No show at the Zozo
If last week taught me one thing, it’s that if the data isn’t there, don’t force it. Sometimes the best thing to do is to strip things back to the bare minimum. With this tournament having been played at this golf course once, the simplest thing to do was look at that tournament and the players that did well. With Tiger Woods absent, Matsuyama had the best course form, and he proved it by winning wire-to-wire and claiming victory by five shots. Unfortunately, our two picks were never in contention and never got going as Todd finished in 62nd and Grillo back in 73rd.
Our attention turns to the Port Royal Golf Course for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship this week, 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 profile.
This week’s Bermuda Championship, like last week’s Zozo Championship, has only been on the PGA Tour since 2019, making it the tournament’s third edition. This event used to be an alternate against a WGC contest. Still, last year, and again this year, the Bermuda Championship stands alone.
The winner earns FedEx Cup points, plus obtains an invitation to the highly desired Masters Tournament in April. This week, the field will be full, and there will be a cut line for the first time in three weeks. Brian Gay in 2020 and Brendon Todd in 2019 were the winners of the Bermuda Championship in the previous two years.
The list of winners so far on the PGA Tour is impressive: Max Homa, Sam Burns, Sungjae Im, Rory McIlroy, and Hideki Matsuyama. The Butterfield Bermuda Championship field, on the other hand, deviates slightly from what an impartial golf fan would consider remarkable. Sure, Mito Pereira, Hayden Buckley, Chad Ramey, and others are among the promising young talents. So, perhaps we can get a small glimpse of the future this week.
Let’s turn our attention to the form of the two winners and the two runners-up, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.
2021 Winner Brian Gay – 269 – Form CUT/CUT/CUT/CUT
2021 Runner-up Wyndham Clark – 269 – Form 13/66/CUT/29
2020 Winner Brendon Todd – 260 – Form 28/CUT/CUT/CUT
2020 Runner-up Harry Higgs – 264 – Form CUT/CUT/23/CUT
Because the course is small and we’re near the sea, the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Club feels like a throwback. However, with players and caddies frequently discussing how tough club selection can be, experience counts for a lot, and precision is precious.
It was designed by Robert Trent Jones and served as the PGA Grand Slam of Golf site from 2009 to 2014. All three par 5s are under 555 yards long. There are eight par 4s that are less than 415 yards long. This isn’t a course where you need a lot of distance to compete. Consider the two most recent champions, Brendon Todd and Brian Gay. They’re both short hitters that rely on a good putter and wedge play.
Due to its location along the ocean, the wind can be a significant influence on this course. This can result in substantial shifts in the scoring environment. Take the last two years, for instance. The field score average for the 2019 event was 69.8 (-1.2 RTP), up to 71.1 (+0.1 RTP) last year. Bermudagrass fairways and greens will be used, with a Bermuda/zoysia blend in the rough. The greens are smaller than the TOUR average and run slower than usual, which is typical of seaside courses.
While there is a rain forecast for three of the four playing days this week, conditions could be the hardest on the opening day as the winds could be high. However, if players can hold their own on the first day, day two will present the most manageable playing conditions of the four days, and that's when many could look to make their move.
Given that the TOUR's most recent stop was in Japan, where Hideki Matsuyama won the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in his home country, the tournament is in a difficult position. For that, a large group of people traveled to the Far East. Next week, the stop in Mexico is also more geographically convenient for some of the TOUR's best players.
The field for the 2021 Bermuda Championship offers a potent mix of major champions and rising players. Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner, and Danny Willett are among the major champions scheduled to compete this week, with Brian Gay aiming to defend his title. The Bermuda Championship 2021 winner will be awarded 500 FedEx Cup points.
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:
Finishing Strong – Both years, the winners and runners up shot their best rounds on the final day. This can't be a coincidence, and it could be that the pins are placed a little easier on the last day to create a scoring frenzy.
Round 4 Scoring Average
- Naoto Nakanishi
- Marc Leishman
- Rory Sabbatini
- Shane Lowry
- Justin Thomas
Scrambling to Victory – The GIR field average was only 73% last year and dropped to 58% when missing the fairways, which means scrambling will be crucial this week.
- Rory McIlroy
- Rory Sabbatini
- Jim Knous
- Sahith Theegala
- Sungjae Im
Putting Perfect – With the greens running at 11 on the stimpmeter, strokes gained putting could be a good pointer this week.
Strokes Gained: Putting
- Beau Hossler
- Matthias Schwab
- Rory McIlroy
- Nate Lashley
- Harry Hall
Approaching in the Right Way – With the greens being smaller than the Tour average, players will need to be accurately approaching the greens.
SG: Approach the Green
- Russell Henley
- Mito Pereira
- Sam Burns
- Collin Morikawa
- Matthew NeSmith
After looking at the above data and running the field through our BeerLife Sports profile builder, we have selected the following picks.
Must-Have Players – These are the players you need to have in your lineup regardless of the price.
|Odds To Win +8000|
|The 26-year-old has only played one tournament so far this season, but he showed his promise at the Fortinet Championship by finishing in a tie for 16th. However, he does have experience at this event, having played in both additions, where he finished respectably inside the top 26 each year. Although Hossler is known for his extensive driving, which isn't a requirement here, he is an excellent player around the green. He is also a superb putter, which makes him a great option this week.|
Steady Eddies – These guys should give a good account of themselves and are good additions to your lineup.
|Odds To Win +3500|
|The Austrian is another player who hasn't played much golf this season, but there is no doubt he is a talent. He is a great iron and wedge player and knows how to get the ball close which will help on a golf course with many small greens. He is also decent with the blade and will sniff out any opportunities that arise.|
|Odds To Win +1600|
|Mito is our third 26-year-old this week and is a player who has a big future in the game. He has been in excellent form this season, which culminated in finishing third at the Fortinet Championship. In addition, the man from Chile came fourth at the Olympics last year, which is the highlight of his career so far. He is very accurate off the tee and gives our selections a slightly different approach. However, he can back that up with a solid approach game. His putting can be erratic, which you would expect from a novice, but if it all comes together, he could have a big part to play this week.|