We finished the TOUR Championship in the best possible fashion as our must-have players Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm finished first and second. The pair led from start to finish (helped by the staggered start), and the result was never in doubt. Dustin Johnson finished a very healthy eighth, and Louis Oosthuizen came a respectable 14th.
This week we head to the Silverado Resort and Spa for the Fortinet Championship. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum going from last week’s fantastic performance. 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 PGA Tour’s 2021/22 season begins on Thursday in California with the Fortinet Championship, after a week off following Patrick Cantlay’s triumph at the Tour Championship, the final tournament of the 2020/21 season, so it’s a fantastic chance to see some of the new Korn Ferry Tour graduates. The Fortinet Championship, originally the Safeway Open and before that, the Frys.com Open, is a relatively new tournament that began in 2007.
The Fortinet Championship was initially held in 2007 at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale as the Fry’s Electronics Open. It was relocated to the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California, in 2010. In 2014, it relocated to Silverado. Mike Weir of Canada won the inaugural event by one stroke over Mark Hensby. Troy Matteson shot 61-61=122 in the second and third rounds in 2009, setting a PGA Tour 36-hole record. He won the tournament in a three-person playoff over Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark.
Let’s turn our attention to the form of the previous five winners, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.
2021 Stewart Cink – 267 – Form CUT/46/62/17
2020 Cameron Champ – 271 – Form 28/65/21/CUT
2019 Kevin Tway – 274 – Form 43/56/11/23
2018 Brendan Steele – 273 – Form 44/56/CUT/CUT
2017 Brendan Steele – 270 – Form 64/72/22/17
The North Course at the Silverado Resort looks well at home on the PGA Tour and has proven to be a popular destination for the pros. Despite being the season’s opening tournament, the tournament attracts a number of the Tour’s best players, including World No. 1 Jon Rahm, this year. This is partly due to the tournament’s location in the heart of the Napa Valley wine region, which is a significant tourist attraction. In addition, the course has strong ties to former U.S. Open winner Johnny Miller, who purchased the resort site in 2010 with two other partners.
Miller, who had owned a villa at the resort since the 1970s, made extensive renovations to the North Course immediately afterward in the hopes of attracting a PGA Tour tournament, which he did. The new appearance The Frys.com Open was held on the North Course in 2014, and it has been on the schedule ever since. With a length of just over 6,500 meters, the course is long enough to handle the best in the world, however as a resort facility, it is prone to low scoring.
The layout has nothing in the way of real architectural flair, but the golf is generally enjoyable and contains bunched leaderboards. It has a typical setup with four par-5s, four par-3s, and ten par-4s for a total of 72 holes, albeit two of the par-3s are under 200 yards.
The weather looks pretty decent for the players this week, although the wind could pick up as the tournament progresses and make things interesting come Sunday.
When the PGA Tour's new season begins Thursday at the 2021 Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., world No. 1 Jon Rahm will return. In addition, Will Zalatoris, the PGA Rookie of the Year, will make his tour debut at Silverado Resort and Spa. Several other rookies will join him after graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour. Last season, Rahm finished second in the FedEx Cup and won the U.S. Open, although he only managed one triumph despite a consistently strong season. Hideki Matsuyama, the winner of the Masters, and Webb Simpson, the former U.S. Open champion, are among the other top players in Napa Valley.
Cameron Champ, the 3M Open champion, and West Coast specialist Phil Mickelson will be among those vying for the trophy. But wouldn't it be hilarious if Will Zalatoris won his first PGA TOUR event on what will be his first start with full playing rights? A number of Zalatoris' fellow Korn Ferry Tour graduates will be in the field, and keep an eye out for Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who earned his card through the KFT finals and was in contention at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour over the weekend….which Billy Horschel eventually won.
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:
A New Season and A New Start – The last five winners have started the competition well, so getting off on the right foot is a must.
Round 1 Scoring Average
- Cameron Smith
- Jon Rahm
- Cameron Tringale
- Jason Kokrak
- Brian Harman
- Scottie Scheffler
Getting Out of a Tight Spot – All seven-course winners finished inside the top seven for scrambling, making this a vital statistic this week.
- Patrick Cantlay
- Seamus Power
- Charles Howell III
- Kevin Na
- Webb Simpson
Straight and Steady – The first three rounds here last year finished inside the top 30 for driving accuracy, and the first three winners of this championship ranked inside the top eight.
Driving Accuracy Percentage
- Brendon Todd
- Chez Reavie
- Brian Stuard
- Ryan Armour
- Abraham Ancer
Texas Holdem – Players from the West Coast or who play West Coast courses tend to do well here. The best link to this championship is the Texas Open which has a multitude of form guidelines.
Valero Texas Open 2021
- Jordan Spieth
- Charley Hoffman
- Matt Wallace
- Lucas Glover
- Anirban Lahiri
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 players may cost a bit more but are sure to be worth it.
|Odds To Win +350|
|Draft Kings $12,100|
|The world number one is the shortest-priced favorite on the PGA Tour for over three years, and for a good reason. Many expected him to take the week off and prepare for the Ryder Cup. However, after narrowly missing out on the Tour Championship, it would appear the Spaniard is keen the make every week count. And who could blame him when you think back to the Memorial last season where he was the clear leader going into the final round but had to withdraw due to testing positive for Covid-19. If he wins that tournament, he would likely have won the Tour Championship. He’s the faster starter in the field and came 15th in his last appearance in 2017.|
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 +5500|
|Draft Kings $8,500|
|Chez Reavie likes it around here, and you feel his turn for winning has to come soon. He came third here last season and has never failed to make the cut all seven years that the tournament has been played at this golf course. He’s straight off the tee (backed up by 35 consecutive fairways hit, which is the most of any player) and ranked fourth for proximity to the hole last season, so he knows how to go close. Unfortunately, his wedge game sometimes lets him down, which has a knock-on effect with his putting. However, if he can get this part of his game going, he stands every chance of winning this.|
|Odds To Win +3500|
|Draft Kings $8,800|
|Hoffman narrowly missed out on making the Your Championship last season and will be keen to get off to a good start here to ensure he doesn’t miss out again. Although with that said, he has only missed one cut in his last 17 appearances, which makes him an attractive pick for any fantasy team. He finished second at the Texas Open last year and second in 2019, so if he can bring that game here, he stands every chance of going close this week. He is a decent driver of the ball, has good approach play, and is excellent with the putter. If his game around the green stands up, he will do well. It's also worth noting Hoffman was a birdie machine, having made the sixth highest on Tour last season. Therefore, his eyes should light up when he sees how easy this course can often play.|