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The CJ Cup Betting Tips & Selections

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The PGA Tour stays in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week for the CJ Cup. This tournament was played for the first time in October 2017 at the Nine Bridges Golf Club in Jeju Island, South Korea. In 2020, the event was moved to Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

This year, the CJ Cup will remain in Las Vegas, albeit at a different venue, the Summit Club. The CJ Cup only features a field of 78 players, but what the event lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality, as 23 of the world’s top 30 players will be in attendance this week.

Sitting in the Summerlin suburb of Las Vegas, the Summit Club is a beautiful and lush parkland layout masquerading as a desert course. The club was designed in 2017 by Tom Fazio and commissioned by the Discovery Land Company. The Summit Club plays as a stock par 72, measuring 7,459 yards on the scorecard, drawing an obvious comparison to last year’s venue, Shadow Creek. A few weeks ago at the BMW Championship, we were in a similar position. Both Caves Valley and the Summit Club are Tom Fazio courses that had previously never seen PGA Tour competition.

With that being said, we can still develop an understanding of this course based on some images and what we already know about Tom Fazio as a designer. Fazio’s PGA Tour body of work also includes Congaree, Quail Hollow (re-design), Kasumigaseki, Conway Farms, and Shadow Creek. Fazio is known for intricate bunkering and large elevated greens.

His courses tend to favor long and accurate drivers of the ball, and it is no coincidence that players such as Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, and Jason Day have experienced a modicum of success on his layouts. For this reason, I will be honing in on dominant off the tee players and those who are comfortable in easy scoring conditions.

Coming off a near-miss last week with Matthew Wolff, let’s dig into my outright selections.

Brooks Koepka (28/1, DraftKings)

Brooks Koepka headlined my betting card last week, and despite a disappointing 67th-place finish, I am going right back to the well at a deflated number. For a number of weeks now, Koepka has been rating out quite well in my modeling, and I’ve made the mistake before of hopping off right before the big win comes. Over his last 36 rounds, the eight-time PGA Tour winner ranks second in strokes gained off the tee, 16th in birdies or better gained, second in opportunities gained, seventh in driving distance, 11th in strokes gained par fives, and 20th in sand saves. Despite not much of a history on Fazio courses, Koepka has the ideal skill-set to succeed on this type of layout. I will gladly buy low on the four-time major champion.

Viktor Hovland (28/1, DraftKings)

If I was to build the perfect course for Viktor Hovland, it would look something like the Summit Club. The 24-year old who has already been nicknamed by many “Young Rory”, has finished 14th at Kasumigaseki, 17th at Caves Valley, 12th at Shadow Creek, and third at Quail Hollow. Have I mentioned that he also played his college golf at Karsten Creek, another 7,4000 yard bent-grass Tom Fazio layout? Hovland is coming off a 44th-place finish at the Shriners, where he gained 5.4 strokes off the tee and 5.3 strokes on approach. His short game was disastrous, but the Summit Club features giant greens, and Fazio courses have placed little emphasis on around the green play historically. As the only player in this field to rank both top-five in strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained approach, no one is hitting the ball better right now than Viktor Hovland. He’s a decent putting week away from breaking through in a big way.

Cam Smith (34/1, FanDuel)

While Cam Smith is far from the prototypical Fazio player, he still consistently finds a way to compete on these tracks. My two favorite comp courses this week are Kasumigaseki and Shadow Creek, and Cam Smith is one of three players in this field to finish top-12 at both of them. Smith is able to work his way around the fact that he lacks distance off the tee with elite par-five and bunker play, which both happen to really come in handy on Fazio tracks. With recent near-misses at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude’s and The Northern Trust, the Australian has shown that he can compete in the most elite of fields. 34/1 is a fair price for the three-time PGA Tour winner.

Tyrrell Hatton (41/1, FanDuel)

Tyrrell Hatton has always been on my Fazio radar after gaining 12.4 strokes ball-striking last year at Shadow Creek en route to a third-place finish. He did one better in his next Fazio appearance, gaining another 11.8 strokes ball-striking en route to a second-place finish at Congaree. Outside of his obvious affinity for Fazio tracks, the Englishman is also coming off a runner-up finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links. I will gladly back the six-time European Tour winner to pick up his second victory on American soil.

Gary Woodland (130/1, DraftKings)

This simply feels like a fairly obvious buy-low spot for a former major winner who possesses an ideal skill-set for Fazio courses. Over his last 36 rounds, Woodland ranks 24th in strokes gained approach, 16th in opportunities gained, and third in driving distance. Woodland is one of the handful of players in this entire field that can pick a course apart with his driver, and while 2021 was indubitably a disappointing season for the four-time PGA Tour winner, he still has no business being priced amongst the likes of Mackenzie Hughes and Kevin Streelman.

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19th Hole

The most ‘Instagrammed’ golf courses in the world

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The Swilken Burn, Hogan, Nelson and Sarazen bridges, ‘that’ Van De Velde 18th at The Open, just some of the millions of sights that are perfectly captured in time by golf professional and amateur photographers alike, but what are the most picturesque?

To answer that, and much more. money.co.uk issued a report in October that offered their comprehensive guide to the ‘ultimate’ course, whether that be based on green fees, most popular during the pandemic or indeed the ‘most Instagrammed’.

Analyzing the hashtag #golf, the publication also recorded relevant posts from TikTok and came up with some incredible numbers.

Instagram posts featuring the above tag numbered 28.5 million, whilst the increasingly popular snap video site numbered 15.3 billion views with the reference ‘golf’. Not all, of course, about the scenery, but still demonstrating the universal appeal of the game we all love and popularity during the recent months of the pandemic.

Leading the way and, therefore, potentially the most popular and photographed was TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players championship. No doubt the par-three 17th hole contributed much to the 50,168 Insta posts that saw the Ponte Vedra course record some 17,500 posts ahead of Bandon Dunes and Pebble Beach.

2025 Ryder Cup venue, Bethpage Black, receives around 21,000 posts whist the UK isn’t left out, with St. Andrews predictably heading the way in sixth place (15,065 posts) ahead of Royal Portrush (7th) and Royal Birkdale in ninth with 10,160 references.

With the host of the 2021 PGA Championship, Kiawah Island, bringing up the top-10, the total amount of posts for these 10 courses alone was around 220,000, some 8,000 less than the amount of check-ins on Facebook for Sawgrass alone.

Interestingly, the report lists The Stadium Course as costing circa £400 per green fee, some £350 more than the maybe more public-friendly Bethpage Black. Whether that means golf folk are prepared to pay more to experience a ‘more scenic’ track is open to interpretation.

Make yours by viewing the report at Money.co.uk.

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Tiger hitting fairway woods on range at Hero fuels PNC Championship entry speculation

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To go alongside his first media briefing since his car accident back in February, Tiger Woods was spotted taking full swings with a fairway wood at the Hero World Challenge yesterday.

The Tiger updates have been coming frequently in the past week, and this seems to be another significant development, especially with rumors circulating around his potential involvement in this month’s PNC Championship.

Woods seemed to downplay the idea of him being able to compete with the world’s best again, but perhaps he was just tempering expectations for his latest comeback.

Will Tiger tee it up alongside Charlie for his comeback event? Let us know what you think!

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‘This f—ing ripped shirt. Jesus!’ – McIlroy snaps at reporter after question on Dubai shirt incident

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When journalists see a bite they usually go for it, and whilst there will no doubt be continual questions directed at Tiger Woods after the recent press conference at his own Hero World Challenge, the small field of 20 were never going to get away with it if there was a story to clamp on to.

Cue Rory McIlroy after his recent ‘ripped shirt’ episode, something that perhaps was worth a minor comment at best in Rory’s view. The journalists present at the event didn’t see it that way though.

At yesterday’s presser, one reporter commented, ”Nice shirt, it’s in one piece” to receive the biting comeback from McIlroy: ”It is. Another joke you tried to make that’s not funny.”

Throughout the briefing, the world number 8 gave succinct thoughts on a variety of current issues, including his own form and the Saudi debate, before one more reporter tried their luck by asking what happened to the shirt.

”I went to the pro shop, bought a new one, threw that one in the trash. I mean, this f—ing ripped shirt. Jesus!”

Let’s hope that’s the end of RippedShirtGate, an episode that only heightened the respect many have for the dedication of the four-time Major winner, but one that clearly is generating plenty of interest from media members.

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