It’s time to pick your favorite cliché: It’s now or never. There is no tomorrow. It’s do or die.
Whichever one you may pick, here’s a quick reminder: Starting this week, a lot of players on the PGA Tour can relate to all of them.
With all four majors on the PGA Tour now in the books, the focus is now squarely on the FedEx Cup race as the regular season starts to wind down very quickly.
Hence our need this week for the clichés.
There are just three events (counting this week) before the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings tee it up in the first playoff event.
And that first event is this week’s tournament: The 3M Open which will be held at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota.
This is just the fourth year of the tournament. With it coming the week after the year’s fourth major–the Open Championship–it’s no wonder a lot of the big names (most of them) are taking a week to regroup.
That opens the door for players like Matthew Wolff (2019), Michael Thompson (2020) and Cameron Champ (the defending champ) to knock down that door and get a Tour victory.
It’s not rocket science. Well, maybe it is because with a victory this week, the winner will rocket up the FedEx Cup standings and easily earn a spot in at least the first playoff event.
Let’s see who’s up for the challenge. Or, to get back to our clichés, it’s safe to say tomorrow has arrived.
Odds to Win the 3M Open (DraftKings)
|Charles Howell III||+2800|
As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.
It’s All About the Points
For the next three weeks, it’s all about FedEx Cup points and there are 500 of them on the line at the 3M Open for the winner.
If, after that final event in the regular season, you’re No. 125 in the rankings, you move on to the FedEx St. Jude Championship and pocket a little more cash.
If you’re No. 126 or lower, enjoy an early offseason. And with these FedEx Cup events comes a lot of money. If you happen to be the last man standing in the FedEx Cup race after the final event at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, you’ll pocket a cool $18 million…up $3 million from last year when Patrick Cantlay walked away with the title. Who’s next?
Well, we aren’t there yet but we’re going to see if there might be a player or two outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings who might be able to move into that top 125 and keep their season alive.
If you’re ranked No. 126-150 after that final regular-season tournament, you’ll pocket $85,000. Make it into that top 125 and you’re guaranteed at least $120,000 and the chance to keep your season going.
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3M Open Expert Picks: Look out for Champ & Van Rooyen
To say Champ, the defending 3M Open champion and a robust +6500 this week, is struggling would be an understatement. One bad round in each of his last five tournaments has resulted in five straight missed cuts.
In fact, his last top-10s were in back-to-back events when he was T-10 at the Masters and T-6 at the Mexico Open.
Prior to those two: Two other missed cuts.
Hot and cold? Absolutely. But we still think he’s worth a look. He’s ranked No. 157 in the FedEx Cup race so if he wants to extend his season he needs to, first, get to the weekend at the 3M and, second, finish strong.
Will that incentive be enough to help him get back in the winner’s circle?
We’re hoping so but his first goal is to accumulate as many FedEx Cup points as possible and work his way into the top 125.
A win would move him into the top 50 and give him breathing room.
Look Out for the Hometown Guy
Erik Van Rooyen, who played college golf at the University of Minnesota, is in the field this week and at +10000 his value is there.
Two reasons we like him this week? One, he’s also hovering around the FedEx Cup mix as he’s ranked No. 137 heading into this week’s event.
Two, he’s a hometown boy making his first start in the event. He’s going to have a solid following and won’t want to let his family, friends and fans down…or himself.
Add those two together and there’s a lot of pressure on Van Rooyen to perform at a high level this week. But that’s the nature of the beast when it comes to professional golf and the survival of players.
The dilemma in this pick is Van Rooyen withdrew from last week’s Open Championship with a neck injury. Only time will tell whether rest and rehab work gets him back and ready to go this week.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re going to go with two prop bets for a pair of guys to finish high on the leaderboard come Sunday.
One player to consider is Maverick McNealy to finish in the top five at +450. McNealy, still hunting for that first PGA Tour victory, was right in the mix last week at the Barracuda before a bad three-hole stretch on the back nine Sunday doomed his chances and knocked him down to a T-9 finish.
Once again, he’ll learn from this. But one of these days he’s got to do more than learn…he’s got to pass the test and pick up that first victory.
One more to look into is Stewart Cink finishing in the top 10 at +750. Cink is currently No. 130 in the FedEx Cup race and needs a good finish–or two–to get into a good spot for the playoffs.
Cink missed the cut at last week’s Open Championship so the pressure is starting to mount. He only has two top-10 finishes in the 2021-2022 wraparound season, so he hasn’t had a season like he did last year when he won twice.
The good news is he only had three top-10 finishes in 2020-2021 when he had those two victories so we’re hoping the third time is a charm this week.
The bottom line is time is running out to make sure his season doesn’t end in three weeks.