Recap of last weeks bets
|To Win||Cameron Davis||Lost|
|Top European Player||Paul Casey||Lost|
|Top-Five Finish||Cameron Tringale||Lost|
Profit/Loss (This week) – Loss of $30 to a $10 Stake
Profit/Loss (Overall) – Loss of $127 to a $10 Stake
On to this week’s event.
With a prize pool of $9.75 million compared to $7 million last week, it’s no surprise that a field of 78 players is eager to compete for this early-season jackpot. This was always going to be a complex problem because 24 of the top 30 players in the world go to post, and it’s made even more difficult because The Summit is a rookie to the PGA Tour. Because it is far above the world’s gambling capital, we know it plays shorter than its 7431-yard length. The view of the famous Las Vegas Strip is uninterrupted from the sixth tee.
The CJ Cup was supposed to return to Korea this year; however, it had to be postponed due to ongoing Covid restrictions. When the Cup was held at Shadow Creek last year, Jason Kokrak won for the first time in nine years, defeating Xander Schauffele in the process, with Tyrrell Hatton sharing third place with Russell Henley representing Europe.
Summit is an exclusive retreat designed by Tom Fazio, whose Shadow Creek hosted the event last year. The course has been described as a strange blend of desert and parkland in spots, with the former reflecting the lushness of the grass as much as anything else. To me, it seems very Fazio and desert: large, brilliant bunkers, wide fairways, contoured greens, and nothing too tricky for a PGA Tour pro. It appears to have fewer peculiarities than Shadow Creek. It may have more in common with Caves Valley, another Fazio design that was just ripped apart in the BMW Championship.
If Bryson DeChambeau had been on the field, he would have been a real contender since I expect power to play a significant role. There are as many as three short, potentially driveable par-fours and four large par-fives on a newly-built circuit intended with hospitality rather than competition golf in mind. It should be vulnerable to all-out attack, and while everyone can compete due to the thin, arid air, those who dismantle the scoring holes will have a leg up on the expected low winning total.
On to our picks for this year…
Tony Finau +2500
After finishing last season strong by claiming The Northern Trust, Finau enters this week participating in his first tournament of the new season. Tony hasn’t been involved in the CJ Cup since its inaugural competition back in 2018 and will be keen to hit the ground running here. He has done this for the last four years as he has failed to finish outside the top ten in his opening tournament each year. He has the power to hurt this golf course, and although his approach play can sometimes be hit and miss, that could be irrelevant here as he will look to drive many of these holes. He is one of the best putters in the game, so he could take the field apart between his driver and his blade.
Tyrrell Hatton +700
Despite finishing the season poorly, Hatton had a good PGA Tour last year. This includes finishing third here and eighth at the Palmetto Championship, another Tom Fazio-designed course. Therefore, it’s clear to see that Tyrrell enjoys playing a Fazio golf course. He also finished sixth the year before and 11th the year before that, so despite the course changes, he likes this event. Following the profile of good drivers, Hatton is undoubtedly decent with wood in hand, and his erratic approach game should be a factor here. He is an excellent putter and if he is in the mix come Sunday, expect him to pick up the silverware as he had the best fourth-round average on Tour last season.
Tournament Match Bet
Rory McIlroy to beat Xander Schauffele +100
In a matchup that has the Ryder Cup written all over it, I will side with the European to gain revenge on his American counterpart. Although Rory had a poor Ryder Cup when we last saw him, I am surprised to see he’s the outsider for this matchup, especially considering his game seems ideal for this golf course. Rory placed 21st here last season, but he did pick up a win on another Tom Fazio designed course at the Wells Fargo Championship. As previously mentioned, Rory can certainly overpower this course, and although his driving accuracy stats weren’t great last season, these large fairways should prove no problem for the Irishman.