To steal from the familiar slogan, when the PGA TOUR lands in Vegas, it stays in Vegas. At least this year.
Because the annual excursion to Asia was canceled due to the pandemic, the TOUR is setting up shop for a second consecutive week in the Entertainment Capital of the World instead of South Korea.
THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK is the fourth edition of the fledgling tournament with 78 golfers and no cut. As its eponymous name instructs, the substitute stage is none other than Shadow Creek Golf Course in North Las Vegas, and it’s a treat.
For some detail on the host course, what some will find in the dirt and more, scroll past the projected contenders.
POWER RANKINGS: THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK
Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider.
Our lasting images of Shadow Creek in the mainstream date back to Thanksgiving weekend of 2018 when Phil Mickelson defeated Tiger Woods in the dark in Capital One’s The Match. The lasting imagery of the course excites the senses. Tom Fazio did more with flat desert than should be humanly possible when he designed the track in 1989. He returned in 2008 for a whole-scale renovation.
Shadow Creek is a stock par 72. It’ll tip at a respectful 7,527 yards and closes 5-3-5, a natural embodiment of the risk-and-reward experience of the city to the south. Bermudagrass that blankets everything but the greens is overseeded with rye. The four-inch primary rough will help frame the visuals.
Bentgrass greens that are almost average in size have enough undulation to take seriously. They’ll run out to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, which is the bull’s-eye of TOUR standards.
The notion of not finding one’s game at a specific course does not apply to Shadow Creek. It’s likely that notables who have been out of form will connect with the kind of scoring that led them to be a notable in the first place.
In addition to the promise of 72 holes, unfamiliar settings reward proper preparation and ball-striking. Unpredictably hot putters notwithstanding, the greens are equalizers because of the absence of experience in knowing where to leave approaches and the nuance of the uneven surfaces. As a result, course management will rise as a premium over four days.
Furthermore, the weather will be perfect. Nothing but sunshine with daytime highs right around 90 degrees is expected. Any wind will blow in from the north and east with the strongest push midday on Thursday.
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
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.