Just 30 spots up for grabs next week at East Lake but plenty of angles to explore before we get there.
Event No. 2
Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, Maryland
|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,542|
|Greens:||Pure Distinction Bentgrass; 5,200 square feet.|
|Rough:||Tall fescue, Bluegrass, ryegrass at 3 inches.|
|Bunkers/Water||Water in play on 5 holes.|
|Architects:||Tom Fazio (1991).|
|Purse:||$9.5 million and $1.710 million (winner); 2,000 FedExCup points.|
|Defending Champion (event):||Jon Rahm|
|Defending Champion (course):||Inaugural|
|Fact of the Week:||Top 30 FedExCup points advance to The TOUR Championship next week in Atlanta.|
|Fact of the Week II:||No player has ever defended a FedExCup Playoff event.|
- 70 players eligible, NO CUT EVENT
- 69 players entered (Patrick Reed, WD)
- Second of three FedExCup Playoff events
** – first time winner on TOUR
|Safeway Open||Stewart Cink|
|120th United States Open||Bryson DeChambeau|
|Corales Punta Cana Championship||Hudson Swafford|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||Sergio Garcia|
|Shriners Hospitals for Children||Martin Laird (playoff)|
|CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK||Jason Kokrak**|
|ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP||Patrick Cantlay|
|Bermuda Championship||Brian Gay|
|Vivint Houston Open||Carlos Oritz**|
|84th Masters Tournament||Dustin Johnson|
|The RSM Classic||Robert Streb|
|Mayakoba Golf Classic||Viktor Hovland**|
|Sentry TOC||Harris English|
|Sony Open in Hawaii||Kevin Na|
|The American Express||Si Woo Kim|
|Farmers Insurance Open||Patrick Reed|
|Waste Management Phoenix Open||Brooks Koepka|
|AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am||Daniel Berger|
|The Genesis Invitational||Max Homa|
|WGC – Championship at The Concession||Collin Morikawa|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Bryson DeChambeau (2)|
|THE PLAYERS Championship||Justin Thomas|
|The Honda Classic||Matt Jones|
|WGC- Match Play||Billy Horschel|
|Corales Puntacana||Joel Dahmen**|
|Valero Texas Open||Jordan Spieth|
|85th Masters Tournament||Hideki Matsuyama|
|RBC Heritage||Stewart Cink (2)|
|Zurich Classic of New Orleans||Cameron Smith/Marc Leishman|
|Valspar Championship||Sam Burns**|
|Wells Fargo Championship||Rory McIlroy|
|AT&T Byron Nelson||KH Lee**|
|103rd PGA Championship||Phil Mickelson|
|Charles Schwab Challenge||Jason Kokrak (2)|
|Memorial Tournament||Patrick Cantlay (2)|
|Palmetto Championship (Congaree)||Garrick Higgo**|
|121st US Open||Jon Rahm|
|Travelers Championship||Harris English (2)|
|Rocket Mortgage Classic||Cam Davis**|
|John Deere Classic||Lucas Glover|
|149th Open Championship||Collin Morikawa (2)|
|Barbasol Championship||Seamus Power**|
|3M Open||Cameron Champ|
|2020 Tokyo Olympics||Xander Schauffele|
|Barracuda Championship||Erik van Rooyen|
|WGC- FedEx St Jude Invitational||Abraham Ancer|
|Wyndham Championship||Kevin Kisner|
|THE NORTHERN TRUST||Tony Finau|
Facts and Figures:
|Course Record:||64; Larry Mize, 2017 Senior Players Championship.|
|Recent Defending Champion(s):||N/A.|
|Multiple Winners – Event||Dustin Johnson (2)|
|Multiple Winners – Course||N/A.|
|First Time TOUR:||Camilo Villegas, 2008 BMW Championship.|
|First Time EVENT:||None outside debut event.|
|Odd Fact:||No player has defended an event title or repeated as FedExCup champion.|
|Odd Fact II:||Rory McIlroy is the only multiple FedExCup Playoff champion in this year’s event.|
More Tom Fazio!
Better read Horses for Courses to get caught up on that angle!
First time the TOUR has been here but some others have.
Reminds me of Augusta with the elevation changes.
Seniors tore it apart in 2017 from 7,200 yards.
The Par-3 holes are thicc. Shortest one on the card is 192 and the other three tee at 220 or better.
Bentgrass should be rolling perfectly.
Caves Valley has taken just an inch of rain in the last seven days so that shouldn’t bother much of anything.
New tracks = the BIGGEST of dogs. Part of me would like to see a Playoff event at TPC Deere Run or a familiar track on TOUR. Let’s be fair, the guys who win majors and these events are the best. Let’s level the playing field a shade by putting them on courses THEY DON’T PLAY. Rant over. It will never happen so whatever.
With the exception of Seaside, all of Fazio’s courses are big and expansive. I’m leaning on the premium power players to eat up the yardage and pummel the Par-5 holes.
Next year this event moves to the Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware so start brushing up on your crab legs and Old Bay seasoning.
Let’s recap last week first:
Last Week – FedExCup Playoffs Event No. 1
THE NORTHERN TRUST
Thoughts on the Chalk:
Jon Rahm (+1000): We must protect this house! Coming back from Covid hasn’t bothered him before so I’m not sure why it would this time! Missed the Olympics but was T3 here in 2019. 54-hole co leader solo third this time.
Jordan Spieth (+1600): Perfect bentgrass greens will suit just fine. Haven’t been many stumbles recently and I don’t expect any this week. T10 after 2 rounds with 62; finished 72-EJECT for third-to-last.
Dustin Johnson (+1800): Not many can flip the switch but he’s never been classified as normal. He’s won the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs three times. Enters on T10-MC-T8. Now it’s T10-MC-T8-MC. Cracked his driver in Round 1 and never recovered or got a new driver, which was weird.
Collin Morikawa (+1800): Added another pelt after his win at Royal St George’s. Already has a WGC win this year as well. Knows he’s already at East Lake so he might start slowly. Yep, 74-70 MC.
Rory McIlroy (+2200): Hit it great in Memphis so if that carries over, I can see it. Nope, it was the putter that showed up, not the ball-striking. T43.
Xander Schauffele (+2200): No respect or the books know something we don’t? Gold medal attention should have subsided by now. Should also bring him more action. Weird number. Like Spieth, one good round of 62 couldn’t cover the other three in the 70s. His three in the 70s were all par or better though for T16.
Brooks Koepka (+2500): Skipping the pro-am in Memphis was the first red flag that his knee isn’t perfect. T54 with a long Sunday in Memphis didn’t help. At this price, you always have to think long and hard, though…T11 after 54 holes before stumbling home in 74 for T31.
Justin Thomas (+2500): Copy and paste from last time. I don’t see anything pointing this ship in the right direction. Not even a title defense in Memphis could spark him. Opened with 63 as he went back to an old putter. Racked out 25 birdies and an eagle so yeah, it worked. T4
Bryson DeChambeau (+2500): After watching that back nine, I need a drink. Pass. Made 25 birdies and didn’t crack the top 30. Bawgawd.
Thoughts on Next Wave – 30 to 1 or worse
Daniel Berger (+3300): Three T8 or better in his last four has my attention. The fact all three of those paydays were in majors or WGC should resonate. T56 suggest it didn’t.
Webb Simpson (+3300): T18 or better in three starts here and always enters hot after Wyndham. Top 20 minimum. T6 GIR but made 15 bogeys and a double hahaha. T47.
Scottie Scheffler (+3300): Quietly going about his business but his last three are T14 or better. All four rounds in the red, good enough for T47.
Abraham Ancer (+3300): I never ride guys the week following their first TOUR win. Ancer was second to Reed in 2019 so that should get converging trends POUNDIN’ INTO EACH OTHA. I hope he drank all the Flecha Azul. Pass. T64.
Patrick Cantlay (+3300): Love him on bentgrass. T11 and about the only thing I got right this week and that wasn’t even “right”.
Harris English (+4000): Form is fire and that’s enough for me. Should be happy to fall right back under the radar and make another push this week. Three rounds in the 60s and all four in the red = T31.
Adam Scott (+4000): Converging trend heaven here as well. No interest in anything but winning at this stage. MC.
Ian Poulter (+9000): Playing beautifully this summer and owns two top 10s here. T31
Kevin Streelman (+11000) – T64
Jhonattan Vegas (+12500) – MC
Keegan Bradley (+14000) – T11
Gary Woodland (+15000) – 2nd to last
Maverick McNealy (+17500) – T27
Adam Hadwin (+22500) – MC
Brandon Hagy (+35000) – MC
Sam Ryder (+40000) – MC
This Week – FedExCup Playoffs Event No. 2
Thoughts on the Chalk:
Jon Rahm (+650): He’s in the form of his life and is pegging top 10 paydays for fun. The style of track, the field, the conditions, life, hurricanes, NOTHING is bothering him right now.
Xander Schauffele (+2000): I thought his number was odd last week at 22-1 so his T16 brings him as second choice this week. His 62 in Round 2 was the highlight but his Par-5 scoring and ball-striking numbers get more attention this week. Tuning before his favorite track next week in Atlanta!
Collin Morikawa (+2000): Let me know if his back deal is still bugging him! In a vacuum, this sets up perfectly for him as he won’t be behind on the greens. At worst, four rounds will allow him to work it out and put himself in position for a charge at East Lake next week.
Jordan Spieth (+2000): There were 75 players who made the cut last week. He was T74 in Fairways and T74 GIR. Oh, and he posted a 62. Hahahaha. It has to be better this week, no??
Justin Thomas (+2000): The new putter bump had to feel good and sometimes that’s all it takes. He’s annually a summer player so I’m hoping this is the point his game pops. 25 birdies and 1 eagle suggest the lid is ready to come off. Win ticket.
Bryson DeChambeau (+2000): Big park, plenty of room to swing it. Kinda reminds you a little of MVGC where he’s raked in the past. I can see it. Top 10.
Dustin Johnson (+2200): Wonderfully inconsistent in his last four (MC x 2; Top 10 x 2) but his record on neutral courses over the years is quite something.
Cameron Smith (+2200): One bad swing, man. Before that he only squared two bogeys and two doubles against 26 birdies. I’ll just put him down for a top 10 and not sweat. Destroys Par-5 holes too.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500): I’m going right back after T11 last week. Bentgrass lover.
Brooks Koepka (+2500): I mean, that number, it’s enormous for him. Trying to stay away.
Rory McIlroy (+2500): No injury to make me think twice. I’m just not sure what’s going on here. He loves Quail Hollow so I think JUST MAYBE up and down the hills of Caves Valley will spark him.
Tony Finau (+2800): I’d bring a lawn chair, a cooler and put my feet up on 18 green all week drinking champagne and waving to my fellow pros and they came home. Thumbs probably still hurting from answering all the texts from Monday.
Louis Oosthuizen (+2800): T18 or better in 10038082 in a row and now he’s non-injury rested??? I mean, what’s the deterrent?
Thoughts on Next Wave – 30 to 1 or worse
Scottie Scheffler (+3300): If I was down last week, I’m not sure four rounds in the red are throwing me off the scent THIS week. He’ll have zero issues with a big track like this.
Viktor Hovland (+3500): No top 10s in his last three after winning in Munich. Fatigue?
Daniel Berger (+3500): T56 last week but three top 10s in his last five. If he’s going to kick in the back door of the Ryder Cup, he might have to invoke the Billy Horschel Rule: Win the BMW and Win East Lake. Step 1 in this week.
Paul Casey (+3500): He’ll need a big finish this week to push into the top 30 as he sits No. 54 currently. Should be on the Ryder Cup team so I’m not going to be shocked if he mails this one in.
Webb Simpson (+4000): Didn’t get the Wyndham Bounce last week so I’m not sure why we’d find it this week. Shocking putting last week on a course where he pegged T18 or better three times.
Abraham Ancer (+4000): He’ll bounce back this week, Top 10 and Top 20. Back to work.
Corey Conners (+4000): T8 last week and he didn’t make anything. Keep those ball-striking numbers going and I think we’ll see a repeat performance. Top 10 and Top 20.
Harris English (+4000): My OAD last week. My bad. Normal service should resume.
Hideki Matsuyama (+4000): Nobody loved Tom Fazio more than this guy in the spring as he won the Masters. Went close at the Olympics. Went close in the playoff in Memphis. Made 24 birdies last week and put all 4 round in the red but suffered 3 doubles and a triple. He’s close. Nibble win ticket.
Shane Lowry (+4500): Top 20 and cash away. Of his last six he’s put four in the top 12.
Sam Burns (+5000): Should have won in Memphis. Makes plenty of birdies so that should help. Top 10 and Top 20.
Joaquin Niemann (+5000): Loves a bit of Memorial so let’s see if that translates this week.
Sungjae Im (+5500): Trending T46-T24-T16 the last three weeks. Birdie machine for a top 20.
Kevin Na (+6600): T23 or better in his last four buries the lede that he’s racked out three of those four in the top 10. Play the heat. Top 10 and Top 20. Or fade the shit out of him because the course is big and bad. Nobody said this is easy!
Jason Kokrak (+7500): Popped at Shadow Creek but he was one of the few, if any, who had played that course a bunch. Careful.
Cameron Tringale (+8000): Just play him for a top 30 every week and enjoy your monies.
Cameron Champ (+10000): Parlay anyone named Cameron for a T30 or better finish. Might get the best of the bunch here.
Erik van Rooyen (+10000): New baby bounce has brought a win and final threesome last week. One bad hole kept him from touching distance in New Jersey. Hot.
Maverick McNealy (+11000): Last seven all T30 or better. Roll on.
Cam Davis (+12500): Lots of yards and lots of Par-5 holes = yes, please.
Keith Mitchell (+12500): T8-T55-T5 last three on TOUR.
Harry Higgs (+20000): There’s always ONE guy, isn’t there? Top 10.
KH Lee (+25000): No cut this week, got it, but he’s cashed four straight. Not bad for those odds!
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