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4 reasons to be excited for the 2021 PNC Championship

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The PNC Championship is an event that pairs a former major champion with a family member in a two-day tournament. There will be 20 teams competing in this year’s edition, which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club from Dec. 18-19.

Here are four reasons to be excited about the event.

1.) Tiger and Charlie Woods

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Tiger Woods and his son Charlie is the biggest (and potentially only) reason why many people will tune into the PNC Championship. The first point of interest will be checking on the health of Charlie’s old man. Tiger said during his press conference at the Hero World Challenge that he is much closer to playing a ”hit-and-giggle” than competing on TOUR. This event would most definitely be considered a “hit-and-giggle”, so it is within reason that Tiger is expecting to play reasonably well at the event. 

Another item of great interest will be the development of Charlie Woods. Coming into last year’s PNC Championship at 11 years old, the skill level of Tiger’s son was predominantly a mystery. Charlie performed admirably and questions on whether he could be a great player on Tour started circulating the golf world. The 11-year-old showed he had a sweet swing and in many ways replicated the way his dad has swung the club over the past 25 years. All eyes will be on Charlie, and we should expect him to be even better than he was in 2020. 

2.) John and “Little John” Daly

Being one of the most mercurial athletes of the last half-century, John Daly can still grab headlines despite not having a PGA TOUR win since 2004. The 55-year-old announced in September of 2020 that he was battling bladder cancer but has since said that he is feeling much better and has been competing regularly on the Champions Tour. Back in May, Daly was in contention deep into the final round at the PGA Tour Champions Insperity Invitational, showing he is back to playing some pretty good golf. 

Daly’s son, “Little” John Daly, is a great golfer in his own right. John Daly II is in the midst of his freshman season at the University of Arkansas, where his dad attended from 1984-1987 prior to turning professional. Daly II hits the ball a long way like his old man and flashed some of his potential earlier this season for the Razorbacks in his first-ever collegiate golf appearance. At The Blessings Collegiate Invitational in Arkansas this September, “Little John” overcame a rough start (83 in round one) by shooting an impressive 68 in round 2, one of only seven rounds of 68 or better throughout the first two days of the tournament. Daly II’s development should be of great interest to golf fans as we can all agree having another “Daly” on Tour would be fantastic for the game of golf.

3.) The debut of Nelly Korda

World number one and Olympic Gold Medalist Nelly Korda is making her debut in the PNC Championship this year, and golf fans should be excited. As a major champion (2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), is now eligible to participate and will be joined by her father, Petr Korda, for the event. Petr Korda is a former professional tennis player and winner of the 1998 Australian Open. 

The 23-year-old Korda is arguably the biggest star in Women’s Professional Golf and took the LPGA by storm this past season with four LPGA wins plus a gold medal in 2021. It will be fascinating to see her compete against a handful of golfing legends. 

4.) The world’s first look at Karl Stenson

Henrik Stenson has 21 professional victories, with six of them coming on the PGA Tour, including the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland. His son Karl might have the prettier swing.

For the past few years, Karl Stenson has been competing in junior golf competitions. In a few of them, his dad Henrik has been on the bag. 

Karl must be a pretty good golfer and have a lot of confidence to be teeing it up at the PNC Championship this year. If he’s anything like his dad, we can expect him to be just as charismatic as he is good at golf. 

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  1. CT1990

    Dec 15, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    actual journalism on wrx??? and from vincenzi no less????????? am i in a feverdream or something?????????

  2. Brian

    Dec 14, 2021 at 4:06 am

    This has started to become one of my favorite tournaments of the year.

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TG2: Max Homa talks about his club changes, JT’s new putter, Jason Day’s WITB

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This week we have a great interview with Max Homa on some recent club changes. Max seems to love gear and is one of the nicest guys in golf. Justin Thomas has a new putter in the bag and we go through Jason Day’s interesting WITB. A few other equipment news stories from the AT&T this week.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing Cobra’s Forged Tec irons and Callaway’s new Fairway golf bags!

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Cobra took one Forged Tec iron and split it into two options this year. The Forged Tec X is the larger iron that is pure speed and forgiveness. Almost a full club longer and with tight dispersion. The Forged Tec is for players looking for distance and feel in a smaller package.

Callaway designed the new Fairway 14 and Fairway + golf bags with push carts in mind. A totally redesigned top offers a secure mounting on even the roughest terrain.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 AT&T Byron Nelson: Outright Betting Picks

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As anticipation mounts for the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, we make one final pit stop at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, to play the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson.

Last year was the first time the tournament was held at TPC Craig Ranch. The prior two editions of the AT&T Byron Nelson were played at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

TPC Craig Ranch is a 7,468-yard par 72 and features bentgrass greens.  The event historically plays relatively easy, and that certainly didn’t change last year with the new course. K.H. Lee won the event by shooting -25.

The course structure may provide some additional intrigue with the par-3 17th set up like the stadium hole at TPC Scottsdale. The course also has both long and difficult par-4s mixed with driveable par-4s, which should create some exciting moments.

There are 156 golfers in the field this week, and it’s a very strong collection of players. Some notable golfers in the field include Dustin Johnson, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Adam Scott, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler Xander Schauffele, and Hideki Matsuyama.

2022 AT&T Byron Nelson Best Bets

Jordan Spieth (+2200) (DraftKings):

When I took my first glance at the odds this week, I thought there may have been a mistake. Coming off of a win and a stretch where he’s played great golf, I fully anticipated Jordan Spieth’s betting odds this week to have a “1” in front of them.

Spieth’s win at the RBC Heritage was impressive, but I was more impressed with the way he got it done. In the past, we’ve seen Jordan contend by gaining strokes putting and making improbable birdies throughout the week. That wasn’t the case at Harbour Town. The 28-year-old gained 13.3 strokes from tee to green which led the field by a whopping 3.0 stroke margin. He’s gained strokes on approach in his past six measured events and has gained strokes off the tee in five of his past six measured events. Shockingly, Spieth has had a difficult time putting this season. If he can regain form with the putter he will be incredibly difficult to beat.

Throughout the past few seasons, the former Texas Longhorn has been incredible in the state of Texas. Three of his past four starts in the state have resulted in a top-ten finish, including a win at last year’s Valero Texas Open.

I typically don’t like betting on golfers to win in back-to-back starts, but if there is anyone who can do it, it’s Spieth. He’s won in consecutive starts twice already in his career and tends to get scorching hot once he starts rounding into form.

Will Zalatoris (+2200)(Bet365):

Will Zalatoris is overdue for his first PGA Tour victory and there’s plenty of reason to believe that TPC Craig Ranch is the perfect spot for him to finally get over the hump.

In Zal’s past five starts, he’s gaining an average of 4.3 strokes on approach and 6.9 strokes for tee to green. His ball striking has been nothing short of exquisite and returning to a course that he is incredibly familiar with should do nothing to deter that this week. In his press conference prior to the event last year, Zalatoris said in regard to the course:

“So I played TPC Craig Ranch a bunch going back, I think, to when I was actually 12 years old. I played in the Ewing Junior Tour regular season championship, played in a foursome with Scottie Scheffler, and I’ve got a lot of great memories here. So I guess I’ve been competing here basically half my life, so really looking forward to, obviously, competing in front of some friends and family this week.”

Last year at the Byron Nelson, Zalatoris led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach by gaining 9.5 strokes on the field. His Achilles heel (putting) was his undoing that week, as it typically is. He lost a paltry 4.3 strokes putting and was the only top-20 finisher to lose strokes putting. If he can manage to putt to field average this week, look out!

Marc Leishman (+6500)(DraftKings):

In the past, I’ve written about golfers who offer some tremendous value on the betting board due to what I call a “missed cut discount”. Marc Leishman fits that description perfectly this week. Although he missed the cut at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, I didn’t see any major cause for concern. Despite missing the cut, Leishman gained 3.1 strokes on approach in two rounds. He bladed a bunker shot into the water which is most definitely an anomaly but cost him three strokes and ultimately, the cut. 

Leishman now heads to a course that should be a much better fit for him than TPC Potomac was. When the 38-year-old gets into trouble, it usually is due to an errant driver. Missing the fairway at TPC Potomac was incredibly penal, and that won’t be the case at TPC Craig Ranch. It also will be much harder to miss the fairways considering they are one of the widest on Tour. 

Throughout his career, the Aussie has played some of his best golf in the state of Texas. He was the runner up at this event (AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest) back in 2018, and finished 21st at this course last season. Additionally, back in 2008, Leishman won a Nationwide Tour event (WNB Golf Classic) by 11 strokes which took place in Midland, Texas. Something about Texas golf undoubtedly resonates with him. 

Leishman is a golfer I love going to on outright bets because of the win equity he offers. He has six PGA Tour wins, so I am confident he will be able to convert a good performance into a win if given the opportunity. I expect the winning score to eclipse -20 this week, and three of Leishman’s six Tour victories have come at -20 or better. 

Matthew Wolff (+11000)(Bet365):

After a nightmare start to his 2022 campaign, Matthew Wolff finally showed some signs of life last week at TPC Potomac. The 23-year-old gained 4.0 strokes from tee to green and finished in 25th, which was his best finish since November. He finished 11th that week at the Houston Open, so returning to Texas may bring some positive vibes to go along with the confidence he gained last week. 

I’ve always viewed Wolff as a player who was capable of having extreme “spike weeks” where he can find himself in contention. It’s unclear whether Wolff is truly trending back towards the lofty expectations he once had or if it was an outlier. At triple digit odds, it’s worth the price to find out. 

Dylan Frittelli (+12500) (Bet365):

I was high on Frittelli the last time the PGA Tour made a stop in Texas, and he had a great week, finishing in 8th place at the Valero Texas Open. 

The former Texas Longhorn seems to find his groove in the state of Texas and also finished 19th at last year’s Houston Open. A low-scoring tournament should be a good fit for him as he is typically a prolific birdie maker. 

The 31-year-old finished 46th last week at the Wells Fargo Championship but he played better statistically than his result shows. He gained 5.1 strokes from tee to green but really struggled with the putter, losing 4.0 strokes to the field. Returning to Texas should be a positive change for his prospects with the flat stick as he gained 3.9 strokes putting in his showing at the Valero Texas Open.

Brandon Wu (+20000)(DraftKings):

Brandon Wu is a young player that I think is going to break on the PGA Tour scene in a big way in the coming years. The 25-year-old won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in 2020 beating an impressive mix of current Tour players. He’s come on strong lately with finishes of 3rd, 33rd, 28th, and 2nd before a missed cut last week at Wells Fargo. The missed cut doesn’t bother me much considering I didn’t love the course fit for him. 

Wu cashed a top ten bet for us in Mexico and I think similar to Vidanta Vallarta, TPC Craig Ranch is a course that has a much more favorable setup for the Stanford product. Since he’s started playing on Tour, the tournaments he’s played best at are all course setups that are on the easier side. He showed us that he is more than capable of keeping up in a “birdie fest” in his Sunday round in Mexico where he fired a scorching hot 63 to grab a share of second place. 

This is a talent play on Brandon Wu. A win will come for him at some point in the next few seasons so starting to invest in him consistently at triple digit odds should pay off.

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