If you're starting to feel the pinch of the new schedule, I don't blame ya.
The Charles Schwab Challenge is tournament No. 31 of 46, so only one-third of it remains after this week. It will include two majors, a World Golf Championship and three FedExCup Playoffs events. But with consecutive doubleheaders in the second half of July and no break during the Playoffs, it'll be only three months until the latest FedExCup champ is crowned.
Don't get me wrong, I've loved the new rhythm of the season, but it's taken everyone a minute to adjust, beginning with the players, as always.
With the PGA Championship moving to May, previous targets to qualify for it were advanced. And while sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open is upon us at its regular time, it seems a bit sudden coming out of a major. There's also a new series of checkpoints for entry into The Open Championship running concurrently that require a learning curve.
As always, I'm here to help you keep it sorted for whatever your purpose. Reach out anytime.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Charles Schwab Challenge (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Joel Dahmen; Bryson DeChambeau; Matt Every; Rickie Fowler; Talor Gooch; Ryan Palmer; Rory Sabbatini; Vaughn Taylor
Driving: Joel Dahmen; Bryson DeChambeau; Rickie Fowler; Francesco Molinari; Louis Oosthuizen; Carlos Ortiz; Scott Piercy; Ian Poulter; Chez Reavie
Power Rankings Wild Card
Kevin Na … He hasn't been terrible since returning from a fractured right pinky, but he hasn't been lighting the world on fire, either. That's why he lands here as a de facto extension of the Power Rankings proper. Recorded a personal-best solo fourth here last year (on the heels of a T6 at Trinity Forest), one of seven top 25s in 12 visits. Despite the body of success, it's worth noting that he opened with 62 and closed with 61, so it was far from a consistent week. Given all of these variables, he's worth a no-play in a marketplace in which he'll be saturated.
Brandt Snedeker … One of the last snips from the Power Rankings due primarily to having connected for only one top-15 finish anywhere in the last seven months (T5, PLAYERS). Otherwise, he's gold. Perfect in eight trips to Colonial with a trio of top 20s, which is curious on paper because his ball-striking wouldn't slot him among the favorites to thrive on a course that's rewarded it over time. That just goes to show us how he mitigates his weaknesses with sound course management and a spectacular short game.
Emiliano Grillo … Posted a solo third in his third spin at Colonial last year during what was a spikier run of form. This time around, he's been flying under the radar with only one missed cut in the last 10 months. He'll be over-owned, but he's still worth the plunge.
Jimmy Walker … Alright. It's time to double down and have faith in his form. Rose for a T23 at Bethpage when it would have been understandable if he didn't grind it out. He ranked T3 in the field in greens hit and 18th in scrambling to secure his first top 25 since a T20 at Colonial last year. Perfect in five trips and back home in Texas. Make the aggressive play.
Pat Perez … It's clear that his unplanned six-week break has paid dividends in terms of freshness. He's 3-for-3 with a pair of top 15s in individual competition since injuring his left calf. The Charles Schwab Challenge marks his fifth consecutive week on the road, but that's fact over friction. Colonial has treated the veteran warmly over the years. The most recent of his four top 10s in 13 starts was a T5 in 2015.
Matt Jones … The Aussie is in a groove, so give it a ride despite an uninspiring record at Colonial. He's connected 10 cuts made, the last a T5 at Trinity Forest, and then successfully navigated sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open on Monday.
Matthew Fitzpatrick … He's making his debut at Colonial, so invest fractionally if at all because he's all but a certainty to make the cut. My more important angle is to accentuate that he's on his way to qualifying for PGA TOUR membership in 2018-19. His equivalent of 430.071 FedExCup points would slot him 68th among members. The 24-year-old Brit made it known long ago that his goal was to join the TOUR when eligible. He came close twice before. The only legitimate cause for pause would involve his challenge to qualify for Europe's Ryder Cup squad in 2020. However, invest in long-term speculation if you're in a keeper league.
Matt Every … It's really impressive how he's leveraged his Past Champion status into a return to the FedExCup Playoffs. Because he's 58th in points, it's actually easier for him to gain entry into the Charles Schwab Challenge because it's an invitational versus on his number in an open, but he's earned it, of course. Finished T4 at Colonial in 2013, but your decision to invest is based almost entirely on his resurgence.
Zach Johnson … Once upon a time, Colonial was the 1a to TPC Deere Run on his board, and it's been only three years since the most recent of his eight top 20s in the tournament, but the all-time earnings leader here struggled in his last two and he hasn't been putting four rounds together this season. So, use this week as a litmus test for his horse-for-a-course narrative in advance of the John Deere Classic in two months.
Tony Finau … In one sense, this is a compliment because it's relative to his elevated expectations. Although he muscled for a T5 at the Masters, it's his only top-35 finish in his last six starts. He's also gone without a top 25 at Colonial since a T19 in his debut in 2015. No question that this is splitting hairs already split, but we'll get our chances time and again. The kicker is that his distance off the tee is neutralized in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. Table until next week.
Byeong Hun An … If his neck was feeling better at Bethpage, then it didn't reflect in a pair of 74s that led to a short week. He also presents better on tracks where he can air it out on the tee. Colonial isn't one of them.
Corey Conners … He finished T8 in his debut here last year, but separate from your affinity for the guy and realize that his breakthrough win at TPC San Antonio in early April is the only top 25 in his last 11 starts. Also remember that he's only a sophomore on the PGA TOUR, so there are going to be more downs than ups in the short-term.
Si Woo Kim … The optimist looks at a 1-for-3 record at Colonial and sees the value in the experience on a course that has demanded it even at his tender age of 23. The realist notes that the payday with but a T66 (in 2018) and he's missed three straight cuts upon arrival. Which are you?
Kiradech Aphibarnrat … Despite reliable resources, there were conflicting reports over the severity of his knee injury suffered at the Masters. Ultimately, it was determined to be a sprained ACL (not torn) and he finished T5 at Trinity Forest. He led that field in strokes gained: putting and missed only once in 63 tries inside 10 feet. The Thai then placed T41 at Bethpage with scores of 68 in the second and third rounds, but he's tackling Colonial for the first time. At best, he's a flier and fractionally at that.
Tyrrell Hatton … Unfortunately, it's been easy to forget that he's a PGA TOUR member what with zero top 10s in stroke-play competition this season. While he doesn't mind going low, he's profiled as stronger on tougher tests. That could benefit him when the wind blows at Colonial, but he's also making his tournament debut.
Peter Uihlein … He made the most of surviving the cut on the number at Trinity Forest with weekend rounds of 63 and 64, respectively. It also was a massive surprise given lackluster form throughout 2019. So, let's see it again. In his only prior attempt at Colonial, he missed the cut in 2012.
Branden Grace … Zero top 25s in stroke-play competition since the runner-up finish at TPC Scottsdale and he's a first-timer at Colonial.
Sungjae Im … I'm the first to champion playing as often as possible for fantasy purposes, but it might be time for the rookie to take a breather. He leads the PGA TOUR in starts with 23 and this is his sixth consecutive, which marks the third time this season that he's played six in a row. It's yielded mixed results. While respecting the challenges of different venues, his first sprint concluded with missed cuts at Pebble Beach and Riviera. The second stretch was punctuated with a T4 at Copperhead, a T7 at Corales and a T20 at TPC San Antonio.
Returning to Competition
Brian Gay … He called it quits after opening with 81 at Bethpage due to a sore knee, but it's not stopping him from getting back at it at Colonial where he's 13-for-16, albeit without a top 30 in 10 years. Still, and despite last week's experience, he sets up as a sneaky option in DFS given a consistently strong 2018-19 and his fit for the track.
Aaron Baddeley … This is his first start since missing the cut at the RBC Heritage. He withdrew early from both the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the AT&T Byron Nelson. Since a T6 at Colonial in 2005, the Aussie is just 3-for-8 here without a top 50.
Jason Kokrak … This marks his third early WD of the season and it stings every time as he's been a workhorse in every format. However, because he fell shy of getting into the U.S. Open via the latest Official World Golf Ranking (he's 65th), it's possible that he's opted for rest ahead of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide (where he's been a regular) and sectional qualifying on June 3.
Ryan Moore … He's in the same boat as Kokrak as it concerns U.S. Open eligibility, but Moore's made only one appearance at Colonial in the last five years. Meanwhile, since crashing onto the PGA TOUR in 2006, he's never missed an edition of the Memorial where he'll populate our short list of interests next week.
Alex Noren … The Swede would have been making his debut at Colonial. He's failed to cash only three times in 12 starts this season, but his only top 25s occurred last October in no-cut invitationals. Currently 130th in the FedExCup standings, his 2017-18 is appearing more and more like the anomaly than an expectation. It happens more often than discussed with international, dual-tour members.
Steve Stricker … The 2011 champ is 15-for-16 for his career at Colonial, but he's opting for the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. It's the PGA TOUR Champions' second major of the season. He won the first one in a runaway two weeks ago, taking the Regions Tradition by six strokes.
Power Rankings Recap – PGA Championship
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Brooks Koepka Win
2 Tiger Woods MC
3 Rory McIlroy T8
4 Dustin Johnson 2nd
5 Rickie Fowler T36
6 Jon Rahm MC
7 Justin Rose T29
8 Xander Schauffele T16
9 Paul Casey T29
10 Sergio Garcia MC
11 Ian Poulter MC
12 Patrick Cantlay T3
13 Adam Scott T8
14 Jason Day T23
15 Tommy Fleetwood T48
16 Matt Kuchar T8
17 Scott Piercy T41
18 Francesco Molinari T48
19 Hideki Matsuyama T16
20 Louis Oosthuizen T60
Wild Card Bryson DeChambeau MC
Sleepers Recap – PGA Championship
Joel Dahmen T71
Emiliano Grillo T23
Shugo Imahira MC
Si Woo Kim MC
Mikko Korhonen MC
Mike Lorenzo-Vera T16
Joost Luiten T64
Keith Mitchell MC
Thorbjørn Olesen T64
Pat Perez T78
Thomas Pieters T23
Chez Reavie T14
Kyle Stanley MC
Julian Suri MC
Erik van Rooyen T8
Jhonattan Vegas MC
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
May 21 … Stewart Cink (46); Gary Woodland (35); John Huh (29)
May 22 … Scott Brown (36); Jason Kokrak (34); Dominic Bozzelli (28)
May 23 … none
May 24 … Bill Haas (37)
May 25 … Rafa Cabrera Bello (35); Tom Hoge (30)
May 26 … none
May 27 … none