After taking a deep breath and a week off, like the PGA Tour, we’re back after having a little time to work on a few swing thoughts, a couple of chipping drills and fine-tuning that putting stroke.
Unlike us, we’re hoping the Tour pros found success in their time off as the 2021-2022 wraparound season kicks off this week with the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.
This will be the first of 45 PGA Tour events–48 total counting the FedEx Cup playoffs–and if last season taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected.
After all, who would have thought 42 players would pick up victories in the 2021-2022 season with six players winning at least twice. That included off-field events and team events. It just goes to show how tough it is to pick winners in these events because the talent pool runs so deep.
After this week’s event it’s right back into the world’s spotlight as the Ryder Cup comes to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, so all eyes will be on that extravaganza.
Then it will be non-stop action as all eyes be focused on the 2021-2022 FedEx Cup title as there will be non-stop events through the first week of December. Then comes a holiday break until the Sentry Tournament of Champions event the first week of January on Maui.
But first, let’s tee it up and get this new season under way.
Odds To Win Fortinet Championship by BetMGM
|2021 Fortinet Championship Odds||BetMGM|
|Will Zalatoris +3500||+3500|
|Harold Varner III||+4000|
The Big Names Aren’t Teeing It Up
If you’re a golfer looking to climb up in the world of professional golf, this is one of those weeks you’ve had circled on your calendar.
The reason? The big boys (well, most of them…but more on that in a minute) are still taking time off after the FedEx Cup playoff run in preparation for the Ryder Cup.
That’s great news for this year’s field. Don’t believe us? Well, just take a look at the last couple of winners in this event.
The list is filled with players who have had success in the past–way in the past–as well as those making their way up the ladder.
The 2020 winner was Stewart Cink who hadn’t won in 11 years (remember the battle with Tom Watson in the 2009 at The Open Championship….yes, it had been that long). Cameron Champ made this event his second PGA Tour win back in 2019 and Brendan Steele won back-to-back crowns in 2017 and 2018.
But, There Are A Couple Of Surprises This Year
Like we said earlier, many of the big names are skipping this event.
Jon Rahm, the favorite at +450 this week, isn’t and that may be bad news for the rest of the field. Rahm finished second in the FedEx Cup finals and his play down the stretch–both success-wise and the number of tournaments he played–has to have taken some of the steam out of his desire for this week. Add in he may be looking to sharpen his game this week in preparation for the Ryder Cup next week and we’re going to stay away from Rahm this week.
And that’s good news as everyone else in the field has amazing odds as the only other player under +2200 is Webb Simpson at +1400.
So Who’s Got The Most To Gain This Week
That’s an easy one: It’s Kevin Na at +2200.
Na wound up third in the FedEx Cup rankings with a stellar finish in the playoff run where he was T-8 (Northern Trust), T-17 (BMW) and third (Tour Championship).
That’s impressive playing and it almost earned him a spot on the Ryder Cup team. But just missing out on the call from captain Steve Stricker (well, a positive phone call anyway) has to have him fired up to step up his game even more than he already has.
Na is one of those never-say-die players who just never gives up chasing his dreams. And a Ryder Cup spot has to be pretty high up on his list.
Na has one victory in each of the last four seasons and a victory here would keep that streak going. It would also be a good start to making a name for himself for the next Ryder Cup squad in 2023…or maybe the Presidents Cup squad in 2022.
One For Those Looking For Great Value
There are those–many, many of you–who are always on the hunt for a longer shot. Granted, they are longshots for a reason but we’ll give you a name to ponder who if he would happen to win would add a pretty penny to your account.
Check out Charley Hoffman at +4000.
He was up-and-down in the 2021-2022 season. The ups included a second (at the Valero Texas Open where we also picked him to win….so close), a T-3 and a T-7 in a season that saw him just miss out on a trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship.
He was 32nd after the BMW Championship, a couple of points out of that top-30 spot. And a T-57 here in last year’s opening event didn’t help that cause. A putt here or there and he moves up.
Of course players can say that every week, but starting out the season on a positive note can certainly pay huge dividends.
Just ask Cink who ended up with a stellar year, posting two victories and earning almost $3.6 million…more than he had won in the previous three years combined.