Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Top 10: The Tour’s must-see tournaments

Published

on

This is the time of year when I sneak out of my hole, see my shadow, and get a serious case of Spring Fever.  As a viewer, I simply can’t wait to see the calendar flip from winter to spring; from March to April; from the Puerto Rico Open to the Masters.  I am sure that I am not the only one to go on “Masters Watch” as we enter the Florida Swing phase of the PGA Tour calendar. Although I enjoy many of the Texas tournaments — heck with Fantasy Golf I love all tournaments! — there isn’t really a “can’t-miss” tournament coming up until April rolls around.

This anticipation for the first major of the year got me thinking: what tournaments do I plan my calendar around?  Do I have to see every swing in, say, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship?  The Players Championship?  The Playoffs for the FedExCup? Come to think of it, what is my favorite, must-watch, can’t miss tournament every year?  Well, that’s easy…but what is second?  It’s not as obvious as you think. With all of that said, I present to you my “Top-10 list of Must Watch Golf Tournaments.”  This list is the order I would set if I were prioritizing my DVR list on January 1st.  I encourage your feedback to say where I’m crazy, what I got right and what you would switch around. So, without further adieu, here we go.

(Writer’s note: I would typically go No. 10 down to No. 1 to build the suspense. But, since there can simply be no drama about what is No. 1, I would rather front load the list. The drama appears right after No. 1. Let the debate begin!)

1. The Masters

augusta-national2

Come on? What else could possibly be here? I believe that what makes a tournament like the Masters a “must-see” is a combination of elements: First, it has a familiarity where the conditions, sights and sounds are consistent year after year.  I would go so far as to say that I know the back nine at Augusta National as well as I know my home course here in Southern California.  This is true despite the fact that I have never stepped foot in the state of Georgia, let alone the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. I don’t just watch the telecast, I study it. One more thing: yes, I know there are courses that are deemed “more exclusive” than Augusta National, an example being Cypress Point.  But, if you gave me a choice of playing any course anywhere in the world, there is no doubt whatsoever that Augusta National is my choice.  And no, there’s not even a close second.

2. The Ryder Cup

121001083313-ryder-cup-group-shot-01-10-story-top

Every two years we are treated with what always seems to be simply riveting television. There is nothing like seeing the cheering, screaming, fist-pumping, high-fiving, crowd chanting ole! ole! ole!, and all of the craziness (like Cigar Guy) that comes along with the Ryder Cup. Every other year, we see some poor, unsuspecting pro get put into a position of turning into an unlikely goat, while others suddenly rise to hero status. This is a place where legends are made — and all for no purse. No moohlah; just pride of country and the chance to have their name associated on a teeny, tiny little trophy; which just may be the most recognizable cup in all of golf.  As a side-note: I am sometimes struck at how important it seems to be for Europe to beat the U.S. and show that they are just as good, if not better than the Americans. It has the feeling of one of those “one-way” rivalries where one side thinks there is a rivalry while the other side is unaware that it even exists (see: Trailblazers vs. Lakers or Devil Rays vs. Yankees or Cardinals vs. Cowboys). Up to now, I do not believe the Americans have shown the same level of reciprocal intensity towards Europe. But, after watching the European surge and subsequent collapse by the U.S. in 2012, I suspect that will change for good next time ’round.

3. The U.S. Open

146350717_crop_exact

Arguably the toughest conditions combined with what I believe is year-in, year-out the best field in all of golf, the U.S. Open has it all. There have been times where the conditions have almost cruelly brutal, but you know what?  “The rain falls on the just and unjust,” so fair or unfair, it is the same for everyone out there. It’s refreshing to watch the pros struggle to break par. My feeling is that at the highest level of tournament golf, the winner should be the one who breaks par. How cool is it when 2-under wins a major?  Whoever enters the weekend with the most fortitude takes the whole shebang. It’s also great to see guys begin to carve out there legacies by competing on the toughest stage in golf.  And it’s only getting better as over just the past three years we have seen some of the new breed of dominant players — Rory McIlroy , Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson have all captured the title of U.S. Open Champion with more majors likely to come between them.

4. The British Open

120725_sneds_640

What do you get when you combine soccer chants, the Road Hole, backward shots hit off of stone walls, bunkers so deep that you have to hit backwards to get out and wind-blown conditions that don’t even look fun on the best of days? My biggest gripe with this event is that the coverage, due to restrictions created by the physics of the Earth, happens just too early for me to actually watch. As a DVR guy, I try to record my shows, black out the news, and then watch when I get home. The problem with the Open Championship is that the event is so big, blocking out the news is nearly impossible! But, nothing diminishes the drama of the event and it’s clear that this is the title coveted by probably the most golfers in the world.

5. Pebble Beach Pro-Am

pebble-beach-famous-7th-hole

As mentioned above in the Masters, I am a firm believer that what makes for great golf viewing is familiarity with famous holes on famous courses. There is no course that features more familiar holes to the avid golf viewer than Pebble Beach, with the lone exception of Augusta National. Who among us is not familiar with the 18th at Pebble?  Or the par-3 17th?  Heck, I would go so far as to say that we know the FRONT of Pebble Beach better than we know the front of Augusta National simply because many of us raised on golf viewing ever even saw the front nine at Augusta until about a decade ago when the coverage expanded. In 2012, I finally got the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing Pebble Beach for the first time: it actually felt like I was playing it again.

6. The Players Championship

17th-sawgrass

You have no idea how close I came to putting this one spot behind. I’m not saying that The Players Championship is ahead of the PGA Championship in importance. But ask yourself, “Which event is simply more fun to watch?”  With the sheer drama of watching the pros deposit ball after ball into the water that surrounds the Island Green, The Players is must-see TV at its best. Then, just to twist the knife, Pete Dye created No. 18, and we get to see our heroes face two of the most intimidating shots in golf; a true test of fire.

7. PGA Championship

pga_winners_640x360_2_1_1.jpg

Come on, admit it: you are with me on this. There is something about the 4th major that just doesn’t feel as “major” as the majors, you know what I mean?  It is a great event for stat-filling and when counting career majors for the pros. Yes, it still gets a spot on this top 10 list by virtue of being a major, but I have always felt that this one just seems to lack the personality and character that each of the other majors inherently possess.

8. Northern Trust (LA) Open

Riviera-Country-Club

Hogan’s Alley — The Northern Trust Open has one of the longest-standing tour event on the PGA schedule.  This is another famed track where many of the holes have a personality all their own, like the par-3 6th featuring the signature bunker square in the middle of a severely-sloped green and the drivable par-4 tenth hole. Who among us is not familiar with the sweeping vistas showing the famed clubhouse sitting high on the hill visible from every hole on the course.  This course is a true test; so true that Tiger here won there and gave up trying. It took John Merrick’s gritty performance to pull off the victory this year.

9. The Presidents Cup

presidents-team_r640x320

This is the poor man’s version of the Ryder Cup occurring in the every-other year format on the year when the Ryder Cup is NOT taking place.  The difference is that this time it’s the U.S. versus the World, umm, minus Europe. Okay.  The format is similar to the Ryder Cup and always fun to watch. It lacks the same must-win atmosphere but it’s certainly worth watching anytime you get the world’s best going head-to-head purely for pride of country (or in this case pride of country vs. pride against the other guys’ country!). How can you not tune in?

10. WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

REFERgolf-articleLarge

Okay, there is a chance, albeit slight, that this tournament makes the list simply because it just wrapped up as I type. But, in it’s defense: it is a break from tradition. As I was watching the Accenture Match Play get snowed out on day 1, it got me to thinking how I love this quirky tournament!  Match play is flat-out fun to watch simply because it always seems to break away from what I am used to seeing as “normal golf.”   I find that I can settle into the drama of each match while watching how pros respond to pressure-filled situations.  If it’s not the rash of wild upsets that occur every year, like seeing Rory and Tiger get knocked out by guys I couldn’t find with a hard-copy of Wikipedia, then it’s just the sight of seeing things I never see like snow-covered cacti.  Whatever it is, I love the Accenture Match Play and am always sure to set my DVR to watch every stroke they show.

Like the list? Disagree with Chris’ choices? Let us know in the comments section below.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Chris Hibler is an avid golfer, writer and golf gear junkie. If he's not practicing his game with his kids, he's scouring the GolfWRX classifieds looking for a score.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Florence Turner

    Mar 4, 2013 at 5:23 am

    I’ve been following some of those tournaments on live television but I never really had a chance to watch the action in first hand. I love golf. It is a game of skills and talents. Hope I can watch the pros play live someday.

  2. LL

    Mar 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    This is an awesome article! I’ve been watching golf on TV for years and have been really afraid to actually try it myself. My only real “golf” experience was with an ex-boyfriend years ago where I was left to drag a rickety golf bag around all day in sweltering 100 degree heat at Burbank golf course ;-(( Meh…Years later, I finally got up the nerve to take my 1st then 2nd golf lesson and I’m loving it!! This “What to watch” article is helpful to newbies like me who need guidance on what Tourneys to TiVo/Watch. Thank You!!!!

  3. Chris

    Feb 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Northern Trust Open over The Memorial? My sister could put a better list together.

    • Chris

      Feb 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

      That was a little bit playful banter but…The Pebble Beach Pro Am is awful, altho it’s played on Pebble so I watch it. For me — all 4 majors and the Ryder Cup are 1-5. The Masters is not only the best golf event of the year, it’s arguably up there with The Superbowl and The World Series and The Stanley Cup for all of sport. And Chris, what’s the justification of The Northern Trust over The Memorial? The course and feild are better at Jack’s event no?

  4. Joe C

    Feb 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    1 – The Masters
    2 – British Open
    3 – The Players
    4 – Pebble Beach pro am
    5 – Quail Hollow
    6 – Harbor Town
    7/8 – US Open/PGA depending on the courses
    9 – Colonial
    10 – Phoenix

  5. LaterOn61

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:14 am

    I have thought Pebble to be one of the worst events of the year. I am also not a fan of the British and the PGA is when I am chasing the sun on the course myself.

    I love Phoenix, Match Play, Bay Hill, and the FedEx playoff tourney outside Boston.

  6. Nathan W

    Feb 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I really don’t see why Pheonix is not on the list.

    • Nathan W

      Feb 26, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Going with the list the writer used, I would definitely take off the Presidents cup. Pebble beach is only a shoe in because of the course and the PGA because its a Major (imo it’s not up there with the other 3). You throw in Pheonix, Tour Championship, and/or Firestone. Those are better Tournaments imo. Doral is a great course,but they don’t draw a good field.

  7. Clown

    Feb 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Here’s a list from a European perspective:

    1. Ryder Cup
    2. British Open
    3. Masters
    4. US Open
    5. British PGA
    6. PGA Championship
    7. The Players
    8. WGC Matchplay
    9. Euro Matchplay
    10. Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
    11. Scottish Open
    12. Waste Management Phoenix Open

  8. Chris Hibler

    Feb 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Tim + Marcus- agree with you on the Waste(d) Management Open (like nickname, too!). I love the energy there.

    Good lists and great feedback! Keep ‘me coming!

  9. Marcus Dyer

    Feb 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    1. The Masters (Bubba’s SW, Rory’s collapse etc)
    2. Ryder Cup (guaranteed to have most of the best in the game)
    3. US Open (Nice to see some big numbers, makes you feel good)
    4. British Open (Windy, Rainy, colder…perfect)
    5. The Players (Tough Field, 17 for nerves)
    6. PGA Championship (Tought field & conditions)
    7. Presidents Cup (cool, but not ryder cup level)
    8. Firestone
    9. Memorial
    10. Wasted Managment Open

  10. Tim

    Feb 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I agree about Pebble Beach. Unless the US Open is held there it is one tournament I hardly ever watch anymore. Memorial is high on my list, but I am more along the lines of the Europeans and rate The Open higher right behind the Masters. I love match play but agree that once the top seeds are gone it is hard to watch. I like the Phoenix one due #16 and #17. The PGA may slip depending on venue.

    1. Masters
    2. British Open
    3. US Open
    4. Ryder Cup
    5. PGA Championship
    6. The Players Championship
    7. Memorial
    8. Firestone
    9. Presidents Cup
    10. Phoenix

  11. JASON

    Feb 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

    The Ryder Cup is definitely there as a top 10 tournament, but since it’s only held every other year, i didn’t list it for 2013. I agree it would be the 2nd tournament behind the Masters in 2014 though.

  12. JASON

    Feb 26, 2013 at 9:07 am

    No offense, but this list is dreadful. Hardly anyone cares about watching Pebble Beach and being subjected to Chris Berman’s swing. The WGC Match play may have some 1st and 2nd day hype, but after all the top seeds get knocked off no one really cares. The Northern Trust makes this list but Memorial, Players, and Quail Hollow don’t? Those fields are twice as good as the Northern Trust and fall right smack dab in the heart of the season.

    1. Masters
    2. US Open
    3. PGA Championship
    4. British Open
    5. The Players Championship
    6. Memorial
    7. Presidents Cup
    8. Memorial
    9. Firestone
    10. Doral

    • JASON

      Feb 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

      ^^^^meant to put Quail Hollow @ 8

      • Zak Kozuchowski

        Feb 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

        The Players Championship is ranked No. 6 by Chris.

        • JASON

          Feb 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

          I’m an idiot as i somehow completely glossed over it. I suppose i was still in shock he had Pebble Beach at #5!

    • rikks

      Feb 26, 2013 at 10:38 am

      umm ryder cup jason? not to easy to construct a list that everyone likes, but i thought it was an excellent read

    • Chris Hibler

      Feb 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Jason – no Ryder Cup??? That’s tough to swallow. Firestone is solid.

    • JK

      Feb 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      The list isn’t that “dreadful.” I suppose he doesn’t like memorial as much as you, but who likes it so much that they put it twice? Just kidding.

      It seems obvious to me that the four majors would be on any “top 10 watch” list for golf. Maybe a list of the non-majors to watch would be more valuable? I agree memorial, quail hollow, firestone, and doral are all better than Pebble, Riviera, and Accenture, though.

  13. JK

    Feb 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Pebble Beach and the President’s Cup don’t belong on the list. The Northern Trust Open probably shouldn’t be on the list. The Accenture Match Play has been a bust each of the last two years. I find it odd that this list comes out right after Pebble, Riviera, and Accenture have JUST been played. For me, Bay Hill is always exciting and usually comes down to that last great hole over water. Memorial is usually good to watching. The John Deere is interesting for the mind-blowing numbers they’re shooting, even if the field isn’t always great. The St. Jude has been good for the last few years since Garrigus blew up on the 18th–great closing hole there. I’d take all of those over Pebble, Riviera, or Accenture in any given year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

“I Love You, Tiger!” At Big Cedar lodge, an outpouring of affection for Tiger Woods

Published

on

What a difference a year makes.

About one year ago, Tiger Woods was in Branson, Missouri at Big Cedar Lodge to announce that he was designing a golf course there; Payne’s Valley, his first public course. That day was attended by hundreds of national and local media, the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops owner and the visionary behind the amazing golf complex that has been established at Big Cedar Lodge.

That day, Woods had not played competitive golf for awhile, and he was recovering from multiple surgeries. Woods took a couple of ceremonial swings, the last of which clearly left him in physical distress. Days later, he was in surgery again and his playing career looked to be all but over. The situation became worse when Woods was arrested for driving under the influence, found with multiple substances in his system. It seemed as though the sad mug shots from that arrest might be as prominent in his legacy as the smiles and fist-pumps that accompanied his 79 wins and 14 major championships.

Fast forward to yesterday, where Woods was back in Missouri to do a Junior Clinic at Big Cedar. An estimated crowd of over 7,000 kids and parents showed up on a school day to catch a glimpse of Woods. The atmosphere was carnival-like, with sky divers, stunt planes making flyovers and rock music blaring from giant speakers. When Woods finally arrived, the reaction was electric. Mothers and their kids were chanting. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” at the top of their lungs. Photographers battled soccer moms for position to get a picture of his swing. Some of the kids were as young as 6-years-old, which means that they had probably not seen Woods hit a meaningful shot in their life. At one point, when Woods was hitting shots and explaining how to execute them, a woman shouted, “I love you, Tiger!” Not to be out done, a woman on the other side of the crowd, who was their with her husband and kids, shouted “I love you more, Tiger!” Maybe the only people with more affection for Woods would be the people in the golf business. A senior marketing official in the golf industry leaned over at one point in the event and said, “God, we could use just one more from him.”

Woods swing looks completely rehabilitated. He was hitting shots of every shape and trajectory on-demand, and the driver was sending balls well past the end of the makeshift driving range set up for the event. But even more remarkable was the evidence of the recovery of his reputation. Surely there are still women out there that revile Woods for the revelations of infidelity, and no doubt there are those that still reject Woods for his legal and personal struggles. But none of them were in Missouri yesterday. Mothers and children shrieking his name confirmed what we already knew: Tiger Woods is the single most compelling person in American sports, and he belongs to golf.

Unlike a year ago, Woods is swinging well, and seems as healthy and happy as he as ever been as a pro. Add to that the unprecedented outpouring of love from crowds that once produced a combination of awe and respect, but never love. Fowler, McIlroy, Spieth and the rest may get their share of wins and Tweets, but if the game is to really grow it will be on the broad, fragile back of Tiger Woods. It’s amazing to think what can happen in one short year.

Your Reaction?
  • 45
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL3
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

12 reasons serious golfers don’t realize their potential

Published

on

What stops serious golfers from realizing their potential? If you are an amateur who wants to get better, a young player trying to achieve more, or a young professional with big dreams, this article is for you.

I’ve made a career out of helping athletes maximize their abilities, golfers in particular. And the things I see young playing professionals doing prior to our work together is often what is holding them back. The reality is that most young players, no matter what their level, have three key problems:

  1. They’re distracted by what’s not important
  2. They have no detailed structure and plan to reach the targets they determine are important to them
  3. They have no formal process to develop mindset and attitude

In the list below, I share what I see working with these young players and some common blind spots.

1. No real plan and steps to achieve targets

Most players do not know how to create a long-term and short-term plan that outlines all steps needed to reach targets. Players should have yearly plans with targets, steps and actions and weekly plans to organize/schedule their time and prioritize key needs.

2. Not focused enough on the object of the game

This goes hand in hand with No. 1. Surprisingly, players seem to forget that the object of the game is get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Trophies and checks are not issued for the best swing, the best putting stroke or most balls hit.

3. Not enough pressure in practice

Most young players have loose practice. The intensity of feelings between the practice tee and the course are too different. Focus and intensity must be a part of all practice. Add competition and outcomes to sessions so some urgency is created.

4. Too much practice time on full swing

The data is clear — most shots in golf happen from 100 yards and in from the green. If the majority of practice time is not spent on these shorter shots, practice time is wasted.

5. An obsession with the look of the swing

Players are not generally prepared to own their own swings and embrace the differences that make them unique. Obsessing over swing mechanics is a major distraction for many players. Many players convince themselves that if it doesn’t look “good” on their iPhone, their swing won’t get results.

6. No structure with the driver

Since scoring is the main goal, a consistent, reliable shape to each shot is important. My experience has been that if players are trying to go both ways with the driver, that is a sure-fire way to elevate numbers on the card. Pick a shape and eliminate one side of the course. Predictability from the tee increases a player’s confidence to put the ball in the fairway more often, creating more opportunities to score.

7. Expectation that they will hit the ball well everyday

Many players have the unreasonable expectation that they will hit lots of fairways and greens every time they play. This expectation leads to constant disappointment in their game. Knowing that the leading professionals in the game average about 60.6 percent driving accuracy and 11.8 greens in regulation per round should be a good benchmark for the expectations of all players.

8. Trying to be too robotic and precise in putting

Some players get so caught up in the mechanics of putting that their approach becomes too robotic. They become obsessed with precision and being perfect. Feel, flow and instinct have to be a central part of putting. This can get lost in an overly robotic mindset trying to be too precise and perfect.

9. No process for assessment and reflection

Players do not have a formal process for assessing practice or rounds and reflecting on the experience. The right lessons are not consistently taken away to ensure step-by-step improvement. Knowing how to assess practice, play and ask the right questions is key to development.

10. Getting in their own way

The voice inside of most young players’ heads is not helpful for their performance. It’s often a negative, demanding voice that insists on perfection. This voice leads to hesitation, frustration and anger. The voice must be shaped (with practice) into the right “emotional caddie” to support efforts and promote excellence over perfection.

11. A focus on the negative before the positive

A default to the mistakes/flaws in the round before looking at the highlights and what worked. When asked about their round, most players highlight three-putts, penalty shots and any errors before anything else. Emphasis should always be on what went well first. Refection on what needs improvement is second.

12. The blame game

Young players love excuses. Course conditions, weather, coaching and equipment are a few of the areas that are often targets, deflecting responsibility away from the player. Many players do not take full responsibility for their own game and/or careers.

I hope this provides some insights on roadblocks that could get in your way on the path to reaching your targets in the game. Whether it’s lowering your handicap, winning a junior tournament, working toward the PGA Tour — or just general improvement — considering these observations might help you shorten the road to get there.

Your Reaction?
  • 579
  • LEGIT74
  • WOW16
  • LOL4
  • IDHT9
  • FLOP5
  • OB2
  • SHANK19

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Valero Texas Open

Published

on

With one of the weakest fields of the year, TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open this week. Only one player from the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings will tee it up here. That man is Sergio Garcia, who co-designed this course with Greg Norman.

Just like last week at the RBC Heritage, the wind can wreak havoc at TPC San Antonio. The course features an exposed layout, making the level of wind is often unpredictable. Expect it to be a factor yet again this year. Unlike last week, the longer hitters do have an advantage on this course, which measuring more than 7,400 yards with little rough off the tee.

Last year, Kevin Chappell held off a charging Brooks Koepka to post 12-under par and win his first title on the PGA Tour.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Sergio Garcia 14/1
  • Matt Kuchar 18/1
  • Charley Hoffman 18/1
  • Luke List 25/1
  • Ryan Moore 28/1
  • Kevin Chappell 28/1
  • Adam Scott 30/1

From the top of the market, it’s hard not to love Luke List (25/1, DK Price $10,000) this week. The big-hitting American is still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, but he is knocking on the door relentlessly. In his last eight events, List has finished no worse than T-26.

He was so close once again last week, and he should take plenty of confidence from that performance onto a course that theoretically should suit him much better. On this long track, List will have a significant advantage as one of the longest hitters on Tour. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 1st in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green. List is also flushing his irons. He was second in the field last week for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, and over his previous 24 rounds he sits 3rd in the same category.

It’s not only his long game that is highly proficient right now, either. List’s short game has been stellar over this impressive stretch, too. He ranks 8th for Strokes Gained-Around the Green and 28th for Strokes Gained-Short Game over his last 24 rounds.

The one department holding the big man back is his putting, where he ranks 145th for the season. The rest of his game is so sharp at the moment that he’s in the enviable position of not needing that hot a week with the flat-stick to win. He only needs an average week on the greens to finally break through and claim his first PGA Tour event. There’s nothing to suggest List isn’t going to play well once more this week, and at 25/1 he seems undervalued.

Returning to a track that he adores, Brendan Steele (33/1, DK Price $8,900) is always a danger at this event. As well as winning the title here in 2011, Steele has finished in the top-20 three times since then. Whatever it is about TPC San Antonio, it’s a course that brings out the best in Steele’s game.

It’s been an excellent season for the West Coast native, too. He won his opening event of the season at the Safeway Open and has since finished in the top-30 six times. One of the main reasons for his strong run of form has been his work with the driver. Steele is ranked 1st in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee over his last 24 rounds, and he has only failed to post a positive Strokes Gained statistic in this category once since this event last year.

Recently, Steele’s game is showing trends that he may once more be close to hitting the form that saw him win at the back end of last year. In his previous 24 rounds, the Californian is ranked 10th in Ball Striking and 7th in Strokes Gained-Total. Always a threat at this event, Steele is coming into this week with all parts of his game in sync. He should be a live threat once more in San Antonio.

Another man who has played well all year is Xander Schauffele (35/1, DK Price $8,800). The Californian has made seven of eight cuts this year, and he has finished in the top-25 in four of those occasions. Excellent off the tee, TPC San Antonio should suit the 24-year-old this week, too. Schaufelle ranks 7th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 17th in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green over his last 24 rounds.

With wind likely to play a factor this week, pure ball striking will be necessary. That shouldn’t be an issue for Xander, who sits 7th in Strokes Gained-Ball Striking over his last 24 rounds. There is nothing off about Schauffele’s game right now. He ranks 21st in Strokes Gained-Putting over his previous 12 rounds and 5th in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green over the same period. It’s only a matter of time before the two-time PGA Tour winner puts himself in the thick of contention again, and there’s no reason why it can’t be this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Luke List 25/1, DK Price $10,000
  • Brendan Steele 33/1, DK Price $8,900
  • Xander Schauffele 35/1, DK Price $8,800
Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending