We are definitely serious, and let us explain why. With most of the PGA Tour’s top stars in Florida for the limited-field WGC event, this off-field tournament is one in which up-and-coming players can make their mark. Alternatively, you might find the trying-to-make-a-comeback players looking to win and return to their previous full-time PGA Tour status.
Odds To Win The Puerto Rico Open (BetMGM Sportsbook)
- Emiliano Grillo +1400
- Thomas Pieters +1400
- Ian Poulter +1600
- Matt Wallace +1800
- Byeong Hun An +2000
- Branden Grace +2200
- Andrew Putnam +2800
- Brandon Wu +3000
- Kyoung-Hoon Lee +3000
- Patrick Rogers +3000
Big Names MIA This Week
No Dustin Johnson, no Justin Thomas, and no Rory McIlroy. No problem. At least, that’s what the guys this week are thinking. Players teeing it up in Puerto Rico need weeks like this to have a better shot at winning and earning that all-important PGA Tour exemption and more.
Here’s where this event is crucial as 300 FedEx Cup points to the winner will vault him into the race to make the playoffs at the end of the season. This is the week to shine in the spotlight.
Case in point: Viktor Hovland posted his first PGA Tour win here last year and has seen his status, and his play, skyrocket. He’s won since (the 2021 Mayakoba Classic), so he’s taken full advantage of the win and what that encompasses.
A Win Is More Than A Payday
Ah, yes, the perks. With a win, a player can add around $500,000 to their bank account along with the all-important 300 FedEx Cup points (not that the half-mil isn’t important). There’s also a two-year exemption, which means they can set their schedule to their liking rather than being relegated to tournaments the big names decide not to enter. In other words, they are now in control of when and where they play.
But, winning here doesn’t guarantee more victories down the line. Just look at this event’s 2016 winner, Tony Finau. He’s found his way to stardom on Tour, but it has stalled out a little as he’s still looking for that second win. He’s playing at the WGC event this week with the big boys and has enough high finishes that he’s kept his card and controls his playing status.
But for every success story, there are those players who have won but had little or no success after that first victory. Just look at 2019 winner Martin Trainer. He’s struggled with his two years of guaranteed playing time as he has made just three cuts in 33 events. That’s one of the reasons he’s back in the field this week.
No Big Names? Just Dig Deeper
This week’s tournament features enough big names to pique the interest. Players like Ian Poulter and Kevin Tway are looking for that chance to get back on the PGA Tour with full-time status. That happens only with a win on the PGA Tour.
Then you’ve got guys like Davis Riley (two wins on the Korn Ferry Tour last season) and Lee Hodges (a win and a third last season on the Korn Ferry Tour) who are rising through the ranks with their success on the lower tour. A win on the PGA Tour cements their status and shows the hard work does pay off.
And The Winner Is…
So, where does that leave us with picks for this week? We’re going with a couple of players who have won in the last two years: Poulter at +1600 and Tway way down the list at +15000 at BetMGM.
Poulter won the 2018 Houston Open while Tway won the 2019 Safeway Open. Both know winning gives them status back, and this type of field definitely gives them the best chance at that comeback victory.
As for a real longshot victory, check out Scott Stallings at +20000. He hasn’t won since the 2014 season but a recent solid outing at his last event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, piques our interest.