davis ranked 6th SGAPP gaining 1.61 and 6th SGOTT gaining 1.26, SGT2G 7TH gaining 2.40, these should give him a good chance to get his Maiden win
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A frustrating week and our first blank in a while. Albeit, only 1 of our 6 picks missed the cut. Will Zalatoris actually hit it ok on Thursday and Friday, yet missed the cut due to the familiar issues with his rather long, short stick.
Our 100/1 shots of Lashley & Lipsky both flirted with places over the weekend. Finishing -18 & -17 respectably, I can’t really complain with the process. They both played well, but scoring was easy and they ended up a few shots away from picking up 20u each!
Until that bunker shot on 13, JT looked well in the mix. I certainly will be back on JT at The PGA Championship this week. He finished 5th but I didn’t shoot EW on him.
Therefore, tied in with a poor week on The DP World Tour. Following not 1, 2 but 3 Connor Syme collapses (will keep tabs on him!). We have a -9u week and now are only +3u on the year. The downswing continues but again on The PGA Tour, our picks play well. As Arsenal Manager Mikael Arteta would say, trust the process.
The betting spreadsheet has been updated on The Betting Blog, and we roll ahead into the 2nd Major of the year!
The PGA Championship
To Oaklahoma where The PGA Championship will be held for the 104th time at Southern Hills Golf Club. As a European, it’s safe for me to say that The PGA Championship or USPGA Championship is the least-watched of the 4.
However, I believe there are many reasons to tune in. Firstly the PGA Championship is the strongest field in golf. A maximum of 156 golfers compete for the Wanamaker Trophy and qualify through a meritocracy based format. The current criteria to date included (from Wikipedia)
The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour (starting one week before the previous year’s PGA Championship and ending two weeks before the current year’s PGA Championship).
Members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams, provided they are in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of one week before the start of the tournament.
Any tournament winner co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship .
The PGA of America reserves the right to invite additional players not included in the categories listed above.
The total field is a maximum of 156 players. Vacancies are filled by the first available player from the list of alternates (those below 70th place in official money standings).
From a betting perspective, the PGA Championship you will find the most amount of “long-shots.” For example, even last year, Phil Michelson won at Kiawah Island and was 200/1 at some bookmakers. Looking through the list, Martin Kaymer & Keegan Bradley won in 2010 and 2011 which was their major “breakthroughs.” Who also can forget Y.E Yang holding off Tiger Woods in Minnesota in 2009.
The point is, that major breakthroughs and slightly longer – shots can compete in this event. My only reluctance to fill my card with players in the 80 – 120 /1 mark is the course. I do believe the set-up will ensure the cream rises. Particularly those who are strongest from 120 yards and in.
SOUTHERN HILLS – The Course
Southern Hills Country club is a Par 70 a smidge over 7300 yards. The greens are many players putting favorite, bent grass and the fairways are very tight Bermuda grass. The reason for this is it brings roll-off areas into play. A miss placed approach can land and end up 50 yards away through the slopes of the course.
We saw Southen Hills last year when Alex Cejka won (1000/1 this week). I watched this back and found that he was leading after round 1 and went on to win by 4 shots at -8. He put his win down to the fact he’s 50 and he is now driving it better. I think this course doesn’t crush you for being out o position from the tee, but it will with the 2nd shot. Particularly from the rough.
We did see the course also in the noughties, however, there has been significant work since.
I am writing quite factually, hold on, this is a beautiful parkland course. One of the best in America in parkland. It’s tree-lined, albeit many have been stripped since Tiger Woods last the Wanamaker Trophy here in 2007
There is plenty of elevation into the greens, aesthetically it’s a fantastic course. The 1st and 10th tee are up high and you tee off down into battle. Streams meander throughout the course, some dry and some still full of water. When Maxwell redesigned the course, this position of the streams in conjunction with the greens was taken fully advantage of throughout.
It’s make-up includes, 4 Par 3s, 12 Par 4s, and 2 Par 5s which are a monstrous 632 & 656 yards. Will I factor that into my picks? No to be honest.
Anyway, this is a natural, undulating site and what the designers have done is calved out something that is beautiful & complicated. I imagine professional golfers and visitors love to play here.
It reminds me of The Masters aesthetically. Yes this typically is the major we are “least” interested in over here. Maybe not this week.
The Weather will play a key factor. If the firm and fast, I could see the winning score around -8. However, if softer it could be closer to -18.
The weather looks to be warm and clear, with possible rain on Friday. Therefore, in terms of AM/ PM starts. I am not factoring that into my picks.
Key Stats Analysed
Strokes gained approach
Strokes gained putting
I have been complex over the last few weeks, maybe overly so. Therefore I am going to look at the course and say this. If you are in the rough it’s going to be very hard to find the greens. The run-off areas will find you and the terrain is a further factor that makes ball control difficult.
Ultimately, players that are on the fairway, WILL HAVE to be tuned in with the PW and down. To ensure optimum strikes to keep that ball on the green.
After Will Zalatoris crushed me with his terrible putting, I am not entertaining flushers with average short sticks. No sir, not this week.
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING PICKS
Justin Thomas 16/1 – 6 places Boyle Sports
As a golf fan, I really feel like it’s coming for JT. I am picking him because his strokes gained in approach is +1.07 over the past 24 rounds and this is a statistic I am leaning on. The only player in the top of the market that can beat that is Cam Smith.
His T2G game is solid and the putter is working. He has 3 Top 10s in his last 5 starts.
I thought Thomas was excellent last week as a tipped him at the AT&T Byron Nelson. His swing looks in great shape and he was once more shaping the ball as we know he can. I particularly enjoyed his right to left draws and slings. Taking some anecdotal information from Andy Lack, he believes a drawer of the ball will prefer this course. Another tick on JT.
Shane Lowry 25/1 1u – 8 places Boyle Sports
I have noticed that Shane is very popular this week. I would have expected it anyway considering his ball-striking clinics of late. Also, the putter is working.
The only thing that concerns me with Shane is his “closeability” having had shots in the early parts of the year to win again.
If the course gets firmer and faster I think the jolly Irishman can stick with the pace. Having won The Open where you need a shit hot short game, that side of Lowry’s game will always keep him in touch. The difference is right now, the swing is on point.
Shane is one of the most in-form putters in the field and currently is gaining 0.82 shots in the approach (over past 24 rounds).
Abraham Ancer 90/1 6 places 0.75u – Boyle Sports
Out of the 4 Majors, The PGA Championship as I said, is often the first for players to win.
Statistically, Abraham matches up. He is one of the straightest off the tee on the entire PGA Tour. His iron play needs to improve this week but you cannot argue with the putter. He is the 4th best putter playing this week, gaining 0.84 strokes (based on 24 previous rounds).
Abraham had a good week at the matchplay but hasn’t played near his best since. When I noted his prices creeping up I thought it was a good value play. I won’t say no to 90/1
Min Woo Lee 200/1 12 Places 0.5u – Boyle Sports
This lad has a bright future in the game and I am going to be consistent with him while the price is so high. My thoughts are, if I back in at 200 / 400/1 over the next 2 or 3 years, that is a + EV decision.
Fans of the DP World Tour will know Min Woo very well. Particularly from his impressive victory in Scotland. There isn’t sufficient data to pull game trends, but I backed him at The Masters where he finished 14th.
Finally, I will be taking Speith at the best Outright price I can find and I don’t think I can say any more about him. Readers will know how much I analyze his game, it’s there alright. I also will take 0.25u on DP World Tour player Ryan Fox.
This has been a challenging week personally to keep the blog up to date, hence why it’s a short one this week. I can’t wait to settle down and watch this weekend. Oh, and the missus is away!
The 104th PGA Championship takes place this week at Sothern Hills in Oklahoma. The 2nd major of the year consists of one of the strongest fields this PGA Championship has ever had so looks set to be one of the great weeks of the year. There are just the 31 major champions taking to the field to compete for The Wanamaker Trophy. A total of 156 players including 20 PGA pros will start proceedings in a bid to win the $2Million 1st prize & their name in the history books as a Major winner.
Phil Mickelson will not defend this week after withdrawing last week which only adds to the LIV situation but the less said about that this week the better. Its Major week not LIV week. He wasn’t the only withdrawal of the top ranked players with Paul Casey, Harris English, Kazuki Higa & Jimmy Walker already passing this week for various reasons. There are also doubts around whether Bryson will be teeing it up just 4 weeks after hand surgery, but he has posted a swing video this week, but he will be very rusty. There is also Sungjae Im who withdrew overnight. I was hoping to take him this week, but he flew to Korea to support a home event last week & withdrew just before his tee time because he contracted Covid which now means he will struggle to leave Korea & also enter the United States with the health regulations hence the withdrawal.
Last week’s Recap
Last week saw another birdie fest at Craig Ranch for the Byrson Nelson with KH Lee winning at -26. A 2nd year running where the course was taken apart with ultra-low scoring with a 59 watch in play on a few rounds. Hopefully the organiser will investigate this for next year as for me it’s not the best golf in the world to watch. Nobody likes a putting contest. KH defended his title at 100-1 pre-event price.
From a betting perspective it was a shocker from me but that’s golf betting for you. I was very confident in Zalatoris & Gooch going into this week but at -4 & -3 after 2 rounds wasn’t enough to make the cut. Another reason this event is not for me with a cut line of -4. It was four missed cuts in the end this week for me so onto this week very swiftly.
Name – Southern Hills Country Club
Location – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Established – 1936
Design by – Parry Maxell 1936 & renovated by Gil Hanse 2019
Par – 70
Par 3s – 4 Measuring between 173 & 230 Average of 212
Par 4s – 12 Measuring between 377 & 522 Average of 436
Par 5s – 2 Measuring Between 632 & 656 Average of 644
Tiger Woods won the 2007 edition of the PGA Championship the last time Southern Hills hosted this event. After an opening round of 71 +1 Tiger shot one of the rounds of the week on Friday with a 63 to sit 2 clear at the half way stage. Business as usual for tiger at the weekend shooting two rounds of 69 to win by 2 shots at 8under par ahead of Woody Austin -6 & The Big Easy -5.
17 of these weeks field also competed in this event back in 2007. Garcia was disqualified after round three for an incorrect scorecard. Stenson, Zach Johnson, Bubba, Yang, & Beem all missed the cut. Tiger won, Adam Scott & Justin Rose were both 12th, Poulter 23rd, Mickelson, Cink, Westwood, Micheel & Daly all 32nd Harrington 42nd & Glover 50th.
I still find it hard to believe JT only has one major to his name with the 2017 PGA Championship. He has 13 career PGA Tour victories to go with his major win. He has been one of the best players in the world for a few years now winning at least once every year on tour since 2015. He added another top 10 last week at the birdie blitz Byron Nelson. He has 6 top 10s in 10 starts which is sensational form going into a Major. JT finished 8th at Augusta after an opening 76 so did amazing to come back so well & it was a what could have been week for him. A Solid start this week will be essential for the word no 8 & a hot putter. The putter has been very cold this year so far ranking 104th on tour. Jim Mackay on the bag to add his years of major experience will also be advantageous to JT this week.
Hideki took a few weeks out recently after the masters with his injuries he’s been having lately to recover. He came back last week & finished 3rd showing even with the short lay off his game is still in a great place. The injuries are hopefully behind him now as he had a few Withdrawals at the start of the year & lead up to Augusta. Even with the niggling injuries he’s still had solid finishes, yet to miss a cut still this year & has one win & 2 more top 10 finishes. With the course looking likely to be playing long this week & approaches over 200 yards possible on numerous hole he is one of the best from this range, he ranks in the top 10 from 200-275 yards. Not only is his long game fantastic he also ranks no lower than 40th in the 75–175-yard categories so clearly striking it very well.
Shane has every chance this week of picking up his 2nd major. He is fantastic form of late with a 3rd at the RBC Heritage & a 3RD the week before at the Masters. Shane comes into this week full of confidence but is still winless since the 2019 Open Championship however he has picked up 11 top 10 finishes in that time. He is 9 for 9 in cuts made this year with a worst finish in a stroke play event of 24th which is a fantastic return. With his last 2 starts of 3rd place he also has a 2nd place at the tricky Honda Classic & 4 more top 15 finishes. His approach game & putting are statically some of the best on tour, he is 2nd for proximity to the hole which will be vital with the relatively small greens this week & severe run offs that will be catching players out.
If you’re going to dangle 50-1 on the world no 17 who ranks 1st for strokes gained total, then I’m afraid that is the no1 auto bet of the week. Even if he misses the cut this week, I can’t not take Fitzy at such a good price. Matthew has had some great tournaments so far this year with 5 top 10s in just 8 Strokeplay starts. To go with that he also finished 14th at the Masters. He is just missing that first win stateside which once he wins one I’m pretty sure it will have a Scottie Scheffler effect on him. The Sheffield lad certainly has all the attributes needed to win this week especially the short game which will no doubt come into play at some point. Nobody is going to hit every green so scrabbling will be crucial & he ranks 3rd on tour for this.
I’m going put last weeks missed cut on the burner & forget it happened. He still managed to shoot 3 under for 2 rounds which 9/10 is normally good enough to see the weekend. Gooch rose to a career high 31st in the world rankings at the start of the year after his win at the RSM Classic & had a great Master’s Debut finishing 14th. Just 1 top 10 this year at the Arnold Palmer but has 7 top 30 finishes so game is clearly in good shape coming into the 2nd major of the year. His form is very similar to that of Jimmy Walker when he won the PGA so I’m hopeful Gooch has the same luck. Talor is an Oklahoma Resident so has the luxury of being able to stay at home this week & will be able to have close family & fiends at the event giving him support but best of all he gets his own bed.
Off the Tee – 133rd
Approach the Green – 21st
Around the Green – 7th
Putting – 93rd
Tee to Green – 29th
Greens in Regulation – 26th (69.69%)
Scoring Average – 19th (70.218)
Harold Varner 80-1 Boylesports 11 Places
Value Play 125-1 Paddy Power 10 Places
The Saudi Invitational winner is looking for his maiden Major this week. He comes into this major in the best place his game has been in pre major. A 3rd place finish at the RBC heritage, a 23rd at Augusta & 6th at the Players show he’s playing well in the stronger field events this year. He also has the Asia Tour Victory where he landed a monster putt on the 72nd hole to steal victory away from Bubba Watson. If you go on Butch Harmons Socials, he is always full of praise for Harold which has shown in his performances lately. He couldn’t add another major winner to his resume could her?
Off the Tee – 135th
Approach the Green – 52nd
Around the Green – 30th
Putting – 60th
Tee to green – 57th
Scoring average – 63rd (70.82)
Sam Burns 80-1 – Was my player to watch this year on the PGA so when I saw 80-1 on offer at the start of the year, I jumped on that. 6 Places
Other notables –
I will be looking at the top 20 top 40 markets for these guys.
Min Woo Lee – 14th at Augusta on Debut & will want to replicate his sister last week who won on the LPGA
Rikuya Hoshino – the best form player in Japan right now, finishing in the top 10 5 starts in a row.
Sadom Kaewkanjana – The current best ranked player from Thailand. In his last 18 starts he has won 4 times & has 5 more top 10s to go with it.
Pablo Larrazabal – not your usual household major name but in great form on the DP world. He has won twice in 5 starts & has 3 more top 10s in 7 starts.
Could make for a good 4 fold Acca or Lucky 15 if the prices are right.
The 104th PGA Championship and the Wanamaker trophy will return to Southern Hills Country Club; this is the only club to host four PGA Championships and now five.
The last time it hosted was when the great Tiger Woods won by beating Woody Austin by two shots, let’s hope we see the master back where he belongs.
As you would expect the field assembled is a stellar one.
The market is a three-way heading with new world number one Scheffler, Rahm and Mcllroy with Thomas, Morikawa and Johnson close by.
Southern Hills Country Club is located in Tulsa, the Championship course, it’s a par 71 featuring three par 5s and four par 3s measuring 7481 yards.
This course was designed in 1936 by Perry Maxwell and renovated in 2019 by Gil Hanse.
Seven major championships for men have been hosted here, four PGA Championships (1970, 1982, 1994, 2007) and three U.S. Open (1958, 1977, 2001). It’s also hosted the first-ever U.S. Womens mid-Amateur in 1987, and 2021 senior PGA Championship.
The greens were all redone with Pure Distinction bentgrasss, underground drainage pipes were all brought to the surface to create a creek system running throughout the golf course.
Cozby the director of golf at Southern Hills says Hanse’s restoration work has made the course more aesthetically pleasing, while probably also making it a bit more difficult.
Listening to Hanse talk about the renovation and regeneration was so insightful, he talks about how he wanted to strip the course back to its former glory,
He goes on to explain that Hes opened up the fairways and returned the edges to the greens creating run offs so any errant wedge shot will be punished.
Hanse has gone on to say, the changes are evident on many holes on the course, but they stick out most clearly on nos,10,17 and 18, holes that will play a pivotal role in determining the 2022 PGA Championship.
The first hole is a very challenging opening hole. It’s long (451 yards) and the green complex runs away from you. It’s a good hole to hit the centre of the green and walk off with a par.
The 200-yard par-3 sixth hole was a thorn in the side of many a player in 2007, Angel Cabrera ruined his chances by shooting a 10.
Hanse has moved the seventh green back 40-50 yards, The fairway slopes from left to right with the creek coming into play more now on the right side, making it even more important to hit the green.
The par four 15th– 417 yards,is noted to play as one of the top five most difficult holes in a major Championship.
I’m confident in saying that this will be an awesome venue, that has made a change for the better and will be remembered for an amazing Championship.
PAST TEN WINNERS
2011 Bradley 272
2012 Mcllroy 275
2013 Dufner 270
2014 Mcllroy 268
2015 Day 268
2016 Walker 266
2017 Thomas 276
2018 Keopka 264
2019 Keopka 272
2020 Morikawa 267
2021 Mickleson 282
Last year’s event was won by Phil Mickelson won’t be defended this year, which is such a shame.
The weather this week should be ok with winds expected to be as high as 10-20 mph, there maybe a few stray showers on the Saturday, and highs of 74. The weather shouldn’t affect the outcome of the Championship.
So, looking through what little stats we have, there are some small tit bits, looking through past winners we have Goosen winning here and at Shinnecock hills in 2004, and Floyd winning at both venues, we also have Pavin second here and winning at Shinnecock.
After listening to Hanse its apparent this is going to be a second shot competition with accuracy off the tee and GIR an essential, we will be looking for someone who can navigate round the course and has a solid scrambling game.
We couldn’t leave such a good player out who has this year, and has been consistently there, Hes won twice already, with a wind at the 5th Major the Players Championship and 1st at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Cameron has had a couple of missed cuts along the way, but both only by two shots, so that can be excused, his last outing was in the doubles format, the Zurich classic where he T21 with his partner Leishman.
His results this year read, T21-MC-T3-1ST-T37-T4-1st-MC, his stats on the course are, SGOTT 143RD– SGT2G 28TH-SGAPR 6TH-GIR 6TH SGARG T37TH-SGPUTT 4TH.
Cameron is one or if not the best iron player on the tour, and with the open wide fairways its essential to have a good iron player, he also never gets flustered and we defiantly need a calm head in a Major Championship, I’m hoping to see that mullet bouncing down the 18th fairway with a smile on his face.
The smiling assassin is ready and for me going to take one of his many majors in waiting, his quest so for a major has yielded little luck, his best finish was T12th at the US Open in 2019 and T12th at the Open Championship.
Victor has already won three times on the PGA Tour with him winning the Mayakoba Classic twice and the Hero world championship, Hes already won once this year in Dubai.
There has only just been one MC this year and four top ten, Victor is on top of his game with him up to world number 6, his iron play is second to none and he will be contending come Sunday.
His stats this year read as, SGOTT 12th- SGT2G 37th -SGAPR 3rd – GIR 17th- SGARG 210th- SGPUTT 50th. As you can see Victor is still weak around the greens but every week, he grows stronger and better.
Have trust in seeing that big smile come Sunday and lift his first major.
The enigmatic Hideki is going for his second major after capturing the fairy tale Masters last year, which will not be forgotten for some time in Japan.
Matsu has made a solid start to the year, he started where he left off last year, and won at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Hes only played eight events this year, not sure why but I do know Hes competed well.
His form this year has yielded one win, four top 20s and a WD, he defended his Masters with a creditable T14th, he also has some good form in past majors, T2 US Open 2017- T4- 2016 PGA Championship- T6- 2013 Open Championship.
Hideki’s stats this year read as SGOTT 62nd -SGT2G 13th-SGAPR 12th– GIR 12th– SGARG 49TH – SGPUTT 154th.
The stats speak for themselves, and for Hideki to win this then he needs a good week with the putter, when he won the Sony, he gained 1.82 with the flat stick so it can be done.
Matsuyama has the all-round game to become the PGA Champion, his approach play is a sight to behold, so let’s get on him and make some money.
I’m adding another Brit to my selections, world number 43 has been ultra-consistent this year without getting his head in front, his approach stats all year have been solid, only at the Honda has he not gained on the field.
In all recent Majors Hes always been there about without winning, which shows he has the mentality for it, Hes come close a few times with a 2nd and 4th in the US Open and 2nd in the Open championship.
His results this year are, MC- T10TH- T14TH- T35TH – T16TH –T22ND –T20TH –MC –T8TH –T12TH. As you can see three top ten and 6th top 20s.
His numbers this year read as SGOTT 92ND – SGT2G 52ND– SGAPR 133RD – GIR 178TH –SGARG 4TH – SGPUTT 8TH.
Although his numbers don’t read as you would want, tommy hasn’t got so many top ten without playing well, and Hes only one good round away from his first PGA win.
It’s the week before the PGA Championship. Many of the big guns return to the field in the Dallas suburb of McKinney. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele makes his first appearance at this event. Oh, and Scottie Scheffler returns to action after a couple of weeks off.
Last time out with the coupon
A loss on The PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo. With Brian Harman grabbing a place on Boyles Sport that has been split about a million different ways. I did have Olesen over on The DP World Tour but got way too trigger-happy having been attending the event. The week in total ended up +2.5 and the spreadsheet is all updated on the website. You will see I did go very over the top because I was at The Belfry! We live and learn!
If you are new to my golf articles, hello! I basically whip through my thought process, the analytics I have researched, and spew out some picks. Simples.
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After last week’s spend fest on Saturday at The Belfry I am +12.4u for the year.
TPC Craig Ranch – The Course
This Byron Nelson Betting preview is focused on the course, TPC Craig Ranch, a Par 72, 7468 yards. The course was a Korn Ferry qualifying course (Nationwide) but hosted The PGA Tour in 2021. We can look at last year for some guidance, however not a complete picture, which I will explain later in the article.
Tom Weiskopf designed the course, I read a quote in Golf Digest, “I may not give you access to every pin,” he once said, “but I’ll give you the middle of the green every time.” Weiskopf has a number of well-known courses that he has designed or co-designed, including Troon North GC, TPC Scottsdale, Loch Lomond, Scotland & Quail Hollow CC, Ohio.
As you research Weiskopf courses, the common theme writers mention is his love for a drivable par4, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the par 4 14th selected for the Aon Risk Reward Challenge.
The best way to describe the course is, well, “standard.” It is a standard 72 with 4 par 5s, 4 par 3s about 10 par 4s. It has the players’ favourite of bentgrass putting greens but the not so common Zoysia fairways. The greens are large, not quite the same size as the Mexico Open but on the larger size.
Zoysia Fairways are one of the most robust grasses and somewhat typical to see across Texas. Rickie Fowler was quoted saying he liked the surface having played on it while at College. Studies have shown that it’s expensive, dense but easy to manage with a low amount of water. Therefore, I can expect that despite the length of the course, the ball should roll out and play shorter than last year. Zoysia has been said to require a third of the water of its competitors in the soil. I understand from looking online that Texas holistically hasn’t had the same rainfall that it had last year. When the course was very much target golf. Don’t get me wrong, I do expect the same, but not quite to the extent as last year. The ball will run, and landing areas will be a little more important.
The organisers actually played this course 200 yards shorter one-day last year. That was also because of how wet the course was, and it became target golf. The course was as easy as it could have been. However, I do expect a low winning score, but I don’t think the cut will be quite -5 again.
Byron Nelson – Course Correlation
The recent venue of Vidanta (Mexico Open) and a course from earlier this year Plantation course Kapalua (tournament of Champions). TPC Deere Run is another easy course with the same bent grass greens that the players will face this week. My article will predominately focus on TPC Scottsdale due to it also being designed by Weiskopf.
It’s going to be roasting hot (33C) with some gusts (24KpH). This will provide a challenge to the players, but I don’t think will affect the birdie opportunities we are going to see!
Looking at the stats from last year, a 30,000 feet look tells me that iron play and putting is the key to win here. However, I think making all decisions based on last year’s stats is a risky approach. The course was straightforward off the tee and into the approach. Weiskopf courses will always give you access to the centre of the green and it was a lot wetter than it will be this year.
Therefore, I am going to ignore our classic short game experts. The reason for that is, if we are looking at players that grind and graft well for par. I think those players won’t be competing at the top of the leaderboard because I expect birdies. The complete opposite of last week at the Wells Fargo.
TPC Craig Ranch ranks 2nd in Strokes gained in approach out of 43 correlated courses on rickrungood.com and 7th in putting. Perhaps, the picture has been made already.
You also need to find players that are accurate, however, and to my surprise, driving distance is ranked 39th. This means you can find many players that are good in the approach and good putters. The caveat and where I need to be careful, is I need to be sure that my picks have and can get to -20. It could quite easily be that low of a week.
This correlates well with TPC Scottdale, another Weiskopf design course. Where the approach is of upmost importance (ranked 6th / 43 correlated courses: rickrungood.com)
Therefore, these are the stats I will look into, I will then take my picks
Strokes Gained in Approach
Strokes Gained in Putting
Putting 15 feet
Here are the Top 20 most accurate Drivers on The PGA Tour this year.
The fairways are massive here, but I am keen to see if there are any players that are leading in SGAPR or on the putting green that complete the package. There isn’t too much to shout about, but I wanted to demonstrate my thought process when narrowing down a field. I am not as weighted towards Driving Accuracy, as I was at The RBC or Wells Fargo, because these are much wider fairways that the players will be aiming at.
Strokes Gained in Approach
I just can’t bring myself to back Kitayama again. However, he is the leader in the field over the last 25 rounds in shots gained through approach (1.39). Other leaders in the field include.
Justin Thomas 1.03
David Lipsky 0.89
Adam Hadwin 0.84
Jhonattan Vegas 0.84
Scottie Scheffler 0.68
Brandon Wu 0.76
Austin Smotherman 0.76
Strokes Gained in Putting
Ok, this is where we start to hit some players that I like the look of. Let’s once more look at the best 20 players holistically on tour.
RANK THIS WEEK
This is where I can start to find some players that I like. Again, we cannot ignore Scottie Scheffler. Brendon Todd, who ran well for me in Mexico appears, as does Tommy Fleetwood, who has gained on average a boeing 0.747 in shots gained putting. This is good to see from Tommy, I have watched him for many years. It’s the Driver and the Putter that can slow him down.
Putting 15 feet
Players that lead in this field of note include, Adam Long, Sam Ryder who led at stages last year and Nate Lashley. The best on tour is Sung Kang, who I have quoted in the podcast as being last years winner. That will go down well with the betting community!
The top of the leaderbaord is pretty strong. I can see DJ or JT winning, so I will back JT, but I am not too worried about Xander & Brooks. Scottie won’t win again…. Right?
Finally, everyone knows my love for Kurt Katayama. My thoughts are that this field is much deeper and Kitty’s form will unfortunately come to an end. I expect to take one last bullet on Talor Gooch, Kurt Kitayama or Brandon Wu.
Zalatoris was once more exceptional at The Masters, but time has ticked on. I know Will is going to be tipped left, right and centre this week and for good reason.
It’s a ball-striking paradise and I like his game where iron play is key, especially some of the longer irons. The concern is that it’s going to be a putting competition, particularly with that middle of the green access you get here.
However, Will putted well at The Masters. I am fully aware that watching that putting action for 72 holes is going to be tough going but I am happy to accept the challenge. He will find the middle of the greens, and if he can roll it, he can be in with a shout.
When I ran my model for this week Will was 8th, only the market leaders really featured ahead. I do believe a winner will be in “pot 2” of the talent for the week. With all eyes on The PGA Championship next week, Will is a player I like to have a little extra focus and get the win.
Tommy needs a win on The PGA Tour. The week before a major just feels right. Nothing to statical in that assumption but it’s fair to say again that players above him in the market will be focussing on sharpening up for next week.
I have watched Tommy for many years on the European Tour and recently The PGA Tour. When I last watched him closely was at in the middle east, where his driver was spraying and predominately being lost to the right.
Tommy has excelled in the middle east many years, and those courses are a little firm, long but wide. I am not supporting this with data; however, I feel some of the tournament in Abu Dhabi & the Dubai Dessert Classic, will have some performance-based correlation. Again, this is from what I have seen rather than being data driven and more my own personal opinion. For what it’s worth.
Potentially more factually, anyone who saw him at The Masters can certainly presume that this has been fixed and the data suggests the same. He has improved off the tee over the last 12 rounds. He actually gains nearly 2 shot in total SG, this was only 0.14 in his previous 36, he is certainly trending.
I was shocked to see Tommy performing so well on the greens and this was the final piece of the puzzle for me (maybe an oversight I wasn’t aware). I did my first TikTok about a month ago and I said after The Masters, I will be tracking Tommy. Let the tracking begin.
Nate is a player that pops up for me time and time again. I am pulling the trigger on him for a number of reasons. The first one is his recent performance in Mexico on a “birdie fest, showed that the birdies he probably needs to make this week is possible. He also has a similar result from Puerto Rico earlier this year where he cam T7.
In the correlated courses he has a T3 and T17 at the WM Phoenix Open (2020 & 2021). He has a T19 at the Tournament of Champions and a recent T11 in Mexico.
Lashley from a statistical point of view, fits well for this course. The only area I did have concerns was driving distance, but I think the course will play shorter than last year due to the run. Statically, length isn’t as much as a fact of Mexico a fortnight ago.
He gains marginally in the approach and gains 0.68 shots putting. Given his form, this shows in Mexico and Puerto Rico, this shows me the long game is good enough to hit the greens. I have the thinking that I can’t risk players that don’t excel in iron play this week. If you are missing these relatively easy greens, then you won’t be placing, fact.
My angle on Nate is the positive trend with the putter. In his last 36 rounds he was losing 0.70 shots whereas now he is gaining. The long game also has improved in that time as well. His Total SG is currently sat at 0.72 in his last 12, where it was -0.46 in the last 36.
The trends are good, the course fits and I think that Nate will be a good price. Obviously the quality of this field compared to a Puerto Rico or Mexico Open is a stark difference. However, Nate can reach the number, and a good price at 10 places or a Top 20 bet is what I will be taking.
Summary of picks
Justin Thomas 1u
Tommy Fleetwood 0.5u EW
Will Zalatoris 0.5u EW
Nate Lashley 0.25u EW
I will fire one last bullet as discussed but I am not sure where yet. Awaiting for the Lost fore Words and / or Chasing Pars lads to do their thing.
I hope you enjoyed my Byron Nelson Betting preview. Please feel free to feedback any thoughts and if you wish to follow me, my social buttons are below, they are all @MattTizzardGolf
Before we head into the Wells Fargo Championship Betting Preview, a quick recap from Mexico.
The Mexico Open, much like the RBC Heritage was a “nearly week”. We turn a small 2u profit on the tournament following a place from Kitayama at 125/1, finishing 1 shot back from winner Jon Rahm. This is the 2nd time I’ve placed with Kitty this year, following his 400/1 place at The Honda Classic.
Long flirted with the places but a poor back 9 on Sunday stopped all proceedings.
This ends what really has been a poor month (-28u) following a hot start to the year. A long way to go and it’s a swingy game we play! I will always be honest with my readers and track all P/L (+14u) on the website. Long-term followers will know I provide the data and my approach in my articles. I believe they will assist in decision making and I hope continue to be entertaining!
After an incredible final round at the 2022 Masters, Rory McIlroy is back to headline the field at the Wells Fargo Championship, played at TPC Potomac, just outside the US capital.
In similar fashion to Jon Rahm at last weeks Mexico Open, Rory will be wanting to stamp some authority on the tour and collect his 21’st win. Rory won’t have the same perceived advantage as Rahm last week, but following “that Masters round”, I am expecting punters to track and back him heavily.
Due to the President’s Cup taking centre stage at Quail Hollow, the Wells Fargo Championship has been moved to the north to TPC Potomac, a venue we have seen before on tour.
Therefore, unlike last week, we do have some course data that we can analyse. The PGA Tour came to the venue most recently in 2017 and 2018 for the Quicken Loans National (which was replaced by the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019).
The course was seen on tour in the 90s and naughtiest but wasn’t much of a favourite of the players. This was due to poor drainage and flooding issues which messed with tournament conditions. With a name like “The Booz Allen Classic”, it’s hard to wonder why it didn’t have much sex appeal.
However, after a face-lift we saw the Quicken Loans National take its place on tour and the course reputation improved. In 2018 Francesco Molinari got the dub and in 2017 Kyle Stanley beat Charles Howell to win in a play-off. It was a week where Stanley won despite having negative stroke gained putting. Something to note for later in the article.
As an Englishman from Buckinghamshire, I love the look of this course. It looks like a Berkshire/ Buckinghamshire type of Parkland course. The fairways twist and turn through tree-lined fairways, towards greens that are slightly elevated and protected by some large Scottish or heathland-style bunkers. In 2017 Justin Thomas said to the media he believed this course could hold a US Open. High praise.
Occasional water does come into play, for example, holes 7, 14 17. Also “Rock Run Creek” snakes its way through 5 of the holes including the drivable par 4 14th which gave players an Eagles opportunity, which was snatched at 15 times in 2018. However, the water does come into play. Something Ricky Fowler knows all too well, having drove into the water here on Sunday in 2017 when in contention.
The course is a par 70 made up of 7,139 yards that 156 players will do battle over the $9m purse. A complete key change from last weeks tournament which did end up a bomber fest, despite my thought’s accuracy, could take charge.
The course features Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways with subtle elevation changes and distinctive Mid-Atlantic and Scottish-style bunkering.
Despite being made of mostly Par4’s (2 par 5’s and 4 par 3’s) there is still plenty of variety for the players to contend with. Early on- the course demands correct placement on the fairway but offers some birdie opportunity
North-eastern bent grass courses that can correlate are hard to come by. Winged Foot for example and The Congressional next door is a little too longer than the positional play that golfers will face this week. Therefore, looking specifically at course correlation and picking players that like the course design or match statistics that did well here in 2017 & 2018 (to come later in the article) is not going to be a line I base my selections on. I do however think players that played the Quicken Loans, have some advantage from a ball position off the tee perspective.
According to weather.com it appears that Thursday afternoon and Friday will see some showers and thunderstorms. I know things can change quickly, so will be keeping tabs on the draw and the weather.
Key Stats Analysed
We have some good data from PGATour.com initially where we can analyse the recipe to Molinari’s success. I am a little dubious to look capture Kyle Stanley’s data because the winning score was -7. Which was 14 shots worse the Molinari’s win at -21.
It’s also to note that Molinari’s performance in 2018 was an anomaly. This is because at the time it was one of the best performances in stroke gained since ShotLink data was captured in 2003. He gained 20.5 shots on the field! In total 84% of his total shots gained in that winning week were gained tee-to-green.
However, this does paint somewhat of a picture. TPC Potomac ranks 1st in Driving Accuracy importance. It also ranks 5th in Strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained tee-to green.
In contrast, TPC Potmac ranks 33rd on SG putting. (All data from rickrungood.com).
Let’s take a look at some examples. In 2018 this was the Top 12.(I added Ricky just because)
Firstly, shout out to Tiger. Secondly, 4 of the Top 12 feature inside the top 12 players that gained strokes putting on the week. 9 of those players feature inside the top 12 players that gained strokes tee-to-green and 6 for putting.
Now that isn’t uncommon but for context in Mexico last week, inside the top 12 you would find 6 players that lead the field in strokes gained tee-to-green. This course and tournament feel closer to an RBC Heritage of 2 weeks ago. By this I mean I am leaning towards accurate iron players again, rather than bombers and putters.
Where I am a little surprised from the Quicken Loans in only 2 of these players feature inside the top 12 from 150 – 175 yards (Tiger and Anomilari). I would have thought there would be a higher value placed on short iron play (wedge – 8iron). Also considering that stroke gained in approach ranks 7th in importance at TPC Potomac. I am now looking more within driving accuracy and total strokes gained tee to green.
A note on finding where statically these players are “hanging out” the margin between 10th and 20th is relatively small. However, my purpose is to build a picture of which golfers I believe will perform well and these exercises do often find patterns.
Let’s zoom out a little and simplify. What statistics appear most important at TPC Potomac. Firstly, there are 12 par 4s on the course, so I want to know who is playing them well. Secondly, tee to green and driving accuracy is of the upmost importance. Finally, as we saw with Finau, Woodland last week and a preference of mine is to ensure I am comfortable with their ability to put on the greens if I can.
Par 4 performance
Stroke gained Tee to Green
Putting from inside 10 feet
Par 4 performance
Taking a look at the Par 4 leaders of 2022, who are playing this week.
PAR 4 AVG
Stroke gained Tee to Green
A little more of a conventional list of players here and not many surprises. Analysing their last 6 competitive rounds the leader’s tee-to-green are.
Digging into the most accurate players of 2022 in totality. I am starting to see a few faces pop up again. Brian Harman who is a steady hand on the Par 4’s clearly achieves this by being in position. He isn’t a long hitter, so at 7100 yards, this course isn’t going to overpower him. The same can be said about Joel Dahmen.
Putting from inside 10 feet
Before looking at the best putters from 6 feet, I noticed that Matt Kuchar over his last 5 tournaments has gained 0.87 strokes in putting. A recipe that can be cooked up from the data is Matt is super steady on the par 4s (ranking 2nd on tour) but also is the 8th best putter over the last 5 tournaments played. But it’s 2022 and I can’t be betting Kuch? Can I?
After disappointing week last week, Abraham Ancer is another player who is putting well (1.05 strokes gained in the last 5 tournaments). He also is one of the most accurate players in the field.
Sepp Straka and Davis Riley are two of the few players that gain stokes off the tee and dominate with the flat stick. Davis played Mexico last week and this is a big key change in course and climate. I would lean towards Sepp personally.
Finally, Chase Seiffert has been an excellent par 4 player in 2022, ranking 27th. He is also gaining 0.48 shots in strokes gained putting over the last 5 tournaments and rolling the ball well. A potential EW bet as I would hope he has generous odds.
I went from inside 10 feet because out of my T2G specialists I will need some conversion. I won’t be placing too much weight on this statistic, as we have seen good performances can come with a cold wand. See Kyle Stanley for details. Again though, Matt Kuchar appears in 13th position in 2022 and Tyrrell Hatton remains one of the best putters, returning to the field this week.
I am going to commit to 3 today and long list who I will keep tabs on throughout the week. You can see my final picks by following me on Twitter or TikTok or other socials below;
The reason for this is, as I write, the stormy weather and the rain expected late on Thursday. If this changes throughout the week, comes earlier or not at all. This will affect certain sides of the draw. By this I mean those teeing off AM and PM. This is something that had an effect on the Mexico Open with the wind heavily blowing PM on the Thursday and almost killed Kevin Na!
Finished T12 last time out at the RBC Heritage without making any ground on Sunday. If I am going to trust my process, then Joel & Brian are going to make my line ups. He is one of the most accurate players on tour and performs well on 4s throughout 2022. I dislike his hat, but certainly like his play from the tee.
I don’t love his price, because you could have picked Joel up much cheaper earlier in the season.
His best tour finish comes from Quail Hollow at this event in 2019 where he had much worse form heading in.
Brian made the cut at the RBC Heritage and didn’t play in Mexico. So, I am hoping he is fully rested and ready to battle. He has some good performances this year, playing well at The Valspar Championship (5th) and The American Express (3rd).
This course is built for steady Brian, and the lefty can plot his way through the trees and around the bunkers. I definitely want players that keep the ball straight and Brian is the 16th straightest on tour this year.
He gains marginally with the putter and off the tee, so I like this combination with this course. I suspect he will be heavily backed this week, so I will commit and try to fire in early for a good price.
PLAYERS I WILL CONSIDER (likely to pick 2, perhaps 3, closers to Thursday)
Tony Finau (only player from Mexico considering)
I hope you enjoyed my thought process ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship. Always happy to have a discussion on Twitter if you wanted to reach out.
After a stunning week at PGA Catalunya where Adri Arenas finally became a DP World tour winner it’s time to move to the UK & the Midlands for the British Masters. Firstly, a quick recap on last week on tour, not much luck for me with Howie not starting setting me up for a bad week. Just Haotong Li making the cut & he never got going after a good first round. Adri Arnaus beating Oliver Bekker on the 6th hole of the playoff at a pre-event price of 40-1.
Onto this week & it’s the return of the British Masters at the Belfry for the 2nd year running. The Brabazon course will take centre stage being the showcase course the Belfry has to offer. It has hosted the Ryder cup four times in 1985,89,93 & 2002 & also various stroke play events throughout the years most recently in 2020 with the ISPS Handa UK Championship which Rasmus Hojgaard won. Richard Bland will defend after the fairy-tale of last year winning in the playoff against Guido Migliozzi for his 1st DP World Tour victory & fittingly, he will make his 500th start this week. 156 Players will compete for a £1.85 million purse & 3500 DP world points which is more than the usual 2000 or 2750 that are available at non Major,WGC & Rolex events.
This week is one of the only courses on tour I’ve actually played before. A stunning & hard test of golf especially when the pins get tucked around the bunkers & on the blind spots over mounds. I walked the course 3 weeks ago for the Robert Rock Junior Masters as Caddy & the course was in fantastic shape then. I played parallel to a few holes on the Brabazon on Friday when I teed it up on the Derby course & it looks stunning. The course as expected looks tournament ready with tightly cut fairways, lush rough & from watching a few players on the 2nd the green they are quick. The course measures 7328 yards & will play as a par 72 made up of three par 3s measuring between 177 & 226, twelve par 4s measuring between 319 & 497yards & three par 5s measuring between 538 & 566 yards. Nine of the holes have water in play so plenty of places to rack up some big numbers but also plenty of risk & reward opportunities especially the Par 5 3rd & of course the Iconic 10th hole, who will have the onions to go for it off the tee & who will play it safe with a layup. Along with the water there are 72 bunkers to stay out of & plenty of tree lined fairways. A truly great test of golf.
The weather forecast is set to be fairly warm by British standards averaging out at 17degrees for the 4 days. Players will want to get a good score in on the Thursday as Friday looks to be the worst day weather wise with rain showers forecast throughout the day. The rest of the week looks to be almost ideal playing conditions with high teen temperatures & relatively low winds never getting above 10mph.
Adrian comes into this week in fine form with five top 8 finishes in ten starts with no miss cuts in this period apart from a withdrawal in Abu Dhabi. He has had back-to-back 3rd place finishes at the Qatar masters & Catalunya championship, so I fully expect him to go well again this week at a venue where he finished 3rd last year. Last week he ranked 1st in bogey avoidance with just 1.5 average a round which will be key this week to keeping a good score. He was also ranked 3rd & 4th for par 3 & 4 scoring on the week & was under par for the par 5s. The 28-year-old approach game was also statistically in a great place, he was 19th SG approach to green & 7th SG tee to green, even the putting stats were all in the top part of the field (20th SG putting) He will be desperate to get his 1st win on the DP World tour before Turing 29 at the end of the month, it would be a great early birthday present to himself to get the job done this week.
The 2016 Masters Champion & host this week will be looking to maintain his form he has picked up in recent weeks, a top 12 at the Masters a few weeks ago showed his game is in a good place. Hosts don’t normally do well this week because of having much more to do in the week than just golf with all the additional media duties, however last year showed that didn’t affect Willet when he finished 11th. He has played predominantly on the PGA TOUR this year without much success but has only missed one cut so picking up the cheques each week. His best finish this year was his 12th place finish at the masters. His remaining PGA TOUR finishes average out at around 43rd place. This week I’m hoping he can rely on previous experience as he did & Augusta to put in solid performance for the week.
Going with Haotong again this week. He was my only selection to make the cut last week finishing 26th. Li has played here twice before finishing 31st in 2020 & MC last year but we all know about his struggles last season. Last week’s stats show his game is looking much improved to last year, he was 13th SG off the tee, 24th greens in regulation with 72% & 36th SG putting. If he can put everything together for four rounds, I feel he has a great chance of going well this week. Li is still winless since 2018 but three top 10s & only two missed cuts in 9 starts certainly show his performances are improving & will only inject confidence into his game.
Richard ranked 1st for SG off the tee last week with his incredible driving distance averaging 336 but only hitting 48% of fairways, however he wasn’t that far off target as he ranked 1st for Green in regulation with 80.55% so he wasn’t really in much trouble after his tee shots. With his power he can take advantage of quite a few holes this week but considerably shortening holes compared to others who average 50 yards less than him off the tee. Mansell finished 57th last year after to great opening rounds of 69 & 71 but came unstuck at the weekend shooting 73 & 75. In the year since then he has won on the minor tour in the States & has gone through wrist surgery. In his two latest starts he has finished 30th & 26th so plenty of positives to take into this week for him.
WELLS FARGO – THE COURSE – TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm
We now head to a venue that hasn’t been seen for some time, the last tournament played here was the 2018 Quickens Loans in which Francesco Molinari prevailed by eight shots.
There have been many PGA tournaments played here, two Quicken Loans and many more played in different guises.
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm is a par 70, 7,107 yards, it’s located in Maryland, a suburb northwest of Washington, DC.
The course was designed in 1986 by Ed Ault, Tom Clark & Ed Sneed and re-designed in 2007 by Stephen Wenzloff & Jim Hardy.
Some feature holes were renovated, the sixth hole was a poor copy of the 13th at Augusta and was changed to a long par 4. The par 3 ninth famously suggested to be blown up by no other than Greg Norman was rebuilt up a hill, near old practice green.
The 10th and 11th holes have been combined to into a new tenth, a long par five playing around the restored creek feature. There are four par 3s and only 2 par 5s, with the rest par4s, the longest hole is the 2nd avg 619 par 5. The course is tree-lined with several holes with water coming into play, and at least two doglegs.
The greens and fairways are both Bentgrass, the course record is 62.
PAST TEN WINNERS
2021 Mcllroy –274
2019 Homa –269
2018 Day – 272
2017 Harman – 278
2016 Hahn- 279
2015 Mcllroy – 267
2014 Holmes- 274
2013 Ernst – 280
2012 Fowler- 274
2011 Glover – 273
The Wells Fargo Championship debuted in 2003 under the name of the Wachovia Championship, and Quail Hollow in 2009-2010. This year were playing a new venue for the Wells Fargo Championship, TPC Potomac, there have been many tournaments played here.
This course was a regular stop on the PGA Tour as the host of the Boozy Allen Classic (originally Kemper Open).
Looking back through the past winners, its apparent that you don’t have to be a big hitter to win, but what you do need is strong iron play and accuracy off the tee.
When Molinari won here in 2018 he won with stats of 1st SGAPP +2.60 1st SGT2G +4.33 AND +2.60 total, in round 4 he gained +5.80 SGT2G.
Stanley gained in similar style with 4th SGAPP +1.71 1st SGOTT +1.46 and 1st SGT2G +3.40, +3.12 total.
So, I don’t want to state the obvious but I will be definitely siding with the stats that are on show.
Corey hasn’t been seen since the heritage where he was 18th, he also posted a good number at the Masters where he T12th.
This course should suit his game, with his straight driving and his pin point irons, it sets up for a good weekend, and hopefully his first Wells Fargo.
Conners has had four top ten at the Masters, which has the same greens- bent grass, it might seem insignificant, but if you can putt good at Augusta then the flat stick is no problem. His last five round reads as Heritage T12-Masters T6th- Texas T35- WGC 3rd – Players T26th.
His stats show as, YTD SGT2G 13th –SGOTT 6th –SGAPP 33rd – SGARG T105th- GSPUTT T105th, and at the heritage where he last played SGAPP 13th SGT2G 18th.
Think the stats are impressive enough to win this twinned with his like for Bent grass.
Big Tony just missed out on by two shots after a cracking 63 in the last round at the Mexico Open.
Tony has made a steady start to the year, but looking at the stats his driving accuracy has been letting him down, this week he was 1st in SGAPP and 2nd in SGT2G. There are many positives to take out of his recent performances and he’s looking like the old tony we know and love.
His last five tournaments read as Mexico T2 – Heritage T12- Masters T35- Players T26- Texas T29
Mark Leishman has been quiet for too long, but of late. Hes showing signs of the old Aussie.
Mark is still in the world top 50; he hasn’t won on the PGA since 2020 where he won at the farmers. The Farmers has bent grass the same greens Potomac which could be significant also Augusta has the same where Leishman has had some success.
Leishman stats for the year so far stand as 3 top 20s with him recently T30 at the masters and T35 at the WGC.
His stats SGT2G are 46th and SGAPP 46th this year but the reason I’m hedging my bets on him is that he has good course form 2018 T13- 2017 T5th.
Sepp has made an amazing start and transformation in his game this year, after his maiden win at the Honda Classic, he snatched victory from Lowry on the eighteenth with a birdie.
His performances this year have been great, only missing one cut, and he has three top ten, Hes now moved into 53rd in the world, jumping 145 places.
His numbers are probably not where I want them, but as iterated earlier I think SGT2T and SGAPP are important this year, his numbers read SGT2G 105TH –SGAPP 119th but at the heritage when he last played, he was 6th and 33rd respectively.
As shown in recent tournaments double winner in a calendar year is common now.
After a rain & wind affected event last week, we go up the road 190km from Infinitum golf course to Catalunya Golf club hoping for a better week weather wise. Especially when my picks last week were badly hampered by the weather. We were in a fantastic position after 36 holes but only ended up with a best finish of 53rd unfortunately.
It is an inaugural event this week with the Catalan Championship taking centre stage on the DP world tour. The course has hosted numerous events in the past for the DP world in 1999,2000,2009 & 2014, Q School 2008-2016 & as even part of the Nordic Tour so even with this being an inaugural event over 50 players have seen this place before competitively.
Catalunya Championship – TheCourse
The course this week has won some high accolades. It has been Spain’s top ranked course 6 years in a row and its ranked as one of the Top 5 courses in Europe. It is in the top 100 worldwide so its slightly surprising not to see more higher ranked players here this week.
The course, designed by Neil Cole & Angel Gallardo & opened in 1999. The land was meant for a new formula one track, but was then targeted for a Ryder Cup venue which it lost to Rome in its 2023 bid. The par 72 measures 7353 yards & is made up of four par 3s measuring between 185 & 211 yards. Ten par 4s measuring between 383 & 486 & four par 5s measuring between 492 & 585.
The PGA Catalunya has a replica of the 11th hole on the driving range a par 3 measuring 188 yards
The stadium course is tree lined with an abundance of bunkers protecting the greens, over one third of holes have water in play. Undulating fairways are an ever present here. After all, the course is designed with Augusta in mind. The PGA Catalunya has a replica of the 11th hole on the driving range a par 3 measuring 188 yards which will be interesting to see how player fair on that hole compared with others.
With the weather playing such a factor last week it was always going to be the 1st thing I looked at this time around! Knowing how bad it has been on the coast of Spain lately . Luckily, its set to be a good four days, with the only rain predicted Saturday afternoon & early Sunday. Rain aside it can be a tough test with the wind alone. A steady 17kmp average predicted throughout the week. Fingers crossed the prediction improves over the week.
Form wise Adrian is one of the best on tour currently with three top 5s in his last five starts. Form only really bettered by fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal who I wanted to take but the likely hood of him going back-to-back is slim. He ranks 17th on the race to Dubai standings which shows how good of a year he is having; he’s just missing a win to cap off his current run. Adrian has one competitive round here in 2014 finishing 57th and shooting four rounds in the mid to high 70s.
The three-time tour winner currently ranks one of the best par 3 & par 4 scorers on tour ranking 10th for par 3s (2.97) & 12th for par 4s (3.95) this can be out down to an incredible short game where he is 7th for sand saves & scrambling with a 70% success rate of getting up & down. ‘Those Spanish hands’ often repeated down the TV by the comms team whenever any Spanish player gets up & down.
Haotong has had a very relaxed starts to his yearly schedule compared to most of the field. He has just seven starts worldwide this year out of a possible sixteen events to play. Three of the seven events he has finished in the top 12 three times most recently last time out with a 6th place finish. Last week he ranked 11th strokes gained off the Tee, 27th Greens in Regulations with 77.78% His biggest improvement from previous weeks to last week was his putting, he ranked 4th putting which led to him having the 5th highest birdies per round. The 26-year-old will be looking to keep up last week’s form as he looks to have a much better 2022 than 2021 where he made just four cuts & has already beaten this in seven starts this year.
John knows full well that last week was a bad week with the flat stick. What could have been when you look at this driving & irons play stats. He finished T64 in the end, but he will take huge positives from his stats last week. John ranked 3rd in driving accuracy with 82% whilst still averaging 317 (17th). He then went onto hit 79.15% of greens in regulation (18th). It is then you look at the flat stick stats you see where it didn’t quite go to plan as his scrabbling stats were also very good ranking 22nd.
Luckily with this week just being a 2-hour drive away he can get down early to PGA Catalunya & work on the putting. He also as we all know has had success in Spain before with the Estrella Damm Andalucia Masters in 2020. It only takes a small change & bit of luck with the putter. You’ve got to believe he will be up there come Sunday afternoon.
Craig is a player slowly creeping under the radar & his price doesn’t reflect his recent results. Hhas made every cut this year in the six events he has played with a best finish of 12th & worst finish of 42nd so picking up some decent cheques each week he has played.
Craig finished 30th last week shooting 70-66-73-67, ranked 12th for most birdies with 18 out of the 72 holes. He like John had a great week tee to green it’s just the putting stats letting him down. The Scot ranked 29th Strokes gained off the tee,10th tee to green & hit 81.95% of greens. He played here once before in 2019 & missed the cut. However, the challenge tour grad will have forgotten that & be fully focused on a strong performance.
Richard Mansell 125-1 – great week last week after injury finished T30. Keen to follow his progress with the Belfry next week a course I believe he should know well as he plays around the area a lot with Bradley Moore & George Bloor
Tom Mckibbin 200-1 – another DP world appearance for the talented teenager who won recently stateside on the mini tours.
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Last time out with the coupon – RBC Heritage Review
I didn’t bet at the Zurich Classic, as I wanted to spend a bit more time preparing for this week’s Mexico Open. I also thoroughly enjoy the team events as a spectacle and thoroughly enjoyed a stress-free weekend!
RBC Heritagewas a “nearly” week for me, you may have seen from my TikTok that I had Cantlay, Hadwin & Morikawa. All of which had position at some point, especially Cantlay who unfortunately lost on a play-off. After a Sunday double of Spieth & Lowry to win their groups, I ended the week -1.05u. This means I ended the week +12u for the year following a poor Masters.
Before I begin this Mexico Open preview, this article is written to aid you with your plays for this week. If you have any questions or comments you can always DM me @MattTizzardGolf on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org . It’s always good to share opinion and learn.
Mexico Open Preview
A few big names are traveling down South this week, for what I am going to predict will be a birdie fest. Jon Rahm headlines a field that is notoriously weaker than I presume organisers expected. I am honestly scared of what odds he will be…. 5/1!? I think we can avoid 2u on Jon, and to be honest he needs get the flat stick working.
For the next 3 years, the Mexico Open will be held at Vidanta as PGA Tour returns to Latin America. Potentially unbeknown to many readers, The Mexican Open is a historical event that has run under different names, and one that many of the old great have competed in.
For keen golf fans you will recognise that this event has been branded, rebranded, toured, and “re-toured” under the PGA Latinoamérica, The Nationwide tour and The DP World’s 2nd string tour, “The Challenge Tour.” Winners include some familiar names, Troy Merritt (2009), Stewart Cink (1996) and Lee Trevino (1973 & 1975). However, I am not expecting the past of this event to paint any imágenes.
This is because, unlike the RBC Heritage of a fortnight ago, the now, Mexico Open is held at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta Golf Course for the first time. As a result, 132 players will complete for $7.3m and 500 FedEx cup points.
The irony is the course selected for the week was designed by the great white shark, Greg Norman. It’s actually called The Norman Signature Course. Therefore, it is safe to say, it’s not only the course that will be possibly baring its teeth this week.
Mexico Open – The Course
Despite my jest, the Mexico Open course has some fantastic reviews and will make a great spectacle for the fans that get on the course. Both the Jack Nicklaus course and Greg Norman signature course is highly regarded by many, and the course features in Top100golfcourses.com
My only worry about the course is that it is taken apart by the World’s ‘elite’ that descends on Mexico. Here are the headlines.
Designer – Greg Norman
18 Hole, Par 71
Yards – 7,456
Course Type – Championship
Grass on Greens – Paspalum
Grass on Fairways – Paspalum
Bunkers – 106
Lakes – 6
Having looked online and studied, the course looks very, well, “hotel lads abroad.” Certainly, a holiday destination for many, the Vidanta setup looks 5 stars. The vibes, appear to be that of when The European Tour, I mean DP World Tour (sigh), at The Canary Islands. Albeit the sand here is sand coloured and not black.
To describe the course, there are big sandy wasteland, some vegetation, and a fair amount of water. However, we also have big greens and big fairways for the players to target golf away at.
As I analyse the course, I am being remarkably taken mentally to Garrick Higgo’s romping win at the Golf Costa Adeje, Canary Islands at -27. Surely we won’t get the same this week…. will we?
It looks right now there isn’t going to be a breath of air and the temperature will be 72F / 22F degrees. The wind is the course’s defence, and it doesn’t seem to be there. This really could be a low scoring week.
Correlated Course Analysis
We haven’t played the Mexico Open on the PGA Tour, but some assumptions can be made. For this preview, I have looked at the historical performance at; “Makyakoba Golf Classic, Corales, RSM Classic, RBC Heritage, TPC San Antonio & Waialae GC for the Sony Open.
I am drawn predominantly to some Mayakoba correlation due to the geography, the course layout and the grass type also being Paspalum. It’s more of a thinker’s course than Vidanta appears to be, particular off the tee. However, the geography, set up and the grass is similar.
In essence, I am interested in seaside courses and some correlation with geography, which appears to be a factor. Particularly with the performance of Latin-American golfers in this region.
As I analyse what are the most important stats on each course, the driving accuracy or stroke gained OTT and T2G and the putting stats coming through as highly important.
Interestingly, at The RSM & Sony Open we need putters that are good from around 5 – 10 feet. What surprised me is the best from this length in 2022 playing this week is Adam Long, he holes under 7/10 from this length. My gut feel would be a tour average that is much higher…. It isn’t and there lies a possible angle.
With the big dog, which should get a fair ride this week. Mayakoba the RSM Classic shows us “seaside” importance off the tee, ranking 5th, and 3rd in importance out of over 70 analysed stats. Albeit Makyakoba is definitely more of a thinker’s course. Vidanta is a lot longer and much wider than Makyakoba so players with length will have an advantage off the tee.
I am interested in RBC because again the water and flatness of the course. Also, because it’s been played recently, and you can also pull some correlation in performance. A different strategy off the tee but I believe players that played well at Harbour Town, who match Vidanta, can certainly perform.
Historically I have picked long players for the long courses, and I am not a believer this is always the case. The advantage typically lies in being able to hit a shorter club in. I would rather be hitting an 8 iron than a 6 iron. Therefore, I am interested in players with good approach play, rather than having been worried with driving accuracy or length. Let me explain, with big fairways the better players off the tee can find the right places to have the best angles to get close. I know many will be leaning towards just length this week. However, I am trying to be pragmatic. They will all find the fairways, but whoever pinpoints within them can hold an advantage.
Within approach, most players will find the fairway this week and hit the larger greens. But how close proximity will players be hitting in.
Mexico Open – Key Stats Analysed
I use RickRunGood & PGA Tour stats, before any correlation is published I am drawn towards off the tee golf stats and putting. Usually, these types of courses have the wind as their primary defense, unless the weather report changes. That will be the case
SGOTT (Strokes gained off the tee)
PAR 5 Performance
PUTTING from 5 – 10 Feet
SGOTT (Strokes gained off the tee)
Jon Rahm (1st), our favourite, leads SGOTT in 2022 on the PGA Tour, averaging 1.29 gained.
Hayden Buckley who has 2 Top 20’s this year (1 at the Sony Open) is 12th scoring 0.56 in strokes gained.
I finally note Callum Tarren (18th) picking up over 0.5 in SGOTT. He also has had a good week in the Zurich Classic. I don’t pay too much attention to this for more historical golfers, but for up-and-coming golfer the Zurich can be a confidence booster. Callum is 31 years old but relatively up and coming on The PGA Tour.
Traditionally one of the most important stats and an indicator of how well a player is striking it. Due to the longer par 3’s and long par 4’s. I thought about looking at PGATour.com at the best players from 150 – 175 yards but I want to know total stroke gained.
Some of the big hitters will be going in with short clubs from under 150 yards which would knock this stat out the water. So, I am bringing the shorter and more average players into play by looking totally at this statistic.
There is an argument to play big hitters this week. For me, I am looking for accurate drivers that will find the right area of the fairway and have the chance to attack pins and get low. Horses for course, but that’s my route this week.
The best in the field in approach over the last 24 rounds are Sangmoon Bae (don’t touch him, he really can’t putt at the moment), Justin Lower, the tipped Austin Smootherman & Robert Garrigus. Also towards the top of the leaderboard are Cameron Tringale, Kurt Kitayama, Chris Kirk, and Gary Woodland.
PAR 5 performance
Let us take a look at some of the best Par 5 players on tour in 2022. There are 3 par 5’s in the closing 7 holes of the Mexico Open, which will be fun if someone is chasing on Sunday.
RANK LAST WEEK
PAR 5 AVG
Throughout the stats, and probably for the next few weeks I will use RickRunGood but also The PGA Tour stats as have enough 2022 data to build some trends.
The best putters this week include Abraham Ancer (+0.95), Brendon Todd (+0.78) and Adam Long (+0.43). Long and Ancer are also plus stroke gained off the tee. The only 2 people out of the top 17 putters for the week.
PUTTING from 5 – 10 Feet
The Paspalum grass is slower, so players will be hitting their putts harder than they would week on week. This makes the shorter parts slightly more challenging because it’s a longer stroke. Hence my interest in this stat.
A lot of putting presence in the field, which I believe will be crucial. My only notes are that the wind won’t play havoc with the short putts like we can see on windier, seaside courses. Also, greens like this seem to be flatter. This shows for me that the better putters will typically rise to the top.
Best putters this week from 5 – 10 feet range
RANK LAST WEEK
John Rahm – not at that price.
I’ve got 4 players I am definitely going to back. I will take perhaps 3 more throughout the week as things develop.
Vamos! Viva la Mexico! Abraham is an obvious pick at the top of the market for the Mexico Open, although I do not love the price. He is a monster tee to green, consistently picking up a shot on the field week on week. He hasn’t been great with the flat stick but comes with some form.
A good performance at the WGC matchplay and a T8 earlier in Saudi. It’s definitely due for Ancer, who’s last time to Mexico was again Mayakoba where he came 8th.
Ancer would have grown up playing this style of course, will be comfortable on the grass and the layout. If the putts roll, he will be there or there abouts.
Chris Kirk has been a monster this year. Looking at his form he boasts the following: T5 Arnold Palmer, T7 Honda Classic, T14 WM Pheonix Open.
When looking for a player that can put himself into position, he is arguably the best in the field this week. Picking up consistently 0.5 shots on the field off the tee and a whopping 1.76 shots on the field in strokes gained tee to green.
The putter has been cold of late, that is my concern. However, this is a different surface to recent events, and I am hopeful it can change his luck. I mean, at the RBC his putting performance was dreadful, I would be surprised if he hasn’t been working away to bring it back to that hot streak in February.
A few weeks ago, Todd had his best finish for about 6 months. He came T8 at the Valero Texas Open. His wins on tour have come at courses that I like; Makyakoba the Bermuda Championship. He also is putting well this year from the short distance.
His history in general on correlated courses is relatively strong. In 2019 he won the Mayakoba and followed up with a T11 in 2021 and a T8 in 2022. He also has a 4th place at the RSM in 2019 & the RSC Heritage in 2015. Todd clearly likes the seaside and Mexico.
With the traditional Greg Norman littering of bunkers, it’s good to find that Todd is also one of the best players in the field at sand save percentage (59% | 25th on tour).
Finally, he is inside the Top 5 in the field for stroke gained putting. A key statistic for me this week. We need him to have a better week particularly off the tee, but the low wind and wide fairways will put people in position.
I think there is value in Todd, however you may need to look at the exchange for a better price.
When building my plays and modelling, Long was an easy pick. In his earlier 24 rounds of golf, he was losing shots on the field Tee-to-Green. Something fundamentally important this week. Therefore, to see him start to now gain shots in his last 12 rounds shows that he is swinging it very well and improving.
He also is one of the best putters in the field, you will see from my earlier table that he is superb from 5 – 10 feet and the best statistically in the field. If this game is trending and he is getting the chances, there is a good chance he can convert.
Finally, I will have 0.5u each way on Callum Tarren and Kurt Kitayama. Tarren is awful around the green, but I am expecting him to be putting most the time for birdie due to the large fairways, large greens, and lack of wind. Kitayamais lethal with the irons and playing well. I placed with him a few weeks ago at 400/1. I will also look to play Tringaleat some point if the price is right, but I don’t want to be too top heavy.
Good luck everyone with your plays, if you take a different view to my approach please let me know. Always good to learn and collaborate!
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