Category Archives: Featured

UNITED STATES MOUNTS COMEBACK TO CLAIM THIRD JUNIOR PRESIDENTS CUP

By: PGA Staff

  • CHARLOTTE, NC – After two high intensity days of competition, the United States team has again emerged victorious as they claim the 2022 Junior Presidents Cup by a score of 13-11. Winning eight matches and getting a half point in another lead to a third straight victory for the US squad.

    The Junior Presidents Cup is a two-day, team match-play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top junior boys 19 years old and younger – 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – that takes place just days before the start of the biennial Presidents Cup. The Junior Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European juniors a unique playing opportunity to compete in an international team match-play competition and showcase the global reach of junior golf.

    “To see these teams come out and to see how much it meant to both sides is really something special,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “I think this event is an important part of the Presidents Cup. When you think about the future of golf, it is these players. Many of them will be playing in the Presidents Cup in the future and we are happy to help prepare them for it with this event.”

    Set in the historic Myers Park neighborhood south of Charlotte, Myers Park Country Club opened in 1921 and debuted its Donald-Ross designed layout in 1944. In 1945, Byron Nelson began his record 11-tournament winning streak at Myers Park Country Club, with his victory at the Charlotte Open giving the club significant national notoriety. Ten years later, Myers Park Country Club added to its championship golf resume by hosting the 1955 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

    “I’m just so excited for the 12 players on my team,” United States Captain, Notah Begay III said. “They did such a wonderful job to come together on such a great golf course at Myers Park Country Club and it came down to the last couple matches, which is what you want. To come out on top is something really special and something we will be celebrating for the rest of the afternoon.”

    The United States entered the final day of competition down 7.5-4.5 after six four-ball matches and six foursomes matches. Having an uphill climb to again win the cup meant they needed to start the day with some wins. They took home a full point in four of the first six matches and split another to begin their comeback.

    Among those six matches was a solid win by Preston Stout of Richardson, Texas, who defeated the International’s Joshua Bai of New Zealand, 4&2. The US also got wins in the first six matches from Jackson Koivun of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Nicholas Gross of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and Aaron Pounds of The Woodlands, Texas.

    The second half of matches saw the United States dominate winning four of the six, with only one match making it to 18. Among the wins was the biggest margin of victory of the competition as Bryan Kim of Brookeville, Maryland, defeated the International’s Jonathan Xavier Hartono of Indonesia, 6&5. The US also got a big win from Carson Kim of Yorba Linda, California, who defeated Rayhan Abdul Latief of Indonesia, 5&3.

    Kim was the only player throughout the competition who won all three of his matches. On Monday he was paired with Pounds for a four-ball match and defeated Rayhan Abdul Latief of Indonesia, and Hartono, 3&1. In the afternoon on Monday he was paired with Koivun in a foursomes match. They defeated the International team of Bai and Jayden Ford of New Zealand, 3&1. Throughout his three matches, he never played No. 18 as they all finished on No. 17 or before.

The epic slumps and epic comebacks of Max Homa and Michael Kim

By: PGA

NAPA, Calif. – Michael Kim and Max Homa, who will play together along with Cameron Champ in the first and second rounds of the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort & Spa, sometimes regard their college years with a pinch of nostalgia.

The Cal teammates hit fairways, made birdies. It was a simpler time. They roomed together on the road, and when Kim, who moved to America from Korea when he was 12, spoke to his parents on the phone, Homa couldn’t catch a word of it. At other times, though, Kim would slow it way down as he dictated simple Korean phrases into his phone.

“He’s going to be so mad I’m telling people this,” Homa said with a grin. “… He starts recording something on his phone and it would be like me saying like – ‘I drove my car to the store’ in Korean. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I’m in this Korean 101 class that I’m not supposed to know, I’m not supposed to be fluent in this.’”

Ah, the college years. But what followed for Homa and Kim was no laughing matter. Each made it to the TOUR only to fall apart in his mid-20s, lose his TOUR card, and slog through a bewildering odyssey in the golfing wilderness.

The game, once so simple, got complicated. Homa missed 15 cuts in 2015, played on the Korn Ferry Tour in ’16, and missed 15 cuts again in ’17, when he dropped to 244th in the FedExCup.

“He’s way too good a player to lose his card,” Rory McIlroy said of Homa at the Wells Fargo Championship in May.

True enough. Homa, the defending champion at the Fortinet, is still in the afterglow of a career-best two-win season and fifth-place finish in the FedExCup. Last week U.S. Presidents Cup Captain Davis Love III named him among his six picks to help round out the team that will take on the Internationals at Quail Hollow Club next week.

Now it’s Kim’s turn to come back. He parted ways with longtime swing coach James Oh to go with John Tillery just three weeks before the 2018 John Deere Classic, which he then won by eight shots. It was a happy day, with Kim having shot 27 under to lap the field, but when asked in his press conference afterward about the recent coaching change he burst into tears.

“You feel like you’ve gone to war with a guy for years,” Kim said Wednesday, “and I started seeing (Oh) when I was 15, and he’s the one who had really helped me get on TOUR. That was three weeks after I had told him, and it felt like 90 percent of the work we had done for that win was with James, and maybe the last 10 percent was with J.T., but it was going to be looked at as J.T. came in and fixed everything. I felt bad that people were going to look at it that way.”

What’s more, as Kim sat there before the press, the trophy won and a life goal realized, he harbored a bizarre secret: Other than that one week at TPC Deere Run, he wasn’t playing well.

“I was still struggling even that year,” he said. “I wasn’t playing great, I just got hot at the perfect moment and the stars aligned for me. I got caught up in the trendy thing in the golf swing and tried to quote, unquote take the hands out of it. Growing up, a lot of my feel was in my hands. Tiger Woods talks about his hands. I lost that.”

Kim’s freefall was dizzying. He made it to the weekend just once in two years, at one point missing 25 consecutive cuts. He fell outside the top 1,000 in the world. By abandoning the right-to-left tee shot that found fairways and allowed for the fullest expression of his above-average wedges and short game, he became utterly, hopelessly lost.

“It might have been a technical thing at first, but I think it became a mental thing,” said Michael Weaver, a Cal teammate who briefly played on the Korn Ferry Tour. “I was a fill-in caddie for him at the 3M Open in 2019, and he played with Smylie Kaufman and Austin Cook, and I felt bad for Austin because Smylie and Michael were hitting it all over the place.”

Kaufman is now a golf broadcaster, and for a time it was anything but certain Kim would make his way out of the williwags. He parted with Tillery and tried his luck with various other coaches, including George Gankas, but nothing stuck. His friends tried to buck up his spirits, telling him they still believed in him even as the cuts piled up.

“Every time I asked him, ‘Where are you playing next?’ I was prepared to hear, ‘I might not play for a while,’” Weaver said. “You work so hard to build up your confidence and then it all goes badly and you’re like, I used to be good at this and now I suck. I wouldn’t fault anyone for shutting it down; it’s a natural reaction to not being able to find your way out.”

Kim saw flashes of form, but they could vanish even as he made the turn. “I was really dejected because on the front nine you have that hope,” he said, “and then it’s a crash all over again.” He got a slight reprieve from Covid, the pandemic extending his status a year and saving him from a return to Korn Ferry Tour Q School.

After Monday-qualifying for the Fortinet last year, he tapped Weaver to caddie for him again.

“He hit it in the condos on one,” Weaver said.

It looked like the same old stuff, but just a few weeks earlier Kim had begun working with was Sean Foley, who diagnosed the problem: Kim had gotten away from his swing DNA and what made him great in the first place.

“Sean said, ‘We needed to get you swinging a little more like you did as a kid, with similar feels and tweaks here and there,’” Kim said, “and that’s how we started. We were still making the transition last year. It was all very new.”

Slowly, methodically, Kim clawed his way back. He started the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season with a pair of missed cuts, but a T15 at The Panama Championship in February provided hope. He texted Foley: This was going to work.

Kim racked up 12 top-25 finishes in 25 starts to regain his PGA TOUR card. He also shared the first-round lead at the Puerto Rico Open (T16) and finished seventh at the Barbasol Championship. Today, he feels like he has a new lease on life.

“I mean obviously it would be great if I went to see Sean first,” he said. “I’ve come to believe it’s more about your fit with your instructor and does his swing philosophy fit with what you have.”

Without the last four years, though, he added, he might not be the same player he is today.

“I don’t think I’d be as excited and have a fresh perspective on playing the PGA TOUR,” he said. “You go through the ups and downs and you appreciate it more.”

Homa could say the same. His eyes got a little teary Wednesday as he talked about the journey from his very first PGA TOUR start to making his first U.S. Presidents Cup Team, and the ups and downs along the way.
For the two Cal Bears who will reunite at Silverado, the struggle makes it all the sweeter.

McGill Adds a Thrilling Chapter to U.S. Senior Women’s Open Lore

By: USGA

The brief history of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open is already loaded with stories for the ages authored by champions Laura Davies, Helen Alfredsson and Annika Sorenstam. And what took place this year at NCR Country Club was a brilliant addition to the legacy of this championship, as Jill McGill joined the elite group that has won three different USGA events.

The inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018 at Chicago Golf Club was the story of the dominance of Davies as she powered her way to a 16-under-par performance, winning by 10 strokes.

The championship in 2019 at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club celebrated the persistence and passion of Alfredsson as she finally got the USGA championship that had eluded her, grinding out a two-stroke victory.

After a COVID cancellation in 2020, last year’s USSWO at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn., saw the stunning return of Sorenstam after 13 years away from USGA championships as she played with the same precision that marked her World Golf Hall of Fame career and won by eight strokes.

This year, the 6-foot McGill, who won the 1993 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1994 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links – and pretty much nothing since – stood tall during the final round as the South Course at NCR Country Club claimed victim after victim. McGill’s even-par 73, on a day when no one broke par, will only get better with age.

By winning, McGill joined Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, JoAnne Carner and Carol Semple Thompson as the only players with titles in three different USGA events. Very quickly, the U.S. Senior Women’s Open has established itself as a place where history is made.

Carner’s Decades of Greatness Add Up to a Legendary Lifetime

By: USGA

U.S. Senior Women’s Open Home

About 10 years ago, in a Legends Tour pro-am, one of JoAnne Carner’s playing partners mentioned to her that she, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Carol Semple Thompson are the only players to win three different USGA events. “Yeah,” Carner said with that mischievous glint in her eye, “and if they had a U.S. Senior Women’s Open I’d be the only one with four.”

That’s JoAnne: Relentlessly honest, refreshingly funny and intensely competitive.

By the time the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open was played at Chicago Golf Club in 2018, Carner was 79 years old. But that didn’t stop her from making history. She had the honor of hitting the opening tee shot and then played the final five holes of the first round one under par to shoot her age on the number – 79.

Last year, at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn., she matched her age in the opening round – 82 – and shattered it in the second round with a 79. She’s back again this year at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio, and she still has goals.

“I’d like to be able to hit it 50 yards farther,” said Carner at NCR with that same glint in her eye, and then added: “And I’d love to make the cut.”

She is already the oldest to make the cut in an LPGA Tour event – surviving to the weekend in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, an LPGA major now renamed the Chevron, at the age of 65. The fact that she’s either matched or broken her age in three of the six rounds she’s played in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open has only added to her mystique.

Once the most feared woman in amateur golf, then one of the most dominant professionals on the LPGA Tour, Carner is now one of the most inspirational people in the game.  When a photo of her driving off No. 10 tee in a practice round at NCR was posted on social media, the response was overwhelming.

“The best,” commented Amy Alcott, the winner of the 1973 U.S. Girls’ Junior and the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open.

“God bless her,” wrote 1988 and ’89 U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange. “She loves this game.”

“Big mama truly amazing and not to forget her sister Helen, 93, who walked all 18 holes with her!” said Helen Alfredsson, who won the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

“Love this!” 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Martha Leach said about the photo.

Former LPGA player Anne Marie Palli, who’s competing this week at NCR, summed up the love and respect for Carner: “My idol!! An inspiration. Go Big Mama Go!”

JoAnne Gunderson was born on April 4, 1939, in Kirkland, Wash., and says she developed such great feel on the golf course by playing “moonlight golf” after her shift at the golf course where she worked. “We couldn’t see where the ball went,” she said. “We had to feel it.”

The first of her eight USGA championship titles was the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 1956. She added the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1957, ’60, ’62, ’66 and ’68 and the U.S Women’s Open in 1971 and ’76. The eight USGA championships she has won ties her for second all-time with Jack Nicklaus, behind the nine by Bob Jones and Tiger Woods.

After graduating from Arizona State University, The Great Gundy married Don Carner in 1963 and did not turn pro until she was 30. In fact, she was 31 by the time she won the 1970 LPGA Rookie of the Year award. Despite that late start, Carner racked up 43 LPGA wins, was Player of the Year three times and won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average five times. In 1981, Carner received the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor of the USGA, and the next year was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“When you talk about JoAnne you are talking about crossing generations,” said Annika Sorenstam, winner of the U.S. Women’s Open in 1995, ’95 and “06 and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open last year. “Three generations, maybe four. The words that come to mind are ‘legend’ and ‘longevity.’”

While Carner worked relentlessly on her game – she still is one of the last to leave the range at the end of the day – she was far from a physical fitness freak. She still indulges in the occasional cigarette and adult beverage.

“I remember once when I was first on tour, I was in the physical trailer getting my back worked on and JoAnne came in,” recalled Sorenstam. “The therapist asked how he could help and JoAnne said, ‘two Advil’ then walked out.”

In her prime, Carner played with a technical style that awed students of the golf swing, yet also possessed a flair that entertained fans and intimidated her opponents.

“I was always most afraid of JoAnne when she was in the trees,” two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion and three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur winner Juli Inkster said Wednesday. “I knew the ball would fly out of those trees and end up on the green. She was a tremendous troubleshooter. A challenge got her attention.”

On Thursday, at 9:13 a.m., Carner will tee it up on No. 1 at the South Course of NCR alongside former Curtis Cup captain Noreen Mohler and Cathy Patton-Lewis. While winning is not a reasonable goal for JoAnne, she does have objectives in mind – to shoot her age once again, and to make the cut.

Wouldn’t that be simply remarkable: To make it to the weekend in a USGA championship at the age of 83. For eight decades, beginning in the 1950s, Carner has set records. Who’s to say there isn’t one more entry into the history of golf that could bear the name JoAnne Gunderson Carner – truly a legend for golfers of all ages.

Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites and publications.

Rose Zhang Recipient of 2022 McCormack Medal

By: USGA

Rose Zhang, of Irvine, Calif., has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s player in the 2022 World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®). This is Zhang’s third consecutive McCormack Medal, emulating previous three-time medallists Leona Maguire and Lydia Ko. It is her 101st consecutive week at number one, leaving her behind only Maguire at 135 weeks and Ko at 130 in the overall record.

Zhang enjoyed another year of outstanding golf, winning her first three collegiate starts in her Stanford freshman year at the Molly Collegiate Invitational, the Windy City Collegiate Classic and the Stanford Intercollegiate. She became the first Stanford player — male or female — to win her first three collegiate starts and did not finish out of the top ten in her first seven starts.

After securing a T12 finish at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, Zhang went on to win the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Championship by three shots. On the day of her 19th birthday, she received the ANNIKA Award for best women’s college golfer of the year. She then clinched Stanford’s second NCAA team title by winning the final match.

Zhang played a leading role in the USA team’s victory over Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup Match at Merion, winning two of her four matches.

Zhang also performed well in her major championship appearances, winning the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield, finishing tied 40th in the U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica and tied for 65th at the Amundi Evian Championship. Later this month, she will compete for the USA Team at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship.

“My amateur career continues to be incredibly rewarding and humbling,” said Zhang. “To be named the McCormack Medal recipient for the third time is a testament to the work I’ve put in and the support of those around me. This caps an incredible year and motivates me even further for the season ahead.”

The R&A and the USGA jointly award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.

“Rose continues to do things in the amateur game we haven’t seen in quite some time,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer, USGA. “Her talent on the course is unmatched, but more importantly, the role model she is for the younger generation and the way she represents the game is admirable and inspiring. All of us at the USGA congratulate her on this outstanding achievement and look forward to seeing what’s next for her.”

Professor Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A, said, “Rose has performed to a an extremely high level over the last three years and consistently demonstrated just how talented she is as a golfer. I congratulate Rose on the remarkable achievement of winning the McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year. She has made a substantial contribution to amateur golf around the world and thoroughly deserves this recognition. We look forward to seeing her success continue.”

The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses nearly 3,300 counting events, ranking 4,629 players from 110 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of around 2,300 counting events with more than 2,867 ranked players from 88 countries.

“Stephen Curry supports ‘Underrated’ Young Golfers”

By: Kurtis Alston and Angela Jones

NBA superstar Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, the current 2021-2022 NBA Champions, is turning his attention to the greener pastures of golf. Curry is holding a five-city tour giving kids ages 12-18 a chance to showcase their inner Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Speith.

In 2019 Stephen Curry helped Howard University be able to compete on the D-1 level by funding the golf team for the next six years. Since this donation by Curry, this is the first time Howard has had a golf team since the 1970s and the first on the division one level in school history. The men’s golf team has only participated for two years and won the 2022 MEAC championship.

Curry is changing the lane in the basketball world and the golfing world too. His organization, Underrated, allows junior golfers, competitive golfers, and golfers from different communities to play and hopefully make it to the championship in San Francisco, which is invite-only. If a golfer doesn’t make it to the title round, this tour is an excellent opportunity to network and build their career.

Many will participate, but only 24 boys and girls on the underrated tour will be able to compete for the Curry Cup. The first Tour stop is in Chicago, Ill, June-21-23; and it continues in Phoenix, Ariz, June 29-July 1; Houston, Texas, July 17-19; Tampa, Fla, August 8-10; and the championship in San Francisco, Calif August 28-30.

Golfers can register or learn more about the tour at https://www.stayunderrated.com/tour-g

Rory McIlroy returns to RBC Canadian Open to face strong field

By: PGA Tour

TORONTO, Ont. – Rory McIlroy marked his ball with a Canadian $1 coin, nicknamed a ‘Loonie,’ the last time he played the RBC Canadian Open. He received one from his pro-am partner in 2019 and that extra luck worked. He won.

This year, tournament organizers came prepared.

“I turned up to the locker room and there was already one in my locker,” said McIlroy with a smile. “And then one of my pro-am partners gave me one this morning on the first green as well.

“I’m loaded with loonies this week.”

McIlroy will (finally) defend his title this week in Canada, three years after he won by seven shots at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. He flirted with 59 much of the final day before shooting a thrilling 61 that separated him from the field.

He comes to St. George’s Golf and Country Club looking to go back-to-back for the first time on the PGA TOUR, but to do it he’ll have to top one of the strongest fields north of the border in recent memory.

McIlroy is one of five golfers ranked in the top 10 in the world who are teeing it up this week in Toronto, including Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. The top two players in the FedExCup are making their Canadian Open debuts. Scheffler, who also sits atop the world ranking, has won four times this year, including the Masters, while Burns earned his third win of the season by beating Scheffler in a playoff at the recent Charles Schwab Challenge.

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and THE PLAYERS champion Cameron Smith are the other two top-10 players in the field this week. There are 20 Canadians teeing it up in their national open as well, including Corey Conners, the top-ranked Canadian in the FedExCup standings.

“It’s really exciting to have those guys here,” Conners said of the stout field. “I think national championships, wherever they’re played, have a little bit more prestige and guys think really highly of this event. There are so many historic names on the trophy, and it would be awesome to be added to that and I think a lot of those guys feel the same way. It’s a good part of your legacy to be able to call yourself a Canadian Open champion and national open champion.”

McIlroy comes into the week after a T18 at the Memorial. He notched three consecutive top-10 finishes in his previous three starts, including a runner-up at the Masters and an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. He sits 15th on the FedExCup standings.

So far, he’s “loved” St. George’s Golf and Country Club, which is hosting its sixth RBC Canadian Open. He said it’s a “really good” traditional layout – built in 1929 – that will serve as a strong place to compete before next week’s U.S. Open.

McIlroy will be grouped with Conners and Thomas for the first two rounds.

Thomas said he took a few days off after he missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and celebrated his PGA Championship victory with some high-school friends back home in Louisville. Playing the week before the PGA Championship paid off with his win at Southern Hills and he’s hoping it will do the trick again with the U.S. Open coming next week. But Thomas is quick to recognize the legacy of the Canadian Open, as well. This is the 111th playing of the tournament.

“You look at the history of this event, it kind of speaks for itself,’ says Thomas. “The opportunity to come to a place and a tournament that’s so historic … definitely makes it a little bit more special.”

Scheffler said “it was easy” for him to include the Canadian Open in his schedule with a comparable set-up at St. George’s to The Country Club at Brookline. With seven of the top 25 in the world (Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau, Tyrell Hatton and Shane Lowry are the others) all playing this week, it’ll be a solid challenge.

“I’m preparing for next week’s U.S. Open, but I really want to win this week. I really want to win every time I tee it up and play,” says Scheffler. “We (drew) a really good field this week and so definitely looking forward to competing against these guys.”

While Scheffler is on top of the FedExCup standings with his excellent play so far this season, it’s two-time FedExCup winner McIlroy who has quickly become the top draw in Canada.

This is, of course, attributed to winning in his debut in 2019 – “It would be nice to keep that percentage up this week, for sure,” he said – and the fact that he acted as the ‘defending’ champion for two extra seasons. His group drew the biggest crowds in Wednesday’s pro-am at St. George’s.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this position,” he says. “I mean if I didn’t like the attention I would go and I would play another sport or I would get another job or whatever. But there’s a lot of things that come along with being one of the top players in the game and yeah, I do relish it. I like that, I like being in that position.”

Another position McIlroy enjoys being in is first place on PGA TOUR leaderboards, something he’ll try to do again this week in Canada.

And he’s got a good-luck coin ready to go.

RBC Canadian Open makes long-awaited return

By: PGA Staff

The population of Toronto is higher than that of Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. In fact, Toronto is the fourth-most populous city in the whole of North America.

And its mayor, John Tory, is a big fan of golf.

Count Tory as just one person who is thrilled to see the RBC Canadian Open return to the PGA TOUR schedule after a two-season hiatus due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a big event,” Tory, who has been Toronto’s mayor since 2014, told PGATOUR.com. “It creates a lot of activity in the city for people to come and visit… and it’s just one more sign of a return to more normal life after a dismal period during the pandemic.”

The RBC Canadian Open is the only North American event on the TOUR’s schedule not to have been contested in both 2020 and 2021. The membership of St. George’s Golf and Country Club voted in favor of keeping the event at its course after the cancellation of 2020 and again in 2021, and the championship will return to the club – 11 miles from the CN Tower – for the sixth time.

In his Canadian Open debut, Rory McIlroy shot a 9-under 61 to win the 2019 Canadian Open by seven shots. The crowd was abuzz. McIlroy was the most notable entrant in that year’s field, and the Toronto Raptors were in the midst of their NBA Championship run.

So how do tournament organizers top that effort?

By going as big as possible.

“You take the bad and make the best out of it,” said Tournament Director Bryan Crawford. “When it was time to come back, we were going to come back in a big way, and that’s what is about to happen.”

John Sibley, Golf Canada’s Chief Commercial Officer, called this year’s Canadian Open the “largest operational undertaking” in the organization’s history. There will be approximately 210,000 square feet of hospitality – 92,000 more than at Hamilton Golf and Country Club three years ago.

The Rink will also make its return. It’s a somewhat Canadian cliché, but the par-3 16th hole will have hockey boards set up around it along with hospitality suites dubbed “penalty boxes.” But even Corey Conners, Canada’s top-ranked male golfer, enjoys The Rink’s buzz. He says he plans on giving away “a jersey or two” during tournament week.

“The atmosphere is really cool,” said Conners. “It’s something new and a little extra special about the event and hopefully we can hit some good shots.”

RBC Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mary DePaoli has had a hard time containing her excitement with the return of the bank’s home-country event. RBC and AT&T are the only title sponsors on the TOUR schedule that operate two separate tournaments.

DePaoli said her team has learned a lot from operating the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head the last two years and is keen to put some of those lessons into practice at St. George’s. She said she’s excited for the support from the hometown fans, as well as PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan and PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments & Competitions Officer Andy Pazder.

“They cannot wait to see this tournament come back online and mark the return of it back to Canada,” DePaoli said. “They know from their players there is a lot of enthusiasm for this tournament. They’re very proud of this tournament.”

Golf in Canada, despite its shortened season, has experienced a boom similar to most cities in North America. Between the pent-up excitement for the event and golf’s never-before-seen popularity, it should be a thrilling week for Canadian fans.

 It’s also shaping up to be an excellent field.

McIlroy returns to defend his title from 2019. FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler also will be there, as will PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, and PLAYERS champion Cam Smith.

There’s also a plethora of Canadians looking to win their national championship; there hasn’t been a homegrown winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Led by Conners and buoyed by fellow Presidents Cup hopefuls Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin, the Canadian contingent is strong. In fact, this could be the best year in recent memory for Canadian hopefuls.

Hadwin was low Canadian in 2019, finishing sixth at Hamilton. Mackenzie Hughes finished T14. Four Canadians made the cut.

“It’s a really special week for me… it’s right up there with the majors on my schedule,” said Conners. “I’m looking forward to trying to get myself in contention and I know it’ll be a great event. I’ve been telling lots of people: The Canadian fans are sure going to be excited that the PGA TOUR is coming back north of the border.”

Even the mayor thinks someone from the Canadian contingent has a good shot this year at St. George’s. Tory, 67, remembers George Knudson and Moe Norman and Mike Weir, but their successes came as singular stars. Now, he said, Canada has strength in numbers.

“I’m very proud of that as a golfer and as a Canadian,” he said. “We still have that one elusive victory – to have a Canadian win the Canadian Open. But given the performance of some of our players on the TOUR, this may well be the time that happens and that would be a wonderful thing.”

The mere return of the RBC Canadian Open itself is already a wonderful thing.

Updates from The Match: Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers def. Josh Allen/Patrick Mahomes, 1 up

By: PGA Staff

For the first time, Capital One’s The Match did not include any professional golfers, as NFL quarterbacks took the stage for Wednesday evening’s competition at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.

The Match delivered a drama worthy of playoff football, coming down to the final green on the final hole.

AFC rising star quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes faced off against NFC veterans Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in a topsy-turvy 12-hole match on the Las Vegas Strip. Brady/Rodgers won the first two holes before Allen/Mahomes went on a mid-evening run, taking a 1-up lead with three holes to play.

Brady/Rodgers responded to square The Match with a win on No. 10, and the competition remained tied into its final hole, the par-3 12th.

In captivating fashion, Rodgers delivered a winning birdie on the final green, punctuated with a dramatic fist pump and celebration with his partner Brady.

“We’ve played together maybe three times competitively,” said Brady of Rodgers, “and every time, he’s made a 15-foot putt to win. That was amazing, and it didn’t surprise me when it went in.”

Here’s a hole-by-hole look at how the action unfolded in the sixth iteration of The Match.

No. 12 (par 3, 167 yards)

Brady takes the tee first on the serene par 3. He takes his time, soaking in the moment. He makes clean contact and stares the ball down; it sails a bit past the flag, into a strip of rough approximately 30 feet past the hole.

Rodgers plays a crisp cut on an aggressive line and delivers, the ball settling pin-high just left of the hole, leaving a tasty birdie look of approximately 12 feet.

Brady opts to take his mulligan (he hits the Charles Barkley cutout head with a football to earn his mulligan). With the sun setting, he plays a draw that turns a bit too much, finding the greenside hazard.

Allen perhaps overclubs, playing a cut that settles long and right of the green, in an area of rough near the water’s edge.

Mahomes starts his ball on a line over the water and plays for a cut, but the ball doesn’t cut enough. It splashes. He opts for his mulligan and hits the Charles Barkley cutout head with a football to earn a second swing.

The Kansas City Chiefs star again plays a cut and asks for it to go. It does, but leaving a lengthy birdie try from the front of the green to a back-left hole location. Advantage Brady/Rodgers on the final hole of The Match.

Allen plays first from the front of the green and hits a beautiful putt, the ball tracking toward the cup before stopping on the right edge of the cup, oh-so-close to a dramatic birdie. With nothing to lose, Mahomes’ birdie try has plenty of pace, but it narrowly slides by. Team Allen/Mahomes is in with par.

Two looks at a winning birdie for Brady/Rodgers. Brady goes first from 12 feet, but the putt slides by on the right side. He groans in disbelief.

The stage is set for Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers quarterback assesses the situation, steps over the ball and takes a few looks.

The putt breaks left-to-right, and Rodgers judges it exquisitely. He drains it, right in the heart, for the walk-off victory.

Brady/Rodgers WIN The Match, 1 up 


No. 11 (par 4)

Brady pulls hybrid off the tee and plays a crisp cut that splits the center of the fairway. Rodgers takes driver and plays a slithery cut that rides the dogleg-right shape of the hole, perfectly positioned. A crafty play from a crafty veteran.

After Allen fails to get his tee shot in play, the pressure is on Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller responds, producing a low cut with a driver. He asks for it to land softly, and it does, finding the left rough with a good angle to the hole location.

Playing from Mahomes’ position off the tee, Allen takes a short iron and immediately asks for it to get down. The ball flies over the green and briefly holds up in the rough, amidst a contingent of patrons, before trickling back onto the putting surface. An apparent missed green is suddenly a 20-foot birdie try.

“That’s Bills Mafia right there,” remarks Allen.

Mahomes plays a low skipper that creeps onto the back portion of the green, the same level as the hole location, before catching the ridge and rolling down onto the front level, leaving a lengthy birdie proposition.

From Rodgers’ pinpoint tee shot, Brady plays his second shot from 50 or so yards, taking it high and controlling the spin to leave a birdie look of approximately 10 feet. Rodgers tries a similar play but catches the ball too cleanly; it sails past the flag and doesn’t spin too much, leaving a 25-footer for birdie.

Mahomes’ birdie try scares the hole but slides by on the left side.

Rodgers’ birdie look runs out of steam a few inches short and right; the par is conceded. Mahomes attempts to clean up his 4-footer for par to take the pressure off Allen, but he cannot do so.

Allen’s birdie try trails off a couple feet short and right; the par is conceded.

The stage is cleared for Brady, who faces a mid-length birdie try to win the hole and give his team a 1-up lead with one hole to play. The putt breaks left-to-right, and the putt tails off just to the right.

The hole is tied with pars, setting the stage for a winner-take-all final hole on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Match TIED thru 11


No. 10 (par 4, 306 yards)

Allen takes driver and rips a low cut straight at the flag; it carries just too much, though, and finds a back greenside bunker. Mahomes immediately exclaims “Oh no!” upon impact, as his ball sails well right of the green, finding an area of wood chips and shrubbery.

“I didn’t see it,” Mahomes remarks, “but it’s not good.”

Brady takes driver, takes a few moments upon address, and produces a low cut that finds the right greenside bunker. Rodgers takes aim left of the green and plays a cut that lands in the front fringe and bounces onto the green, leaving an eagle attempt from 60 feet or so.

Allen makes clean contact from the back bunker but cannot get the ball to check in time; it releases to 12 feet past the hole. Mahomes experiences a similar issue, the ball coming to rest just outside that of Allen.

Playing from Rodgers’ position, Brady’s eagle putt rolls long and right, settling 6 feet away. He is audibly dissatisfied with his effort. Rodgers has the proper line but can’t produce quite enough pace; his eagle try settles 5 feet short-right of the hole.

Neither Mahomes nor Allen can get their birdie putt to fall, clearing the stage for Brady/Rodgers to make birdie and square the competition into the final two holes.

First to play, Brady’s birdie try is center-cut.

No. 9 (par 4, 415 yards)

Allen rips driver off the tee and wastes no time in picking up his tee, the ball not traveling quite as far as some of his efforts, but leaving a mid-length approach from the left rough. Mahomes plays a cut and expounds, “Fore way right.”

Still sporting his backwards cap, Brady takes driver and plays a cut right down the center of the fairway, easily his best tee shot of the day to this point. Rodgers follows suit with a well-struck, well-placed tee shot.

Allen starts his approach at the tree line but gets plenty of height; it sails over the trees with a slight cut, the ball landing on the back-left portion of the green, 30 feet or so from the flag.

From Allen’s position, Mahomes plays perhaps his shot of the day to this point, a high cut that takes aim directly at the flag. The ball releases to the back of the green but catches the slope and feeds continually closer to the hole, settling inside 5 feet for a tasty birdie look.

After Brady’s approach fails to reach the green, Rodgers steps up with a deft wedge that lands past the hole and spins back to within 12 feet.

With neither Brady nor Allen managing to save par from their respective position, the stage is set for the birdie looks of Rodgers and Mahomes.

At a critical juncture of the match, Rodgers steps up with a beautiful stroke; the ball finds the center of the cup for a crucial birdie. Mahomes answers with a matching birdie, a smooth stroke from short range to tie the hole.

Allen/Mahomes 1 up thru 9


No. 8 (par 3, 170 yards)

On a scenic par 3 with water guarding the front and right sides of the green, Allen plays first and takes an aggressive line with a cut shape. The ball lands on the right side of the green and settles on the fringe, just 20 or so feet for birdie.

Mahomes starts his tee shot at the left side of the green and asks for it to cut. It does indeed. The ball feeds off a slope and continues to move closer to the hole, settling just 6 feet away. Mahomes shimmies his shoulders in appreciation, before pointing to the camera with a look of determination and appreciation.

Brady turns his hat backwards before playing a draw toward the back-left portion of the green, the ball feeding off the slope and creeping toward the hole, settling some 15 feet away for birdie.

Rodgers plays a fade and immediately leans anxiously, the ball finding a watery grave.

With both teams eyeing a birdie look, Brady plays first; he judges the speed well but plays the ball slightly too much outside left. The par is conceded.

Facing a nothing-to-lose birdie proposition, Rodgers gives the putt plenty of pace, but it slides by on the left side. Brady/Rodgers records par, leaving the door open for Allen/Mahomes to take its first lead of the evening.

Mahomes takes advantage with a center-cut birdie and a fist pump of authority.

Allen/Mahomes 1 up thru 8

No. 7 (par 5, 520 yards)

Allen pulls driver and plays a high cut; he knows immediately that it has cut too much. The ball sails into a patch of shrubbery to the right of the fairway.

Mahomes takes driver and produces a low stinger that splits the right side of the fairway, well positioned.

After a series of tee shots to the left, Brady perhaps overcompensates; his ball follows that of Allen, well right of the fairway.

Rodgers takes driver and hits a low cut that fades well right of the fairway, bounding off a cart path and settling on the cart path.

Rodgers takes relief from the cart path but is still blocked out by a tree line; he confers with his teammate and strategizes to play a conservative layup shot with a wedge. Brady lays up into the rough just left of the fairway; Rodgers finds a fairway bunker on his layup.

After Mahomes’ scintillating drive, Allen/Mahomes has a chance to give the green a go in two. Mahomes plays first and plays a high cut with a long iron, the ball missing the green just to the right, in an area of light rough. Allen tugs his second shot well to the left of the green; he is immediately displeased.

From a tricky spot in the fairway bunker, Rodgers is unable to advance his third shot all the way to the green; it settles in the front fringe, some 50 feet from the hole. Brady plays his third to the center of the green, leaving 25 feet up the hill for birdie.

On his third shot, Allen plays a punch shot through some trouble and judges it beautifully; the ball bounces through the rough, onto the green and releases just 10 feet past the hole.

Rodgers’ pitch from the front of the green carries too much zip; the ball races some 20 feet past the hole, leaving a lengthy par-saving try.

Mahomes takes a line well right of the hole on his eagle chip, attempting to utilize a ridge. The ball rides the ridge and settles 10 feet past the hole, joining his teammate Allen with a reasonable birdie look.

Brady’s right-to-left birdie try tracks toward the cup but runs out of gas just inches shy. His par is conceded, leaving Allen/Mahomes with two chances to win the hole and hold a Match lead for the first time.

Neither can convert. Allen’s birdie try misses well left; Mahomes’ birdie try narrowly misses on the right edge.

After a wild hole, the net result is even.

The Match TIED thru 7

No. 6 (par 3, 190 yards)

Allen pulls a mid-iron and produces a high cut off the tee; the ball over-cuts, though, as he yells out a “Fore right!” The ball finds a section of fans short-right of the green.

Perhaps in fear of a pond guarding the front-left portion of the green, Mahomes pushes his tee shot to the right as well.

Allen opts to take his one allotted mulligan — to earn it, though, he needs to hit a target (a cutout of Charles Barkley’s head) with a football. He succeeds to earn his mulligan. This time, though, the ball sails well left of the green.

Undeterred by the struggles of Allen/Mahomes, Brady takes the tee and produces a crisp draw that finds the center of the green, about 25 feet for birdie. Rodgers plays a slight fade that flies past the flag but settles safely on the green, leaving a 30-foot downhill birdie try.

From the spot of Mahomes’ tee shot, about 50 feet right of the flag, Allen plays a deft pitch that settles within 6 feet of the hole. Mahomes’ pitch releases 8 or so feet past the cup, leaving the team with two testers for par.

Brady’s birdie putt is well struck, but it releases 3 feet past the hole on the right side. Rodgers judges the speed perfectly but the ball curls just left, leaving a conceded par.

Mahomes produces a confident strike on his left-to-right par saver, and it finds the right-center of the cup. A fist pump ensues, as well as a high-five with his teammate. The proceedings remain tied at the midway point.

The Match TIED thru 6 

No. 5 (par 5, 533 yards)

Allen pulls driver and takes an aggressive line near a creek left of the fairway, but the ball hangs on just enough, settling in the left side of the fairway with an ideal angle of attack. Mahomes pulls driver and immediately points in dismay, as the ball sails into the trees.

Brady’s case of the duck-hooks continues, as it sails left of the fairway-guarding creek and into the forest of wood chips. Rodgers plays a fade that flirts with the creek more than he might have liked, but the ball stays dry and settles in a line of rough between the creek and fairway.

Playing from Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady pushes an iron well right of the fairway; he quickly sighs in dismay. Rodgers’ second shot sails right as well, into a region of fans short-right of the green.

Allen pulls iron for his second shot and continues the foursome’s trend, quickly exhaling a “Fore right!” as the ball sails right of the fairway, settling into a patch of wood chips.

From the position of Allen’s tee shot, Mahomes starts the ball left and watches it cut back toward the green. On perhaps the team’s shot of the day to this point, the ball comfortably lands on the front portion of the green, leaving a 20-footer for eagle.

After finding an adjacent fairway with his second shot, Brady hoists a short iron high above the tree line; the ball finds the back of the green, leaving 35 feet or so for birdie.

With the tree line blocking his angle to the flag, Allen plays a low punch that settles on the front fringe, about 25 feet away for his birdie look.

From just a few feet behind a tree, Rodgers is faced with a blind third shot, and he finds an opening. The low runner chases through the green and into the back fringe, leaving a 45-foot birdie look.

Rodgers’ birdie try races 12 or so feet past the hole. Brady’s left-to-right breaker cuts across the hole on the right side, releasing 6 feet past.

Needing two putts to win the hole, Mahomes lags his eagle try just inches short of the cup, on a perfect line. He taps in for birdie to win the hole, bringing the match back to tied, a swift shift for a team that had lost the opening two holes.

The Match TIED thru 5

No. 4 (par 3, 155 yards)

Allen takes a short iron for his tee shot and is immediately displeased; the ball sails left and finds a greenside pond, making a distinct splash. Mahomes plays a high cut and is slightly off-balance on his follow-through; he stares it down and the ball maintains a direct line to the hole, but flies the green into the back fringe, about 30 feet from the hole.

Brady plays a high draw and finds the front-middle portion of the green, settling on a level below the hole, approximately 35 feet away for birdie. Rodgers plays a high fade that is pushed well right of the green; yells of ‘Fore!’ are cried immediately, and the ball finds a collection of wood chips and shrubs.

Brady plays first on the birdie try; he displays deft touch as the ball makes its way up the slope and nestles within 3 feet of the hole. The par is not conceded. Perhaps having attained a teach, Rodgers does even better, lagging his putt up to within gimme range. The team is in with a par.

From Mahomes’ spot on the back fringe, Allen pulls wedge; he bumps the ball into the slope to take off some speed, leaving a manageable par putt from inside 6 feet. Mahomes also opts for wedge from 10 or so feet off the green; the ball tracks toward the hole and checks a bit, but it releases to leave a par putt from 5 feet or so.

With two looks at par to tie the hole, Allen/Mahomes needs just one, as Allen drains his par-saver, center cut.

For the first time this evening, a hole is tied.

Brady/Rodgers 1 up thru 4


No. 3 (par 4, 325 yards)

Rodgers plays firsrt, pulling driver on the short par 4. He plays a banana-type cut that lands in the right rough but bounces back into the fairway. Brady takes driver and pulls it left for the third consecutive hole, the ball finding trouble well left of the fairway.

Allen pulls driver and plays a fierce cut that splits the fairway. Mahomes plays a similar shot shape with a low bullet that nearly reaches the green, leaving a short eagle pitch from short-left of the flag.

Playing a 40-yard eagle chip from the spot of Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady opts for a bump-and-run with a hybrid. The ball skips and races 25 feet past the hole — “that’s not bad, but that’s not good,” remarks commentator Charles Barkley.

Rodgers moves his ball into the rough (still within a club length of his tee shot) and plays a higher pitch, the ball landing short of the green, into the upslope, and failing to release on.

Mahomes pulls putter for his eagle try; the ball starts out left and breaks back toward the hole, settling within tap-in range, the team’s first birdie of the evening. Freed up to be aggressive with his eagle try, Allen also pulls putter; the ball quickly sails to the right of the hole.

Needing heroics from long range to match Mahomes’ natural birdie, neither Rodgers nor Brady can deliver. Rodgers’ birdie putt from the fringe nestles to within a foot, and Brady pushes his 25-footer to the right.

Allen/Mahomes wins its first hole of the night.

No. 2 (par 5, 494 yards)

After warning fans to move back from the tree line, Brady’s concern proves justified, as he hooks a low liner into the left tree line.

Rodgers picks up his partner for the second consecutive hole, a butter fade that finds the center of the fairway.

Allen pulls driver and perhaps overcompensates for his opening tee shot that found the left tree line; he plays a high fade that sails into the right rough.

Mahomes pulls driver and the ball flies right immediately, more so than Allen’s ball, deep into the right rough.

Team Allen/Mahomes selects Allen’s tee shot from the right rough, and Allen plays first with an iron, the ball precariously flirting with the spectator line. Mahomes pulls iron and produces a high fade; he appears to flush it and displays buoyant body language on the follow-through. The ball sails past the green into the wood chips.

Well positioned after Rodgers’ drive, Brady dials up a short iron that tracks toward the hole the entire way, landing soft to leave a 15-foot eagle look. Rodgers leans immediately as his iron sails to the right; it flirts with the edge of a creek but settles in greenside rough.

From wood chips behind the green, Mahomes plays a deft pitch that lands in the rough and bounces up onto the green, releasing down a ridge to within 10 feet. With Allen out of the hole, it’s a key effort for the Kansas City Chiefs star.

Rodgers catches his 40-foot eagle chip perhaps a bit heavy; it settles nearly 10 feet short of the hole. No harm, though, as his partner is looking good for birdie at worst.

After taking a long look at his eagle effort, Brady starts his putt on a line right of the hole and it breaks back to miss the hole on the left edge. “Sugar,” he reacts after the putt fails to drop. After brief deliberation, the birdie is conceded.

Needing his 10-foot birdie to tie the hole, Mahomes pulls it left; he knew it immediately.

For the second consecutive hole, Brady/Rodgers wins with a birdie.

Brady/Rodgers 2 up thru 2


No. 1 (par 4)

Sporting a man bun, Aaron Rodgers takes the tee first on the opening hole. He waves to the camera and pulls driver, waiting for a few minutes on the tee as Brady “takes his sweet time” before traversing to the tee box. He doesn’t hesitate in making a confident swing; the ball sails down the middle of the fairway.

Brady also takes driver and pulls his shot into the left tree line, settling in wood chips near the rough’s edge. No trouble, though, as his teammate Rodgers is in prime position.

Allen takes driver and hooks the ball into the left tree line, also settling in wood chips. “We’re alright,” he quips after the ball settles.

Mahomes picks up his partner immediately, taking driver and following Rodgers in piercing the center of the fairway. He picks up his tee quickly and without hesitation.

From the spot of Mahomes’ tee shot, Allen pulls a short iron from approximately 120 yards. The ball finds the fringe just left of the green. Mahomes plays a pretty fade that lands past the hole and spins back, settling within 15 feet for an early birdie look.

From the spot of Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady pulls a wedge slightly, but it settles on the left portion of the green to leave a birdie look of 35 feet or so. Rodgers takes it a step further, playing a soft fade that hits on the back of the green and spins back to within 12 feet.

Allen pulls putter from the fringe, the famed Texas wedge, and judges the speed well; the ball releases to leave a 4-foot par look. Allen inquires as to whether the putt is a gimme, but Brady declines.

Next up, Brady does not make clean contact on his birdie look; the ball settles 6 feet short-right of the hole.

Mahomes’ 12-foot birdie look slides by on the right side, but the par is conceded. Brady then drains his par putt to open things up for Rodgers’ birdie effort.

Rodgers maximizes his birdie opportunity, as the right-to-left curler finds the left side of the cup. He pumps his fist in celebration, as the NFC quarterbacks take the early advantage in Las Vegas.

Brady/Rodgers 1 up thru 1

Power Rankings: Charles Schwab Challenge

By: PGA TOUR

Ages and number of appearances for each of the 15 projected contenders ranked open the capsules. (You’ll see the same leadoffs in Sleepers and Draws and Fades.) It’s definitely different, but if it seems silly, what transpired last year proved the point of the exercise. Detail on that, how Colonial Country Club tests and more below.

POWER RANKINGS: CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE

RANK PLAYER COMMENT
15 Davis Riley Davis Riley
Age 25; first appearance. Proof that the Power Rankings isn’t beholden to the trend among winners, the PGA TOUR rookie has finished a respective fifth, T9 and T13 in his last three starts.
14 Tommy Fleetwood Tommy Fleetwood
Age 31; first appearance. Not a rookie like Riley but a debutant, nonetheless. The Brit improved in every round of the PGA Championship and co-led the finale with a 67 to place T5.
13 Patton Kizzire Patton Kizzire
Age 36; seventh appearance. He’s the closest to the statistical center in the field. What’s eerie is that he finished T3 last year; the 2021 champion, Jason Kokrak, finished T3 in 2020.
12 Justin Rose Justin Rose
Age 41; ninth appearance. He’s part of the trend at Colonial. He was 37 and in his fifth start when he took the title in 2018, but he’s gone for four top 20s and hasn’t missed a cut.
11 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland
Age 38; fourth appearance. Placed ninth in 2020, T14 in 2021, recorded a scoring average of 67.875 in those eight rounds and has authored numerous examples of impressive form in 2022.
10 Abraham Ancer Abraham Ancer
Age 31; fifth appearance. Fresh off a T9 at the PGA Championship where he regained form tee to green. Hasn’t missed a cut at Colonial and finished T14 in each of the last two editions.
9 Max Homa Max Homa
Age 31; fourth appearance. Unfazed. In a zone. Perspective as a soon-to-be father that he’s acknowledged has influence, but his talent rules the day. Added a T13 at the PGA Championship.
8 Sungjae Im Sungjae Im
Age 24; fourth appearance. The positive spin of him missing the PGA Championship due to COVID-19 is that he’s rested and didn’t experience the rigors of last week’s major. T10 here in 2020.
7 Brian Harman Brian Harman
Age 35; 10th appearance. A recent surge lifted him into the bubble to qualify for the U.S. Open, but his confidence already should be high what with six top 25s at Colonial since 2015.
6 Sam Burns Sam Burns
Age 25; third appearance. He’s part of the small contingent for which the learning curve hasn’t applied. He’s so balanced. Just two months removed from defending his title at Copperhead.
5 Collin Morikawa Collin Morikawa
Age 25; third appearance. Leading the PGA TOUR in final-round scoring average (67) with eight rounds contributing. Still out to avenge his playoff loss here in 2020. T14 last year.
4 Justin Thomas Justin Thomas
Age 29; third appearance. Yes, it will be a challenge to amp back up after the emotional turmoil on Sunday at Southern Hills, but his floor is highest than most. He’s soared all season.
3 Will Zalatoris Will Zalatoris
Age 25; second appearance. He’s evolved from Zalatoris: God of the Non-members to Zalatoris: God of the Non-winners. Tops on TOUR in SG: Approach-the-Green and SG: Tee-to-Green.
2 Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler
Age 25; third appearance. His missed cut at Southern Hills is evidence that he’s human, but he’s also rested for two more days in advance of his return home to the DFW metroplex.
1 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth
Age 28; 10th appearance. Bummed about a T34 at the PGA, but there’s no place like home. The former winner at Colonial (2016) also has a trio of runner-up finishes among eight top 15s.

Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson, Colonial CC member Ryan Palmer, defending champion Jason Kokrak and other previous winners of the Charles Schwab Challenge will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.

When considering which tournaments are the easiest to predict, the Charles Schwab Challenge is at the top beside the Masters. (However, given how the first major of the year has evolved in three spins since its November edition of 2020, it may no longer require the apprenticeship that generates expectations. More on that another time.) The construct of an invitational limited to 120 golfers helps, but next week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, also host to 120 on the only course that’s ever hosted it (Muirfield Village), doesn’t follow a familiar script.

Get a load of this… The last 19 winners in advance of the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge had an average age of 36 and had logged an average of six starts at Colonial prior to their first victory on the course. Last year, in what was his seventh appearance and within one week after his 36th birthday, Jason Kokrak prevailed. Remember, this Power Rankings already was citing both ages and total appearances. All Kokrak did was follow the instruction. (The specific time frame of the last 19 winners before Kokrak dates back to the year after Sergio Garcia broke through in 2001. He’s both the most recent first-time PGA TOUR winner at Colonial and the most recent to win his first appearance.)

Settling for finding the dartboard with a winner often defines the acceptable, but Kokrak split the arrow. Although there is a spectrum with two endpoints for just about everything, and despite how it shook out last year, no process of prognostication can rely solely on such basic variables, but the historic track in Fort Worth, Texas, caters to all skill sets, so attributes that underscore experience, like age and total appearances, are elevated.

Colonial is a stock par 70 that tips at 7,209 yards as it has since 2016. The 2021 scoring average of 70.208 landed within the cone of expectations, while it also reflected stronger winds in the first and final rounds.

Bentgrass greens average just 5,000 square feet, and they could reach 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, so approaches from bermuda rough, which could be as high as three inches, need to be precise. Last year’s field averaged 7.90 (of 14) fairways hit, about 11 greens in regulation per round and three par breakers after hitting GIR. That slotted Colonial within the third-hardest in all three of those measurements among all courses during the super season of 2020-21.

It’s never easy but Kokrak made it seem that way. He ranked eighth in distance of all drives, fourth in accuracy off the tee, first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, second in GIR, 10th in proximity to the hole and second in SG: Tee-to-Green. He also checked up seventh in SG: Putting and fifth in putting: birdies-or-better.

Kokrak also finished T12 in par-5 scoring. The pair of par 5s – Nos. 1 and 11 – annually ranks among the toughest sets of all courses, but that’s primarily due to the 635-yard 11th hole. Just two years ago, it was the eighth-hardest in relation to par on the course. Last year, it was fourth-easiest and Kokrak played it in bogey-free 2-under. He won by two strokes.

Overall scoring this week also should align with history, at least until the weekend. Wet weather will give way to a dry opening round on what could be receptive turf for low scores. Winds also will be light until the machine starts cranking on Friday afternoon. Come Saturday and Sunday, daytime highs likely will eclipse 90 degrees and gusts could exceed 30 mph. It has the makings of how the 36-hole leader’s score in relation to par could stand up for victory. So, once again, wisdom and experience in the conditions should factor.