No shine at the Shrine
Unfortunately, we couldn’t follow up on last week’s successes, and ultimately we had a disappointing Shriners Children’s Open. Both of our picks, Scheffler and Harman, failed to make the cut as the Korean Im ran away with the title. Harman showed glimpses of form, but poor Scottie couldn’t get anything going for us.
After analyzing the first three tournaments, it’s clear that the so-called big guns haven’t got going as of yet. Therefore, it could be better to focus on those on the cusp of being in the upper echelons, such as Im, or those coming through from the Korn Ferry Tour and the younger players such as Sam Burns.
This week our attention turns to the CJ Cup as we look to bounce back from last week. We will begin, as always, by taking a look at the history of the tournament as we start to build this week’s BeerLife Sports profile.
The CJ Cup has been relocated from Nine Bridges, South Korea, to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the second year in a row owing to COVID fears. As a result, the Summit Club will take over hosting duties for this edition. The competition was held in the well-known Shadow Creek last year. Although the CJ Cup is only four years old, it already has two of the game’s biggest names as champions, with Justin Thomas (2017 and 2019) sandwiched between four-time major winner Brooks Koepka (2018). Jason Kokrak won last year’s event at Shadow Creek.
The CJ Cup was first included in the PGA Tour’s wraparound segment of the schedule in 2017-18. It was the second stop on a three-week Asian swing for the first three editions, after the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China. THE CJ CUP, held yearly on Jeju Island in South Korea, will be held for the second year in a row as the second of a two-stop Las Vegas swing, with The Summit Club serving as host before returning to Asia in 2022. The Summit, like last year’s site, Shadow Creek, is a Tom Fazio-designed Vegas marvel.
Let’s turn our attention to the form of the previous four winners, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.
2021 Jason Kokrak – 268 – Form CUT/17/6/13
2020 Justin Thomas – 268 – Form 4/3/1/12
2019 Brooks Koepka – 267 – Form 26/19/12/8
2018 Justin Thomas – 279 – Form 17/2/47/1
The CJ Cup will be held in the United States for the second year in a row. The competition will not be held at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island due to COVID restrictions in Korea. Instead, the Summit Club in Las Vegas, designed by Tom Fazio, fills in at the last minute. It’s the third time a Tom Fazio design has been used to replace a canceled International PGA Tour tournament in the last year. Since last September, it will be the sixth Tom Fazio design to host a major professional tournament.
Tom Fazio is all over this golf course. It’s a huge stadium. It boasts immaculately groomed fairways and greens. The tee to green is beautiful bentgrass. Off the fairway, there are massive puzzle-piece bunkers with blinding white sand that pinch into the landing zone. Huge puzzle-piece bunkers surround the large, undulating, sweeping greens. In addition, the golf course appears to be almost utterly out of place with the surrounding scenery. You’d have no notion you were playing in the desert if fences were built around each hole.
The golf course’s allure is the breathtaking views. 13 of the 18 holes face east or west, providing spectacular views. As they play uphill to the west, players are given to incredible vistas of the Alps. Likewise, the Las Vegas strip is visible from holes that play downhill to the east. All of this is done on a high-quality surface. The golf course measures roughly 7,450 yards from the tips.
On the other hand, players will have their job cut out for them because the advertised yardage will not be the actual yardage. To begin with, the golf course is elevated, allowing the ball to fly further off the tee. However, players will have to account for uphill and downhill shots as well.
As you would expect from playing in Las Vegas, the weather will be dry and shouldn’t play a factor this week.
Despite the absence of world No. 1 Jon Rahm, the line-up in Las Vegas has 36 of the world’s top-50 players, including 17 of the big names from the previous Ryder Cup matches at Whistling Straits. Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, and Rory McIlroy are just a few of the stars. In addition, this week will also include the three winners of the 2022 wraparound season – Max Homa (Fortinet), Sam Burns (Sanderson), and Sungjae Im (Shriners).
Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau, Tyrrell Hatton, Scottie Scheffler, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith, and Webb Simpson are among the other top-ranked players in the tournament. Jason Day, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner, and Gary Woodland are among the other notable names.
We run each player in the field through our BeerLife profile analysis to come up with our selections. This is what we are looking for this week:
Showing Trust – There appears to be a straightforward course correlation here as all four winners came here having had a good week at the Northern Trust (6/8/12/13).
The Northern Trust 2021
- Tony Finau
- Cameron Smith
- Jon Rahm
- Alex Noren
- Tom Hoge
- Justin Thomas
A Flying Finale – After analyzing the previous four winners rounds, it’s clear you need to finish with a flurry to get over the line here.
Round 4 Scoring Average (2021)
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Webb Simpson
- Daniel Berger
- Hank Lebioda
- Patton Kizzire
The Fazio Factor – As with all Tom Fazio designed courses, the key to doing well is from tee-to-green.
SG: Tee-to-Green (2021)
- Jon Rahm
- Collin Morikawa
- Patrick Cantlay
- Justin Thomas
- Bryson DeChambeau
Birdie Boom – Without too much tournament history to go on and the fact that the tournament is being played at its third venue in five years, this is as good a place to check as any.
Birdie Average (2021)
- Rory McIlroy
- Jon Rahm
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Cameron Smith
- Sam Burns
After looking at the above data and running the field through our Beerlife profile builder, we have selected the following picks.
Must-Have Players – These players may cost a bit more but are sure to be worth it.
|Odds To Win +2800|
|The world number 24 had a fantastic season last year as he won the Zurich Classic and finished runner up at the Masters and The Northern Trust. His season also included eight top-ten finishes, and he managed to card the lowest round of any player when he shot a 60. His form figures (11/3/7/3) at this tournament are mightily impressive, despite the course changes, so there has to be something he likes about this one. Despite not being the best off the tee, he is bold with his irons and can sniff out anything around the greens. To top it off, he is undoubtedly one of the best putters in the game today|
Steady Eddies – These guys should give a good account of themselves but won’t always break the bank to add them to your line-up.
|Odds To Win +1200|
|Okay, so my ‘Steady Eddie’ costs more than my must-have player shot me! It’s hard to ignore the two-time winner of this tournament, who is also the reigning Players Championship winner. Thomas finished last season with seven top-ten finishes and some impressive stats. For starters, he made one of the most eagles on Tour last season, which helped him achieve one of the best scoring averages. Towards the back end of the season, he made eight consecutive cuts and 28 greens in regulation in a row. Unlike Smith, Thomas is excellent off the tee, so I think trying to get both in your line-up makes for a well-rounded team. Justin has minimal weaknesses to his game and is, therefore, usually a reliable DFS player week in, week out.|