When it was announced that the 2018-19 season was going to conclude in August, the ripple effect extended into the opening of the 2019-20 season. With an additional month on the calendar before the holiday break, opportunities for A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier and the Houston Open to return to the schedule were created. So was the elevation of the Sanderson Farms Championship from an additional event to a stand-alone contest rewarding the winner 500 FedExCup points for the first time in its history.
Since it debuted on the PGA TOUR in 1986, the only stop in Mississippi has been as flexible a tournament as any. It's been contested during five different months of the year and held opposite the Masters, The Open Championship, the TOUR Championship, the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup and most recently the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. It also was canceled once (2009) and it sat out the 2013-14 season to await its shift to the fall portion once the wraparound season was established.
Country Club of Jackson hosts for the sixth consecutive year. While more probable as an additional event, it's still a fact that all of its champions have been first-time TOUR winners. Continue reading beyond the ranking of projected contenders for analysis on the stern, scorable track and more.
POWER RANKINGS: SANDERSON FARMS CHAMPIONSHIP
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 15 Grayson Murray 14 J.T. Poston 13 Denny McCarthy 12 Byeong Hun An 11 Brandt Snedeker 10 Sebastián Muñoz 9 Corey Conners 8 Wyndham Clark 7 Robby Shelton 6 Vaughn Taylor 5 Joaquin Niemann 4 Sungjae Im 3 Brian Harman 2 Lucas Glover 1 Scottie Scheffler
Defending champion Cameron Champ, 2017 champ Ryan Armour, Cameron Smith, Kyle Stanley, Greenbrier runner-up Tom Hoge and other notables will be reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
As firm and fair par 72s are concerned, CC of Jackson is right up there among the best. With a new tee on the par-4 17th that has stretched the hole by 20 yards (to 436 yards), the overall length is 7,460 yards. It's the longest it's played and 106 yards longer than when it debuted in 2014.
Returning competitors may wonder why bunkers were added beside fairways on the par-4 first, par-5 11th and par-4 16th holes. The course already ranks among the stingiest in distance of all drives (eighth-shortest at 277.9 yards last year) and fairways hit (seventh-lowest at 55.42 percent in 2018). Another bunker in the target area of the second shot on the par-5 third hole also is new and primary rough is allowed to grow two-and-a-half inches.
Despite the perceived challenge off the tee, Cameron Champ simply outmuscled the place en route to his four-stroke victory last year. Not surprisingly, he led the field in distance of all drives at 308.0 yards, but he split only 26 of 56 fairways (T65). While the driver is his cross, the putter was his upper-cut finisher. He ranked T9 in greens in regulation (55 of 72) and second in Strokes Gained: Putting. He paced the field in putting: birdies-or-better and didn't miss on 53 attempts from six feet and in, 21 of which from outside three feet.
Last year's field averaged 71.246 on the scorecard, essentially the target for the setup. Champion bermudagrass greens are average in size and prepped to run about 12-and-a-half feet on the Stimpmeter. It's on these surfaces where even good putters will struggle. CC of Jackson annually ranks among the toughest in conversion percentages from all distances inside 10 feet. Yet, because it's just stronger than average in three-putt avoidance, the premium is on piling up scoring chances.
Steamy conditions are in store throughout the tournament. Daytimes highs open in the upper 90s when the greatest threat for inclement weather is expected. It'll taper into the low 90s and it'll remain sticky. Winds will be light.
Because of the tournament's transition to stand-alone status this season, the field has expanded from 132 to the maximum of 156 (for individual competitions). Daylight hours and its latitude in the South in mid-September allow for the growth. Also for the first time, the champion will punch a ticket into the Masters.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
THURSDAY: Champions One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.